The Clone Wars: begun, have they


The Clone Wars, begun have they.

The Clone Wars, begun have they.

Happy Thanksgiving to Star Wars geeks and everyone else!

© Huffygirl 2013

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A timeless Thanksgiving treat


In case you missed it the first time, here’s a Thanksgiving turkey you don’t have to cook, originally posted November 23, 2011: A turkey you don’t have to cook (huffygirl)

No bake turkeys, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com © Huffygirl 2011© Huffygirl 2013

Just in time for Thanksgiving – the Turtato


I’m sure you’ve heard about people who have opened a bag of chips or made a grilled cheese sandwich and discovered their food has been graced with the  image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Well, not quite as exciting but almost as good. I bought a basket of potatoes from a local farmer at the farmer’s market. It looked like an ordinary little basket of potatoes, until I got it home. I dumped the bag out on the counter, and discovered  – the turtao, or maybe a poturkey. It’s a potato in the shape of a turkey. Divine intervention in the potato patch, or over-active imagination? You decide.

100_3630 Turtato 2, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2013100_3633 Turtato, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2013© Huffygirl 2013

Drowning in leftover turkey


After many years of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve finally found a quick and easy way to use leftover  turkey. At my house there’s usually a large portion of dark meat left, that often gets discarded before I can sneak it into casseroles or give it away to departing guests. This year, faced with an unusually large amount of leftover gobbler, and a smaller than usual number of leftover relatives, I was struck with inspiration. Everyone loves pulled pork, so why not pulled turkey? Here’s the recipe:

Pulled turkey

Left-over cooked turkey, cut into 2-3 inch pieces, any amount

Barbeque sauce, any kind you like (I used Brownwood Farms Cherry Barbeque Sauce)

Liquid for simmering (chicken broth, water, or my favorite, Bell’s Oberon beer)

salt and pepper to taste, plus any spices you want to add (garlic etc)

Simmer turkey pieces in about 1-2 inches of your chosen liquid in a saucepan, until pieces easily pull into shreds with a fork, about 1-2 hours. Drain cooking liquid. Add salt and pepper, (about 1/2 teaspoon of each for 2 cups of turkey), any other spices such as dried chives, or garlic, and enough barbeque sauce to adequately moisten the meat. Simmer on low heat until meat is warmed through. Serve on buns.

© Huffygirl 2012

How to poison your family and make it look like an accident


It’s almost Thanksgiving again, and time for the age-old debate of stuffing versus dressing. I originally posted about this  conundrum on November 25, 2010, and thought it worth repeating just in time for this Thanksgiving. After all, it’s not every day you get an opportunity to poison your relatives with a delightful holiday dish!

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Stuffing Versus Dressing

A stuffed turkey

In the states it’s almost time for Thanksgiving, an annual holiday where everyone eats too much turkey and pie, and watches the Lions lose again. For the Thanksgiving cook, the meal preparation always brings up the age-old debate – stuffing vs dressing. They both start out the same – dried bread cubes, seasonings, sometimes broth, margarine or butter, and water, made into a conglomeration that is either stuffed inside the turkey (stuffing) or baked separately in a dish (dressing). Everyone has their own opinion on which is best, and families line up fiercely divided each year on which way this delectable Thanksgiving carbohydrate should be served. Accompanying this debate of which way is tastier is the issue (some myth, some fact) over which way is healthier or safer. Who knew that dried bread cubes could raise such ire among otherwise friendly people?

In my family growing up, we always had dressing. I’m not sure why, but I think it was in part due to the fact that: it was easier. The dressing could be made while the turkey was cooking instead of earlier in the day when the turkey was ready to go into the oven. It was quicker. Stuffed turkey is supposed to take longer to cook than unstuffed (although in my own cooking experience I have never found this to be true.) It was safer. My family and others believed that the stuffing could become contaminated with bacteria from absorbing the meat juices and turn an otherwise delightful day into a merry trip to the emergency room.

Then I met my future husband whose family was all stuffing, all the way, and why would anyone consider doing it differently? What could be better than bread cubes infused with savory turkey juices and the two pounds of butter that Buttterball and others inject into their turkeys before sending them off to the store?

So what’s a girl to do? I have to admit I found both ways tasty, although sometimes the stuffing did not look quite as appetizing as the dressing, depending upon what colors it turned from the meat juices it absorbed during cooking. Eventually when I took over hosting the Thanksgiving meal, my compromise was to make stuffing and dressing. The amount of stuffing that would fit inside the turkey was not enough to serve everyone at the table anyway, so I would serve a dish of each, or sometimes mix them together, which I guess gives you something which is neither stuffing nor dressing, but there is not really any good combination word you can make from combining stuffing and dressing.

This compromise did not come without a cost, however. Members of the dressing contingent would make sly comments like “Make sure you’ve cooked that stuffing to 160 degrees so we don’t all get food poisoning, ha ha,” while members of the stuffing contingent would say “Who would want to eat that dressing? It always turns out so dry.”

And when it comes right down to it, where did the whole stuffing/dressing custom come from anyway? Imagine the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. They’ve had a horrible year. First, all that travel and they couldn’t even earn any points from it. Then, having to build a settlement, squabble with the Native Americans, endure hardship, disease, cold and hunger. Finally, the ones who survived prepared what was probably a somewhat meager feast in celebration. There was no Kroger stores in Plymouth, so they had to hunt down their turkey, then pluck it, cut off the inedible parts, and remove the disgusting innards. After going through all that, and wrestling the turkey into a heavy cast iron roaster, you’d think that the Pilgrim cooks would have had enough of turkey prep for one day. But some creative person, staring into the empty cavity of the just gutted turkey said “hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to cut up bread into cubes, add water, lard and spices and stuff this sucker?” And the rest as we say, is history.

Whether you eat stuffing or dressing, may you all have a happy and grateful Thanksgiving!

© Huffygirl 2012

(Dedicated to Aaron and Chris, my stuffing-loving relatives who will be eating someone else’s stuffing this year. Miss you!)

Pilgrim’s progress?


The Pilgrims were the first American settlers.

Their life was difficult. They endured hunger, illness, hardship and even death.

They met Native Americans who helped them learn to farm, hunt and fish.

At the end of their first year in America, the Pilgrims were grateful to God for  helping them survive. Their harvest, though meager, would help them live another year.

In celebration of their gratitude, they had a feast with their Native American friends.

The first settlers never forgot to be grateful. After their year of hardship, they had a greater appreciation of the necessities of life: food, shelter, friends and health. Their celebration of gratitude continued year after year. This annual fall celebration came to be called Thanksgiving.

So what does any of this have to do with waiting in line at midnight to save money on a TV?

 © Huffygirl 2011

Related posts:

A turkey you don’t have to cook


Finally, a turkey you don’t have to cook. Or defrost. Or dig through a ginormous freezer to find. These turkey cookies are fun to make and easy enough that little ones can help. Last year my then 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter had a great time helping me make them. The only down side? Lately it’s been hard to find the ingredients. You have to buy the candy corn and pumpkin cremes around Halloween, because if you wait until close to Thanksgiving, you’ll only find Christmas candy in the stores. The Brach’s chocolate stars were non-existent this year, and I only found one box of chocolate covered cherries in the whole city, so I couldn’t make a bunch to bring to work like I usually do. You can probably tell how to make these just by looking at them, but just in case, here is the recipe.

Keebler fudge-stripe cookies

Chocolate covered cherries, or similar size chocolate candy

Brach’s chocolate stars (or substitute Reese’s peanut butter minis)

Candy Corn (“Indian” corn works best for the colors, but harder to find.)

Melted chocolate chips for the “glue”

If you want to make the baby turkeys, you’ll also need Keebler fudge stripe minis (sold as 100 calorie packs) and Mellowcreme pumpkins

Melt the chocolate chips and add a dab of margarine to thin if needed.

On a wax paper-covered workspace, lay out the feet (stars), add a dab of melted chocolate and attach the body (chocolate covered cherry.) Allow 1-2 minutes to harden, then place a dab of melted chocolate on the back and add the cookie, stripes pointing vertically. Allow to harden, then a dab of chocolate on top of the chocolate covered cherry, and add the head (candy corn).

If you make the baby turkeys, assembly is the same, except use the pumpkin for the body, the mini cookie for the tail and trim the wide end off the candy corn to make a smaller head.

I sometimes use the large turkeys as place card holders by slipping the place card behind the turkey head, but this doesn’t work with the baby ones. Or I put them out later in the day, just when everything is winding down, and the guests are ready for more sugar. Last year we lined up the little kids at the table and watched them eat their baby turkeys – so cute.

If you decide to make these no-cook turkeys, be forewarned: once you start this tradition, your family will expect to see them every year, especially if you have little ones in your group.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

© Huffygirl 2012

Tradition


A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

Traditional Christmas tree

Everyone has their own Christmas and other holiday traditions. Some of ours have lasted a lifetime. We’re sticking with a “real” Christmas tree, and turkey on Thanksgiving. Others have come and gone with changes as our family grew up. We no longer have a big crowd of relatives on Christmas day, but the freedom from cooking for a  big crowd gave way to the new tradition of having a relaxing day that ends with going to a movie. And if we can’t have the family with us, Skype is the next best thing for making us feel like we’re together. This year we’re trying a couple new ones. We thought having chili and corn bread as a new tradition for Christmas eve dinner was a keeper. Still undecided about the new one of cooking a standing rib roast for Christmas day dinner. Maybe if we can find a way to do it without messing up the entire oven. Otherwise, that one may have to go.

What are your family holiday traditions? What works, what has had to change with time? What new traditions are you trying out this year?

Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Malene

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Old favorites


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Today I’m taking the day off from blogging to clean up at home after a great week with family here. So if you’re looking for a blog to read today, try some of my old favorites. 

Feeling like you need to work off some of the Thanksgiving calories? Check out my series on how to exercise at home. (Category: exercise and fitness)

Wondering if you ate too much of the wrong foods? Check out my blogs on America’s love affair with food.(Category: Health and Wellness)

Wishing you hadn’t overindulged? Maybe you need Fencester.  (Category: Satire Friday – Invisible Fence)

Of just feeling like you need a good laugh? Check out the Satire Friday category.

Christmas shopping? How about a heart rate monitor? (Category: HuffyHow – How to buy a heart rate monitor)

Spent too much time in the kitchen? Try Kitchen nirvana (Category: Satire Friday)

Happy reading and look for  new posts this coming week. 

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Stuffing versus dressing


A stuffed turkey

Image via Wikipedia

In the states it’s almost time for Thanksgiving, an annual holiday where everyone eats too much turkey and pie, and watches the Lions lose again. For the Thanksgiving cook, the meal preparation always brings up the age-old debate – stuffing vs dressing. They both start out the same – dried bread cubes, seasonings, sometimes broth, margarine or butter, and water, made into a conglomeration that is either stuffed inside the turkey (stuffing) or baked separately in a dish (dressing). Everyone has their own opinion on which is best, and families line up fiercely divided each year on which way this delectable Thanksgiving carbohydrate should be served. Accompanying this debate of which way is tastier is the issue (some myth, some fact) over which way is healthier or safer. Who knew that dried bread cubes could raise such ire among otherwise friendly people?

In my family growing up, we always had dressing. I’m not sure why, but I think it was in part due to the fact that: it was easier. The dressing could be made while the turkey was cooking instead of earlier in the day when the turkey was ready to go into the oven. It was quicker. Stuffed turkey is supposed to take longer to cook than unstuffed (although in my own cooking experience I have never found this to be true.) It was safer. Many people believed that the stuffing could become contaminated with bacteria from absorbing the meat juices and turn an otherwise delightful day into a merry trip to the emergency room.

Then I met my future husband whose family was all stuffing, all the way, and why would anyone consider doing it differently? What could be better than bread cubes infused with savory turkey juices and the two pounds of butter that Buttterball and others inject into their turkeys before sending them off to the store?

So what’s a girl to do? I have to admit I found both ways tasty, although sometimes the stuffing did not look quite as appetizing as the dressing, depending upon what colors it turned from the meat juices it absorbed during cooking. Eventually when I took over hosting the Thanksgiving meal, my compromise was to make stuffing and dressing. The amount of stuffing that would fit inside the turkey was not enough to serve everyone at the table anyway, so I would serve a dish of each, or sometimes mix them together, which I guess gives you something which is neither stuffing nor dressing, but there is not really any good combination word you can make from combining stuffing and dressing. 

This compromise did not come without a cost, however. Members of the dressing contingent would make sly comments like “Make sure you’ve cooked that stuffing to 160 degrees so we don’t all get food poisoning, ha ha,” while members of the stuffing contingent would say “I prefer stuffing because that dressing always turns out so dry.”

And when it comes right down to it, where did the whole stuffing/dressing custom come from anyway? Imagine the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. They’ve had a horrible year. First, all that travel and they couldn’t even earn any points from it. Then, having to build a settlement, squabble with the Native Americans, endure hardship, disease, cold and hunger. Finally, the ones who survived prepared what was probably a somewhat meager feast in celebration. There was no Kroger stores in Plymouth, so they had to hunt down their turkey, then pluck it, cut off the inedible parts, and remove the disgusting innards. After going through all that, and wrestling the turkey into some heavy cast iron roaster you’d think that the Pilgrim cooks would have had enough of turkey prep for one day. But some creative person, staring into the empty cavity of the just gutted turkey said “hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to cut up bread into cubes, add water, lard and spices and stuff this sucker?” And the rest as we say, is history.

Whether you eat stuffing or dressing, may you all have a happy and grateful Thanksgiving!

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.