Turkey Spice Rub

Once upon a time I had a rub recipe that involved Season All and a powdered italian salad dressing mix.  Of course there were other herbs and spices in the mix, BUT I no longer use that recipe.   I prefer my own mixture of herbs, still including the Season All but not the powdered salad dressing mix.  I use all dried herbs but you can certainly use fresh.  Here’s what I do:

In a small bowl mix together,

1 1/2 T Season All

1/4 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Parsley

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Sage

1/4 tsp Poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

Also, before your hands get yucky, and your hands will get yucky, get out the olive oil and a stick of butter.  Slice about 3 tablespoons of the butter and cut it in small dots, about the size of dimes, keep it cold.

Next, using immaculately clean hands, the turkey rinsed and in the roasting pan breast side up; use those clean hands to gently slide your fingers under the skin.  You want to very gentle separate the skin from the breast meat without tearing it.  Take your time, be patient, it can be done.  Now, using a spoon or your fingers, start putting small amounts of the rub mix under the skin, onto the breast meat.  Working it as far back and down the sides as you can.  Now take the cut up cold butter and start strategically placing the butter dots under the skin as well.  Wherever your little buttery heart wants to put them!

To stuff or not to stuff the turkey…..  I haven’t done a stuffed turkey in a very long time, maybe I will this year in honor of my Mom.  She LOVED the stuffing that way.  I usually stuff the bird with a large onion that has been quartered and a couple of bay leaves.

Now you can drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the turkey, sprinkle with salt and pepper, or if you have any leftover rub mix go ahead and sprinkle it over the turkey.   DONE!!  Go wash your hands!

I like to use some chicken broth to the pan, or turkey if you can find it.  And bake.  Roasting a turkey is really easy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Chutney (Sauce)

Actually, my Mammaw called it cranberry sauce, and I mostly do to, it just sounds fancier if I use the word chutney.  AND, I like to make it year round to use on sandwiches.   It’s absolutely delish!

Anyway, back to Mammaw.  She taught me how to make the cranberry sauce.  And, she gave me her old manual food grinder.  I still have it too, it’s packed away in storage, I should dig it out!!  She made the sauce by adding an entire bag of cranberries through the grinder, then a whole orange, sliced of course, and seeds removed.  And that was it!  She added a healthy cup or two of sugar and stirred it well.  Popped it in an airtight container and left it sit in the fridge a few days before turkey day so it could get juicy and sweet.  My aunt added an apple and pear.

But then I found a recipe to cook the sauce on the stove, and I have been hooked ever since.  Now, I make it all differnt ways.  I like to add a splash of Triple Sec, Disaronno, a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, apple cider, or honey.

Here is the basics:

1 bag of cranberries, rinsed, sorted and any stems removed

Orange zest from 1 orange

Add the Orange juice from the zested orange to a measuring cup.  Then add apple cider, orange juice, water  to make 3/4 cups of liquid

3/4 c sugar

1 tablespoon honey or orange marmalade

Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan, heat on a medium to medium high heat until the berries start to pop and it begins to get a little bubbly.  Turn the heat back to medium low.   Don’t walk away and stir often.  If left unattended it can cook over.  When the berries have all popped, immediately remove from heat to cool.

After the pan is removed from the heat you can add the alcohol  if you wish to try the sauce that way, about 1 tablespoon.  If you want to try the cinnamon or nutmeg (1/4 tsp) or the honey (1 tablespoon), you can sprinkle that in as you add all the other ingredients.  Have fun and experiment, try chopping a pear or an apple and adding that with the cranberries.  I’m not a huge fan of of chunks of apple or pear in my cranberries, but you might love it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Try it year round on crusty bread with your sandwiches, I love it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Doggie Snuggie and Cookie Dough

Digging out the blue doggie snuggie is a pretty good indication that it’s beyond cold outside.  We haven’t been out of freezing temps for weeks!  Firing up the oven is another sign its cold, nothing like a hot oven and warm, gooey, fresh cookies with a glass of milk on a chilly December night.  All I need to complete this picture is a roaring fireplace! But I’d settle for a cheap electric one from Lowe’s!

Jack doesn’t like a bath to begin with, let alone the shivering afterwards.  All I have to do is say the word BATH and the little guy hides under furniture.  During the cold winter months when Jack needs a bath, I like to wrap him in his snuggie after his bath.  And that he likes (and his doggie cookie treat too!).

But for now, he won’t even look at me, he’s still a little upset with me about being tossed in the shower.

But then I say the magic word “cookie” and I have his full attention!

Then he rests.  Quietly. Probably seeking his revenge for bathing him and wrapping him in blue fleece.  He may be thinking the blue snuggie might not be a very manly dog thing.

And then there’s the cookie dough!  Who doesn’t like cookies right from the oven?  I make the dough…

Then I divide the dough in half, place the dough on plastic wrap and form into a log and wrap!  After the dough has chilled and you are ready to bake, all you need to do is slice and bake.  The other log you can freeze for a few weeks.

I hope everyone is enjoying their own “warm” traditions on these chilly December nights!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Annual New York Christmas Shopping Trip

This week was my annual New York City shopping trip with my bestest friend Julie.  The day starts out with her stopping for our coffee and picking me up.  Yanno, it really can’t get better than that, curbside pick up with coffee.  Thanks Jules!  The morning then proceeded to making fun of people.  Now, I usually don’t pay attention to the people surrounding me, at least not in a poking fun at kind of way.

Not like Julie does anyway.

Okay okay, maybe I do.

Except for the first vision.  Old guy in skinny jeans (insert shudder) with women’s white tennis shoes (eye’s squinted and shuddering).  Then there was the poor soul that sat behind us blowing “B’s” out his lips.  You know, the kind of sound little boys make when they’re running their race cars on the floor?  Yea, that sound.  At any given moment, not snoring, just blowing B’s. 

Enough chuckling at other folks, I promise.

The bus pulls out of our little town by 5 am and pulls into a breakfast stop just before 7am.  For some reason I decided to take a picture of the paper placemat, but not my food.  I dove into that like a starved animal!

Sleepily we drag our butts off the bus out into the cold, bone chilling weather and run for the restaurant.  Yummie menu…belgian waffles, pancakes, french toast, eggs and bacon and hot coffee.  No we did not order all of this, just the eggs and bacon but it sure was tempting to not order everything just to keep our tummies full for the long ride to New York.

We laughed some more, napped a little bit and then New York! YAY!  Get me off this bus!!!  Last year we had our entire day mapped out.  We each made a list of where we wanted to go complete  with the address so that we could have all of our destinations organized.  This year we had no plan.  Zippo.  Except for the Rockefeller tree and Sephora of course.  This year we just wandered.  And oh what fun it was to just have no plan except to just take our time and enjoy the day and the city.  We started at Macy’s

We walked past a Payless Shoe store and decided to see if they had the same shoe’s that they did back home.  We couldn’t get past the hat section!  I have been bugging Jules to try on a style of a hat that I think she would look adorable in, she wouldn’t hear it.  Until this moment.  I tried the hat on and loved it, so it inspired her.  And she loved.  And she looked adorable.  I knew she would.  When will she learn to listen to me?

We hit Sephora’s.  We could get lost in this place testing all the shadows, perfume, so much fun.  Julie asks me to help her find a lip gloss, I picked one for her, she loved it.  So did I.  Now we have matching hats and lip color!!

Time to eat!  Yea we were hungry again.  I took us down this side street thinking it would be full of pubs and restaurants.  It was, but it was all Asian, not what Julie and I were wanting.  We circled around and ate at the restaurant at the Empire State Building.  Delicious menu.  It was our first cocktail of the day, well mine anyway.

We ordered a plate full of nachos and a chicken quesadilla.  I got her to try the guacamole, she liked it!  See Jules you DO need to listen to me more often! 

We continued down Broadway and ended up in Madison Square Park.

We eventually wandered into Union Square.  At this point we are in the “locals” section of the city.  And all along our walk we were popping in and out of the stores.  Union Square had this amazing little outdoor farmers market thing going on.  They were selling fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, baked goods, Christmas trees and wreaths.  It was incredible. I had to buy some of the local buckwheat honey, YUM!

Then it was back uptown to the New York Public Library.  If you have never been there you must go.  Stunning.

Behind the library there are very quaint little tent-shops filled with wonderful gift idea’s, for yourself or to give.  They have their own skating rink.

And their own tree.

Then we got to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree.  I just love St. Pat’s.

Remember the Dean & Deluca coffee shop that you’d get to see outside the Today show?  It’s not there!!!  We stood on corner puzzled, knowing that it should have been there when this NYC fireman approached us looking for donations for their soup kitchens. He started the conversation asking if we were the Sports Illustrated magazine models.  I told Julie we’d be recognized!!!  Hysterical laughing aside, we donated, so see, even though we laugh at people we still care!!!  Anyway, Dean & Deluca, luckily for us the little shop around the corner is still there.  So we did get our coffee and cookie break.

We shopped more and surprisingly needed more food. After our bellies were stuffed with crusty bread and onion soup we boarded the bus to head home.  Thing is, when you arrive in NYC to spend the day, you must pay attention to what the bus driver tells you.  Such as the bus number and the time and place for pick up.  We waited for 30 minutes for two ladies to return.  They never did, so we left.  Seriously!  We left them behind to fend for themselves in the big apple.  I really do hope they are well and made it home safely.  Can you imagine??

Last year we ended up in a section of NYC that we really shouldn’t have been in.  Julie told me not to make eye contact with anyone, no problem, I was too busy trying to look like I belonged in this bad section.  Yanno, kinda like mess with me and your dead kinda look?  Not so sure I pulled it off but no one bothered us.  Two years ago it was crazy cold and it snowed as we left the city.  A very heavy snow.  The ride home was awful, accidents everywhere. 

Do any of you dare run the streets in NYC with Julie and me?

Merry Christmas!