Monday, November 28, 2016

Citrus Guava Brined Turkey

Brine Recipe
1 gallon apple cider
1 gallon water
1 1/2 cups sea salt
6 oranges
1 lemon
5 guava
2 lilikoi
1/2 Onion
Fresh Rosemary- I put about 6 5-inch pieces
Fresh sage
6 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 TBS peppercorns
1 TBS thyme
3 tsp minced garlic

Add first 3 ingredients to a hug pot, heat over med-high to dissolve salt
Juice all fruits- add juice and rinds to pot
Chop fresh herbs and onion- add to pot
Add other spices
Let cool
Place thawed turkey in a giant bag. Fill cavity with chunky out of your pot. Pour the rest of the brine (chunks and all) over turkey so that it is submerged. If not, add a little more water to fully cover. Seal the bag so it won't spill. I also find it very helpful to place the bag inside a huge pot. Last year I put it in a roasting pan, but the pot was way easier to handle and to fit in the fridge.

Place in refrigerator for 12 hours to 3 days. I did ours for about 36 hours this year, and it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than last years which only brined for 20ish hours. Last year I made a very similar brine but had apple slices and apple juice rather than cider. It was also really good.

When ready to cook, Remove turkey from brine, discard liquid, rinse turkey and pat dry. I restuffed our turkey with the citrus rinds then rubbed the outside with butter, salt, pepper, and thyme then roasted in the oven as normal.

You could totally make this with other fruits/spices. I just used what we had in the yard. You can see in the pictures below that the things with the green rind are actually oranges, but the tree didn't have a whole lot of super ripe ones, so I just used what we had and it still turned out great! Same thing with the herbs. I used what I had fresh from the garden, then the rest just used dried. The thing i love most about this recipe is how juicy and flavorful the turkey was. haha. But the thing I love second most about this is that we were able to make the brine for super cheap because everything else came out of our yard/garden, which is always a plus for a plant scientist!

Letting the brine steep/ cool

Turkey in the brine bag

headed for the fridge

nestled in amongst the beer. LOL.
The finished product!

See the rest of our Thanksgiving here

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Let the Christmas Things Begin!

Its pretty impossible not to love the Christmas season when you have a house full of kids in themed pajamas. I started decorating the house yesterday, but unfortunately we just got the news that our Christmas Tree won't be here until Friday. Not a big deal, but now I have tubs of ornaments that have to sit out all week making our house all cluttered. AND I have a final at the end of this week, so that really puts a damper on the holiday decorating. 

And all our cheap Wal-Mart outdoor lights had to go in the trash. we've been patching them together for 3 years now, and they just wouldn't hold out any more. I guess you do get what you pay for. I wanted to get new lights from Ace, but they only had one spool and still haven't gotten more. 

So, needless to say, what was supposed to be the best Christmas ever isn't off to a great start, but I'm sure it will get better and in the meantime, there's always these cuties in X-mas jammies :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving prep started early at our house this year. We made toasted pecans, brined our turkey, and prepped our homemade pumpkin ice cream.

Ehan was a happy camper and tagged along for all the festivities.

The night before Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin pie, and had enough dough left over for another shell, so I made a quiche for breakfast the next morning. It was dang good!

I also made some cranberry feta pinwheels for a snack...

 It was hard to get a good picture with these two around...

I set the little monsters to work cracking some mac nuts for the greenbeans. As usual, they ate twice as many as they cracked for me. 

My little sous chefs also helped by sprinkling all the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes (and eating a lot of marshmallows along the way)

We made cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. YUM

 sweet potatoes with marshmallows and strusel

Our citrus guava brined turkey. 

toasted mac nut green beans from this recipe that I saw in Coastal Living.

The kids had matching jammies. They weren't too happy about having to sit still for a picture though. 

Daniel did an awesome job of carving the turkey this year.

Pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream for dessert.

Tablescape without the food. 

The remainder of our fall decor ready to make way for Christmas.