Thanksgiving and Christmas 2005 Issue
Brine That Turkey Blend
Making Wreaths and Fire Starters
Keep an eye on this newsletter over the next week, because we will be adding more great articles before we wind down for the year. We plan to add any worthy comments before Thanksgiving. So, consider this one the "ever changing newsletter" and the last one for Mabel 2005. Click here for our new 20% Discount if you are affiliated with a school, college, university, or at risk youth program.
Last year our Turkey was smashing. I first rubbed a few drops of food grade white thyme essential oil in it, and then I soaked it for a day in the brine recipe below. If you did not know it, the KFC secret is actually to soak the chicken in brine. After I prepped the turkey with the brine, I stuffed and bagged bag that sucker.
An hour before taking out of the oven--it is important to open the bag to allow the turkey to brown. Follow the directions on the bag. But a Roasting Bag makes it moist and supple. Oh, it was so good all the way through! The brine even permeated the stuffing. I don't know about you, but I make a walnut, apple, raisin stuffing I begin by browning some Jimmy Dean sausage and Vidalia onions. I caramelize the onions with lots of black walnuts also. Yeppers, that is how it is done at Mabel. That is about as far as the cooking effort goes. And I throw a splash of bourbon or cognac in the stuffing. Whatever I have handy. I wrote the recipe below last year, to pack this in a jars and give as gifts this year. Well, at least you have the idea.
Mabel's Turkey Brine Blend:
6 Ounces of Salt
2 Ounces of Wild Thyme
1 Ounce of Wild Sage
1 Ounce of Rosemary
1 Ounce of Moroccan Coriander
½ Ounce Marjoram
3 Tsp. Of Colored Peppercorns
2 Tsp. Black Cumin (.02 Ounces)
This also helps make awesome gravy so everything revolves around a good brine, turkey and bag.
Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet
I just would not feel good about myself if I did not cheat on a Holiday. Yeah, I am in my slippers watching the Macy's Day Parade live in NY when family arrives at 2:00 PM--as if I did not lift a finger. Everyone is looking at me, wondering with hungry eyes if I even got started making our Thanksgiving Dinner.
I get up at 8:00 AM and simply get the Turkey under control. He and I have an understanding. He produces great meat, stuffing and gravy and I eat him later. Getting his neck out is a pain and I am not into gizzards. The rest is cheat city. I buy my bread as frozen dough and put it in a warm place to rise while I am doing the AM turkey thing. My "real" mashed potatoes really come from the milk section of my grocery store (if you can find them.) I do buy a lot of them because we ain't gonna run out of NUTHIN!
Another way to cheat on Potatoes is to just baked thin skinned ones mostly known as "butter potatoes" in the oven a few hours before the turkey is done and whip them up. If people do not like skins, explain the great nutritional value and that they are "sheik" and "in," known as "French Country Mashed Potatoes." If they do not buy that story--they picked the wrong place for Gobble Gobble. Pumpkin Cheese Cake makes it worth it all, and it should be served with Beta Blockers, Ace Inhibitors, and Lipitor. If that is not enough, Sam's Club makes a Caramel Walnut Apple Pie to die for. Why do you think so many people kick the bucket on Thanksgiving? Anyway, the biggest cheat tip in this letter is, when you have it all down pat--well, do it again for Christmas. Screw the ham.
I also serve a Cran-Raspberry jell I canned a century ago. I was tiffed no one sells Cran-Raspberry Jell anymore--so I make it. If you would like Cran-Raspberry Jell, just mix some clear cranberry jell with some 100% raspberry "Just Fruit" preserves. The white corn is totally fresh--picked by hand from my freezer store shelf. Well, not really. Here is my corn casserole dish that is simply demanded at the Thanksgiving table or I need not appear:
Mabel's Corn Casserole:
16 ounces of white corn
16 ounces heavy cream
14 ounces can creamed corn
2 ½ cups Ritz crackers - crushed
½ stick Butter
1 tablespoon sugar (or 1/2 packet of sweetener)
Salt & Pepper
Combine all ingredients, except for butter and ½ cup of crushed crackers, into a bowl and mix ingredients together. Place the mixture into a greased 8 x 12 casserole dish or pan. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs over mixture and then place the ½ stick of butter in the middle. Place in the oven 400 Degrees for 40 Minutes, or until crust is brown. *Taken from Recipes of Famous Inns e-Book by Deborah R. Dolen.
Previous Years at Mabel
Getting Mason Jars and Small containers is easy if you have a Crowder Brothers Hardware, Dollar General sells some types, and Pier One Imports seems to carry the new little spice holders with small spoons.
Best Item for $19.95
Is at Bed Bath and Beyond. Get those coupons out! This Chocolate Fondue "Nesting" Set is awesome because it operates off a tea light and not electric. Electric is becoming a luxury is some weather ridden states and we are for anything that is operated by flame.
Not only that, this set can be used as a Fragrance Warmer, operating off the same theory. It has the width, just pour fragrance shallow--about 1/4 up or make Potpourris Blends such as cinnamon sticks and dried apple or orange pieces. Dried ginger and or Star Anise is also great. Gee, if your really hard up you can seep your teas or coffees in this affordable unit. I may buy four of them. So cool, so versatile and affordable. The triple duty part is just the best.
If you are giving this as a gift, be sure to give them lots of tea lights (bought with your other coupons) as well as items to get it cranking. Our bulk chocolate is perfect for this set, dark, milk as well as white. In fact we use white chocolate to dip our pretzels in and chase with a Shiraz wine. Way too decadent! If our wine does not have the "chocolate" notes it professes to have, well we just stir in some warm dark to make up for it. When playing with chocolate, do be sure to stir every 20 minutes or so as we noticed the candle does focus on one area. Otherwise it works like a charm, and for hours on end.
I also saw this use to dip caramel apples and items like nuts, sprinkles and other coatings were poured into the little dishes. This can be done for chocolate also. Just dip the fruit in the warm chocolate and then into nuts, sprinkles what have you. The whole set comes in a lovely tube box and a bow.
Click here for our fine melting chocolate. Here for the "on sale" chocolate. Yes, a touch of our flavor oils can be stirred into the chocolate. We especially like butterscotch or butter rum in the white chocolate and raspberry or strawberry in the dark chocolate. Click the photo to see this at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
We were able to list out $184.00 of absolute necessities, and arrange a $20 off coupon with Cooking.com so click here if you want to see our "HAVE's" to order on the internet. Also our On Sale Page has been readjusted. Click here for that.
Christmas Cheat Sheet
Rule number one: Immediately after opening gifts, save every bow, tie, or cute adornment you can! Keep them in an empty drawer in your craft room, and if you do not have a craft room, keep them in a big clear shopping bag. Rule number two: You can shred gift wrap for other reasons. If you really want to have some fun=--dumpster dive down the rich streets that day and get what they consider garbage! Rule Number three: Keep the tacky gifts to give back to that person next year! There are no other rules.
My late husband Steven would take every Greeting Card we got and try to erase the signatures, using them for his buddies. He and his "conservative" buddies would always sign in pencil back and forth between them for this reason. Not sure if that was to save the "trees" or to save money and time on picking out a card. He was the king of economy.
Making Wreaths and Fire Starters
Any decent person doing crafts is going to have a glue gun, if they have nothing else in the world. I love my glue gun, because it also stops my carpet when I see runs, and does many other house hold tasks.
The best part about making your own wreaths and Fire Starters is that you can literally walk around out doors or indoors and collect things to stick together. Only a few things need you run out and buy. I would not buy anything until I saw the major materials I found to work with. Then I would figure out what ribbon would look best and so on. Often, I will have that ribbon on hand. Even raffia is great for most any tasteful and simple bow making. If you recall in a previous Christmas newsletter I talked about making a wreath with your old Christmas ornaments, and/or taking your old Christmas decoration and pulling them together with a glue gun and a theme. I picked cream roses last year. This year I am going to pick "bills" so my kids know what that stuff costs. I may even leave the tags on.
Click the thumbnails if you want to see some very pretty and easy to assemble fire starters. The basket above consists of mainly a basket that was given to me, filled with Cinnamon Sticks, Dried Apple Slices, Pine Cones dipped in soy wax on the tops (to look like snow) and pretty fall leaves. I noticed you can get very cheap cinnamon sticks on flea market spice racks.
The other assembles include dried whole lavender sprigs, (great if you grow lavender) and dried spices stems. I had more than enough long basil taking over my kitchen to hang dry up side down in a cool room and use for these kind of bundles. Do be very careful as to what type of wood sticks you chose. For example, Florida is full of pretty, but highly poisons Oleander trees. Even a horse can die if he eats more than two leaves. A small animal, will not make it. A family of 5 in Tampa used these Oleander branches for grilling, a few years ago, and are not here to talk about it.
Orange, whole cloves, Star anise can also be used to dress these bundles us as well as dried orange or apple slices if you can find them. Everyone seems to have Bay Leaves and you can go to town with bay leaves. You can even make a wreath with them alone. One operating theory here is that the spices smell great when they are burning. That is cool.
Happy Thanksgiving and Joyeux Noel! by the Editor
I am going to visit a secret place up north in the snow soon and I am thrilled. I was born at Our Lady of Victory, a Catholic Infant Home that borders Niagara Falls. I may divulge more when I return. Beyond this one secret trip, I will also be in London to finish writing my next book, Les Pigeons, copyright 2004, D.R. Dolen. It stands for "The Pigeons" which reflects my sentiments of today's society. My writing a real novel, with lots of symbolism and parallels, has been a long awaited task and a big departure from craft and recipe books. Les Pigeons, is almost complete. When I am not in the snow I will be helping shipping out as this embarks upon our busiest time of year right up to December 15th. From December 20th to after New Years, I do not think we will be running any newsletters. So, I do wish you well and happy entry to year 2006. I know we will be bringing in a new fragrance line at the start of 2006 that I feel Mabel needs the most. Since I am making candles now, I see what is great and what can wait with fragrance oils.
We are about to not only be busy shipping, but prepping the Mabel White House to shine 50 miles away! Yes, we are on it early. We are putting a big angel on the top of the home. That way, not one can run off with it. Last month someone took a Plumeria Tree off my property, hook, line and sinker. On dry land! I know who did it, so they have a little surprise coming. It will be a harmless classic, trust that.
I hope you learned a lot this year, and if you get bored, well look below and hit Archives. That sure is packed with great articles.
This took some digging but SOOO well worth it!
2 1/2 cups maraschino cherries chopped
3 cups raisins
1 cup pineapple diced
1/2 cup mixed fruit and peels
1/2 cup lemon peels diced
1 cup to 10 oz. chopped Black Walnuts or Pecans
9 cups honey graham cracker crumbs
1/2 lb. or 1 cup blended butter (melted)
1/4 cup Agave Nectar or Molasses
4 to 5 eggs
1/4 cup Parrot Bay Rum or Cognac
7 oz. pureed coconut
24 oz. honey or Agave Nectar
1/4 cup orange juice
Mix blended butter, syrup or molasses, eggs, rum/cognac and orange juice together. Then add honey, when well blended add fruits and nuts, mix & then add fine graham cracker crumbs. When thoroughly mixed this should form a thick paste.
Line 3 or 4 loaf pans with aluminum foil then pour mix into pans compacting and leveling each mix in pans. I prefer the new decorative pans that look like wreaths, Place about 10 whole Black Walnuts or Pecans on top and whole cherries as desired. Place a cloth soaked in rum/cognac on top and place in refrigerator. Re-soak cloth every 2 to 3 days and continue to store in refrigerator until served. It is suggested that the fruit cake be made two to three weeks before serving.