My Thanksgiving Day 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-1-48-12-pmI have to write about my Thanksgiving Day so next year I will remember what I cooked and how it turned out.  Because this year I did a couple of things differently and I want to do them again!

First, my son smoked a turkey.  He took care of the bird, and it came out yummy.  I took the  neck, kidneys, liver and neck (is that what those things are?) … anyway, the inside stuff… and made stock, or broth.  I then used that stock to make the stuffing and gravy.  It was tasty.

Because we were having our heating / AC unit replaced the day before Thanksgiving, I never got to the store to buy my wine (I drank whiskey instead), or pick up some cranberry sauce, I decided to make my own … cranberry sauce that is. Here is how I made it.

We also had mashed potatoes, and I never got around to cooking a vegetable, but my sons don’t care about that, so it was okay.  I will cook veggies to go with the leftovers.

I am in Florida now, so it was a hot and sunny day.  Not too hot, but shorts and sleeveless tops hot.  My son smoked up the neighborhood while cooking the bird, but I think all the neighbors were gone.  It was a quiet and peaceful day.

We still don’t have living room furniture, and the table was crammed with stuff that needs to be put somewhere, so we sat in chairs and watched tv.  We’ve only been living in the new house for about a month now.  Then the boys played some video games, which was fun to watch.  I called my son in Kentucky and my daughter in New Hampshire.  I’ve given up thinking that one day we can all be together for a holiday.

The thing I was most thankful for was the dishwasher.

 

 

Making Turkey Stock For Gravy and Stuffing

turkey stock broth
Boiling gizzards with veggies to make stock.

I tried something new Thanksgiving Day 2016 and added loads of flavor to the meal. I used all the inside stuff from the turkey – the neck, kidneys, etc – not the liver, throw it away (that’s what recipes said).

Brown all that stuff in oil in a large pan for 5 minutes.

While it’s browning cut up a carrot, celery stick, and onion, into bigger chunks.

Crush garlic cloves.  Pick parsley & basil from garden and rinse.

After 5 minutes add the veggies to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth – 2 cups because it tends to be too salty.  And 4 cups of water.  Total 6 cups however you want.

Boil on medium for 45-60 minutes, uncovered.

Strain through a colander and dump out veggies.  Use the broth for making stuffing and gravy.  (We used 2 Publix packets of gravy, and Stove Top stuffing.)  I had just enough stock to make both.  It added great flavor.

I also made my own cranberry sauce since no one eats it but me.  I’m not picky, and it was pretty good.  I’ve never worked with whole, fresh cranberries before.  I though they were only used to make garland for the Christmas tree!

Black Mangrove Honey Made by Bees in a Remote Area

honey
Honey from Mosquito Lagoon – My photo

On a recent visit to Pells Nursery in Osteen, we came across some unique honey called “Black Mangrove” that comes from bees in the Mosquito Lagoon!  The Lagoon is widely known for it’s fishing, but I’ve never heard of honey coming from there. We had to buy it.

The Black Mangrove honey is darker in color and not as thick as other types I’ve had, but it’s delicious.  It’s made by Sun Splash Nursery of New Smyrna Beach.   They are an organic farm and the place is not too far from where I live now.  Their Farmer’s Market is open 8am till 3:30pm Monday thru Friday.  I must go there soon and see what they are selling for produce.  (Update – this place does not seem to exist!  We drove over and found nothing there.  Site must be old.)

Back to the honey.  Raw honey is far superior to store bought generic brands and I love to find new types to try.   This one also has an interesting story behind it.  The company has the right to access the islands filled with black mangrove trees in the Mosquito Lagoon.   All during the Florida summer they collect honey while the mangroves bloom.

We have fished out on the Intracoastal, and have heard bees buzzing on the islands. Now I will be able to picture them working away to make us their fabulous honey!  Below in my photo from another blog of mine (Seashells by Millhill), you can see what those mangrove covered islands look like.

mangroves
There are many, many islands like this out on the Intracoastal Waterway, which includes Mosquito Lagoon.

What a great idea to collect honey from that area! The Sun Splash company will ship their honey to customers, so click the link I provided above if you are interested in trying some for yourself.

Read an article by the Daytona Beach News Journal, written September 2016 about the owner and how he came to help out the bees (and himself) by putting beehives out on the remote Intracoastal islands.

As a side note, I noticed that the Sun Splash Nursery website also has a page containing gardening advice, which will be helpful as I plan my vegetable gardens.  I look forward to visiting their nursery soon.

Chicken on the Grill: Food on the 4th of July

grilling chicken Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. Here in New Hampshire it’s a dark and rainy day and we won’t be doing any grilling. But a few days ago, before the heat wave hit, we grilled up some huge chicken breasts to use for our “no cooking” meals. It’s always difficult to find food to feed the family on muggy hot days. I could easily eat a salad, or have cheese and crackers (with wine of course), but my kids want more.
So I headed to Roys’s Market in Peterborough where the chicken pieces were humongous and bought six pieces.   I marinated them in my special, homemade marinade, and my older son grilled them for us.  It’s been enough for the 4 of us to eat for 3 days. I’ve made chicken salad sandwiches, quesedillas, and enchiladas. Today we will finish up the enchiladas and maybe get some clams and seafood from Kimballs. Not cooking in the heat is top priority for me.  We may drag out the ice cream maker and cook up some of that!
So happy 4th to everyone, whether you are grilling, eating out or whatever. Be safe on this American holiday and enjoy the fireworks if it’s not raining where you are.