7th House on the Left

So, yesterday. It finally happened. I had all four wisdom teeth pulled. I mentioned in this post that this was going down the week before Thanksgiving, but because we had to go out of town at the last minute, we had to postpone it to yesterday. It wasn’t that bad. Uncomfortable, sure, but not as bad as my head (and unneeded Google searches) tried to tell me it would be. Though I’m in pain and my face is swelling (fun stuff right there, folks), I’m so glad it’s over and behind me. On that note, on to the fun things…

Happy Weekend // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Later today, my little brother flies in from LA. Swollen face or not, I’m so excited to meet him at the airport and hug him really, really tight. Greg and I are so happy to have him home for a week or so before our entire family head to Florida for Christmas. He and Greg are having a boy’s night out tonight and going to the John Mayer concert here in Richmond. 6th row. Backstage access. So. Jealous. Okay, nah, not really. I have my dad babysitting me with pain meds and Downton Abby Season 3. Yep, he’s a good dad.

If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen a few photos from my and Greg’s annual “Christmas Movie Night for Two” last night. Every year, we normally do this on Black Friday, but, again, since we ended up being out of town, we decided to push it back a bit.

Christmas Movie Night for Two // #mykindofholiday // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Our “Christmas Movie Night for Two” always consists of pajamas, all the lights off except for the Christmas lights, cozy quilts, all phones on “Do Not Disturb Mode”, our favorite Christmas-themed treats, popcorn and a few Christmas movies. This year, we watched Arthur Christmas (which, in our opinion, is the most underrated animated holiday film ever) and Holiday Inn (a pure classic). Our movie nights are always one of my favorite kinds of date nights but our “Christmas Movie Night for Two” is extra special and has always been our way of kicking off the Christmas season. That, and it gives us an excuse to eat popcorn and peanut butter M&Ms at the same time. Best. Combo. Ever.

To make this weekend extra special, our pals at Target are giving one of you guys a $25 gift card so you can have your own Christmas movie night and maybe even give the new Target Ticket a whirl. You can enter with the widget below or post a photo on Instagram of your favorite holiday activity using the hashtag #mykindofholiday and tagging us in the description so we’ll be sure to see it (@7thhouseblog). This is a special weekend “Flash Giveaway”, so it will run over the weekend and close Monday evening. Happy weekend and good luck, everyone!
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This weekend is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. We aren’t hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, but we still have a good-size list of things we want to get done this weekend before the holiday rolls around. This time next week, we’ll all be shopping ’till we drop and feasting on Thanksgiving leftovers.

Happy Weekend / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving foods. My brother’s favorite is our grandma’s mashed potatoes. My dad’s is my mom’s deviled eggs. My mom’s is the turkey and cranberry sauce combo. Greg’s is my green bean casserole.

I was hesitant to post this recipe because I just posted the Pumpkin Cake recipe and we are not a recipe blog! We’ll leave that to the pros. But… Greg loves this green bean casserole so much that he suggested I post the recipe for you all this weekend. Since he rarely suggests posts like this, I had to oblige.

I made green bean casserole the first time last year and came up with this recipe by “doctoring up” another recipe I found online. It was our first year hosting Thanksgiving and since I’m known to be a “semi-homemade” kind of cook, I was trying to impress my family by cooking everything from scratch – right down to the pie crusts. I was a little nervous about everything coming out well – especially since I was making so many new (to me) dishes. I kept imagining everyone sitting around the Thanksgiving table picking at their plates wondering what this or that was supposed to be.

So, to put my nerves at rest, I decided to test drive a couple of the new dishes a few nights before Thanksgiving. My Aunt and Greg were there with me laughing at my kitchen incompetence paired with my stubbornness of  sticking to my “everything has to be from scratch” declaration. After about an hour of sautéing, experimenting and cooking, the green bean casserole was ready to come out of the oven and it was time for the taste test. Well, let me just put it this way… After our first bite, all three of us continued to stand around the peninsula in the kitchen with a fork eating this ridiculously delicious way-too-good-to-be-good-for-you concoction until it was gone. Yes. All of it. Gone! When the casserole dish was empty, Greg immediately went back to the store (at 11pm) to buy more fresh green beans.

I’ve gotten to know this recipe well enough to do it by memory or “by feel”. Sometimes we add more mushrooms or less onion, but here’s a good “baseline” for you to start with:

1/3 Stick Salted Butter
1/2 Cup Diced Onions
1/2 Cup Fresh Baby Portobello Mushrooms
House Seasoning to Taste (1 c salt, 1/4 c black pepper and 1/4 c garlic powder)
2 Cups Fresh Green Beans
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Container French Fried Onions

Start off by preheating the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms and onions until the onions are translucent. Season the veggies with house seasoning (I normally use a “heavy pinch” or two). While the mushrooms and onions are hanging out, boil your green beans in chicken broth for about 12 minutes or until tender. Don’t overcook them or the casserole will come out ultra soupy (been there, done that). Drain the green beans really well and set aside. Add the cream of mushroom soup, French fried onions and green beans to the skillet and fold everything together. Pour the mixture in a greased baking dish and cook until bubbly (about 30 minutes). When the time is up, add more French fried onions to the top and stick it back in the oven to crisp them up.

Making Ahead Instructions: If you’re making this the night before, leave the French fried onions out and put the mixture in a mixing bowl and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook the casserole, mix in the French fried onions and put the mixture in a greased baking dish. I’ve made this dish as far ahead as two nights before and it always turns out just as yummy – maybe even more yummy!

Yep, so that’s Greg’s favorite green bean casserole recipe. What I love most about this recipe is that it’s so easy to make – even for me! – but tastes so much better than the recipe on the back of the French fried onion container. I think it’s the fresh green beans cooked in chicken broth that does the trick.

By the way, sorry for the lack of photos for this post. I didn’t have time to cook some up for the blog, but I wanted to get it up before Thanksgiving.

So what are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Any recipes to share? Be sure to share your links in the comments. Happy weekend, everyone!

Top image from here.

Two weeks until Thanksgiving. Two weeks, people! I know it sounds cliche, but time has flown by this year. It seems like just a few weeks ago, we were outside bearing the sweltering Virginia heat while working on our little landscaping project. Now… we’re bringing plants inside to protect them from the 29° nights.

Happy Weekend / 7thhouseontheleft.com

This weekend, we have a conglomeration of things going on including celebrating my grandpa’s 80th birthday, working on a small update in the guest room and (maybe) going to Green Front to shop around for some furniture. Yes, we’re still planning on working on the half bathroom updates (we posted about those here). We actually hit a snag with being able to find the right exhaust fan/light combination to fit the existing fan without having to redo all of the wiring/ventilation in the attic. We think we found the right one, so now we just have to wait on the shipment. Yep. Fun stuff, right there.

Target's A Bullseye View // Not Your Grandma's Gift Basket // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Before we let you guys go for the weekend, we wanted to share a link to our latest article for Target’s online magazine, A Bullseye View. They asked us to put together our version of a Fall gift basket. Since gift baskets are one of my favorite things to give – especially during this time of year – this project was especially fun for us. I read A Bullseye View all the time, so it was super weird (and awesome!) to click there today and see our photos front and center on the main page.

Not Your Grandma's Gift Basket // 7thhouseontheleft.com

We went to Target and picked out a bunch of our favorite Fall favorites like a cozy throw blanket, coffee, pumpkin spice coffee syrup, tea, a yummy Fall candle and a bunch of other goodies. Our favorite little project inside the basket was probably the S’mores kit we made by using a tea box. Check out the full article and more photos here. Happy weekend, everyone!