NYR 2015: My Turkey Virginity

Truth: I will turn 35 in March and I have never roasted a turkey. I guess that really isn’t that big of a deal considering the host at Thanksgiving usually provides the turkey and I have never hosted a big meal like that.

On Sunday, my life changed forever. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas this past season, Kroger had an amazing sale on frozen turkeys. There were 15 pound turkeys that was regularly priced $24 for less than $9. I considered that a steal and a half so we bought one and made room in the freezer. Since I started my new job on Monday, I knew that Sunday was the day to start this new adventure.

The journey actually started earlier in the week when I put the turkey in the refrigerator to thaw.

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It really needed another six hours of thawing, but it was fine.

I followed this plan with this rub.

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I didn’t brine.

I took the turkey out of the oven every 45 minutes to baste it so I feel like I got my workout on. I also made dressing and green beans and gravy with the drippings.

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[Husband decided to eat the wings before I could take a photo. Shame.]

No offense to any turkeys that I have eaten in the past, but I’ve decided that I am the rockstar of my kitchen. I need to host a holiday immediately. It was such a moist turkey. Our oven runs hot (could that be an elevation thing) so it was done in 3 hours 15 minutes.

Have you ever roasted a turkey? Who is coming to our house for a holiday? Guest room reservations are available now. There are also air mattresses as well as beds for children. 

NYR 2015: Making My Own Bread

Since I have been unemployed for a bit of time, I have been striving to count our pennies especially in our food budget. I’ve always wanted to make my own bread, but since there is not a bread machine in our kitchen, I’ve never tried.

This last week, I made two different types of bread and I can’t wait to make more.

English Muffin Bread (from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook)

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White Sandwich Bread

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The English Muffin Bread was gone quickly because I cut the recipe in half to make only one loaf. We still have almost all of the sandwich bread so I may have to freeze the second loaf. Obviously, making bread is a lot harder than just buying bread at the store. Will I continue? I’m not sure, but it is fun currently.

I have enjoyed using my KitchenAid Mixer again.

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Sometimes, I think it is just so much easier to use the handheld mixer, but it really isn’t so this mixer is about to get back in the rotation with more recipes.

Do you make your own bread?

Last Week

After six months of applying, interviewing, applying, interviewing, applying, interviewing (you get the drill), I finally start a new position tomorrow. This job is 35 minutes away from my home which seemed like a normal commute where I used to live, but now it seems like a lot.

Of course, now it feels like a lot because it is supposed to snow tomorrow. I’ve noticed that schools close here really easily for bad weather. I don’t think there is going to be more than an inch, but I live on a plateau and my new job is in the valley. It will be interesting tomorrow. It tends to be icy here.

I was offered this job while we were out of town so I was so excited to spend this last week before I started my position doing whatever I wanted. What happened? I got the worst cold known to humankind. Maybe, it was the flu? I don’t know. There was a point where I had a fever so who knows. What is my cure for sickness on the couch?

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I upgraded this Aldi (fit and active) chicken noodle soup with some kale. I drank a lot of oj. I took many servings of DayQuil and NyQuil. And I spent some quality time with my Friends. Could that BE any more necessary when you are sick? [If you do not understand that, I’m sad for you]

What do you do when you are sick?

NYR 2015: Boneless Porkloin

Last week, I used this pan for the first time.

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We received this as a wedding gift and have never used it. I don’t know why. We do have a turkey in the freezer that is waiting to be our dinner. I’ve never cooked a turkey so you will surely hear about it.

Last week, Kroger had a delightful sale on this awesome 4 pound boneless pork loin. As a thank you to our neighbors for watching out for our kitties and fish, we had them over for dinner. Of course, I did not take photos again, but here is the one piece we have left.

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Doesn’t it look delicious?

It looked better when it was in its prime: right out of the oven.

I made my own rub with thyme, basil, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. I cooked the tenderloin at 475 degrees for 30 minutes and then at 425 degrees for another hour. It was so good. The only bad news was that I burned my fingers when I was working on the rolls for dinner and they are still blistered and sad (this was last Thursday).

How do you fix pork tenderloin?

NYR 2015: Freezer Meal BBQ Chicken Style

I’m already behind on my New Year’s resolution reporting [sigh]. We were out of town the first week in January partying it down in our old ‘hood with all of our friends and family. It was a bit rough coming back to the big T because we decided to drive back on Saturday night instead of Sunday during the day. As hard as the last three hours of the drive were (we got home at 5:10 am), I must admit it was nice to have a day together to regroup before my husband went back to work.

Before we left town, I put together several freezer meals for us to try over the next few weeks. Each recipe was enough for two meals. I’ve been a slacker in the whole cell phone food photography department, but I hope to increase my photo plans for future meals.

I must be honest. This recipe is called BBQ chicken. I am from Kansas City. This is not barbecue. AT ALL. I’m not saying that it is not delicious, but it needs a new name. FOR REAL. Chicken and Veggies? I don’t know.

In our original household edition, we had it with egg noodles. My husband is not a true fan of kale, but when I ate the leftovers, I had it over sautéed kale. See…

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[I did actually take a photo.]

BBQ Chicken (freezer meal)
Source: Mama and Baby Love

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, about 2 cups
  • 2 large green peppers, cut into strips or cubes, about 2 cups
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into strips or cubes, about 1 cup
  • 2 zucchini, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca (or flour or other thickening agent)
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ground yellow mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Divide everything into two separate one gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.
  2. On the day of cooking, dump everything from the bag into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker (I’ve noticed that I have had to really adjust a lot of my recipes due to elevation???).
  3. If you want, you can add 1/2 cup of chicken stock to have more sauce, I did not.

Personal Notes:

  1. I used chicken breasts.
  2. My husband hates green bell peppers. He says that everything in the dish takes on that flavor. He doesn’t dislike red, yellow and orange bell peppers so that is what I used. I also chopped them in a fashion that he could easily pick them out.
  3. I used flour as my thickening agent. I would probably use cornstarch in the future. I was in a hurry to put everything together before we left town.
  4. This needs a new title. It is not barbecue; however, I think it is worth eating again. I mean we do have another bag in the wings of the freezer waiting.

Have you made freezer meals like this before? What are your recommendations for this type of cooking? With my new job not being that close to my home, I’m eager to try more freezer meals in my weekly food prep plan.

2015 what?

So, it has been 2015 for 13 days now. Life has kind of been a blur in the last 13 days. We left Tennessee to go visit family and friends in Kansas City. It was so good. In the time frame that we were out of town, I also received the good news that I finally got a job. I have my own Mary Kay business, but it is good to have a job where I can meet people, make friends and help provide a steady income for our household. The bad news is that this job is nowhere near my house. Where we lived in KC, it wasn’t uncommon to drive 30 minutes+ each way, but people seem really shocked when I say that here. It’s interesting.

As I have been contemplating 2015 and years of recent, I have been thinking about my goals for the year of 2015. I’m turning 35 in March (*yikes*). I want my goals to be realistic and healthy for the mind, body and soul. I feel that I was in my healthiest point in 2011-12 so I am repeating my New Year’s resolution of 2011 — I will cook at least one new recipe a week and blog about it. I don’t remember the last time I completed a resolution before or after that year, but I did complete that one. I never felt healthier than that point and I also was at my lowest weight in years (not that it matters, but lets face it, it does).

What are your goals for 2015?

Put Your Feet Up…

It’s been a bit since I’ve blogged (I’m so not good at it anymore) so why don’t you put your feet up and stay awhile. You don’t want to? Well, I’m going to… (hold on)…

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Yeah.

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Casper is just as confused as you (he still adores me – sigh).

So, last year I finished a half marathon. Ironically, the injury that originally was going to side-line me is back the week following the anniversary of said event. I was on a walk (not run) yesterday and I could barely walk up the trail. It really is beautiful at the local arboretum.

Some day, if we ever take professional photos in this town, I want to do them there during this time of the year.

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Wouldn’t it be delightful?

For now, I’m continuing with my upper body workout and resting my leg completely. I don’t think I ever let it heal completely. So…now, I’m done until I don’t know when. I was actually going to to start training for another half marathon on my birthday weekend. I even had an email in my drafts to my cousin how I thought we should do the princess half marathon in two years (maybe still?). For now, I’m only going to Dr. Google who from all symptoms has diagnosed me with an achilles tendon injury, but if I really need to get this checked out, someone please tell me the truth.

Suggestions?

feeling the love

When it comes to the animals that live in this house, I am not the favorite person. I’m the other person. Bentley was a package deal with my husband so this doesn’t surprise me, but Casper is our cat. We brought him home after our engagement. In general, Casper wants nothing to do with anyone. If you sneeze, he runs to the other room (although, if you warn him, he is fine – weird cat).

For several years, my husband worked out of our home. He would go out on sales calls, but he was home throughout the day so Casper got a lot of time with his person.

Since our move, things have changed. My husband has been at training for the last two weeks out of town. Bentley often cuddles up to me especially if I’m the only human in the house (after meowing at the door for hours after he leaves).

I never expected this.

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This would be Casper. Sitting on my lap.

Feeling the love, my friends. We become a two person household again tomorrow night (so excited). Feeling the love from the cats…for now.

On Track… I mean, On Treadmill

We’ve lived in Tennessee for a month. It’s so surreal. This past month has been such a blur, but it’s nice to finally be on a schedule.

On Sunday night, we finally put our treadmill together. I’ve wanted to start running again, but I don’t feel extremely comfortable running outside unless I drive across town to the trails near my in-laws’ home. Our street is not long enough so I feel like it would be weird to be running in circles. I’m already new to the neighborhood. I don’t need anyone thinking that I am cray-cray. The road outside our neighborhood is too narrow for my clumsiness PLUS the next road is a 55 mph highway.

We have a basement room in our home that is more of an unfinished workshop for woodworking or whatever. It was actually dug out by the previous owner. It even has a storm shelter in it (which we still have to register this week). It is also the only place where our treadmill and bowflex can live. We actually had to cut part of the bowflex so it would fit.

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Apparently, there is a height limit in the basement. Oops. We are still organizing the basement so I will probably get in trouble for posting this, but this is an illustration for exercise opportunities. :)

It feels like it has been 10 million years since I have run. With that being said, I am starting over like I have never run or participated in a 5k or a half marathon. So, this is my September plan.

(source)

Clearly, I’m out of shape because I could barely complete the workout. I did, but it was just not easy like I thought it would be. Now, it could be because that room is super hot and I need to get a fan down there, but this will be interesting. It was nice relaxing here…

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before walking upstairs – yes, our access to the basement room is from the outside.

What exercise plan are you following currently?