It’s National Bacon Day and I’ve had trouble coming up with the perfect bacon recipe because it’s one of my favorite ingredients. I can’t think of many things that aren’t improved by bacon. This is the turkey I made for Christmas and it was the best one yet.
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (you can use 1/8 cup ground mustard as well)
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
8 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 onions, wedged
1lb bacon, thick cut
Six 12 ounce bottles Guinness Stout
One 12-14 lb turkey
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1. In a very large pot, combine mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves. Toast over moderate heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the Guinness and 16 cups cold water. Once mixture is cool enough, add onions and bacon. Stir to combine and add the turkey, breast side down and cover. Refrigerate 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lift turkey out of brine and pick off any peppercorns or bay leaves. Pat dry and put in a roasting pan. I like to use one with a small horizontal rack in it, but the V shaped racks work nicely also. Breast side goes up this time. Scatter the onion wedges around the pan and add 1 cup of water. (Note: This will seem like a good place to use some beer or the leftover brine, don’t do it. It’ll caramelize and burn to the bottom of your pan and screw up your gravy, water is good) Use toothpicks to secure pieces of bacon all over the turkey.
You’re ready to roast the turkey for 2 hours. Remove the bacon (save the bacon) and return the turkey to the oven to roast another hour.
3. Once your turkey is ready, transfer it to a carving board. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups (about 5 minutes). Add the turkey stock and boil. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour to a paste. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
3a. If you don’t have 3 cups of pan juices or like a thicker gravy, do this instead: Pour juices into a saucepan and whisk in 3 Tablespoons of flour. Add the stock and deglaze the pan (if necessary). Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, 5-10 minutes. Season to taste.
4. Serve with gravy and the bacon sliced up.
Posted in Recipes
Tagged bacon, baking, beer, brine, brined, butter, cooking, dinner, draft, food, guinness, Holidays, Home, mustard, onion, peppercorns, recipe, roasted, roasting, stout, turkey
I can’t say how important thank you notes are. I don’t give further gifts to people who don’t show their appreciation for them. So, if you’re off today, take a minute to thank the people who made your Holidays bright.
This year, the turkey was amazing (I will put up the recipe in a few days) and we had dinners with both families. I got a WiiFit board (that we’re returning because it’s not what we thought it’d be), an office chair, new shoes, a hunting back, a new purse, a toaster, lots of chocolates and a little spending money. I got myself/Hootie/Lucy a new cat box that is supposed to be easier to sift. I also got myself a flat whisk, cupcake set, 30 below rated socks, some touch screen gloves and a new water bottle. I will probably still buy myself a set of thermals and a few other things. I am also considering upgrading my phone to a Galaxy Note II, but we’ll see about that.
I celebrate Christmas, or at least have been trying to, but if you’re celebrating another Holiday, enjoy! This year has been a mixed bag for me. I started out very Ba-humbug, especially with the school shooting and resulting stupidity. I worked at it and forced it until a started to feel it. I forced myself to put up decorations, make up care packages and wrap presents. By the time I was done with that, my Christmas spirit was feeble, but alive.
I tried to build it with Christmas activities, but I didn’t get to participate in much that I wanted. The weather sucked, The Dude wasn’t into it or some other thing kept us from it. It really put a damper on my fledgling spirit. I like to put something on the front door, on the truck grill, put up a tree, go to see carolers and lights and festivals, going to buy presents and make a lot of cool stuff. A lot of my problem was expectations this year, although they were (as I felt) pathetically low. All I expected was a few decorations, I didn’t expect any presents since money’s been tight and to go out and do a few things together. I suppose I’m mostly missing the going and doing things, but those were the things I was counting on instead of presents.
We went to my mom’s for an early Christmas, which was great, except for the fight we had on the way there. He’d been complaining about having to get up to drive us there and I felt it was unfair to complain about this singular thing I wanted to go and do. Anyhow, I slept all day yesterday because I was depressed and have been putting on a brave face this morning. Christmas music while opening our few presents helped and a turkey in the oven is warming me up. My dad was overly-generous with me and it’s totally brightened my Holiday, my mom’s gifts were great too. The Dude got us a Wii-Fit board that I’ll have to check out.
Posted in Tales from the Backwoods
Tagged ba-humbug, Christmas, christmas activities, christmas spirit, Daily life, depression, dinner, fail, fit board, forced, Holidays, Home, lame, morning christmas, wii fit
This month is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month and today being Christmas Eve, please don’t drink and drive! It’s not that hard to call a cab, have a designated driver or to plan on staying overnight at your party. New Mexico has a huge problem with drinking and driving.
According to University of New Mexico Division of Government Research, in 2007:
42% of all fatal crashes involved alcohol.
5% of all crashes involved alcohol.
A person died in an alcohol-involved crash every 50 hours.
A person was injured in an alcohol-involved crash every 5 hours.
An alcohol-involved crash occurred every 3 1/2 hours.
It’s not worth this. Get a DD, drink at home or get a ride
We see on the news all the time people who have 5, 6, 7 arrests for drinking and driving. It makes no sense and I don’t understand these repeat offenders, but drinking and driving kills. Please don’t be stupid/selfish and try to drive, there are more important things than you getting home when you’re drunk.
Here’s a bunch of resources to get free rides home. There is no excuse!
Enmu Safe Ride
Phone: 575-607-9995 or 575-607-5999
Details: Free to Eastern New Mexico University students only;
CADDy (Chauffeur and Designated Driver) Program (Santa Fe) The CADDy program provides a safe ride home via Capital City Cab to adults from a liquor establishment or residence/party where alcohol is served. Santa Fe County subsidizes cab fare up to $25. Cab riders pay $1 and the difference of the fare over the $25 limit. The service is offered on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Call 438-0000 for a $1 cab ride home.
These guys will even drive your car home for you for a tip (ABQ, Bernallio, Bosque Farms, Corrales, Rio Rancho, Isleta and Los Lunas) http://designateddriversondemand.com/about-us.html
There are also tons of resources out there for Designated drivers and a lot of states offer rewards to designated drivers. A lot of bars will also give you free sodas and non-alcoholic drinks if you are a DD.
Posted in Current Events
Tagged accident, cab, crash, designated driver, drive safe, driving, drunk, drunk driving, free ride, Holidays, new mexico, safe, safety, Society, Tales from the Backwoods, wreck
These were fun and easy to make, but I had to order all my materials minus the jars from Amazon. You’ll need jars (preferably not with much writing/embossing on them), bristle or bottle brush trees, superglue or liquid nails, toy animals and imitation snow. You may also want some long tweezers or grabbers if you can’t fit your hand in the jar.
I decided to do mine right-side up because I didn’t want to build up the lid to avoid the distortion from the threading. But you could add clay to the inside of the lid to crate a raised landscape with the jars up-side down.
1. Spray paint the tops of the jars and let dry completely.
2. Pick out your trees and animals and glue them to the bottom of the jar. You may want to hold them in place so that they don’t lean. Let dry and add a bit of snow. Seal up with a touch of glue and you’re ready to gift. I’m going to have trouble parting with them, they are so cute!
Posted in DIY Projects
Tagged bunny, craft, cute, diy, family, fox, Fun, gift, Holidays, Home, moose, rabbit, snow, snow globe, tree
I saw a version of this online, but I wanted mine to be disposable once the holidays are over and they’ve used all the tea. I made this one for The Sweetness’ sister and her husband to go with the custom mugs I did a few days ago. This is also super easy and cheap.
You’ll need: Styrofoam or paper plates, a exacto knife (I used a ceramic kitchen knife), some clothes pins, glue, glitter and tea bags.
1. Make sure your clothes pins are clean. Brush on a thin layer of glue to the side that will be up. You’ll want the grabby end out to hold the tea bag. Sprinkle with glitter, shake off excess and set aside to dry.
2. Cut a hole in your first plate. I used a bowl as a guide and just worked my knife around the bowl. You’ll need more than one plate for the base of the wreath or it’ll be floppy when you try to pick it up. I used 3 Styrofoam plates, cut with the same bowl and glued together.
3. Once everything from 1 and 2 are dry you can start gluing the clothes pins around the edge of the plate. I had to use liquid nails because my plates were sloped enough that the pins wouldn’t stay, so I needed quick drying. Hot glue or super glue would be great for this. Once the pins are attached and dry, you can fill them with the tea bags and decorate it as you like. I used an extra plate to make them a monogram and a loop of ribbon to hang it with.
Posted in DIY Projects
Tagged Christmas, clothes pins, craft, disposable, diy, easy, fast, gift, giving, glitter, handmade, holiday, Holidays, Home, hostess, quick, tea, wreath
I love this project, it’s super easy anyone can do it, I promise. All you need is coffee mug(s), sharpie markers and an oven. My total cost on this is under a dollar because I got my mugs at an awesome thrift store in town that always lets me out with an armful of stuff for under $10.
Just write or draw anything you like on your mug with the sharpie. Don’t be too afraid of it, if you screw up, just scribble over it with a dry erase marker and wipe clean. Once you have your mug how you want it, bake it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to make it permanent.
Posted in DIY Projects
Tagged art, coffee, coffee mug, craft, custom, diy, draw, dry erase marker, easy, gift, Holidays, love, mug, name, personalized, project, sharpie markers, tea
Our unusually warm and dry weather is not helping me get into the Christmas spirit. It’s been in the 50s and 60s nearly everyday and it hasn’t rained or snowed in over 2 months. Adding to that is my work schedule, I’m working something approaching 100 hours a week. (I don’t sleep much) I’ve been doing a little holiday baking but it’s been forced. I haven’t put up any decorations, but maybe that will kick-start me. In the meantime, I’m going to start holiday shopping, which also means I’ve assembled a wishlist, so…