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Happy Thanksgiving! 

However you are able to celebrate this weekend, we hope you know that you are loved and valued and you don’t have to be alone.Reach out to someone around you if you’re experiencing feelings of isolation.With so many uncertainties and changes going on around us, it’s important to make sure that we are staying in community and taking care of our mental health. 

Research has shown that, “By consciously practicing gratitude, we can train our brain to select positive emotions and thoughts, thus reducing anxiety and feelings of apprehension.The simple act of reminding yourself of the positive things in your life, even as simple as the roof over your head or food on your plate, can invoke feelings of thankfulness and optimism that make managing stress, depression or anxiety easier.Taking a few minutes to practice gratitude can have positive and long lasting effects on your mental health.”

This weekend our family will be gathering for Thanksgiving to hangout, play, rest and eat turkey together. One of our traditions before our meal is for each person to share something that they are grateful for. It’s really a simple thing, but very heartwarming to hear from each individual on what they are thankful for. 

After gettingmarried, it took us years to want the responsibility of cooking the turkey for a family gathering; it felt like our lack of experience made it a bigger task than we had time or energy for when the kids were little.And, since it’s not something we do every week it’s easy to forget some of the details from year to year.I always have to google to remind myself on times or amounts, so this year I remembered to write some things down.If you’ve never cooked a turkey, or would like a refresher, here are a few helpful instructions. 

If this has been helpful to you, let us know in our social media post, and share your favourite thanksgiving recipes, tips and family traditions.

❤️ Pastor Amy

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians4:6-7

 

___________________________

TRADITIONAL STUFFING

  • 1/2 Cup of butter
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley – less if using dried
  • 2-4 Cups chicken broth (depending on how moist you like it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bag of dried bread cubes (10-12 cups)
  1. Melt butter in a large frying pan or skillet.  Add onions, celery and seasoning.  Cook over medium low until tender.  (About 10 minutes.)
  2. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.  Add the mixture from the frying pan along with fresh parsley or any other fresh herbs.
  3. Pour broth overtop until cubes are moist but not soggy.  Gently toss together.  (Use more or less broth as needed.)

To make ahead:    Prepare as directed and place in ziplock bag until ready to use.  Remove from fridge about 30 minuets before baking.  Prepare as directed. 

To bake:    Fill turkey cavity with stuffing mixture prior to cooking, or bake in separate oven dish @ 350 F for 35 minutes covered, and an additional 10 minutes uncovered. 

Note: This recipe can be made and adjusted with whatever you like, but it’s always great to have a starting point.

 

ROASTING A WHOLE TURKEY

Prepare the turkey for roasting

  1. Thaw turkey.  Be sure to let your turkey completely thaw before cooking.  (Usually you need 24 hours thawing time for every five pounds of turkey. (You can also place it in a cold water bath to speed up the process.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Stuff the turkey.  While the oven is preheating stuff the turkey.  Spoon stuffing lightly into turkey rather than packing firmly because it will expand while cooking. 
  4. Place the turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  5. Season with salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, and any additional herbs you enjoy.  Rub the seasonings right into and under the skin for more flavour.  (Presidents Choice has an excellent poultry rub that has a mixture of flavours.)
  6. Cover the turkey with foil.  For a moist turkey, we cover tightly or tent with foil. 

Roasting the turkey

  1. Baste turkey with juices every 45-60 minutes using a turkey baster or whatever you have – even a spoon will work.  This will not make the turkey any more moist but will promote even browning of the skin. (When the turkey skin is a nice golden colour, remove the foil to further brown the skin.)
  2. Check the temperature.  The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear, or a meat thermometer reads 170 F for an unstuffed turkey, or 180 F for a stuffed turkey. (Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh, not touching the bone.)
  3. Rest the turkey before carving. Remove the turkey from the oven when the cooking is completed and let it stand for about 20 minutes to let the juices set.  This will allow the juices to redistribute and makes for easier carving. 
  4. Remove the stuffing from the turkey and place in serving dish. 
  5. Carve the turkey with a sharp knife the same way you would carve a chicken.  (Google can be your friend if you’ve never done this before.)   Remove the wings first, and then the thighs.  Pop out the joints that keep these pieces attached to the bird and cut straight through the joint.  Once the meat is off you can separate the thighs and drumsticks and carve the breast meat into individual slices. 
  6. Plate for serving.   Usually people like to place the dark meat on one side and the white meat on the other side. 

Note: Cooking times vary but will be approximately 13-15 minutes per pound.  This can vary depending on your oven, how tightly you wrap or tent the foil, whether you have a stuffed or unstuffed bird etc.  There are handy charts on the internet that can help you determine a an approximate time for how long you will need to cook your turkey. 

 

MAKING GRAVY

Our favourite homestyle gravy uses turkey drippings AND butter for the best flavour and silky texture. 

  1. Remove the turkey from the pan. 
  2. Set pan aside with drippings.
  3. Melt butter in medium pot or saucepan.
  4. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon, mixing constantly to avoid lumps.  Continue stirring until mixture is blended and slightly browns. 
  5. Pour in hot drippings (cold will make lumps).  Whisk until the liquids are fully incorporated.   Use chicken broth if you need to add more liquid.   (Water will work too but will lack flavour so make seasoning adjustments accordingly.)
  6. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Once bubbling, turn heat down to a low simmer while gravy thickens and flavours mix. 

Gravy for 6

  • 1/4 Cup of butter
  • 1/4 Cup of flour
  • 2 Cups liquid (drippings and broth). 
  • Salt and pepper
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