What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…
We had a great Thanksgiving! 18 people- some American expats, some European converts, and some Turkey Day virgins came together to enjoy America’s greatest holiday (I know Canadians – you do Thanksgiving too). Even though, it’s a normal work day for us I like to keep our celebration on the Thursday itself. I do the turkey and stuffing, everybody else brings something, and before you know it we have an amazing feast. (Because it was a potluck, I used these great food labels.)
The turkey and the stuffing can be big jobs, but something that always takes a lot of time is the setting up – pulling out the spare tables and chairs and making everything look homey. Each year I try and do something a little different. Last year I set the table with turkey cake pops and Oreo turkeys. This year, because of our trip to the States I was able to pick up some goodies, like Thanksgiving napkins. I used them to decorate the table along with these pilgrim hats, (although I’d say that Chris’s are much neater than mine) and turkey cupcakes that were inspired from these and these.
The pilgrim hats are made using a round cookie, melted chocolate as glue, mini peanut butter cups, and frosting for the buckle. Sadly mini pb cups are not available in Brussels. Instead I used a common Christmas candy – Ice cups. They have a soft creamy milk chocolate filling. Very tasty, but shorter than your standard pb cup, so I had to use two for each hat – such a tragedy =p
For the turkey cupcakes, I went back to my pumpkin bucket list and scratched off yet another item: Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake (as cupcakes of course). But then at the bottom of that recipe I saw Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins. I liked the looks of both recipes so I used elements of both – the cake from the muffins and the streusel from the coffee cake. Let me tell you, yum yum!
The important part of these cupcakes, of course, was turning them into turkeys!
I used a standard cream cheese frosting that I coloured brown, ice cups with a whopper (malteser) glued on for the neck and head, an upside down heart for the waddle, yellow frosting for the beak, white frosting plus a red jimmy for the eyes, and cigarette wafers for the feathers. They were cute and tasty – a real hit.
And then of course there was the real turkey:
Every year I try to improve my turkey making skills. Last year I used a turkey bag, which I loved – no basting! But also not available in Brussels and I forgot to buy one when I was in the States – oops. So this year I tried my hand at brining. I used this apple cider turkey brine recipe from Better Homes & Gardens. I left it to sit in the fridge over night, and then when I started roasting it I tried an unusual tip that I’d read – I don’t remember where. I started cooking the turkey by roasting it UPSIDE DOWN. The bottom bit tends to take the longest and by the time it’s done the breast is dry and tasteless. So, for the first hour I roasted it upside down. Then I took it out of the oven, put it right side up, and inserted the turkey thermometer. It worked wonderfully! I’ll definitely use that little trick again. I also learned how to carve, whohoo – thanks to this awesome little video.
If you’re having turkey for Christmas, I can definitely recommend these three tips:
What are your turkey tips?