Great Ideas for Leftover Turkey

There have been years where I had little to no leftover turkey, and that was very disappointing because I look forward to the leftovers almost as much as the actual feast.  When I am faced with no leftovers I resolve to buy an extra turkey next year.  Here are a couple of reasons I love my leftover turkey.

One of my favorite recipes is for Turkey Gumbo.  I have tried several variations over the years, but  my favorite is one that I have adapted from America’s Test Kitchens.  I love their roux and the flavor baseit gives the gumbo.  In my turkey version I use turkey (or chicken) stock and turkey instead of shrimp.  Additionally, I use a little less stock, more like a quart which is half what the recipe calls for.  Otherwise it is too much liquid for me.  Also, add 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.  Find the recipe here.

Another favorite meal for my leftovers is  Turkey Pot Pie, which remains a favorite for my family.  I use this recipe, although I don’t usually add potatoes.  What a bonus that you can make two pies and freeze one (or send one home with your adult son).

If you don’t want to make the usual turkey sandwich (using dressing, cranberry sauce, etc.) you can perk it up with other additions.  I love adding avocado slices to ours for that extra creaminess and flavor.  Bacon is an obvious go-to.  And for the spread try a remoulade like this one.

Do you have some favorite recipes for leftover turkey?  I’d love to see some new ideas.

A Relaxing Thanksgiving

This year will be the first in awhile that I have not hosted Thanksgiving.  Is it okay to say I am thankful for not hosting?  Don’t get me wrong.  I have usually enjoyed putting on a big celebration and having family and friends around the table.  There is a lot of satisfaction to planning and pulling off an event like Thanksgiving.

But it’s also nice to have a year off.

Because I did not have to have my dining room in Thanksgiving mode I was able to bring in just a little Christmas.  Just a little.

Just adding a few gold leafed magnolia leaves and my red wine goblets there is a touch of the season awaiting  around the corner.

But I am keeping the wheat and the pumpkins  a little bit longer.  I worry that if I get the Christmas decor out too early I will be tired of it long before Christmas Day.

With a few colorful branches on my table, I haven’t jumped ahead too quickly.

 

Do you sneak a few Christmas decor items in before Thanksgiving?  It kind of helps if you can get an early start on things, doesn’t it?

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Thanksgiving Links: From Roasting the Turkey to Decorating the Table

When you have hosted as many Thanksgiving dinners as I have, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and do the same things you always do.  However, I have found that  a little creative boost helps me get more enthused about the process, the work that is involved in making a memorable day for everyone.   That’s when I sit down at my computer to find inspiration and ideas that spice up my usual dinner.

These two links were so thorough that I didn’t need to go any further.  I hope they help you too!

The New York Times has an entire section of helpful tips for the novice and the experienced cook  here.  From How to Roast a Turkey to How to Plan the Menu, you will find a comprehensive guide for your Thanksgiving meal.  Even though I have hosted Thanksgiving more times than I can count, I  am always interested in new ideas for recipes and tips for making the preparations  go more smoothly.

This article had so many ideas for making your table festive.  From simple to elaborate you will find something you like.

Happy Planning!

Kilim Pillows

I love the boho vibe that kilim pillows (and rugs) give a room.  It’s boho and global and somehow youthful.  But these pillows are usually quite pricey.  Here is an example from Overstock for over $70.

Herat Oriental Indo Handmade Wool & Jute Kilim Pillows (Set of Two)

 

When I saw this rug at a thrift/consignment store I saw my opportunity to bring a little global style to my space.

According to the tag, this rug is from Peru. The graphic design grabbed my attention with all the possibilities.  I could make pillows.  I could cover a bench.  When I start to see more than 1 use for an item I know its for me.  And, with its soft and pliable feel  I knew I would be able to cut and sew the material without buying any special tools.  The challenge would be cutting it in a way to preserve the integrity of the design.

I used a length of fabric as a guide on where to cut.  As a visual person this really helped me to see what my final product would be like.

Because my rug is loosely woven I should have sewn  some scrap fabric to the back before cutting.  That helps preserve the edges and keeps them from unraveling.  I didn’t do this and I had to go over the edges a couple of times.

 

I am pretty happy with the end result.  I have enough rug leftover to make at least one, maybe two more pillows.

I will put it beside my knitted pillow (made from a scarf).  I think they compliment one another.

I have a few other projects lined up for the weekend.  It’s kind of nice to start checking them off the list.

Have a great weekend!

 

Holiday Preparations

For some reason (am I forgetting something??) I have a little free time these days. But I know the pace will pick up so I decided to get some things done to make my holidays more stress-free.

I hate to admit it, but I am terrible about cleaning out my freezer on a regular schedule.   It has become somewhat of a mess with Mr. DB’s peppers taking up a lot of room, along with some random odds and ends I didn’t want to “waste”.  But I have gotten better at putting a date on the items I freeze which makes it easier to identify and toss old food.  I will probably make a vegetable soup this coming week to get rid of the little bits of frozen vegetables lurking around in the corners.  A good wipe down once it is cleaned out and I am ready to do some cooking and freezing!

Continue reading “Holiday Preparations”

The Lull before the Holidays

I am so proud of myself when I actually do what I know I should.  You know, like exercise, eat healthy, get a jump start on the holidays.  Today we are going to talk about things you can do to make your holiday season much less frantic and more fun.  Here are a few things I plan to do within the next week.  And one I have already done!

This weekend I will be making hot  pepper jelly.  It takes only an afternoon and yields about 5 jars of homemade goodness, ready to be shared.  It’s great for hostess gifts or anyone you like to give a little something.  You can always add crackers and cream cheese in a cute gift bag for a ready made hors d’oeuvre.    I use the recipe in the Sure-jell box.  Imagine giving your hostess something homemade, instead of the usual bottle of wine, or you could do both.

Did you know that quick breads (like banana and pumpkin) last 2-3 months in the freezer?  And cookies also take well to being frozen.  I make my cut-out Christmas cookies in advance and freeze them.  Then I decorate them another day.  Or you can bake your favorite cookies and freeze them for your family’s holiday or as gifts.  I did this one year and my family was so happy to have those cookies they grew up eating.

These ginger cookies are still nice and soft once they defrost from the freezer.

We often take a bottle of wine as a hostess gift also.  I have been wanting to come up with a custom label to put right on the wine bottle.   I had the inspiration to use leftover printable business cards.  I had two sheets left in a box of Avery printable business cards.  When you go to the Avery site they have so many templates, but if you are one of those super creative and original people you can upload your own design.  I had these printed up in 10 minutes.

There are hundreds of templates on the Avery site, including holiday designs.  I decided to go with a basic, but cute, design that can be used for any occasion.

Use your hole punch to put a hole in the corner.  Tie a ribbon or piece of cord and voila!

And yes, the font is customizable – next time I will make it bigger for sure.  It looks custom, but it’s custom for those of us who are design-challenged.