Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Preparing Yourself and the Turkey

Throughout the year, I am very cost conscious when grocery shopping. By doing so, I can spend more on the holidays. A fresh 12-15 pound turkey can cost up to $25.00. Of course, there are lots of other goodies that add to holiday costs... items that you don't buy everyday. I am thankful for wisdom regarding the use of money and with that I make my shopping budget stretch. This year's Thanksgiving dinner cost will be $8.50 - per serving for twelve. Before, providing the entire menu, I like to take a deep breath because Thanksgiving preparation can be overwhelming. Take time to feel good, get the juices flowing... 
I have a mini-trampoline in my basement and I jump on throughout the day for 5-10 min at a time to get the blood pumping 're-bounding' to re-generate neural connections, bouncing gets me happy! Jumping on a mini-trampoline is an excellent way to reduce stress. It can provide wonderful relaxation. Jumping for health and fitness not only stabilizes the nervous system during the exercise session, but continues to help maintain a relaxed disposition even after one steps off the trampoline.
This is the day of big preparation if you are cooking at home. The turkey should be thawed if not bought fresh 'unfrozen'. I like to unpack it and let it rest for a while before stuffing. Which happens while you prepare the stuffing... ;-) This year, I am making a 'sausage cranberry' stuffing with rosemary/onion and bread crumbs. I am also cooking a beef tenderloin which can marinated for 24 hrs but 2 hrs for sure. The beef should be laid out to rest just like the turkey. Meat as we call it is muscle and room temperature relaxation makes it more tender. One hour in a cool place (not fridge) is enough for both turkey and beef.  Since I am marinating the beef tenderloin, another 23 hrs marinated in the fridge makes it fork tender. The marinate is just olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary, mint.
This stuffing recipe calls for a mix of ground pork and pork breakfast sausage (half and half mix). Add dried cranberries, chopped onion and plain bread crumbs soaked in enough milk to get make them soft but not sloppy. Mix by hand and stuff your turkey. Now, this plump stuffed bird goes in the fridge or onto a high shelf in a cold garage if the outside temps are just below 32 but not colder than 25 as it could freeze and you don't want that.

On this Wednesday, I will also prepare pumpkin pie and do other prep work for tomorrow's celebration. For the pumpkin pie recipe, see my older post. On the menu tomorrow will be: egg plant wraps (carrot/parsnip sticks sauteed first), fettuccine with butternut squash Alfredo sauce, asparagus and baked apples. What can wait til tomorrow morning (dinner served at 3 pm)? Egg plant wraps, fettuccine pasta, asparagus and baked apples. Today, I will make the butternut squash Alfredo sauce. Take a med. sized squash and microwave til tender. Into a large glass bowl scoop out the squash and mash, add 1 and a half cup of heavy cream, tbs of butter, a pinch of sea salt, crushed coriander and grated Parmesan cheese. Blend using a hand mixer. Put in the fridge. 
Early tomorrow morning, I will bake egg plant on a cooking sheet using my homemade mix of dried herb seasoning *rosemary, oregano and mint and olive oil. While the egg plant slices bake, I will saute carrot and parsnips 'julienne cut' in coconut oil and olive oil using the same seasoning til tender. When cooked, set a side til they can be touched to wrap in egg plant. Applies go in along the turkey, the tenderloin on the shelf below and the asparagus can be done the last 12 mins. before dinner time. 
Oh, the tenderloin... 

When it is time for it all to come together, that is the time I usually panic. But, somehow, it does and all is good! More pics to come, but now I set the table! Prepare and Be Blessed and Good Luck!

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