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Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine

Although many others believe that brining a turkey is a waste of time, I am a firm believe in the salty bath. So on Tuesday morning, I prepare my turkey brine as follows:

3 cups of salt

5 cups of sugar (this year, for the first time, I used brown sugar)

2 large carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 leak stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces (white and light green parts only)

2 medium onions, chopped coarsely

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces

4 dried bayleaves

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 sprigs of fresh flat parsley

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 sprig sage

2 tsp dried majoram

Pour salt and sugar into large saucepan and cover with enough water to dissolve and bring to a good boil. Add all other ingredients and boil for about an hour to extract as much of the herb and vegetable flavor as possible. Add water if needed during boiling. Cool the brine completely. Place cleaned (and thawed) turkey into your brining container and pour the brine over. Fill with cold water and ice until turkey is fully covered.

Brining Turkey

Brining Turkey

Place brining container in refrigerator. I brined this year’s turkey for about 30 hours because it was 22 lbs. I would always recommend brining for around 24 hours. After the brining, remove turkey, rinse, and pat dry. Discard the brining fluid. Return to refrigerator until the morning of Thanksgiving.

Veggies Don’t Stink – Stop the Hiding

I am researching a lot of recipes for children to make sure the diet is well balanced and the ingredients low in -or better yet- free off additives and other junk. What I find almost everywhere is the attempt to feed your children their needed veggies by hiding them. The creativity is mind-blowing and the typical veggie mush in the meatloaf only the beginning. I am not a friend of this kind of cooking and here is why: Eating healthy should not be something your kids don’t know about. Veggies are not the evil little devils that sneak into food and spoil all good taste. Eating healthy begins by learning why we should eat healthy and what all those vitamins and minerals are good for anyways. How is your child going to learn liking veggies if it doesn’t even know it is eating them??? Becoming best buddies with their own bodies will promote a child’s understanding of what they need and will be a great step into creating a healthy eater. Don’t force your children but work on them wanting to eat better. Set a good example and comment on why you eat this way. (“I want more of these carrots because I heard that they help you see in the dark and I’ve got to try this.”) If your daily dinners are junky throughout, begin by introducing one or two healthy meals per week and work your way up. Remember: eating healthy and clean is a habit.

One of my mottos with my kids is “Some Things Are Not Negotiable!” Eating vegetables is one of those things.

– remain strict and stand your grounds

– find fun facts or eat your way through the vegetable and fruit alphabet

– chose the veggies they like best and even sprinkle their favorite spice on top

– and -the little more calculated one- load the plate with veggies up when they are REALLY hungry! 😉

– just DON’T hide the veggies in the meatloaf

Healthy BBQ

With the summer comes the grilling. What I like most about grilling is not the food (although wonderful) but the pace of the lunches or dinners. While a kitchen-table-dinner is eaten faster than it is cooked, the steps of cooking and eating are in sync when you grill and I love that.

The not so fun part about grilling dinners is my constant concern of the charing of meats and vegetables. I never thought about it much until I became a mom and now all I see is carcinogens. So today, I came across this: “Marinating with lemon & olive oil decreases Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs), chemicals produced by the grilling of meat that may be harmful to human health. …Other ways to decrease HCAs is to grill veggies instead of meat, avoid burning/charring meat, or to opt for beef or fish on the grill (chicken has been shown to produce 2-7 times the amount of HCAs).” [Source: http://healthychild.org/live-healthy/recipe-comments/summer_marinade/]

And, by the way, my daughter (9) loves to make marinates with the items I set out. It is a great opportunity to let your children explore being a chef as there is little room for error.

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