Grilled Turkey and Pecan Pie

We had our own Thanksgiving with friends on Sunday.  The original plan was to smoke the turkey, but with it being 20 degrees outside, the smoker would just not get hot enough!!  We didn’t have room to do it in the oven since we are insane and were also cooking a ham, so we decided to try and grill it.  We set it up over indirect heat and after some fiddling with the temperature things finally started moving along.  We may have cooked it too long, but since we brined it, it still came out delicious and tender.  It was one of our best turkeys yet.  Our 10 pound bird ended up cooking for about 3 1/2 hours (we started it pretty low, like 325).  We did a wet rub with a bunch of herbs and oil under the skin on the breast and all over the bird.  I put some apple, onion, lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs inside, but not too much.  Oh, and the turkey was fresh, from Wight’s.

I also made my first ever pecan pie, using Alton Brown’s recipe.  Mine took much longer to cook though, more like 50 minutes.  I had never had pecan pie and it was really, really good.  Everyone said that it is much less sweet than most pecan pies, I think that is probably a good thing.

We had loads of other food too, but I only got a picture of the pie and the  turkey :)

Whole Wheat (fresh milled) and Kamut Bread

It is official!  I have made the most awesome bread ever :)  I got the recipe from here and tweaked it just a little bit.  I used a new-to-me pan too, a 4 1/2 x 12, which I love. It got done so much quicker!!  The bread is nice and light but still holds together well, and the taste from the fresh milled flour is soooo good.  Even if you don’t have fresh milled flour, it will still be good!

Whole Wheat/Kamut Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups wheat flour – I used hard white wheat
  • 1 cup kamut flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used fine grain)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey

I melted the butter in the water in the microwave, about 1 1/2 minutes on high.  Add the honey.  I mixed all of the dry ingredients and yeast in the kitchenaid and then added the liquid.  I mixed until it all came together and then let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Then just turn on the mixer to knead the bread for about 10 minutes.  I ended up adding 2 tablespoons more of flour.  You know the rest, let rise, shape, rise again.  Mine baked at 350 degrees for just under 45 minutes.  We tried to let it cool, but that never happens :lol:

I definitely think we have a new standard bread recipe!!!

Deep-fried Pickles

Who knew they would be so good?!  We tried homemade spears given to me by a friend, and some store brand chips.  I voted the spears the best!  The Boyfriend liked the chips better.  We made some fry sauce for dipping.  They were seriously good, but I could only eat a few.  I would definitely do this again!!  If you are interested, we used Alton Brown’s recipe.  

It almost makes me want to try a deep-fried Snickers bar.  Almost.

Pumpkin Chip Bread

I roasted our last pie pumpkin last night :(  I may buy one more but that will be it, since we still have a ton of assorted squash downstairs.  I used half of the puree, about 1 pound, for this pumpkin bread.  It made two decent sized loaves, and only one stuck to the bottom of the pan!  :lol:  I need to be patient and let it cool more before I try to take it out of the pan I guess.

I loosely followed this recipe found at The Fresh Loaf.  I ended up using about 3 1/4 cups of flour, and I also used white sugar but added a few tablespoons of molasses.  I also used butterscotch chips and chopped up some unsweetened chocolate to add in.  The cook time for the smaller loaf was 40 minutes and the larger loaf took about 50.  It turned out really good!!  I ate waaaay too much last night, oops!  So I skipped breakfast today to make up for it.

What will I do with the other half of the puree?  I’m thinking another batch of pumpkin beer is in order…

Random Banana Muffins

I have buying bags of bananas at the grocery store to bring home and freeze for smoothies.  Normally I prefer organic bananas, especially for eating.  I like them before they get too spotty and the non-organic ones usually have less flavor and leave my mouth feeling coated, and well, they don’t taste very good.  But they seem to be okay left to get really ripe, then frozen, and used in bread or smoothies.  This batch was for smoothies.

Anyway!  I had 3 that wouldn’t fit on the plate so I decided to just make a batch of muffins.  I used Mark Bittman’s recipe for Muffins, Infinite Ways with some changes of my own.

Here’s what I did.  Mixed:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
Added:
  • 3 small mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped and toasted cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup chips – half cinnamon half butterscotch
They turned out great!!  I really was just using what was on hand and sounded good.  I would maybe even use more espresso powder next time.  It was a great way to start using up that wheat germ that has been in the fridge too long!
What’s your favorite muffin? 

Meal Planning – yes or no?

No there is not a meal plan here.  Everything I read about spending less on food says you have to have a food plan!  If you don’t have a plan you will just spend too much money and end up wasting food.

I do want to save money, but I am SO anti menu planning.  Every time I try to do it my head just starts to spin.  Hate.it.  I have become quite used to (in the last few months) buying only produce that is on sale, buying from the farmer’s market, and buying at Costco – trying to keep it at just what we need and what makes sense, like meat, eggs, fish, coffee.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But for the life of me I cannot fathom sitting down, planning every meal (what if I don’t feel like having spaghetti on Tuesday?!), and then making my list and trying to get what I need and hope for a good price.

I have been pretty good about just looking in the fridge and cooking something with what is there, instead of getting an idea of some meal in my head that we just don’t have the ingredients for.  I would end up going to the store and probably buying more than what is needed, when there was perfectly good food to cook at home!  I still end up at the store more than twice a week usually, which probably isn’t good.

I guess my question is do you plan meals?  Do you make a shopping list based on meals, or what is going to be on sale?  Are you like me and just cook what is there?  And how do you save money on food groceries if you aren’t meal planning?!

 

Spicy Posole-ish Soup

I’m craving all kinds of soup lately.  Last night’s was creamy roasted squash.  Today I had the fixings for a posole kind of soup.  I don’t know how authentic it is, since I just kind of threw things in, but it was very tasty!  We had it with some fresh bread and rolls with cornmeal in them.  I didn’t think it was going to be very spicy but it ended up pretty hot!

Here’s what I put in the mix:

  • About 1 pound of spicy pork sausage – I got mine from the Real Foods Market in Orem
  • Bacon fat, about 2 tablespoons but you could use less
  • 4 small carrots cut
  • 2 1/2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 anaheim peppers, one was orange
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • About 3 cups of water
  • 1 pint of home canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of hominy
I basically just browned the sausage and then put it in the crock pot.  I added the bacon fat and cooked the peppers and carrots for a bit, added the onions and cooked for a bit, and then the garlic.  That went in the pot.  I deglazed the pan with the tomatoes, base, and water and added that.  I added the hominy and a couple of tablespoons of chili powder, some cumin, oregano, coriander, and of course salt and pepper.  I added a glug of balsamic but I don’t know if that did anything ;)  I then forgot to plug in the crock pot and half an hour later figured that out.  So it cooked for about 5 hours.  The original plan was to use beans but I ran out of room in the crock pot!  Next time I’d just do beans and no hominy I think, or leave out the carrots.  Anyway, try it, you’ll like it!

Raw Milk and Cheese Goal

I already have an update for my October Goals!  We went to Centerfield yesterday to get a bunch of squash – if you ever need a day trip around this time of year I suggest you go too.  We had a great time and the squash was a fantastic price!!  They had tons of different kinds, and lots of pumpkins for jack-0-lanterns, pies, you name it.  We got lots, including a bunch that I don’t even know what they are :lol:  I’m looking forward to trying them all.  Anyway, we took a detour to Manti and then on the way home we stopped off in Orem to visit the Real Foods Market.  They sell raw milk and grass fed meats, along with lots of supplements and veggies.  We bought a couple of gallons of milk and some pork chops, and it wasn’t until today that I got brave enough to try the milk.  So good!!!  So good.

We used one gallon to make cheese.  Mozzarella.  I probably wouldn’t do this again with this milk, I’m not sure though.  It was a lot of leftover whey and not a lot of cheese.  It is super tasty but I think you can get the same results with cheaper milk and cream or half and half.  I do not know this, but I have read it.  I will try it and let you know!  Another reason is that the milk really was delicious.  I would drink that milk, and I really don’t drink milk all that much.  I think it will be better suited for drinking, buttermilk, and yogurt.  So I will probably be doing more of that.  We did save the whey from the cheese-making and I plan on using it in baking and smoothies and such.

So there we go, two goals down!

Creamy Pumpkin “Pie”

I wanted to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but didn’t want to use 3 packages of cream cheese and tons of sugar.  I was searching for a pumpkin cream cheese pie, but didn’t like what I found.  So I decided to wing it, and I really liked the results!!  It’s not quite pumpkin pie, it is creamier.  It’s not quite cheesecake, though I did do a crumb crust and used some cream cheese.  Whatever it is, it is very tasty!!  It is a little small on top but I didn’t mind that.  Here’s my recipe:

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree – I baked my own
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese – I used full fat
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger – or pumpkin pie spice I guess (I don’t know I’ve never used it :lol:)
For the crust
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • about 2 cups crispy gingerbread cookie crumbs
Mix the crust in a springform pan and press out evenly.  I used foil around my pan just in case of leakage.  Cream sugar and cream cheese together until well mixed.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add eggs, vanilla, and spices and mix well.  Pour the filling over the crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes until mostly set but still a little jiggly.  Cool completely.  Enjoy!!  We didn’t have any but some whipped cream on top would be pretty good :)

Ambitions

Looks like I will busy this weekend!  The plan is to fill up all of the canning jars I have on hand.  I’ve got the salsa processing already.  I also plan to do diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, V8 style juice, applesauce, and brined pickles.  I’ve never done pickles before so I hope it works out.  I got all of this at the Farmer’s Market for $71.