thanksgiving turkey

This year, we were given a turkey from a local friend! How kind & generous, we thought! Until she delivered the turkey in a white canvas bag...ALIVE!!! Poor little turkey was tied up and docile in his bag. He spent the night in the bathroom (since it was late) and was taken to the butcher the next morning. A Muslim butcher makes the turkey kosher (qing zhen 清真/halal) and able to be shared with Muslim friends. The turkey came back with innards still intact, and a very long neck. I was glad they (at least) took the head & feet. I had to prepare the turkey a bit more than normal, and it needed some work! I think he weighed about 6 kilos total. We baked him in our tiny oven, which was a tight fit - but it worked great!!

olive oil (enough to rub the entire turkey)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled & crushed
1-2 lemons, sliced & squeezed
chicken broth/water

Preheat oven to 450°F. Clean your turkey WELL. Rub entire turkey with olive oil. Stuff cavity with assortment of onion, garlic, celery & lemon slices. Leave remaining things in the roasting pan. Tie drumsticks together if desired. Sprinkle with salt & seasonings. Fill pan with 1-2 cups of chicken broth. Cover with foil. Bake in oven for 2-3 hours @ 350°F on the bottom rack. Make sure the turkey comes to at least 170°F with a meat thermometer stuck in the fleshy part of the thigh. I chose to keep the turkey covered until the last 20 minutes, and flip the turkey over half way through the roasting. I like to think this kept the breasts more moist.

After the turkey is done, you can remove from the roasting pan, and allow to stand 30 minutes before you carve it. With all the juices you can make a delicious gravy!


Turkey gravy:
Pour pan juices through a sieve into a different bowl. You can skim off (and discard) the fat if you prefer. You can use your original roasting pan to make the gravy in, straddling across 2 burners. Melt some butter and stir in flour to make a roux - cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add turkey stock juices, whisking well to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil - and stir well. Season your gravy with salt & pepper - or add cider vinegar to taste.

yellow cake

¾ cup butter
3 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups milk

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Grease & flour your pans, then set aside. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter on med speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar until well combined. Beat 2 minutes more. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low speed until combined. Pour batter into desired pans/cupcake holders. Bake as directed below:

9 inch round (2): 20-25 min
8 inch round (2): 30-35 min
13x9 pan (1): 25-30 min
Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes

...or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for at least 10 minutes. Remove cake rounds from pans, and cool thoroughly. Frost with your favorite frosting!


3.5 cups flour

2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry yeast
2 T maple syrup
1 1/4 cups warm water (80-90 degrees)
canola oil
1 egg white

sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top
1 tsp cinnamon (added to dry ingredients)

In a large bowl thoroughly mix flour, salt, yeast. Add maple syrup last, and mix well. Gradually add warm water to dry ingredients and mix until combined well. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Add extra flour or water until you have a soft dough (smooth and elastic). Brush dough in oil and place back in your bowl, covered in saran wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove from bowl and roll onto a slightly floured surface. Divide into 12 equal parts, and roll into balls. Poke a hole with your thumb thru each bagel, and set onto a greased surface (You could also roll into strips, pinch together and form circles). Cover, and allow to rise again (20 min). Bring water to boil in large shallow pan - about 2-3 inches deep of water. Lower heat, and add a few bagels at a time. Simmer for one minute on each side (2 min total). Remove from water and place on a towel to cool. Then place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white with a dash of cold water. Brush bagels with water/egg mixture (this is when you could add sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, etc. on top) and put back in the oven again for another 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove bagels from baking sheets and cool on wire rack. Yum!!


4-5 eggs

1 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
*1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix (becomes the crust)
*1/4 cup butter, melted

Depending on your tastes, you can add:
broccoli flowerets
bacon, cooked & crumbled
cheese, grated (up to 1 cup)
mushrooms, sauteed well
spinach, washed/drained/chopped
onion, chopped & sauteed
bell peppers, sauteed
green onions
fresh parsley, chopped

In a mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Beat the eggs first, then add the rest of your ingredients. Beat until blended. Transfer to a pie plate or glass baking dish. Sprinkle with extra ingredients; lightly press down into batter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10-20 minutes before serving.

*I usually prefer to make my own pie crust, and not include the biscuit/baking mix & butter. This takes a little more time, but I like the taste better.

Italian Stromboli

A fun sandwich you can make ahead of time for picnics or enjoy hot out of the oven.

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 T olive oil
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

Fillings (mix & match as you like)
1/2 pound meat (pepperoni, sliced turkey, etc)
1/4 pound grated cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Optional stuff (must be sliced very thin)
onions, grilled?
bell peppers, grilled?
black/green olives
roasted garlic
fresh basil
spinach, cooked & drained
mushrooms, grilled
tomato sauce, very little tho

1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds/poppy seeds

Combine 1/4 cup warm water with yeast & sugar. Stir to dissolve and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy. Stir in remaining water, olive oil and salt. Gradually add flour (1/2 cup at a time) until smooth. Gradually add remaining flour until you have a smooth dough that comes away from the bowl. Knead 10 minutes, cover 1 hour until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough down and cut in half. Roll each ball on a floured surface until rectangular in shape (8x10). Arrange desired fillings, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roll like a jelly-roll, pinch the edges and tuck the ends under. Cut long diagonal slashes (1/2 inch deep) along the top every 2-3 inches. Brush the top of the loaf with egg, sprinkle with seeds. Bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting and serving, or eat cold!

soft pretzels

The pretzel is shaped like someone with their arms folded in prayer! It is a traditional Lenten food in central Europe. The German tribes who invaded Rome called the bracellæ "brezel'" or "prezel." Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day [March 19] which usually falls within Lent. We love eating them anytime of year!

Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup warm water
1.5 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar

Add and beat at least 3 minutes:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness.

Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape (kids love this part!). Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F.

In a large non aluminum saucepan, prepare a boiling solution of
4 cups water
5 tsp baking soda

With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6 inch pretzels, or more smaller ones)

peanut sauce

I have to give all credit to my husband for attempting this recipe. I didn't know it was so easy, or that we would have all the ingredients, but dang!....this is good! Its amazing over rice, chicken/beef, tofu, noodles, veggies....anything! We doubled the recipe to have some for later. Peanut sauce is typically found in Asian countries (Indonesia, Thailand, China) served over veggies, noodles, or tofu. You can make it spicy, or top with chopped peanuts too. You can thicken it with milk/coconut milk, or stretch with water. Make it to suite your taste-buds. Feel free to tweak this however you see fit!

1/4 cup peanut butter (natural & creamy, no sugar kind)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 T brown sugar (we only added 1 tsp)
1 T fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup coconut milk (lite is fine, if you prefer or substitute water)
1/4 cup water
red chili flake to taste
1 clove crushed garlic

sesame oil
curry paste/powder
rice wine vinegar
fish sauce
grated ginger
shallots sauteed til brown in oil

Combine all ingredients with a whisk in a small bowl, adding the water last. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Experiment with this sauce adding a teaspoon at a time of one the optional additions and tasting as you go. Serve hot or cold. Yum!!

tofu peanut stir fry

This is a great way to eat tofu for the first time - its a bit crunchy, yet still soft. This is such a quick, inexpensive meal - and tastes great! Prepare all your ingredients first, and then begin to cook. You will need a large wok & lid. Serve over noodles or steamed rice.

1 tsp vegetable oil
your favorite chopped veggies (a wok-ful)
(we used onion, cauliflower, carrots, celery, squash, & cabbage since that was in my fridge)
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
hot water to steam veggies in wok

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cornstarch
salt & pepper to taste
1 block firm tofu, drained and cubed (about 14 oz)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup peanut sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onions, garlic & ginger first until cooked thru. Season with salt & pepper. Add denser veggies first (carrots, cauliflower, celery), allowing to cook before you add the softer veggies (squash, cabbage, etc) and cook until tender. I sometimes add water during this stage to help the veggies "steam" in the wok. The water cooks off. You don't want to over cook the cabbage, while waiting for the carrots to get tender. Remove vegetables from skillet, and set aside.

Whisk eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt & pepper. Dip tofu cubes first in the egg, then the cornstarch mixture to coat. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet or wok over medium heat, and cook the coated tofu 5-8 minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the peanut sauce and peanuts. Continue to cook and stir until sauce has thickened and tofu is well-coated.

Top rice with veggies, tofu and extra peanut sauce.