Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Day is tomorrow. And it is indeed a day to mark in the calendars-not because it is Sunny’s first Thanksgiving but because I am making my first “stuffing/dressing” ever.

Normally we have Thanksgiving at my Grandma’s and it is perfect. Tons of veggies, carbs, desserts and yummy turkey all ready at the same time. However, this year is a bit different for us since my Papa (pronounced Paw Paw) had heart surgery. {Please continue to pray for him as he recovers}

So we are having a mini version of Thanksgiving here at the house. I have been watching food network, reading Rachael Ray magazine and checking out my favorite food blogs to get ready for the big day.

Here is what I have decided to go with:

For the TURKEY: {I will take a picture tomorrow}

Neal is going to cook it on the Big Green Egg (which makes everything taste amazing) and then is his custom brine recipe that he hijacked from a coworker.

NEAL TURKEY BRINE RECIPE

Wash your bird carefully inside and out – remove everything from the cavity
Carefully mix two cups of kosher salt with one gallon of cold water, one gallon of apple juice and 1 cup of orange juice.

Next add 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup soy sauce – to this mixture add two tablespoons of black pepper corns, 2 tablespoons rosemary, 2 tablespoons sage, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of thyme, 1 teaspoon nutmeg.

In a large cooler put down a layer of ice, place your turkey breast side down on top of the ice, cover with another layer of ice and pour the entire brine mixture over the bird and ice.
Let the bird sit in the brine for a minimum of four hours before turning it over – then turn it back over to breast side down after three hours and let it soak like that for another five hours (ideally you want 12 hours of brining time). You can put the whole thing in the fridge to stay cold.

After the twelve hours, remove the bird from the brine and rinse it in clear cold water to remove all traces of salt from the bird. Inject turkey with a few syringes of melted butter to keep it even moister and more flavorful – then cook as usual.

NEXT…

The Stuffing. I am a little nervous about this one because it is such an important part of the T-Day feast.

I decided to go with a stuffing recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs.  Mels Kitchen cafe and you can find the actual recipe here or read it below.

Here is the recipe in case you still need a stuffing recipe for tomorrow:
INGREDIENTS:
7 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish and baking
1 loaf rustic/artisan/crusty white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 9 1/2 cups bread cubes)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced in half-moons
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (rubbed between fingers to crumble lightly)
3 to 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in the microwave. Toss with bread cubes in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toast in the oven, tossing once, until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Heat the oil and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter has melted. Add celery, onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and soft, about 10 minutes.

To bake all of the stuffing in the oven: (this is my preferred method) Put vegetable mixture and toasted bread into large bowl. Stir in poultry seasoning, herbs, and 2 cups broth into stuffing. Stir in 4 eggs until bread mixture is well coated. Spoon into a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish, and dot generously with butter. Cover with foil, and bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.

NEXT…

Another must have for Thanksgiving dinner are the POTATOES! I decided to use Pioneer Woman’s Creamy mashed potatoes off of recommendation by our nanny. Here is the link to the recipe.

AND SINCE I HAVE SUPER LOVE FOR POTATOES…HERE IS THE SWEET POTATO RECIPE I AM USING.

And the recipe-
4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Flour
3/4 sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions

Wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. When they are finished cooking slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl.

Add 1 cup of (regular grandulated) sugar, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of salt. With a potato masher, mash them up just enough—you don’t want to be perfectly smooth.

Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), ½ cup flour, and ¾ stick of butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.

Now my mom is bringing over a veggie and a dessert…thank goodness since I am as good of a baker as I am a rapper.


RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR TODAY:

1) I LOVE LOVE the Target Black Friday commercials. I laugh out loud everytime I see them. Will you remind me next year that I want to be the crazy lady in the red jumpsuit for halloween?
2) Boogie Wipes are awesome when you have a kid with a runny nose
3) I am considering going “Black Friday” shopping as early as 10pm tomorrow night. I thrive in crazy times.
4) Against Neal’s wishes I am taking on a new project called December Daily. more about that in a separate post but until then if you a creative soul read this link and join me
5) I wanted to make some of thanksgiving stuff ahead of time however, who has time to makes things ahead of time. That is the problem–there in never enough time.
6) I hope you and your family have an amazing Thanksgiving!

AngelaNovember 25, 2011 - 9:40 am

Brine turkey is the best. My sister makes an amazing one. Also doesnt seem like a mini version of dinner that you made :) hope you enjoy the leftovers. Kisses to your fam.

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