Series: How To Cook Thanksgiving Dinner: The Main Item

This is a series of links to recipes, videos and more for creating your perfect holiday feast. The first one is for the main item, the turkey, crown roast or whole roasted cauliflower for a vegan option.Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

Following series over the next few days leading up to the big day, will be the following posts:

  • Vegetables and side dishes
  • Breads and rolls
  • Desserts
  • What to do with left overs

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving dinner or your 50th, here are some tips and recipes for making the feast stress free.

I’m linking to the posts I’ve published over the years so click the links and create the Perfect Thanksgiving meal!

Let’s take a look at The Main Item

How to Roast a Turkey - a Step by step guide, with pictures.

Remember to click on the links for the full posts!

Of course if you don’t eat bacon, don’t use it, but it sure is delicious! If not using bacon, be sure to baste the bird every 1/2 hour. If the skin gets to dark, tent it with foil.

Tips for the Turkey:

  • Order fresh organic birds well in advance
  • If getting a frozen bird, allow it 3-4 days to thaw in your refrigerator
  • If brining your bird, remember to keep it cold
  • Open up all the cavities and remove any packets of innards, necks etc, from the inside, use these to make stock for gravy
  • Allow ample time to roast the bird and to let the bird rest at least 20 minutes before you start carving.
  • Save the bones to make stock. I love making stock on a cold dreary day. It makes everything smell so warm!
Cover with bacon strips to baste the turkey during the initial phase of roasting. Remember the large bird will roast for several hours. After the first 2-3 hours, the bacon will be done, remove it and this becomes the "cooks treat". Continue roasting the bird, basting every 30-40 minutes. The skin will crisp and become golden brown. If the skin starts to get too brown before the bird is done, tent it with foil.

Cover with bacon strips to baste the turkey during the initial phase of roasting. Remember the large bird will roast for several hours. After the first 2-3 hours, the bacon will be done, remove it and this becomes the “cooks treat”. Continue roasting the bird, basting every 30-40 minutes. The skin will crisp and become golden brown. If the skin starts to get too brown before the bird is done, tent it with foil.

If Turkey isn’t on your menu but a Crown Roast is,

Here is a video from Charlotte Cooks on How to make a Crown Roast of Pork or Lamb (Mint Sauce recipe on the site)

Watch it here:

Tips for the Crown Roast:

  • Be sure to order your roast well is advance from your butcher. These aren’t typically an “off the shelf” kind of item. they will even french the bones (recommended) and tie it for you, just ask.
  • Use your favorite stuffing
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook it just right:
    • Rare: 135°F remove at 125°F and allow carry over cooking to reach 135°F
    • Medium Rare: 140°F Remove at 135°F and allow carry over to reach 140°F
    • Medium: 145°F Remove at 140°F and allow carry over to reach 145°F
    • Mid well to well 150°F and above. It is suggested to remove the number of well done portions from the others and finish those later rather than subject the entire roast to well-doneness disaster.
  • Carry over cooking is when the internal temperature of the meat continues to rise after it is removed from the oven.
  • Allow the roast to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.

If a vegan meal is on your menu, you can Roast a Whole Cauliflower.

We love this and have it often during the year.

Tips for the Vegan Roast:

Plated roasted cauliflower

Plated roasted cauliflower

  • Buy large unblemished organic cauliflower; it really has the best flavor.
  • Use Greek yogurt, it’s thicker. Or drain plain yogurt in cheesecloth or a strainer over night to thicken it.
  • Use any leftovers to make a delicious soup!

 

So! There are some ideas for your main menu item on the Thanksgiving table.

Next up: Vegetable side dishes!

Happy Holidays!

#thanksgiving #thanksgivingrecipes #thanksgivingdinner #howtoroastaturkey #howtomakeacrownroast #stuffing #holidaymeal #veganroast

 

 

 

Allow space for the rolls to rise

Steak House Yeast Rolls

Tanks Giving is fast approaching! I am going to re-post several of the most popular Thanksgiving related posts over the next few days you help you get ready for the big feast!

First up: Steak House Yeast Rolls!

Needing to develop some recipes for a couple of TV shoots coming up, I have been going through a lot of recipes.

This recipe for Steak House Yeast Rolls was a consideration but as I was working through the recipe, the realization that this would be far too complicated to do on Charlotte Cooks, my TV show on PBS in the Charlotte market.

Steak House Yeast Rolls

Steak House Yeast Rolls

With only 26.45 minutes to fill, two 2-hour rising times, mixing, shaping, baking, making a filling for cinnamon rolls, icing, would take an entire season, not 26 minutes.

You have the pleasure of the recipe and variations, my neighbors will enjoy a slab of rolls.

Since I started taking a nutrition class a couple of weeks ago, I have seriously increased the awareness of what I am eating and what is in those lovely morsels I select to stuff in my face.

Making these rolls at home ensures you are using good wholesome ingredients. No dough conditioners, artificial flavors or stabilizers. Just fresh butter, eggs, organic flour, sugar, milk and yeast.

The dough feels great and gives your arms a work out.

  • Servings: 18
  • Time: hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Original recipe from Martha Stewart

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 ounce active dry yeast
  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 6 to 6-1/2 cups of AP flour
  • Extra soft butter to butter the sides of the bowl and baking dish
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Heat the milk and water to 110°F. Whisk the yeast into the heated milk and water. Let sit for 5 minutes, it should become frothy and bubble.

Add the butter, eggs, sugar and salt to a large bowl, whisk in the milk and yeast mixture.

Add the flour one cup at a time, creating a shaggy dough.

This can be done in a mixer with a dough hook but the final kneading will have to be done by hand so you don’t burn out your machine. unless, or course, you have a really heavy-duty mixer. I don’t stress my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the final kneading. Initial mixing yes, but not the final knead.

On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Form it into a nice round ball.

Butter the inside of a large bowl, Roll the dough ball to cover the surface with butter then place the ball in the bottom of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap that has been also oiled to prevent the rising dough from sticking to the wrap as it rises.

Doubled in Size

Doubled in Size

Allow to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. This may take 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide the dough in half.

Roll each dough ball into an even rope

Cut and weigh for even size

Cut and weigh for even size

and cut even size rolls. Weigh each roll to weigh 1.70 ounces. Lightly roll them to shape into balls.

Butter a 9 x 12 baking pan. Place each roll in rows 4 x 6, allowing a small bit of space between each roll. This space will fill in as the rolls rise. Cover with oiled plastic wrap.

Allow to rise again, until doubled in size.

Yeast Rolls ready to bake

Yeast Rolls ready to bake

Once the roll pan is full, you will have some left over dough.

This dough is perfect for some amazing cinnamon rolls!

Roll the dough into a rectangle. Mix some soft butter with some brown sugar and cinnamon to make a paste. ( Make sure it tastes good.)

Spread the butter cinnamon mixture over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle the surface with pecans or walnuts.

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam closed.

Using a serrated blade, cut 2″ sliced from the roll. Place them cut side up (and down) in a well-buttered baking pan so the sides barely touch.

Cinnamon Rolls ready to rise

Cinnamon Rolls ready to rise

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Use a pan large enough to fill with the sliced cinnamon rolls.

Allow these to double in size.

Baking yeast rolls and cinnamon rolls:

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F

Mix 1 egg with water to make an egg wash. Brush the surface of the rolls with egg wash just before putting them in the oven.

Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through for even baking.

The rolls are done when they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Any leftovers?

Make bread pudding!

Baked Yeast Rolls

Baked Yeast Rolls

Make Almond Milk – It’s So Easy!

It’s so easy to make almond milk at home, why wouldn’t you?

Almond Milk and Cookies

Almond Milk and Cookies

The most difficult thing is to remember to soak the almonds overnight. Once you start making your own milk on a regular basis, you’ll get into a rhythm. There is not one bit of this that is hard to do.

The ingredients are few, recognizable as real food and delicious.

Here’s how:

Almond Milk, lightly sweetened

  • Servings: 5 eight ounce
  • Time: 12 hr 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients for Almond Milk

Ingredients for Almond Milk

To make 5 cups:

1 cup raw almonds, skin on

Water to cover for initial soaking; about 4-5 cups (this water gets discarded)

4 cups water – to make the milk

3 Medjool dates, remove the pits

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Method:

Place the almonds in a bowl, cover them with fresh water. Cover the bowl and allow the almonds to soak for 12-24 hours.

Drain the water and use it to water some plants.

Place the soaked almonds into a blender.IMG_9859

Add 4 cups fresh water, pitted dates, vanilla and salt into a high-powered blender. Secure the cover and turn on high. Allow it to run on high for 2-4 minutes, depending on the power of your blender. If you are using a vita-mix, use the lower time to 2 minutes, more generic style blenders, process for a longer time.

Use a wire mesh strainer over a bowl to strain the milk from the solids. Using a rubber spatula or bowl scraper,work the almond, date pulp around the wire strainer until it’s as dry as you can get it. Save this for another use, after all it’s just ground almonds, dates and vanilla.

Straining Almond Milk

Straining Almond Milk

Pour the milk into a pitcher or milk jug and refrigerate until well chilled.

This milk is very lightly sweetened and is the consistency of whole milk. If you want it thinner, add more water, thicker, use less water. Same with the dates for sweetening.

You want chocolate Almond Milk? Add organic dark coc

oa powder with the dates. Simply amazing.

Almond Milk Label

Almond Milk Label

Once you try this homemade almond milk, you’ll be so spoiled! Read the labels on a store-bought almond milk. Which would you prefer to drink and give to your family?

The ground almonds and dates left over from the process make nice cakes and cookies. I’ve used the almond debris to replace zucchini in zucchini brownies with great success.

I’ve made Chocolate Almond Cherry Ice Cream and no bake almond butter, date and oat balls.

Almond milk "debris"

Almond milk “debris”

How do you use the almond debris left over from the milk? I’m getting fat from the cakes and cookies!

#almondmilk #makeyourown #makealmondmilk #almonds #noprocessedfood #wholefoods #vegan #nondairymilk #nutmilk

#makenutmilkathome #healthyeating #wellness

Almond Milk and Almond Cranberry cookies made from the debris

Almond Milk and Almond Cranberry cookies made from the debris

Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Fall colors are in full swing, we are anticipating the first frost and freeze.

Today, the first day of November is rainy, cold and there are flurries in the forecast.

It’s a great day to pull out the crock out and put on a warming soup or maybe Chai tea.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

If you’re heading to the market this month, here’s what you’ll find in season:

Apples: We’ve had some amazing local apples! The flavors this year are so delicious. Eat them raw, slather with almond butter and toasted almonds, make pies, turnovers or apple dumplings. Apple DumplingGrab extra to make apple butter for Christmas.

Apple Snack!

Apple Snack!

Beets: What a powerhouse of nutrition. Red, gold, big or baby beets, roast them, peel them , eat them. Make salads, pickles, noodles, you will feel your blood getting healthier with every tasty mouthful. Don’t toss those green tops! Chop the stems and saute, cook the greens like you would spinach, wash and saute until tender. I love the greens with a splash of Ume Plum Vinegar.

Bok Choy: This season is closing very soon due to frosts and cold weather. Grab some for stir fry, use instead of plain green cabbage in making bok choy slaw.

Brussels Sprouts: OK, try shredding them, saute with shiitake mushrooms, onions and pecans.

Put pecans on top

Put pecans on top

Use them in making slaw to. Get them before the freezes set in!

Kale and cabbages at the market

Kale and cabbages at the market

Cabbages: Fresh available through mid December. Time to make some sauerkraut! A good New England Boiled Diner with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, cabbage and brisket would be nice on a chilly evening. Sweet and Sour Cabbage is great with roasted pork or pork chops, sautéed onions and apples. (See, staying seasonal!)

Collard Greens: My favorite choice for Meatless Mondays! Boiled collards, pinto beans and organic blue cornbread.

Greens from the market

Greens from the market

Yummy! Don’t salt the water you cook the collards in so you save it to use as a base for vegetable soup. Being November, chilly days are surely ahead. Nothing smells better or warms you better than homemade soup. Except chopping and burning wood.

Cranberries:

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

Although not local, these fresh berries only appear for a short while. Buy several bags and freeze them now for later. Make a batch of Cranberry Liquor or use left over cranberry sauce to make these oatmeal cranberry bars.

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

 

 

Cucumbers: Going quickly!

Greens: All kinds from whatever was planted in late summer for fall harvest. Make soup or saute yourself up a big bowl.

Fresh Herbs: Grow some of your own. Fresh herbs are expensive and why waste an entire bunch if you only need a leaf or a pinch? Besides having herbs growing in your kitchen is pretty darn cool. You’d be surprised how easy it is.

Kale: One of my favorite greens cooked or raw. If you’re prone to kidney stones, be careful as too much kale may encourage stone formation. Add dried cranberries to your kale salads.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

Saute it with bacon and onions or use Kale in soups, it’s quite delicious! Crispy kale chips are another way to use this amazing leafy green.

Lettuce: Tender lettuce will be gone once freeze happens. While you can buy lettuces year round, you may notice a slight price increase for it not being local.

Mushrooms: Only until the end of the month. Duck kale white bean soup 031

Mustard Greens: Spicy and greatly nutritious! If you don’t like how spicy they are, tame them by combining with kale, collards or other greens.

Napa Cabbage: Another good green about to retire for the season. I like this lightly blanched, stuffed and steamed.

Peanuts: Year Round, good source of protein. Have you ever made your own peanut butter?

Pecans: Pecan pie is just around the corner with the holidays fast approaching. Store your fresh pecans in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer for longer storage.Make Spiced Pecans for holiday gifts or make Pecan crusted okra for a new way to serve okra.

Pecan Crusted Okra

Pecan Crusted Okra

Radishes: One of my favorite salad vegetables, but try slicing them on a ham sandwich. Top a piece of lightly buttered bread with thinly sliced radishes, you’ll thank me later.

Romaine: Lettuces planted in the fall for the second planting, are coming to an end. Leaves should be strong and dark green.

Snow Peas: A crispy tasty treat. I love these as a nibbling snack or quickly saute. Be sure to “string” them before eating or cooking.

Snow Pea Tips: A trendy garnish for your plates

Spinach: Before the freezes set in for the winter, you’ll still find fresh spinach. Saute it, make omelets, spanikopita or spinach salads

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn't that a great color?!

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn’t that a great color?!

Sweet Potatoes: Available all year. Make Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries; save on fat and full on flavorSweet potatoes

Turnips: Roast turnips to bring out their sweetness. Mash carrots, turnips and potatoes together for a fun change to mashed potatoes

The foods are changing from light fresh foods to hearty, sometimes long cooked foods. The aroma of a simmering soup, a slow roasting chicken or pork roast is comforting and warming as the seasons change.

Thanksgiving is this month; time to reflect and express appreciation and gratitude for all you have in your life. With delicious produce still in the markets, plan your Thanksgiving menu around what you discover fresh.

The farmers will appreciate it.

#freshfood #whatsinseason #eatinglocal #eatrealfood #wholefood #realfood #seasonalfood #apples #cranberries #winteriscoming #staywarm #makesoup

mailboxes in winter

#happyhealthyholidays #healthyholidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join US! Happy Healthy Holidays is coming soon!

Happy Healthy Holidays fb group banner

{ https://www.facebook.com/groups/856387267726978/}

Join me! It’s 100% free – no obligation – join me to bring a healthy spin to your holidays! We will begin Monday, November 24 and end on New Years Eve

You can join for FREE– Happy Healthy Holiday’s Group and not only will you receive lots of love and support through the holidays– you will even get my newsletters and tips – and it’s all for FREE.

  • Nutrition (adding in at least one healthy food per week)
  • Exercise (a minimum of 30 minutes 6 days a week)
  • Gratitude (take the time to be grateful for at least 3 things in your life daily)
  • Giving (challenge yourself to give without expectation of reciprocation once daily)

Just click on the link and join me! Be sure to bring your friends along, Everyone deserves Happy Healthy Holidays!

#happyhealthyholidays #healthyholidays #happy #fungroup #nutritionsupport #gratitude #giving

 

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Quick and Easy: Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Who can resist?!

Use honey to sweeten, dark cocoa powder  and nut butters, that’s about it.

Remember Reese’s? Same concept, only much more healthy!

Nutrition notes:

Use fresh ground nut butters, if you can. Certainly do not use any that have added sugars! The labels should read ground peanuts or ground almonds.

Read the labels on your cocoa, it should be pure raw cocoa for best benefits

Toast your own nuts, it’s easy and you are doing the process.

Add dry milk powder or protein powder for added nutritional boost. I like to use maca powder for this.

Using dry milk powder will also help them hold shape better when at room temperature.

Extra virgin coconut oil please. Or grass-fed butter, but that’s a lot and it would be decadent but certainly not vegan.

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

  • Servings: 24 small cups
  • Time: 30 minutes + freeze time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Before you begin, line a mini-muffin tin with pleated paper liners. It is important to use paper liners as you’ll need it to hold them while eating.

Make two layers, chocolate first as it needs to firm up before adding the top layer.

Use mini-muffin tins. Fill cups half way with chocolate mixture

Use mini-muffin tins.
Fill cups half way with chocolate mixture

Chocolate Almond Layer:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup local honey (use maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maca powder, if desired
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted almonds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Using a double boiler, melt the coconut oil, honey and almond butter until smooth. Realize that it won’t be totally smooth due to the nuts you may choose to use.

Rub the cocoa powder and maca powder through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients.

Fold the almonds into the dry ingredients

Fold melted coconut oil mixture into the cocoa powder mixture, stir to totally incorporate; add vanilla and salt and stir well.

Fill each of the paper-lined muffin tins half way up with the chocolate mixture. Be careful not to dribble along the edges so the final product has a clean appearance. Work carefully.

Once filled half way, pop the tray into the freezer to firm up while you make the next mixture.

Add the peanut butter layer, top with toasted nuts before freezing

Add the peanut butter layer, top with toasted nuts before freezing

Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter (I love the chunky kind!)
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sliced toasted almonds to garnish the tops

Melt everything over a double boiler until everything has melted. Depending on the texture you chose, it may be smooth or lumpy.

Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer, fill each cup with the peanut butter mixture to the rim of the paper.

Sprinkle the top of each cup with toasted almonds and a piece of Maldon salt if desired.

Freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

These are best served frozen or extremely cold. if serving as finger food, leave the paper on, if plating a dessert with them, remove the paper. They will become rather soft as they remain in room temperature.

If a firmer room temperature texture is desired, add 1/2 cup dry milk powder to each mixture. This will boost nutritional value as well.

Irresistible Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Irresistible Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

 

#vegandessert #peanutbuttercups #healthypeanutbuttercups #chocolatealmondpeanutbuttercups #honey #honeydesserts #nutbutter #chocolatealmond

#glutenfree #musteatnow #healthytreats #healthydesserts

 

 

Happy Healthy Holidays

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Just imagine: Healthy, happy holidays, peaceful and full of joyful spirit.

Together we will face the tempting treats and the pack-on-the-pounds holidays without busting our diets or losing energy while keeping focus.

Join us.  We will transform our holiday season together and start the New Year out right!

In this FREE program, we focus on 4 main areas:

  1. Nutrition (adding in, not taking away. This is key to consistent energy)
  2. Exercise (movement to increase your endorphins and energy)
  3. Gratitude
  4. Giving

You will receive daily inspiration, weekly focus and lots of support in our “secret Facebook group”.

The program begins Monday, 11/24/2014 and runs through 12/31/2014. Get supported in achieving your goals through this holiday season and make it a Happy Healthy Holiday!

Follow the link to join, then invite your friends to join in too. The more the merrier!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/856387267726978/

#healthyholiday #happyhealthyholiday #goals #goalssupport #nutritionsupportgroups #gratitudegiving #gratitude #giving #stayhealthythroughtheholidays