Thanksgiving Menu

collard and brussels sprout salad

Collard & Brussels Sprout Salad
             
  • 4 slice(s) (or up to 6 slices) thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) collard greens, stems removed, cut into thin strips
  • 12 ounce(s) Brussels sprouts, shaved or sliced paper-thin
  • 1 cup(s) grated Parmesan
  • Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup(s) sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine collard greens, Brussels sprouts, Parmesan, and reserved bacon. Toss with mustard vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
  3. To make the vinaigrette: Whisk together sherry vinegar, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste.
 
 
sage butter roasted turkey
Sage Butter Roasted Turkey

                       Ingredients    
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) whole peppercorns
  • 1 (12- to 15-pound) fresh turkey
  • 1/2 stick(s) butter, cut into 8 slices
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalk(s) celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Gravy (recipe follows), if desired

Gravy

  • Turkey drippings, in roasting pan
  • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup(s) chicken broth
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh thyme leaves

Directions

  1. In a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey, over high heat, bring 2 cups water, lemon slices, salt, sugar, and peppercorns to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add 2 gallons ice water and lemon juice. Submerge the turkey, cover the pot, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Remove the brined turkey and rinse under cold water. Transfer turkey to a wire rack, with paper towels placed underneath, to drain; dry the skin with paper towels.
  3. Run your fingers under the turkey’s breast and thigh skin to loosen. Work butter slices and sage leaves under the skin. Dry the skin again with paper towels, then rub with oil.
  4. Place carrots, celery, and onions in a shallow roasting pan; place turkey in the center. Sprinkle with pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If any liquid has collected in the roasting pan, remove it with a baster. Tuck the turkey wings underneath the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the turkey in the oven. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for 1 hour, then baste with pan juices. (If breast is browning too quickly, cover with foil.) Rotate the pan and continue to roast, basting turkey every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, 21/2 to 3 more hours.
  6. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Reserve drippings for gravy, if desired.
  7. To make the gravy: Add flour to drippings in roasting pan and cook over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mixture turns a rich brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
  8. Slowly add chicken broth and stir until gravy thickens, adding more broth if needed. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  9. Stir in butter until it melts. Add fresh thyme leaves, if desired.
 
cornbread dressing
Cornbread Dressing
Ingredients
  • 3/4 stick(s) butter
  • 3 cup(s) (about 2 large onions) chopped onions
  • 2 cup(s) (about 6 stalks) chopped celery
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 7 cup(s) day-old cornbread, broken into 1-inch cubes (see Cast-Iron Buttermilk Cornbread recipe)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) minced fresh sage
  • 2 cup(s) chicken or vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onions, celery, salt, and pepper; cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add cornbread and sage. Mix well.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add cornbread mixture. Add broth and stir to moisten. Dot with remaining butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until brown and crispy on top, 40 to 50 minutes.
 
 
citrus cranberry sauce
 
Citrus Cranberry Sauce
 
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 red grapefruit
  • 1 pound(s) cranberries (frozen or fresh), rinsed

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Add fruit juices and zests, and return mixture to a boil. Add cranberries; reduce heat to medium and cook until cranberries pop, 10 to 12 minutes. Chill.
skillet green beansSkillet Green Beans
Ingredients
 
  • 1 pound(s) green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) sesame oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, toss green beans with soy sauce and sesame oil. Roast, tossing midway through, until just crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.
 
 
potato gratin
 
Potato Gratin
Ingredients
 
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 4 clove(s) (large) garlic, peeled
  • 2 cup(s) milk
  • 2 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 pound(s) (about 4 large potatoes) russet potatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cup(s) shredded Gruyère

Directions

  1. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish or enamel-coated cast-iron skillet, then rub with 1 garlic clove. Discard garlic.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, cream, salt, and remaining garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove garlic and discard.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, peel and rinse the potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
  4. Overlap the potatoes in a circular pattern to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/4 cup of the milk mixture, a few grinds of pepper, a sprinkle of salt, and 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat process (reserving 1/2 cup of the cheese) until layers are 1/2 inch from the top of the dish. Pour additional milk mixture up to top of potatoes (you may not need to use all of it). Top with the reserved cheese.
  5. Place the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until casserole is bubbling, cheese is brown, and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Getting Pregnant : Tips & Secrets

How you become pregnant

First off though, it is important to understand what is occurring during conception and to understand that it is not one singular event but a combination of several. Each month, you ovulate, or your body’s hormones stimulate the ovaries to release an egg. This generally happens on or around day 14 of your menstrual cycle, although this day can vary among women or even on a month to month basis. After the egg has been released, it will travel to the fallopian tubes. This is the optimum time for fertilization; you only have about 24 hours to unite the egg with a sperm. This does not, however, mean that you have 24 hours to have sex and get pregnant. Sperm can stay in the female reproductive tract for about two days, so it is best to engage in intercourse regularly during the days leading up to ovulation and increase your chances of becoming pregnant. If the egg becomes fertilized, it will travel to the uterus in about two-four days and there it will attach to the uterine lining. Congratulations, you’re pregnant! If this does not occur, the egg will break-down and you will simply have your period as normal.

How to know when is the best time to get pregnant

The key to getting pregnant, is knowing when your ovulation schedule is. This can be difficult for many women, especially if you have an irregular period. Some tools and methods that can be helpful in determining your peak times to get pregnant are the following.

Keep an eye on the calendar and know when your periods are and track them month to month so you can better predict your ovulation.

Look for changes in your cervical mucus. Just before you ovulate, a slippery clear mucus will appear and is it there to help the sperm have a better chance in reaching the egg, when this mucus turns a cloudy color, your chances of becoming pregnant are much more slim.

Monitor your basal body temperature (your body temperature when you are at rest), you will generally become warmer by approximately 0.5-1.6 degrees when you are ovulating, it is best to engage in intercourse for the few days before your temperature rises. There are also ovulation monitoring kits that you can buy over-the- counter for about 30-40 dollars, or more advanced ones that can cost up to 200 dollars. These test the urine for a surge of hormones that generally appears just before you ovulate. Another, more expensive, high-tech option is the ovulation wristwatch that monitors the sodium level in your sweat; these changes also reflect what is happening in your cervical mucus.

How to increase your chances of becoming pregnant

While knowing when you ovulate is the key to getting pregnant, it is also extremely important to make sure you take care of yourself.

Eating healthy, regularly exercising, and keeping your stress level low will help you as well.

Also, take your vitamins, especially your B vitamins, which are good for the baby and can help reduce the chances of them from suffering from neural tube defects.

Having regular sex, 3-4 times weekly, will increase your chances of hitting a fertile time period and for many couples, this is all they need to do. Increasing sexual intercourse to at least once daily during the 2-3 days before you ovulate will also increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

It is important not to smoke, drink alcohol, or uses any other kinds of drugs, prescription included, without first consulting a doctor. These things (especially the tobacco), can and will change the cervical mucus and make it more difficult for the sperm cell to reach the egg. If you are serious about becoming pregnant and becoming a mother, you would have to take these precautions anyway and it is better to make yourself healthier before you take on the responsibility of carrying a child for nine-months and then bringing them into the world.

How your partner can help

It is important to remember that you are not the only factor involved in whether or not you become pregnant. Your partner will also have some things that he should do in order to insure that his sperm have enough motility to reach the egg. While you are trying to have a baby, your partner should avoid wearing briefs and other tight apparel. He should also avoid Jacuzzi and hot baths. He is more likely be less fertile if he does not avoid these things. There are over- the-counter sperm fertility test available as well; these generally test the motility of the sperm rather than the actual count as a sperm analysis will do. These test are basic and if one says that your motility is bad, it’s bad and your partner should go and see their doctor and assess what there options are.

When to see a doctor

If you are under the age of 35 and you and your partner are both healthy and have been trying on your own for a year with no success, then you should see a doctor to see if there is an underlying medical problem that you don’t know about. If you are over the age of 35 you should see your doctor sooner, preferably before you start on your own to see what you can do to increase your ability to have children.

4th Of July Dinner & Ideas

MAKE A REAL AMERICAN MEAL THIS 4TH OF JULY

(This can also be used for Father’s Day)

 

-Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Corn on the Cob-

Total Time : 1 hr 0 min
Prep : 35 min
Cook : 25 min
Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients
For the pork and corn:

1 tablespoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 small pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
4 ears corn, husked

For the sauce:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

Directions

Make the pork: Combine the paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the brown sugar, cumin, mustard powder, onion powder and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub the olive oil all over the pork, then coat with the spice rub. Wrap each tenderloin tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours.

Make the sauce: Combine the vinegar, 1/2 cup water, the brown sugar, ketchup, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves; remove from the heat.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat a grill to medium high. Cook the pork, turning occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140 degrees F to 145 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the corn with olive oil; grill, turning, until marked, about 5 minutes. Slice the pork and drizzle with the sauce. Serve with the corn.

Per serving: Calories 442; Fat 11 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 111 mg; Sodium 1,143 mg; Carbohydrate 44 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 41 g

 
-PAIR THIS WITH MACARONI SALAD-
Total Time : 2 hr 35 min
Prep : 15 min
Inactive : 2 hr 0 min
Cook  : 20 min
Makes : 4 to 6 servings

 

Ingredients

4 eggs
1 pound large elbow macaroni
4 ounces ham steak, finely chopped
2 stalks chopped celery, including leaves
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Dressing:

2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
3 tablespoons sweet pickled relish
Kosher salt and pepper

Directions

To make the hard-boiled eggs: Add the eggs to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring up to a boil over medium heat. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 14 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel the eggs and chop. Reserve.

While the eggs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large serving bowl, combine the eggs, ham steak, celery, shallots and lemon juice Add the macaroni and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickled relish, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the dressing to the macaroni and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and chill for 2 hours for the flavors to meld.

 
-DESERT-

  Sweet and Tangy Summer Patriot Pie

Patriot Pie Berry Pie for 4th of July Dessert Idea- easy!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:
2 – 9″ round pie crusts
1 tsp. fresh orange zest
4 c. rhubarb, diced bite size
3 C. fresh strawberries or raspberries
1 1/2 C. sugar
6 tbsp. quick tapioca
1 tbsp. whole milk
 

  Directions : 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place one of the two crusts in your pie tin.

2. In a separate bowl, using a spoon, gently toss together the rhubarb, berries, zest, sugar and tapioca. Pour into bottom crust.

3. Place the second crust on a floured surface and, using a star-shaped cookie cutter (you can use all one size or a variety of star sizes), cut out enough star shapes to make a top crust.

4. Decoratively arrange your cut-out stars into a top crust, covering most of the top of the pie but leaving a bit of space for air to escape. When putting one pastry star on top of another, tap them lightly so they’ll adhere together.

5. Brush the top with the milk, and if you wish sprinkle a little more sugar on it so when the crust is done, it will shine like sparklers.

6. Bake in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, and then turn down the heat to 350 for another 30 to 35 minutes.

An Easier Alternative: If you’re not fond of two-crust pies, use only the bottom crust and make a brown-sugar crumble topping instead.

 
 
 
 
-IDEAS, GAMES & MORE-
Color Themed Picnic. Even if you don’t want to go all-out with the planning, you can plan a fun, themed picnic easily. Just assign a color for everyone to wear, whether it be all white, all red, black and white, etc. (including picnic blankets of the assigned color completes the look). The full gazebo in the photo above looks great, but this simple theme is also fun for a more casual picnic.

Beach Picnic. Live close to a great beach? Then plan an afternoon of great food and playing in the water. Bring a volleyball and nets and set up teams for beach volley. Or bring boogie boards and splash in the waves. Or plan a sand-castle building contest, and break your guests up into teams. The beach is an entire playground! So the sky’s the limit when it comes to the picnic games you can play.

Nature Lovers’ Picnic. This is a really fun picnic theme for kids! Have everybody dress is safari themed clothing, and go on a nature tour around your picnic site. Watch birds and animals, capture bugs and butterflies, and catalog plants and flowers. Just make sure everyone has good shoes on, and bring along a pair of binoculars. This picnic game is both fun and educational. You can even set up a “nature scavenger hunt” if you want to!

 

Victorian Picnic. If you’ve ever read an old Victorian novel, you know that picnics arrived at the height of their popularity during Queen Victoria’s reign. Want to go all out? Plan a Victorian picnic. Ask everyone to dress in Victorian costume, and choose foods like lobster tails, cold poached chicken, etc., for the main meal. Finish up with a few bottles of cold champagne served with a fresh fruit and custard trifle and a game of croquet. Definitely a picnic theme for bigger budgets!

Italian Picnic. Now, it doesn’t matter what you wear to this, or what picnic games you play. It’s all about the food! Check out our Italian picnic page for the perfect Italian picnic menu (coming soon!).

Spanish Picnic. Another picnic theme idea that’s all about the food. Serve up big pitchers of sangria with plates of jamón and cheese, pa amb tomaquet (crusty bread rubbed with tomatoes and olive oil), olives, green salads, and cold tapas. Serve it all with plenty of gazpacho and fresh fruit.

Scavenger Hunt Picnic. A scavenger hunt is a natural choice for a picnic game. Seperate your guests into teams, have them hunt for things they’ll find at your picnic spot, and set aside a prize –say, a pie to take home– to the winning team.

Christmas in July Picnic : Who says you have to wait until December to celebrate Christmas? Have your guests wear red and green and set up a secret Santa exchange between your guests. Also have each person bring a decoration for your summer Christmas tree (which can just be any tree at your picnic site). Don’t forget to bring Christmas cookies and pass around chilled glasses of spiced (and for the adults, spiked) cider!

 

 

Food Of The Day !

Okay, we all know that we get so busy some times. when it comes to lunch and dinner we don’t have time for hours if cooking. This is MY recipe for fast and easy 10 minute pizzas! Enjoy (:

Note : I USED A TOASTER OVEN

Ingredients :
English muffins
Prego original spaghetti sauce
1 White Onion (one cup finely chopped)
1 Bell Pepper (one cup finely chopped)
1 tomato (Half a cup small chopped)
2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Cups Of mild Cheddar Cheese
1 Pack of Armour Pepperoni (small or large slices)

First half the English muffins down the middle with a knife . Lay them on a baking sheet about an inch apart.

Spread spaghetti sauce over English muffins. I used 2 tablespoons of sauce for each muffin.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese

Add bell pepper , onion , tomato and/or any other veggie you desire.

Then sprinkle the mild cheddar cheese

Last add the pepperoni’s and bake for 10 minutes on 350.

*cooking time may vary depending on how hot your oven or toaster oven gets*

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Out And About

Today was such a beautiful day! Me and Miss Sophia decided to get out the house. Since its Friday I figured “I’m thinking Applebee’s”. Sophia had been out and about a few times. But, I did worry she would get to fussy, and I’d feel “bad” for “ruining” everyone else’s peace and quiet while they enjoyed their food . Surprisingly she did amazing. She even eye balled my fried crunchy green beans. Yummmm! Except for having the worlds worse poopy diaper while I was ordering my food. 😛 talk about loosing an apatite. I hope I’m not the only one who worried about taking my little one out to eat. Haha Sophia even enjoyed the many “aweeees” and “ahhhhs” that came from everyone that saw her . How has your past experiences gone with taking your little ones out to eat? Any embarrassing stories to tell? I sure hope so. I love blogging and listening to some of The crazy stories women and men tell me . Although this blog isn’t as long as most of my others, I felt it was my duty to share my experience with Sophia’s first time out to eat. Enjoy !

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