Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Brine and Turkey Tips and Tricks

The turkey should be the star of your Thanksgiving meal. There is certain steps that should be taken ahead of time to make sure that your turkey is juicy and delicious! There is nothing worse than having a dry turkey on your table for Thanksgiving. 

Lets 1st start with picking out the right kind of turkey! Did you know that Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farm turkeys have no growth-promoting antibiotics, the turkeys are raised on independent owned farms who produce high quality, wholesome turkeys to help provide the freshest high quality turkeys for your family! Plus their companies goal is to produce high quality ingredients at a low cost. If you can remember I visited a turkey farm where I learned all about their company and how their goal is to provide the highest quality of ingredients without having to sacrifice a good amount of your money on your meat. They sell their turkey at a price very comparable to conventionally raised turkeys! You can learn more about their company here!  They even have a fun Turkey Selfie Contest where you post a picture of your family around the dinner table with your turkey for a chance to win a $500 giving card to donate to a food bank of your choice! That is one more reason why I love this company. They produce great quality ingredients and give to the community! Hashtag #TurkeySelfie and head over to 700reasons.com to learn more about the contest! It runs until November 30th!

2nd make sure your turkey is completely thawed. On the back of your Honeysuckle White Turkey there is thawing directions. 

3rd Remove and discard any strings holding the legs in. Remove the giblets from the neck cavity and the neck from the body cavity. Trim away any large areas of fat or excess skin around the cavity and cut off the tail. Note: My Honeysuckle White turkey did not have this. It is already done for me so I only removed the gravy pouch and did not have to remove anything else or trim any excess fat!

4th Rinse thoroughly, inside and out, and then pat dry with paper towels.

5th Grab a large container big enough to hold your turkey and brine mixture or a ice chest works great too! You will need a large poultry bag if you are putting it in your fridge.

6th LETS BRINE!!! This will be a game changer for your turkey!

Brining a turkey before cooking adds moisture and flavor. No matter is you are baking, grilling, smoking, roasting, or frying your turkey you will want to do a brine to make sure that your turkey is moist and has a lot of flavor! Brining does take time but it is worth it! You should brine your turkey 1 hour per pound!

Turkey Brine
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider
1 gallon cold filter water
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
3 whole bay leaves
3 oranges (you will only be using the peels)

Peel the rosemary from the steam and dice a few of them to get the oils from the leaves. Carefully cut the top and bottom off of each orange and then slice of the peel in sections Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes then cool. Then you are ready to submerge your turkey. Make sure you submerge it fully.  Wether you put it in a large poultry bag or in a cooler. Meat should be kept below 40 degrees F at all time. You can store it in a cooler and use bags of ice to keep the turkey cool. Half way through your brining time flip the bag over to make sure that your turkey is evenly brined. Try to avoid over brining your turkey so that your turkey does not get mushy.

Remove turkey from the brine and bake your turkey according to the directions on the back of the package. Or if you like smoke it, roast it or fry it! I will admit we usually do a fried turkey and a baked turkey! Then serve! 

Note: This post is about turkey prep and not the process of cooking your turkey. You can find great cooking tips HERE. Below is a picture of a fried turkey!

Also Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White Turkey has a Hotline # 1-800-810-6325 that will give you great information on how to select, prepare, cook, and carve your turkey for the holidays! They are there Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CT and 6:00 am to Noon on Thanksgiving Day! Or contact them at their website 700reasons.com and click on the "Contact Us" link!

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Adult Halloween Party 2015

Halloween is a BIG deal in our home. I host 2 different Halloween parties. One is with 12 women that come over at the beginning of the month and then during one of the last weekends of the month we have about 50 couples in our home for an adult only halloween party! This year was our 6th year doing it and is probably my favorite night of the year! Here are my previous years Halloween party posts here and here! The costumes each year just keep getting better and better! I always try to come up with something new to add to the party each year! This year I added my "spooky lab" decorations and also added taking polaroid pictures with a camera when each couple walked in the door and then had an Instagram board made by my sister here to clip on the pictures so each couple could see what everyone was dressed up like for voting! 

The best way to start a party is to send out the right invitations! That way people can know that this is really a party that they would like to be at! Minted helped me create the perfect invitations for my guests! They have fun envelope inserts and labels and can even print the persons name who you will be sending it to right on the front! Minted does more then just invitations they have amazing Christmas cards, stationary, art work, wedding invitations and so much more! Head here to check them out! 

Since out home can only hold so many people a lot of the party is outside. I have the guests bring appetizers and desserts to share and I love seeing what others bring! One of my favorites this year was this mini cherry cheesecakes! 

Also outside we set up a few games of corn hole and the men played all night long! 

And now for the costumes!!!!

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