Sunday, November 20, 2011


If you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you really should have your turkey in the fridge, thawing.... assuming it is frozen.

Your menu should be complete.

Most of your shopping should be done.... except for the stuff that needs to be consumed within a day, or two, of purchase.

That being said.... I really should complete my menu.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I know what I want. And, I have most of the stuff planned and purchased. BUT, I haven't had the time to work on my cookbooks, as much as normal. SO.... there might be a few unexpected dishes that show up. :-)

So far, this is what I have:

2 turkeys (one smoked, one roasted)
mashed potatoes
sweet potato pie
green beans
broccoli and rice casserole
macaroni and cheese
cranberry conserve
yum yum salad
fruit salad
pecan pie
pumpkin pie
3-4 other desserts
and 3-4 appetizers

I am doing all, but the mac-n-cheese, taters, sweet potato pie, yum yum salad, and fruit salad. I will make 2 appetizers and the pumpkin and pecan pies. Hubby is prepping the smoked turkey, while I do the roasted turkey.

So.... speaking of that, I'd better make sure my fridge in the garage is on and the turkeys are thawing.... instead of rotting. I *think* hubby turned on the fridge... if not? yikes! We will have 2 rotten turkeys to toss.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today, let's talk turkey.

Turkey is one of the easiest things to fix, but so many have never done it and are a bit overwhelmed.

First off, you want to allow roughly 2 pounds per person so if you have 10 adults, you need at least a 20 pound bird...I would allow 1 pound per child. This will feed everyone well and allow leftovers which are a MUST! Keep in mind that when you look at the tag with the weight, they are including are not getting 20 pounds of meat and an adult isn't going to eat 2 pounds of it.

When you buy your turkey, it needs to be bought with enough time to thaw or defrost. (I have a former friend who would say "dethaw." Huh?)

To thaw in the fridge you need to allow 1 day per 4 pounds. So, a 20 pound turkey will need 5 days....Thanksgiving is on Thursday. Your 20 pound bird should be bought and in the fridge by Saturday! There is another way to thaw...using a cold water bath, but this is a pain in the tush. You have to change out the water every 30 minutes. It's messy and you have a mushy, gross mess if there happens to be a hole in the wrap. Also, if the bird gets TOO warm, you do run the risk of bacteria in the meat. Just buy it a week early and keep it in the fridge.

Thursday morning you need to get up EARLY (if you want your feast at lunch) and work on prepping "Tom." If you buy that 20 pound turkey, you will need to bake it 3 1/2 to 4 hours. (Until a meat thermometer, stuck in the inner thigh (don't touch the bone) reads 180.) You really don't want a "self-basting" turkey, as that tends to mask the flavor of the turkey (IMHO). At the same time, if you buy a frozen bird, it doesn't get much better than Butterball....again, IMHO.

So, unwrap your turkey, rinse inside and out.

****VERY IMPORTANT**** Remove the bag with the giblets and neck.

Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Oil the skin. (here is where opinion comes into play) You can brush with vegetable oil, spray with cooking spray or rub with butter.

Personally, I like to take a handful of softened butter (quite literally) and rub it over the breast UNDER the skin AND on top of the skin. This will keep the bird moist and will brown the skin nicely.

Sprinkle both outside AND cavity with salt and pepper. Then fill the cavity with aromatics. (I personally don't do stuffing. The thought grosses me out (it also adds baking time) I do a pan of dressing.) I fill cavity with onion, celery, thyme, garlic, maybe lemon slices. You won't eat this, but it flavors the meat mildly.

Tuck the wings under the body to prevent them from browning too much. Tie the legs together. (You want to do this as the legs loosen from the body and the skin will break. You will end up with leg bones and meat just hanging off the body....broken skin and a lot of moisture lost) Some folks say to skewer the opening...I don't because I don't stuff with a side dish.

Put turkey, breast side up, (flat portion down), in a roasting pan. You NEED something heavy-duty. If you do buy a disposable roasting pan, it will need to be put on a cookie sheet or other heavy-duty baking pan. I have placed it flat on the pan, roasted it in a bag (in the pan) and put the turkey on a rack.) I have had success with all 3, so don't freak if you don't have a turkey-bag. I will say this, a bag helps with clean-up as the juices can really stick to the pan. Just be sure to cut a vent in the bag and allow enough room for the steam to "puff up" the bag. You don't want it to touch the top of the oven. My preference is to place it on a rack.

Put the turkey into a 325 degree oven and bake for at least 3 1/2 hours (for a 20 pound turkey). The last 30 minutes to an hour, you might need to tent some foil over the breast to keep it from getting too brown and too dry. You won't do this if you use a bag.

Before taking it out, check for doneness. One easy way is to grab a leg-bone and move it back and forth. If it moves easily, it should be done...or really close to being done. I like to check the temp. I stick a meat thermometer into the inner thigh (where it is thickest...NOT touching the bone) to see if it reads "180." If yes, I remove from oven.

Final step before carving....LET THE MEAT REST FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES. Keep it covered with foil to retain heat. Really, this step is very necessary. ANY meat that you roast should sit out for a bit. As the meat is roasting, the juice tends to head to the surface and evaporate. While the meat is resting, the juices redistribute leading to a moist meat. If you carve too soon, a lot of the juice will run out at the first cut.

Carve, either at the table or in the kitchen. (This is what I prefer. I carve it and arrange on a platter to put in the center of the table.)

Well, there you go. I hope this was helpful. Another great help is Butterball...the company. You can go to and they can give you MANY turkey tips. They even have a hot line that you can call on Thanksgiving Day to help will any "uh-ohs" or other concerns you may have.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

So, I made these whoopie pies today. They are my latest, favorite things to make.

Anyway, these are a big hit, whenever I take them anywhere.

Today, in about 2-1/2 hours, I fixed about 60 of these. Lots of fun. Full of flavor. It doesn't get much better than this.

A lot of folks asked for the here it is!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 cup Pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


For cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.

Stir in flour mixture until combined.

Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. (A total of 72 cookies are needed for the recipe.)

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch.

Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For cream cheese filling: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy.

Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I have been busy. What about you all?

The holidays are here. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. And I...... just made my menu. :-(

I am SO behind, but it is all good.

I am now, officially, a CPR Instructor. I will be starting to teach soon, I hope. I need to observe a few classes before I start teaching. There are a few things I need to watch.

I'm nervous as all get-out.

No.... that isn't bold enough.

I'm completely terrified.....and excited.

My oldest son is doing well. He got his cast a little over a week ago, but his arm is quite swollen. So, they split the cast, and taped it. We go in on Monday to get it tightened. Then, the Monday after Thanksgiving is when he will have it removed. After that, he will have 4 more weeks of restriction. That puts us the day after Christmas. :-( Poor thing. He was wanted to try out for the basketball team and he will miss the entire season.

I am planning 2 parties for the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. One is a feast. One is a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Fun, but work.....on top of the 376 or so things that I feel are on my list. :-) But, I LOVE this time of year... just for this reason.

I didn't get to do my pumpkins this year. Still time? Maybe. I don't know if I can get the tiny pumpkins still. Oh well.... what do you do?

See, here's what happens. I plan all year. (If you read me at all, you know that I look forward to Christmas all year. :-) ) Anyway, I keep putting off stuff until timing is better. Or until I'm done with this, or finished with that. Then, I find that I am almost out of time.

Next year.... HAHA! We shall see.

I have a few Christmas crafts I am wanting to work on.

I was supposed to have my tree up LAST week.... didn't happen. I don't remember why. :-(

I have about 80 Christmas cards to make. I have NO idea how, or when, that will happen. *sigh* I don't have time to start, just yet.

Heck, I just got laundry caught up. Since I finished my long-term subbing stint, I have *maybe* had 3 days at home.

I have a list 2 miles long.

That makes me happy.

My teeth still hurt. Not as bad, but still. I'm tired of dental issues. SO. Tired.

OK.... I'm done.

I'll try to be back soon.