The holidays are upon us. I love this time of year. I love baking and having friends and family over to share in the bounty that God has supplied us with.
Are you ready for the holidays? I love this time of year. I love baking and having friends and family over to share in the bounty that God has supplied us with. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Every year we make a Thanksgiving Tree. It is wonderful to focus on the things that God has blessed us with and give him the glory.
Investment cooking can help you to make the most of your time during the holiday season. Look at your menu. What could you make ahead of time? Are there things you could prepare early so that the stress of preparing a huge meal doesn’t interfere with the purpose of the holiday? Did you know that there are many foods you can make ahead for your holiday celebrations? In the recipe section you will find a great recipe for mashed potatoes that you can make ahead of time. Another benefit of making the potatoes this way is that they will actually stay hot through the meal instead of getting cold. The dough for the rolls can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator or you can freeze the dough and then take it out the night before to thaw in the refrigerator. It will take a little longer to rise but the rolls will still turn out delicious! Pie crusts can also be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use them.
Make sure to allow plenty of time for your turkey to thaw. This will take up to 3 days in the refrigerator. If it is still partially frozen Thursday morning let it sit in the sink with cool running water to finish the thawing.
Here’s our Thanksgiving Menu for this year:
Roast Turkey in Brine
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Smothered Green Beans
Orange Cranberry Sauce (My MIL’s specialty)
Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and never forget our Creator to whom we should address our thanks every day and not just on Thanksgiving.
ROAST TURKEY IN BRINE
1 14 pound frozen turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1 gallon iced water
1 red apple — sliced
1/2 onion — sliced
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and cup of water in a small pan and cook until steeped about 15 minutes)
Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine. Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with butter. Roast on lowest level of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14-16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
“adapted from Good Eats (Food Network)”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Light Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
By: Krystal Bickel
10 cups whole wheat (or spelt) flour — freshly ground
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/8 teaspoon Vitamin C granules
3 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cups kefir (you can use more water or regular milk if you don’t have kefir)
1 ½ cups water — warm
2/3 cup virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 cup honey
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon sea salt
Mix 5 cups flour, vital wheat gluten, Vitamin C, and yeast in mixer bowl.
Add water, kefir, oil & honey. Mix well for 1-2 minutes. Turn off and sponge for 15 minutes.
Add eggs and salt.
Turn on mixer, add flour 1 cup at a time until dough forms a ball and cleans side of bowl.
Knead for 5-6 minutes for soft dough.
Shape dough into rolls. Let rise until very light.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Do not over bake.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Recipe By: Tara Wohlenhaus & Nanci Slagle
The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet
5 pounds potatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons butter — melted
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup almonds — sliced (optional)
Peel & quarter potatoes. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil, and then gently cook until tender. Drain well.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, cream cheese, egg, garlic powder & salt. Mash well by hand or with an electric mixer.
Spoon potatoes into a greased 3 qt casserole or 9×13 pan. Drizzle or brush melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with almonds if desired and paprika.
Refrigerate for up to 2 days or label and freeze for later.
To serve: thaw completely. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until top is golden.
Serving Ideas: Optional Toppings or Stir Ins:
1/4 cup crumbled, crisp bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Holiday Freezer Cookbook
From 30 Day Gourmet
Holiday Freezer Cooking (Downloadable eBook for only $6.95) is a unique system for assembling and freezing your entire holiday meal, as well as appetizers and breakfast/brunch foods, ahead of time. No more all night cooking! Make dinner when YOU have the time! These traditional feasts serve 6 to 36 guests without the traditional hassles.
The 12-Week Holiday Planner for the Christian Family
(Includes The Glorious Coming: A Jesse Tree Advent Celebration devotionals!)
A couple years ago I found this wonderful ebook written by Sheri Graham and is called The 12-Week Holiday Planner for the Christian Family. It contains all the forms you need to prepare for this holiday season so that they will be what you want them to be plus you will have a record for future years. Even though we have less than 12 weeks to go, this planner can help make your holidays successful. I am loving my copy!
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!