Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks We aren't Giving Presents on this Holiday

This is a reprint of a previous Turkey Day Hint page. 

Some additional tips this year as I am doing my own research for dinner for two and since I am working  and everyone is out of town this year something quick and easy for me and my Poppi.

I found out a few restaurant chains offer a good turkey day dinner.  Boston Market, Bob Evans, Denney's, Perkins,and your local family style restaurants often offer a turkey day meal.  The chains offer take away at Boston and Bobs.  Check the others for  hours and if you need to order ahead to insure availability. 

Stove top is a clear bet for easy dressing if you perfer to prepare at home but quick. Instant Mashed varieties of potatoes are better than they used to be and canned and jared gravies are good with a little added sage or bells turkey seasoning.

Maria C's Turkey day frozen dinners are rated well for frozen.

Country Crock offers fresh ready to heat and eat stuffing and mashed potatoes that are quite good.

Consider a Purdue or Butter Ball fresh small turkey or turkey breast.  A Hormel boneless fully cooked half or quarter ham ready to heat and eat.

Every local market is offering great buys on apple and other fruit pies and pumpkin for an average cost of 3.99 or 5.99 in their bakeries. 

Feeding a large crowd?  Boston Market caters for pickup or delivery depending on size of order.  They offer both ham and turkey meals but you need to order today.

What am I going to do?  It's looking like two turkey dinners from Boston with a Hormel quarter or half ham on the side to heat up I think. But that's subject to changing my mind. 

Hope you have a good day on Turkey Day.  Many Blessings in the coming year and a big hug from FRG. Now the reprint.

Growing up Thanksgiving was by far my most favorite holiday. All the pleasure of Christmas without the pressure of presents. It also was a holiday that involved thanking the creator for our blessings that year and was a holiday when the Native American was celebrated for helping the white man.

In honor of that I offer up some holiday tips to both veteran hosts and hostesses as well as newbees.

Rule number one remember it's not about the food its about the fellowship. You don't have to have turkey, chicken, a tv dinner, a brisket, Denney's, soup, anything can be a Thankgiving meal. Remember the first one was just a big pot luck meal. In your haste and hurry don't forget to be in each moment for time passes quickly and memories are meant to be sweet.

If you are alone this year it need not be lonely volunteer somewhere that day. Volunteer to work for a coworker. Help out at a hospital,soup kitchen,church, the VA,military base, meals on wheels,etc.

If you are housebound and have a phone start a call tree and wish folks a happy day. Or make it a day of prayer for your loved ones, your country etc. Have a tv, enjoy the parades or sports or Christmas movies on tv.

For those with the task of hosting the day here are a few tips.

Housecleaning. Most import just have a clean bathroom. No one will notice anything else. Hire a merry maid for a day to do the general house cleaning. Have kids. Put them to work. Always include children in prep and cooking. Making memories folks. Mom or Dad can't do it all. TGD is about community.

Need more seating? Rent or borrow from family and friends.

Turkey Tips

Don't be stressed about the turkey. Easiest thing to cook in the world. Still a little frozen? Keep it in the wrapper and place it in a clean sink or a large tub with cold tap and turn it periodically changing the water if it gets warm. This speeds the defrost. And don't forget to pull the giblet and parts bag out of the inside gavities. The bags are usually located in the inside gavity and at the front under the neck flap. Purchasing at the last minute, go for a fresh or fully cooked turkey. Avoid discounted frozen turkeys you may run into a bad one. Your turkey is the featured player so buy a good one.

What do you do with those parts. If the heart,liver gizard etc look rich in color they can be prepared to use in the stuffing or deep fried etc. If not, toss out. The neck and tail numb you will remove from the base of spine of the bird are good to boil with the organ parts in about five cups of water with an onion cut in half,some stalks of celery with the leaves and a carrot for broth for gravy and use in stuffing. Boil and then simmer for a 2-3 hours to render the flavor from the meat and the fat from the skin. Strain out the solids and save the organ meats except for the gizzard and throw out the tail. De skin the neck and some of the meat can be pulled off and chopped fine to use in the stuffing. If the heart is tender finely chop it and the other organ meats and it also can be used in the stuffing.

What seasoning means TG? Sage. Sage is that key seasoning that permeates stuffing,turkey and gravies. One of the best turkey seasonings around is Bell's Turkey Seasoning. It has a heavy accent of sage and that's what makes it great on and in your turkey, stuffing and gravy. Now I know you may prefer cajun or injectables, or sweet rather than savory sauces, but for the old fashioned Momma style Sage is the Daddy of TG flavors.

Turkey seasoning is simple salt,pepper,paprika and bells turkey seasoning or sage inside and out after you put a little olive oil on the outside of the bird so the seasonings stick. Many injectable seasonings are available as well as sweet and savory glazes for the end of cooking. If you stuff don't over stuff and pack in the stuffing. Lightly put in a few tablespoons and put the rest of the stuffing in a baking dish to cook in the oven. Remember stuffing the bird lengthens the cooking time and only stuff just before you put it in the oven. Any turkey will come with temp,time baking instructions based on weight. make sure you write down the weight and when you put the turkey into the oven. Many turkeys come with pop up timers but use a meat thermometer periodically to test for doness. Try to avoid opening and closing the oven too much it will lengthen the cooking time. Figure on basting about every 45 minutes and that is about the time to look at the meat thermometer. Also remember when choosing the bird the smaller the turkey the tenderer the bird. Buying two small birds for a larger group can be a good thing. Cook one the day before pouring the juices over the cut up parts in a reheatable dish and cover tightly and refrigerate. Cook the second bird the day of for presentation and smell. You'll have 4 legs and thighs and 4 wings and everyone will be happy. Also consider using a large roaster cooker and cook both birds at the same time. When open roasting in a roasting pan remember to tent the breast top and put some foil over the legs and wing area as they cook so they don't over cook. When checking temp remember that the turkey will continue to cook as it rests before slicing so if it's about 5 degrees under temp that's not a bad thing. If it's five over it may be a little dry but gravy is wonderful thing. Don't be afraid to use Turkey size cooking bags to cook your turkey. This is a great way for newbee's to have a moist Turkey.

If you don't have one, invest in an electric knife or borrow one. It makes for even cuts and easy cutting of the Turkey.

If you are making pies and stuffing do it the day before. Traditional pumpkin has time to cool and you can papertowel off any beaded sugar moisture before refrigerating. Keep fruit pies out of the frig and place in a secured location with a little foil lightly on top after it is completely cooled to keep the crust crispy. This goes for baked frozen fruit pies as well.

Don't be afraid to ask guests to bring something like rolls,corn bread, vegetable casseroles,salads,deserts etc. It lighten's the burden for you and really captures the real meaning of the first thanksgiving and keeps family and friend recipes alive. Suggest they bring a copy of their recipe to share with the other guests.

For hosts on the go with little time supermarkets have a variety of time savers such as seasonal side dishes ready for the microwave from Bob Evans ,Country Crock or the Deli like stuffing, mashed potatoes,greenbean casserole etc. As I said before precooked turkeys available for reheat are also available. Consider cooking just a Turkey Breast or a Turkey Roast.

Gravy can be a thing. It doesn't have to be. Use a jared sauce or dry gravy packet and add some of the juices from the bird in the gravy and add some pepper and some bells turkey seasoning or sage and your sauce will taste from scratch. Always make twice to three times the amount of gravy you think you will need because folks like it on turkey,stuffing,potatoes, and biscuits. Rule of thumb you can never have enough gravy. Keep a pot on the stove warm and covered to refill and reheat the gravy service.

Mashed potatoes are easy. Plan on 5lbs for 8-10 people 10 for a larger group. Red Potatoes or Yukon Gold seem to be the best choices and the creamest. Pick large ones for less peeling. This is a great job for guests and kids to participate. Go to a dollar store and pick up more than one of those slip style peelers and instruct. And reserve the knive and cubing to a more experienced volunteer. Drop the cut up potatoes in the boiling pot filled with cold water.Then boil in water after peeling cutting up into uniform med pieces untill a fork breaks them apart. Drain the water and mash with a masher or hand mixer untill lump free add a stick of real butter for every five lbs and then add about a can of condensed mik slowly mixing with a mixer untill the potatoes make peaks. Remember not to go too thin because gravy will be added . Add salt and pepper to taste. I use white pepper so as not to put off folks with a black pepper avoidance issue. For more flavor or creaminess you can use sourcream or fresh smashed roasted garlic. But again remember gravy is going to be poured on this so there is a lot of seasoning that is going to be on these potatoes. Got your potatoes too thin or using mashed potatoes from a store bought turkey dinner kit. Instant potatoes can be added to warm mashed to thicken the consistancy.

Stuffing Tips

Stuffing is easy today with all the stuffing kits available from stove top to pepperidge farm. And drying out in a low oven any stale bread like hot dog buns etc. to add makes for an economical dish. Everyone has different traditions but if you are looking for standard you can add small chopped sauted in butter celery,and onions and then fold in a fresh diced apple with skin on and sprinkled with lemon juice along with enough cups of chicken or turkey broth to saturate the bread moist but not soggy based on the cups of bread crumbs you are using. This is also the time to add any meat from the Turkey or sausage etc . Fold in a beaten egg and season with salt,pepper to taste , a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of Bell's seasoning or sage and a tablespoon of parsley.(Note if you are using stove top or preseasoned stuffing mixtures all you may need is a little salt and pepper and a hint more of sage. Folks also add things like Pinenuts,rehydrated craisins or raisins etc. Cover and let that mixture rest in the mixing bowl in the frig for the flavors to go through and moisture to permeate. When ready see if any more liquid needs to be added or additional bread crumbs. Remember not to overmix your stuffing fold in additions and handle lightly. It should be fluffy. Place in a greased baking dish and top with a few dabs of butter and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes. Check it at thirty minutes. This is baked when the turkey has been removed from the oven. When complete let rest a bit before serving. And as I said before the stuffing can be made a day a head and refrigerated and baked the day of after the Turkey has finished baking.

Tips for making Pumpkin pie.

To take the pie up a notch. Use part brown sugar for the sugar. Add a tablespoon of black strap molasses. Add two tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and for thicker more satisfying texture rather than runny add a tablespoon of all purpose flour. Don't overbake or freeze that is what causes crust seperation.

Turkey Day Schedule


Shop for all things needed.
If purchasing frozen turkey put in lower part of frig and let defrost.


Clean house and set up tables and chairs


Clean turkey remove the giblet and neck bone bags. Make broth from parts. Season up bird and place in roaster and cover with plastic tightly and refrigerate so seasoning can marry with bird. Do not stuff bird at this time. If bird and pan won't fit. just wrap bird in plastic wrap and place in large bag. You will have to season lightly on outside when unwrapping to place in roaster for cooking day.

Bake Pies

Prepare stuffing and cover and refrigerate mixing bowl.

Set the tables

Turkey Day morning.

Preheat oven.

Have breakfast and put the Turkey in oven at appropriate time.

Shower and change along with fam. Don't forget aprons for all those cooking.

About an hour and a half before the Turkey is done peel and cut potatoes and place in water and boil.

Get a pan for the gravy.

Get a carving station ready for the Turkey.

Finish making the mashed potatoes place in covered server and hold in a warm area.

When turkey is done take out and remove some of the juices and place in gravy pot.

Remove stuffing from bird if any and place in covered serving dish to stay warm.

Cover turkey let it rest.

Place remaining stuffing in casserole dish along with any others and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Make the gravy leave in the cooking pot covered on warm.

Cut up the turkey and place in large serving container. Pour the remaining juices over the bird and cover.

When casseroles are complete remove them and place on hot pads to rest.

The best way to serve is buffet style for groups larger than 4. Remember elderly or infirm guests still need to be served. This is a great thing for older kids to participate in as well as more able guests. Delegate. Tell the older folks to to take a seat and take their orders. A list of available things on the menu is great to have at every table on either side and things like drinks can be placed on table ahead of the meal placement.

Beverages should be kept simple like water,iced tea sweetened and unsweetened,hot tea, milk, coffee. I don't recommend hard liquor. But if guests want to bring beer or wine to share that can be allowed. Drunkeness should not be a part of any large gathering or party. It's not funny and doesn't set a good example for young ones. Smokers should be directed outside where a table with ashtrays and chairs should be available. This is for the comfort of other non smoking guests and health of little ones.

I hope some of these tips are of a help. If you have tips to share please leave a comment. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all of you.

Websites of Interest.


Bob Evans Seasoned Homestyle Stuffing









Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Am I Wasting Precious Time?

I can say I did know it would be a tight race.  I was hoping the American People were smarter.  Apparently not.  I am so disgusted with the eastern seaboard and their stupidity that I canceled by twitter page.  I have 30 days to change my mind.  I am sitting here trying to decide if I want to continue a blog.  Does it really matter?  I'll give myself 30 days to decide.  FRG

Let Our Soldiers Vote!

Today when many Americans go to the Polls to exercise the very right that many sacrificed their lives so those Americans can make their voice heard in the halls of Washington DC.  The irony of it all the very folks in Iraq our troops liberated from a self imposed dictator and despot can have their votes counted.

The problem in Wisconsin is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA) -- that requires election officials to send absentee ballots to military voters at least 45 days before a federal election.
"In this election cycle, states are required to ensure the transmission of absentee ballots to military voters no later than September 22, 2012. According to the Wisconsin office's records, however, at least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to transmit ballots to UOCAVA voters by the 45-day deadline." This time is required for those deployed on long remote missions to allow enough time for precincts to receive their ballots in time to count. 

Well Wisconsin is not the only State.  Illinois is being investigated as well for voter fraud of this kind.

This problem seems to be the problem in about every State in the Union. 

As reported by By Todd Starnes Fox News:

Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX) said thousands of military voters could be disenfranchised as a result of the DoD’s failure to modernize its system of getting ballots to troops.
“DoD’s failure to fix this longstanding problem means that the blank ballots of thousands of overseas service members, as well as some who have recently returned from overseas, could be currently trapped in an archaic and inefficient mail forwarding system,” Cornyn wrote in a letter to Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta. “These ballots are unlikely to reach these service members until after Election Day has passed.”
Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John McCain (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Cornyn in raising the issue. The lawmakers believe the impacts could be especially widespread this year – due to troop movements out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

As reported by Fox News continued:

Vickie Freel said her son, who is stationed at Pearl Harbor, never received his absentee ballot.
“I am so frustrated and angry about this,” Freel told Fox News. “There is something very wrong when anyone in our military is not afforded the same rights as the average citizen.”
Michael Boynton’s son is serving in the U.S. Army — in A fghanistan.
“He said they gave out the ballots and before they could do anything — like mark them, they were ordered to return them,” Boynton told Fox News. “He said they were told the ballots were incorrect — but they were never given the so-called corrected ballots.”
That was five weeks ago — and as of today those soldiers have not been given new ballots, he said.
Boynton said his son, who is in the Army, had a chance to look at the disputed ballots and they seemed correct.
He said it’s an outrage that his son and other members of the military may not be able to vote.
“As a parent I find this appalling and unconstitutional,” he said. “Not to allow our men and women who are putting their lives in danger on a daily basis to vote?”
Boynton placed the blame on the Obama Administration.
“Our troops do not believe President Obama is a strong commander or leader,” he said.
Even more disappointing for the proud military father — the 2012 presidential election would have been a landmark moment in his 21-year-old son’s life.
“This would have been the first time for our son to have voted,” Boynton said.

Farrightgirl has two family members in the United States Military and this makes me madder then a wet hen.  My 79 year old veteran Pops who served during the Korean Conflict told me he never was able to vote all the time he was over there. Our Soldiers have their free speech limited and now they can't even vote?  What's wrong with this picture.  I urge you to contact your local state voting authorities and those at the federal level and demand for those that put themselves in harms way for our freedom and the freedom of the whole world the right to exercise their right to vote.  In this day and age with our "State of the Art War Equipment" we can not figure out a way to get this vote out today?  Internet?  Telephone?  Anybody?

On this day you are voting make a call, send an email,talk to a local reporter demanding voter rightrs for our men and women in our military and thank a soldier, a veteran for YOUR right to vote!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two More Days ...

Two more days to the offical election day that determines the fate of our beloved Republic the United States of America.  At a time when America has not been more divided since the Civil War and after the most far reaching and destructive perfect storm leaving thousands without food,clothing and shelter this election day above all election days is the most important in our history.  As folks left without resources to live still stuned by the the aftermath and after the photo ops of POTUS and Govs and Mayors have ended, it is time to gather our resolve to make our voices heard at the ballot box. 
I have tweeted that we must pray today that our heavenly Father gives us the new leadership we need and not the leadership we deserve.   Often God will allow authority to be reflective of a weak and lazy undisciplined people to teach them that their values have grown contrary to his wise and loving instruction.  But I personally feel that there is a revival going on in America in which folks are returning to God and his principles.  I believe that in two days God's divine mercy and grace will show itself and folks will turn out at the polls in greater numbers than has ever been recorded.  I also believe that the divider and chief bitter towards the loving grace of God will be removed from his position of power and  men after God's own heart will be placed back in positions of authority and the original intentions of divine providence and provision will play out before the eyes of the world to stand as a witness that if God's people hunble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways he is faithful and just to heal their land. 
In a land with the richest collection of human and natural equity there is no reason we as a nation need sit in rags as if we have no Father in heaven who enables all to achieve and live up to our maximum best.  We have a bounty of riches in the tangible and intangible and we need to stop listening to folks who would convince us otherwise.  We need to move these sad dogs out of the way and move on to those that recognize and embrace the powers that our creator has bestowed on all of us to move mountains and allow us to once again be the city of God that is shining on the hill.  The great equalizer has never been government. Our founding fathers knew this truth.  The great equalizer is our father in heaven who told us to believe "We can do all things thru Christ who strengthens us."  All things my brothers and sisters.
Now we can sit in our rags and cry a pity party and follow the negative rehetoric of our Divider and Chief or we can reclaim our heritage of children of God, King's kids, and tap into our inheritance.  Our inheritance contains riches so great they can not be counted.  Do not live in the land of defeat, but in the land of victorious living.  Choose those that understand that government is not our solution but our problem.  Let's elect folks who will move government out of our lives and remove the barriors to the full measure of our unconquerable faith in God's power to help us achieve true greatness in God's perfect will.
You need not go to government for your piece of the pie.  Go to your heavenly Father for he will give you the whole pie and you will neither hunger or thirst ever again.  Vote for those who would not serve as a middle man to every dollar you earn or as a procter that doles out just enough that they think you can survive on just to work for them more.  Vote for the people that are willing to stand aside and let you determine how your earnings will be used and spent. 
I believe the sheep in America are waking and are discovering there is many a wolf amongst them.  Let's let the dogs out to run those wolves over the cliff and allow the sheep to be safe once again in the guidance and care of the good shepard.  Tuesday get out and make your voice heard.  Tuesday vote to reclaim your Republic the only one in the world.  Tuesday vote for Romney and Ryan 2012.