Thanks for stopping in and visiting. I have to apologize. I did not realize this was for readers/writers, & book reviewers. I must say I enjoy all of the sites I've visited thus far.
Well here goes. The reason for choosing this date is it is my hubby's and my anniversary. We have been married 27 years!!!! This time of year is busy for us, as our son was born on 24 Dec. and hubby was born on the 27th. When hubby's grand dad was alive, his birthday was also on the 24th. It's a great month.
Since our son's and hubby's birthdays are connected--basically for hubby anyhow--we do Christmas a bit differently. It used to be we would celebrate J's b-day on Christmas Eve and then Christmas on Christmas day. When he was younger, we would do his birthday a month or two before hand, or a month later depending on the happenings at the time. Hubby's we usually celebrated with J's. Now we make sure it is on his day. Makes it a little more special.
Back when I was a child, we always went to my grandmothers on Christmas Eve. Then we would have our Christmas at home on Christmas day. I'll never forget my grandmother and one of my aunts singing Silent night in harmony. It was beautiful. I tear up every time I hear that song now. We carried on that tradition with our children. Once our children had our grandchildren, we done the same, Christmas Eve at our house, then they would do theirs at their house.
Decorating usaully took place between the 10th to the 15th. After being stationed in Germany for four years, our ways changed. We now put up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and decorate throughout the week. We have a nativity set that my grandmother had made years ago that sits under the tree every year. We place an angel on the top of the tree. Honoring the birth of Jesus is the highlight of the holiday.
Now that we have given ourselves to the Lord, things have changed. We go to church on Christmas Eve. J's b-day and Christmas with the grandkids is Christmas Day late afternoon. It gets a little crazy and by then the kids are getting bit cranky, but it's all been well worth it.
When I was a child, we had sloppy joes every Christmas Eve. I always loved that and continued the tradtion with our kids. Now Christmas Eve is what ever we can find, then Christmas Day is Ham, Turkey, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole (I use canned beans though), mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberries, and rolls. Yes, we make a big meal of it.
We have all kinds of baked goods that we make up and give to family and friends. This year, the kids are making up goodie bags all decorated. We will stuff the bags with goodies to take to some of our church friends.
Another thing we do is get a couple of angels from the angel tree and go out and buy the gifts for them, then volunteer to help wrap them to be delivered to the children. It's a great program our church puts on every year. There are so many children that go without. We also instill in the grandchildren to put money in the pot of the Salvation Army bell ringers. It makes them feel good doing it, and it makes us feel good knowing it's going for a good cause.
Now for the favorite recipe. We tried something new this year for thanksgiving and fell in love with it. The turkey. We soaked the turkey in Brine. We found the recipe on Emeril Lagasse, 2007 from the Show Emeril Live on the Food Network. It came from the episode titled: "The Ultimate Turkey."
Let me tell you, this is the ultimate turkey. The following is the recipe:
Brined, Herb Roasted Turkey
1 cup salt 1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered 2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme 4 sprigs rosemary
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey 1 larg orange cut into 1/8ths
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
Salt and pepper 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves 2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary 1/2 bunch sage
3 or 4 sprigs parsley
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting
1 tablespoon vegetable oil Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped 1 small bay leaf
3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups water
4 cups turkey broth 1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Brine:
To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.
Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.
Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels both inside and out. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan. Rub breast side with orange segments and rub on all sides with the butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.
Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
For the turkey broth: We never used this, but this is the rest of the recipe for any who may want to try it.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.
For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat.
Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.
I hope you enjoyed your visit. Please stop in any time. I look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if any of you have or do try the recipe and let me know what your thoughts of it are. God Bless, and have fun through out the rest of the tour. This has been fun. Although I have a lot of catching up to do.