Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Brine Recipe

This is a recipe for a liquid to soak your turkey in overnight (or longer) before cooking to add a wonderful flavor. We let our turkey soak 48 hours this year. We adapted the recipe to ingredients we had on hand from Gordon's recipe offered on the 700 Club.

Turkey Brine

2 gallons hot water
1 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp pepper
12 bay leaves
1 cup salt
24 ounces honey
24 ounces maple syrup (we used pancake syrup)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice

We mixed everything except the last two ingredients in hot water to help dissolve the salt. Heat if necessary to dissolve salt. We placed the frozen turkey inside of a clean, large, white trash bag that lined a clean cooler and poured the solution on top of the turkey. We let it soak as it thawed making sure the temperature never rose above 49 degrees to keep bacteria from growing. Use ice if necessary to keep turkey cool.

Remove turkey from brine and cook as usual.

You can not cook stuffing in a brined turkey. The turkey will release so many juices that it will leave the stuffing soggy.

Check to make sure the juices are not overfilling your roasting pan.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Troubling Holiday Trend Among Christian Mothers

I was asked to repost this, so here it is:

I love Thanksgiving! It is a busy season and one full of opportunities. It is not only a time of giving thanks for all God has worked in our lives, but also a time of family and friends. It is a time to fellowship and to also connect with those we have lost touch with over the course of the busy year.

I have found a troubling trend among the Christian groups I have had a privilege of being a part of off and on for the last several years. Many of the Christian women are not cooking special holiday meals but are serving regular day to day fare to their husband and children. Some are staying home on the holidays just so they do not have to reciprocate in following years.

Many call Thanksgiving a time of gluttony, forgetting about the many Jewish feast days celebrated in Christ's time. They are refusing to cook because they feel it will lead their family to be gluttons.

Gluttony is a sin, but it doesn't automatically go together with a celebration. One can be a glutton over a box of cookies just as easily as one could with turkey and dressing. Saying you are not cooking because you feel it encourages gluttony is poor reason not to serve your family a holiday meal. I can't imagine anyone saying they would not cook for an ill person or a family who has lost a loved one because it might encourage them to overeat since they are undergoing a stressful period. I can't imagine anyone refusing to serve the homeless because they might gorge themselves on the meal because they might not get another in a while. How come those situations are ministries, but serving our family is a considered leading them into sin? That's like saying you won't groom yourself because it encourages vanity.

Why aren't Christian mothers seeing Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter as times for ministering to their family through God's gift and provision of food and their cooking talents? Let's choose instead to see these times as opportunities to slow down and bless the beautiful people that we are so blessed to share our lives with by serving them wholesome, full course, home cooked meals. Encourage your whole family, within reason, to contribute to the menu. Take just these three days to "go all out" in the kitchen for your family.

Before each holiday, my older children ask me if I will make their favorite dish. I look forward to seeing their joy in what I am doing for them. In other words, I get blessed by blessing them! When you give a gift in Christ's name, you get one in return.

I encourage you mothers who are considering or embracing the current trend of some internet groups to stop following the flow of "holidays are for gluttons." Let's look at cooking holiday meals as a ministry to those you love. Let's not push aside our family or make excuses because of our exhaustion or laziness. The love we show them will last an eternity. If you were looking for a time to rest over the holiday, I encourage you to cook the Thanksgiving meal and cook enough to last a few days. You will still get a nice rest over the holiday, but without sacrificing the joy it gives them through the ministry of food. What better way to show our gratitude for the way Christ served us than by being the hands and feet of Christ while we serve our own families?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phillipians 2:3-4

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Isabel, the hurricane that keeps on giving

When Hurricane Isabel trekked through our area three years ago, we had so many telephone poles knocked down that many people were without power for two weeks or more. (We got ours in ten days.) The power company made "temporary patches" to the poles and said they would come back and repair them properly after the crisis was past.

One of those patches was on our road and they never made the lasting repairs. When the storm blew through with high winds this weekend, the whole pole and the three sections of lines it holds up went down into the water.

When we called to report the lines down, they said they would have the repair done in an hour. We looked at the damage and knew that wasn't happening! :-D They didn't come at all that night. We were without power Sunday and Monday. The howling winds brought down many trees and several limbs.

I cooked weenies on the woodstove and everyone hung out together in the addition. We lit the oil lamps and played with the wood scraps we use for kindling. Clint hooked the generator up and ran the well pump, fridge and freezers on it for a long time before bed. Then, we settled in and watched a movie on cable in our room with the children piled on the floor and the bed, each getting a turn for snuggles and tickles from Mom and Dad.

It's beautiful here today and everyone got some outdoor playtime.

Enjoy your week!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Herbal Burn Treatment

Joshua got scalded last week when he tried to add water to the pot on the woodstove. He missed the pot and poured the water on the stovetop, which caused the steam. He got a good second degree burn on the back of his hand. I have been using my own recipe that I call "Burn Sludge." The rate of healing is amazing. There are plenty of "Wow's" each time we remove the bandages to reapply the medicine.

My Burn Sludge contains:

4 pencil thick, cleaned and peeled, fresh minced comfrey root (causes fast healing through cell regeneration, pain reliever, soothes and softens skin, cools)
1/8 cup each of:
comfrey leaf powder
honey (sterilizes wound, antibiotic, prevents scarring, helps with growth of new tissue, contains a natural hydrogen peroxide)
several capsules of vitamin E (promotes healing, reduces scarring, anti-inflammatory)

with pure aloe juice (antimicrobial (inhibits the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungus) antiseptic (destroys bacteria), speeds healing, pain reliever, moisturizes) added and mixed in until it is thick, but spreadable, much like the consistency of pudding. If I had noticed any signs of infection, I would have added goldenseal powder.

This makes enough to treat the wound several times. Keep the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The first application, I squeezed 4 Vitamin E capsules on to the burned area first, then applied the sludge. After that, I just kept the sludge on it 3 times a day and kept it bandaged. I kept the sludge on it so the skin could continually absorb the medicine in the herbs through the liquid. You can removed the dried herb, but if skin is very tender, just apply on top of the dried plant matter and rebandage. When you do remove the dried herb, remove slowly to keep from tearing blisters open.

I am not a doctor and strongly encourage you to seek medical attention before trying this or any of my herbal recommendations.