Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cooking your Turkey.....early!

Why you might want to cook your Turkey early!


This is an encore post from a few years ago.  The information still applies and I hope it helps you prepare for your upcoming holiday!  It takes one more stressor out of your plans!

Many folks are intimidated with cooking a Turkey.  I certainly was the first time I attempted it. After I was done, I remember thinking....'what was I afraid of?"  

I cooked a Turkey yesterday.  I try to reduce the stress of the actual holiday....so that I can enjoy it as well.    Here is the method I use and find that it works well. I hate being the only one who isn't in a position to 'play' before the big feast.  I decided to do this because my husband carves the turkey before we serve it anyway so the presentation is not a big deal


Yes, I am using my Roaster Oven again.  So, I laid out the rack on the counter. See the little blue box.  In my world, this is a 'must'.  Get the Oven Cooking Bags for Turkeys.  They are totally worth it.



Take your thawed Turkey out of the wrapping.  If you are buying a frozen Turkey, let it thaw in your refrigerator for several days.  This is a very safe method to thaw your bird.   Rinse the bird.



Remove the neck and giblet packets from the neck and little 'butt' opening. Rinse the cavities.  After rinsing, I often salt the cavities.



I cut up onion, apples, and always add citrus.  These help keep the meat moist and flavorful.  



Fill the cavities with these.  You can also add herbs such as Rosemary as well.



Follow the directions on the box of the Oven bags by putting in flour and shaking it in the bag.



Tie the legs closed to keep your content inside the cavity.  You can also use toothpicks to keep the other cavity closed.



Place your Turkey in the bag.  I placed the bagged Turkey on the rack and then carefully loaded it into the Roaster Oven. You can place you Turkey in your Standard Oven at this point as well.  



Put water into your oven as well, set the temperature gauge, put the lid on, and wait until it is cooked.  You hopefully can see the little red 'dot' on the Turkey.  I am a big proponent of using these little gauges.  Why?  they not only ensure the Turkey is cooked, but you may also be surprised at how fast your Turkey can cook not only in the bag, but also in the Roaster.  The combination can cut some time off the process.



On the day of Thanksgiving, I use my Roaster Oven to warm the Turkey meat inside another Cooking Magic bag with a big of water.  The meat is still moist and delicious.  You can make gravy with the drippings ahead of time and warm it either in a crock pot or in a saucepan.  Then I serve it to to everyone!

Consider it!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Countdown to Thanksgiving......The Rolls!!!!


Pumpkin-shaped Rolls for Thanksgiving!  So easy..

I love the holidays....and my house is already sporting my Thanksgiving decor!  As much as I love the holidays, I hate the stress that can accompany them.  Soooo, I will be posting (and planning) ideas for Thanksgiving so that when the big day comes....I can be ready and relaxed.

One of the crowd favorites are.....ROLLS!!!  I have made different types over the years. Some were more preferred than others.  This year, I have something fun for you to try....


You can do this with home-made dough or the 'frozen' option.  Yes, these are the frozen option....let's just say that I was in a hurry!  I let them unthaw for about an hour. Then I used my kitchen shears and made 8 cuts-slits around the roll.  


After making the cuts, cover the rolls with a towel and allow them rise per the directions of your recipe or your frozen-roll dough.


When they have risen sufficiently, use a kitchen tool with a rounded-end. Make an indention in the middle of the rolls.


Here you see my rolls with the circular indention's.


 Brush with egg-white. This gives you a glossy finish and a firm crust.


Oh, and just before baking insert either a walnut or pecan nut or sliver.  I used Almond slivers here.


Baked according to directions.  These are cute and fun!  It is a nice addition to any Thanksgiving table.  So easy and delicious too!

Try it!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Was Canning "CANDY" The Other Day!

Preserving your 'Candy Bounty' from Halloween...

Yes, if you look really hard, you can see a lot of treats in these canning jars. That is by design.  I went to the big box store early in the morning on November 1 and found lots of Halloween candy on sale for 50% off. There was a bit of a mob picking through all the candy. One lady complained about another customer who came in and 'took 200 bags of chocolate candy'.  I thought that he was pretty savvy myself.  Anyway, I digress...I actually bought lots of different kinds of candy during that shopping trip.


I decided to help preserve it....for posterity. I really mean that.  Rooster Senior thinks candy is another food group...I keep waiting for the Doctor to give him 'what for' because of all the candy and soda he consumes. However, they keep telling him he is just as healthy as can be.  

I decided to can different candies in pint jars....so that when we did get into them....there wouldn't be mounds of candy to consume quickly all at once.  I did this because vacuum sealing helps keep chocolate from getting white, and helps keep things like taffy and licorice stay soft.


It is important that all the edges of the packaging do not interfere with the seal.


I turned all the edges under before placing the lid on it.


I sealed the candies in both wide-mouth and regular-mouth jars.


Now, why would I do all this?  Well, for several reasons:
  • It think it is important to have known comfort foods in your storage.  Not only is it fun, but it really can be comforting in times of stress
  • I do this when candies are on sale and save money.
  • I have treats for when little ones come to visit.
  • I hopefully can keep the little ones from raiding Grandpa's stash without permission....because this secret stash really is not so secret!

Try it!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For Some of My Favorite Little Goblins.....


Trick-or-Treat Bags made with Machine Embroidery....Perfect for little Goblins this Halloween!


Look what I did.....last Saturday.....when I had this wild idea....and just a little time to execute it. 

I will be having a Halloween Party at my home tomorrow for a few little Goblins that I love to pieces.  These Goblins are local, and thus a last minute idea happens to work.

I created this pattern because other Trick or Treat bags that I have made were just as big if not bigger than the little Goblin who would try to carry it. So, I made these a bit smaller. They are not as wide, but they are super cute!


We have a little fabric store in my little town, so I decided to support it and bought some coordinating fabrics.  In the black, I cut 2 pieces 11" x 14".  I then downloaded this sweet Jack-o-Lantern design to program my Embroidery Machine. I loved that this design is....free!  I also embroidered the name of each little Goblin just under the Jack-o-Lantern.


I used some left over piping from another project and covered it with coordinating fabric.  Using my zipper foot, I stitched the new fabric closely to the piping.


For the little "Goblin-Princess", I made a ruffle.  The width of the ruffle is 3 inches and the length depends upon how tightly you want your ruffle to be.


See how great the Orange pumpkin stands out against the black. The downloaded pumpkin pattern turned out very well!


I made a 'cuff' from coordinating orange fabric that was ~5 inches x 11 inches.  Here you see that I am stacking several layers.  After sewing the sides of the bag (black fabric), I pinned the piping (or ruffle) and the cuff together and used a zipper foot to sew along side of the piping.


 The lining (same size as the black fabric) is also sewn along the same seam as the piping stack. I didn't sew all 4 layers together at once as the lining was slippery and I didn't want to unpick anything unless I had to.  Next, you can see that I pinned the seam together and sewed along the side and bottom. I serged all edges to finish them off.  In case you are asking why I finished the inside of the bag that way. Well.....let's just remember that it is a "Trick or Treat Bag"!  It is not a fashion bag!


Here is a bag with piping.  I made handles and sewed ric-rac on the handle for a sweet and funky look.


Here is a close-up of the ruffle embellishment.


I love how they turned out. However, the downside is my insanely busy schedule. I didn't think of doing this until a few days ago. That means that I didn't have enough time to make more for the other Goblins who live out-of-state. Sooooo, I will let the parents of these Goblins decide if they want me to make more for them next year.

I really need to plan ahead a bit, don't I?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's a Matter Of ....... A Little Halloween!


I have a few little goblins that will toddle through my house this year....and I love it!  I have always decorated and celebrated every holiday in my home.  I wanted my children to have fun and fond memories of our time together over the years.  

Now, I have another generation that I would 'spread the fun around' with.  So, I have plans for our party this year, and I would like to share some of the fun things that I will have at that family gathering.


Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Jars....from Canning jars and Vinyl Cut-outs.  


Well, if you have been reading my blog for any time at all, you know that I can lots of different things. As such, I have jars...and jars...and jars in my storage room.  I decided to try a little project this year.


I cut out some fun faces using my Silhouette.  I put them on to transfer paper.  I then cut the individual faces apart.


I found a smooth side to my jar and rubbed the design/transfer paper on to the jar.


I initially had the plain jar and put in a flame-less candle.  You know the ones that are sold at Christmas time. They work just great for these, and little hands can be curious and not get burned if they try to touch them.


I decided to put on some raffia for fun!


Aren't they sweet?  I think all the little Goblins will love them when we 'party-hardy"....(well as much as you can with a 3-year old and younger party!).

Take Home Message:

  • I had all the materials to do this project.  I had the Vinyl from another project. The cost for me today was just my time.
  • The Canning Jars are from my storage...again I had these items on hand.
  • I used flame-less candles for safety.  I had used these candles in my Christmas decorating. They are perfect for this little project.

Simple, Easy, Cute, and Fun!  Who can ask for anything more?


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