It's The Prep(iest) Time Of The Year

We are in full prep mode.  Making a bazillion lists.  Planning the Thanksgiving menu.  Shopping multiple grocery stores.  And cooking.  And baking.  And cooking.  And baking.

But in all honesty, I love all the prep.  All the planning and list making and cooking make me happy.  And I am so grateful for that.  

Organization is key.  Doing a little bit of prep work everyday, starting a few days before Thanksgiving, sure does save on the energy level on Thanksgiving Day itself.

I started prepping for our Thanksgiving meal last week.  I shopped for the nonperishable items last week, and we finished up our perishable shopping yesterday.  And, the table is already set.

One of the biggest challenges on a holiday is juggling the cooking time, making sure everything is made and served hot all at the same time.  And if you have only one oven like me, well that just forces a good plan to be in place.

Many side dishes can be prepped in advance - just hold off on baking them until Thanksgiving Day.  Stuffing and casseroles can all be made a couple days out, and all you then need to do on Thanksgiving is heat them up.  Same thing for appetizers.  And of course, desserts can be made a couple days out as well.

Today, I'm prepping our appetizers, and making a dessert or two.  The turkey will go in the brine tonight and will soak until tomorrow.  Then, tomorrow I'll start on the stuffing, and side dishes.  And I think I just might make the mix for the Perfect Bloody Mary.  That drink is my favorite drink to sip on while I'm in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day is all about warming up the prepped food, and cooking that turkey.

Give it a try.  Heed my advice.  Starting prepping your Thanksgiving meal today.  It will give you a piece of mind, and maybe even a few moments of peace on Thursday!

Gobble Gobble.

Let's Talk Turkey

Growing up, my Mom followed the same family recipe for roasted turkey.  She followed it every year, and every year we looked forward to that flavor.  

Fast forward a few years, and I started cooking my own turkeys.  And every year, I would try a different recipe.  I fried turkeys.  I bar-b-qued turkeys.  I roasted turkeys at least 7 different ways, and after trying all these ways, all these methods, I kept coming back to my Mom's recipe.  I'm not sure if it's because it reminds me of her, or brings back such fond memories, or if it's because it truly is the best tasting turkey.  

My answer:  All of the above.  This recipe is simple, it's comforting, and it is delicious.  And I have dubbed this recipe The Ultimate Roasted Turkey.

It starts out by brining the turkey for about 6 hours.  Looking for something to brine it in?  Try one of those Lowe's buckets.  That's what I use.  And when I'm done, I can use the bucket for one of my many outdoor projects.

After at least 6 hours in the brine, take the turkey out and let it dry on a rack for about 8 hours. Then, transfer to a roasting pan.

Time to roast.  Preheat the oven.  Melt basting mixture in a saucepan.  Once melted, brush on to turkey, coating the entire exterior of the bird.

Put turkey in oven to roast.  Brush butter / paprika mixture over turkey every 20 minutes, and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees.

Let the turkey sit for 20-30 minutes before carving, and you're good to go.  

Once you bite into this turkey, you too will dub it The Ultimate Roasted Turkey.

This is the turkey that you need to make for Thanksgiving.  And make it year after year.  This is The Ultimate Roasted Turkey.

Click here for the recipe.

A Little Cooking Sanity - Quick Tip Friday

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, menu planning is in full force.  And you know what that means?  

A counter full of cookbooks.  

And that pile-up can drive anyone in the kitchen a little coo coo.  

In order to have a relatively easy-flowing kitchen on Thanksgiving, and any other major holiday, the cook(s) need to be organized.  I have an organizational tip that I follow, and you will want to follow, too.

Enter today's Quick Tip Friday.

Once I have planned my menus, I photo copy whatever recipes I need and keep them in a 3-ring folder.  I pull out this folder every year and use it as a reference.   It works so well to just have one recipe reference out on the counter when I'm cooking a dozen side dishes.  I highly recommend following the same practice, as it will bring you a little sanity while cooking for the masses.

And as I'm sure you all have gathered, I like to color-coordinate.  All of my folders are color-corrdinated with the holiday.  Just like my sock drawer..

Thanksgiving gets orange.

Enjoy today's Quick Tip Friday!

My Favorite Things 2014

I love to give.  I do.  It's up there on my list of most rewarding.  So I thought the perfect thing to share with all of my followers is a list of my favorite things, just in time for the holidays!  Just like Oprah.  This list is a compilation of some of my favorite things that are great gift ideas for women and men alike.  

Welcome to My Favorite Things 2014!  In no particular order, here they are.

You want your home to smell like Christmas tree?  This candle is hands down, the best smelling fir tree candle on the market.  Other than being the best hostess gift, this candle will keep your home smelling holiday festive.  Elizabeth Boutique sells these candles and you can buy them here.

It is no secret that I have a girl crush on designer Sarah Richardson.  I love that she combines vintage with remodeled.  She has impeccable taste, and she just published another design book.  I have scoured this book from cover to cover.  This is a great gift for anyone seeking creative interior design vision and inspiration.  You can buy it here

Speaking of books, I've got to include a cookbook on my list, and this cookbook is one of my favorites.  This cookbook is perfect for the planner in your family, even if you are the planner.  The Make Ahead Cookbook is a must-have in your library.  Anything published by America's Test Kitchen is treated as a Bible to me, and there is not a bad recipe in this book.  Buy it here.

Being that my chef's knife has made several appearances on my blog, I've received several comments on my knife, and questions of where I got it.  The answer is Warren's Cutlery, which is my favorite local cooking supply store. This particular Shun chefs knife is my favorite knife by far.  I have given this knife to a few friends of mine that have graduated from the CIA, and it has become their go-to knife.    Warren's Cutlery has everything, including my favorite Shun knife.  Know someone who loves to cook?  Give them this knife!  Buy it here.

Do you have visions of a French pastry dancing around in your head?  I do.  All the time.  So I always keep these delicious croissants on hand.  Williams Sonoma struck a home run on this carb!  All you do is keep them in the freezer, and throw them in the oven when you are ready to devour.  Do you have company coming to your house for the holidays?  Serve these croissants for breakfast!  Buy them here. 

And while I'm on the subject of food, let me bring in this random favorite thing.  I'm not sure how many cheeses have ended up on one's favorite things list, but Point Reyes Blue Cheese is on my list.  In fact, I do not buy any other blue cheese.  This blue cheese, by far, is the best out there.  It's not too strong.  It's creamy.  It's delicious.  And, you can buy it online and give as a gift, or even include it on your holiday menu.  Once you go Point Reyes, you don't go back.  Buy it here.  A must.

Any while I'm talking about entertaining and hosting company from out-of-town, life just wouldn't be the same unless you visit Halftime Beverage and get a refill of your growler.  Halftime Beverage has every single beer in stock that your tastebuds are beckoning for, including an ever-changing variety of tap Craft beers to fill your growler.  No brainer.  Great gift for all beer-lovers!  Check them out here.

growler favorite things.png

Don't think for a second that I am leaving off my favorite DIY tool.  I cannot get a single project done without my cordless drill.  This cordless drill is with me at all times, and sees me through every project.  Best.  Drill.  Ever.  Buy it here.

Hello fabulous!  Want to go from a serious DIY project to dinner in less than 30 minutes?  Then put on this vest.  I love this vest.  So versatile, and can be worn with casual jeans, or your perfect little black dress.  A true definition of classic, timeless style.  It's for the preppy that wants a little edge.   Elizabeth Boutique has the answer.  Buy it here.

And last, but certainly not least, I want to add some bling to my list. This bracelet screams classic style and high-end taste.  This beautiful and classic bracelet is absolutely one of my favorite things.  Zimmer Brothers is a local jeweler, and ships anywhere in the U.S.  This is a great gift!  You can buy it here.

So these are a few of my favorite things.  I hope I have given you good inspiration and great ideas for your holiday shopping.  These are all great gifts for your loved ones, and even for you!  To Self, Love Self, works for me!  

Welcome 2014 Holiday season!