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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brining a Turkey and Getting Ready for Christmas

Thanksgiving Part 2 will be getting wrapped into the Getting Ready for Christmas Post this year.

 I want to share my brine recipe. I brined my Turkey in a clean band new, but washed with soap and water, 5 gallon bucket. Into a sauce pan, I poured 2 cups of apple cider. To the cider, I added 2 oranges that I squeezed into the cider then dropped the whole thing in the simmering pot, also I added a cup of kosher salt, 1 bay leaf, a 5 whole cloves, 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns and a 3 sprigs of rosemary and thyme. I brought all of this to a boil. While the apple cider pot was boiling for 5 minutes, I removed the gibblets and neck of the turkey set them aside and added the turkey to my bucket. Then, I turned off the heat to the boiling pot. In a larger pitcher (It was easier to pour from) I combined my hot apple cider mixture with a half gallon more of apple cider. I then added enough water to that to cover the entire turkey. I left my turkey in this over night in the refrigerator. If you are in a cool climate depending on weather, you could possibly leave it covered and outside even.  For roughly 10 hours the turkey soaked up this brine. When it was time to start the roasting process, I rinsed the turkey off with fresh water,  to help cut out some of the salt on the surface of the turkey. I then patted it dry before adding it to the roasting pan. Instead of putting it on a rack in the pan, I roasted my turkey on a bed of carrots, onion, celery and chopped apples. This turkey, I have to admit, was my best ever. It was so juicy and had so much flavor that even the breast meat was juicy and not dry.

The sweet potatoes that I roasted in the oven also got a bit of orange juice to glaze them. I started some orange juice on the stove top to reduce a bit. To that I added a tablespoon of  brown sugar and pure maple syrup. I then drizzled that over my fresh sweet potatoes and roasted them in at 350f for 1 hour. The orange juice and maple syrup really left a nice flavor when combined with the carmelization of the roasting vegetable. Yum.

After having just a really nice time with our family, I could not wait to start decorating for Christmas. Family togetherness just puts me in the mood. I am not a Black Friday shopper but I happened to be at Target purchasing some new lights and ornaments when they called a door buster sale. Whats a girl to do? It was for a new Nikon dslr camera for only $99.00. I could not pass it up. While I may have an iphone and a laptop, I am technology ignorant when it comes to cameras. I have never owned a nice one. Isn't that awful? Well, that all changed. Forgive me dear friends if I begin to inundate you with lots of pictures. Once I figure out how to take a not blurry picture. It is kind of challenging.

My homemade vanilla extract ready for gift giving
This year, I vow to really enjoy the holidays. No rushing around like a mad woman shopping. No procrastinating on wrapping gifts. No saying "No" to holiday party invitations. I really just want to experience the joy of the holidays. No being too tired or letting life pass me by. Already, I love the way Christmas lights just seem to make our house seem cozier. Is that possible? It just does. There is something about the warm glow that makes the living room seem just that much more inviting. No harsh bright lights in this season. We prefer the glow of candles and white Christmas lights over the normal recessed lighting when hanging out and watching tv. Now, if only I could get my boys to clean their rooms, then life would be complete.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday and that in this upcoming season of holidays you are happy and content in life.

: )

PS...Are there p.s. on blogs? Well there is today... By the Way, I started a Facebook page for this blog. Check us out and give the page a "like" I really appreciate it.
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