Monday, November 20, 2017

Killer Smoked Turkey

Ok guys... I'm going to be honest.  I didn't especially like turkey until I tried a smoked turkey. I mean it was OK, but I wasn't ever drooling thinking about Turkey.  Now I do.  I am going to be honest this is a recipe that isn't hard, it just takes time.

The first thing I learned I learned this year... BRINING IS A BIG DEAL.  I have tried dried brine before and meh.  It helped with flavor a bit but doing a true salt water brine is the way to go in my personal opinion.

My brine:

2 gallons of water
1 cup of kosher salt
7 cloves of garlic
1 onion
small palm full of whole peppercorns
As you can see I didn't even take the time to peel the onion. I just cut it into fourths and I smashed the garlic.  Throw it all in give it a stir and boil that bad boy!!! I let mine boil for a good 5 minutes with a stir every now and again.  I let mine sit on the stove, it was off,  for a good two hours after that so it was cooled all the way.   Then I doubled up two trash bags and dumped it in with a cleaned, fulled defrosted turkey. Seal that bag super well so nothing can escape.   My fridge was occupied so I put it in a cooler outside with a bag of ice. Make sure it stays cool around 40 degrees the whole time.  It needs to be in there for 24 hours. About half way through I flipped the Turkey over so that it was evenly brined.

After that, I took out the turkey and patted it dry with paper towels. I let it sit out for another 1/2 hour or so, so it was completely dry.  I then took some softened butter and mixed it with Sage, rosemary, garlic powder, and pepper. I did a rough chop on the fresh herbs.  Then I handed it over to my husband to smoosh it all together.
I wasn't being lazy I was just separating the skin from the bird.
To do this gently rub your hand back and forth and break all of the membranes, I did this even down the legs.  Once the butter is ready I took finger fulls of it and put it all around inside the skin and inside the cavity of the bird. then I placed it on top here and there and rubbed it all around.  I also put one more sprig of rosemary and sage inside the bird with a lemon halved.
Alright, We went and started up our Traeger (which is on sale right now!

We started it with the lid open on smoke for 5 minutes, then closed the lid and set it for 375.  Put it in when it is to heat.  We cooked it for 3.5 hours internal temp needs to be 165 degrees F.

I had to take out the roasting rack out to the pan to make it fit. when it comes out let it rest for 20 minutes then enjoy that goodness!! I used the pan drippings for yummy gravy too!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pumpkin rolls!!!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and these are the perfect rolls to celebrate.  I found the recipe on  I made them for about 3 years as they directed but this year I noticed they were coming out drier than I liked so I revamped that recipe a little bit to make it more to my liking.

These do contain pumpkin puree.  However, they don't have a strong pumpkin taste at all. The pumpkin really just adds color and a hint of pumpkin.  What makes these rolls amazing is the butter that goes with them.  Try them out and let me know what you think!!!

To get started take 1 cup of milk and scald it.
Then I like to put the butter in it to melt while it is still hot. I like to do 4 tbsp of butter here and also put in your 1/4 cup of sugar.
Stir that up.  The cold butter helps cool the milk down. Once it is cooled a little bit, comfortable to dip your finger in but still warm add in your yeast, 2 1/4 tsp or one yeast packet, and let it get bubbly.

Now that the yeast is ready it is time for the good part.  Add in your  3/4 cup of pumpkin puree, I like to use the canned stuff but you can also make your own, 1 egg, and 1 tsp. of salt. After you have those things mixed I like to put in 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour slowly.  Mix it in a kitchenaid for 2 minutes, then let the dough rest for 5.  Then turn it back on for 4 minutes.  I like my dough to look like this.  It is a little sticky and very smooth.  Notice that it is pulled away from the sides.

For the next step spray a bowl with non-stick spray and cover the dough.  I like to cover mine with a bag.  I find that it gets a better rise and doesn't get a skin on the surface of the dough.  I also like the bag over handy wrap because it gives the dough more space.
I left mine for an hour.  I keep my house a little chilly though, so if you have a warm house check to see if it is doubled in about 45 minutes.

Now that it is all double and poof lets make some pumpkins! I like to take about a palm full and I gently roll it around and around until it is smooth
I do this with all the dough and I made 12 perfect little balls. Right about now go to your fridge and take out 1 stick of butter to make the honey butter later.  We want it to be nice and soft.
Next you need to cut the pumpkin edges I go in about 3/4 of and inch and I usually try to do about 8 cuts per roll. Make sure you don't get too close to the middle or it will look really funky and you won't have a space to put in a stem.  Sorry about all the background noise on the video.... This is real life people!! Make sure you fluff your roll back up so you don't have stringy edges!

I like to cover them after they are all cut with two bags this time! let them rise again for at least 1/2 hr. I think on this batch I did 45 minutes.  Then take another egg and brush the top of your rolls.  This will give them the beautiful browned look and so adorable!!!

Heat up your oven to 350 degrees F. and bake them for 15 minutes.  I really hate over cooked rolls so check them if your oven runs hot.

Grab out your hand mixer and get that soften butter whipped! After it is is whipped creamy add 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.  Now it is all ready for when those lovely rolls come out!!

When the rolls are done let them sit for at least 2 minutes then you can add the stem.

 For my stems I used large pretzels.  I think they work great if you are going to serve them immediately... however, if you let them sit with the pretzel over night, the pretzel sucks all of the moisture out of the roll and makes them dry!!! So... I recommend a nut, pecans, instead if you are going to serve them the next day.  Or simply take the pretzel out of the uneaten ones for storage. Dry rolls are yucky to me!!!

I just cut the pretzels in half and gently pushed them in.  I like to break the surface of the roll so that they don't get smashed.
Then ta-dah!!! you have amazing rolls that everyone

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Creamy Dreamy Potato Soup

This is the easiest homemade soup you will ever make. My kids gobble this up! It is an amazing fall time soup that only takes 30 minutes or less to make. I love quick dinners on crazy school nights.

This is the best soup with bacon, cheese, and bread to garnish. I even cheat sometimes and throw the bacon in the oven while I cook the soup. Gotta love multi tasking.  To do that start with a cold oven and put the bacon on a broiler pan.  Put that in the oven on 400 degrees and let them cook for about 20 minutes I like it crispy so I can just crumble it over the soup.. yummy. Any who! Lets get down to the soup!
 First dice up those taters!!!! I like them to be kid bite sized pieces that way I am not going back through the soup after I cook it to cut it up more for my kids.
Then just dump your 32oz of broth into a large pot with the potatoes and garlic.  Boil all of that together until the potatoes are soft.  Then grab that submersion blender or you can VERY CAREFULLY!! Pour it in a blender.  If you are using the submersion blender I like to turn off the heat while I blend it. I like it with a few little chunks in it but you can blend it till it is perfectly smooth.  Then add in the seasoning salt, paprika, (cayenne pepper if you want it) salt, and pepper. Then I put in the cream cheese on a low heat.   Then just stir, and stir, then stir some more till the cream cheese is all the way melted. You might want to check on that bacon right now.

Really, it is that easy and it is ready to eat!!!  Add in your bacon, cheese, and more cayenne if you like to feel the burn.  Do you need a submersion blender check out this one!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Banana Bread Mini Loaves

These are my absolute favorite treat to eat on the run!  As an added bonus they are super simple.  lets get started shall we.  First, buy bananas expecting your husband and kids to eat and then forget about them for a few days. You will end up with these lovely gems!
Next, gather together softened butter (I throw mine in the microwave for 25 seconds), sugar, 2 eggs, and vanilla.  Then mix it! Mix it reeeallly good!

Then just add baking soda, flour, and salt. once again mix! Then I like to add the buttermilk, bananas, and nuts.  You can mash the bananas in a bowl beforehand but mine were soooo soft we just threw them in and let the mixer do the work! 
For the nuts I like to use pecans but walnut will work too.  You can toast them in the oven for a few minutes if you want to be an over-achiever but I like to use mine right out of the bag. 
Mix those nuts into the mixture last.

 Turn on your oven to 350 at this point and pull out the lovely mini muffin pan I like this one
I spray mine with cooking spray and they pop right out! I like to fill mine about 3/4 full I had a little helper this time so it is a little full...
Then throw this bad boy in the oven for about 20 minutes.  You will know when they are done by the top with start cracking just a bit. You can use a toothpick to check them but they have a tenancy to deflate if you do that too much so I like to just look at them and they should look like this!!!

Put some butter on them and enjoy! Kids LOVE these little loaves of bread! So do husbands, neighbors... everyone..
Here is a recipe card for you to enjoy!!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cinnamon Rolls

One of our favorite treats around here are Cinnamon Rolls.  First of All clear your schedule, these take a while. It can be done over two days though. I love the recipe from Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond.  However, I like to change two things about it. First I like to cut the recipe in half if it is just for my family.   Then on her recipe she does a coffee flavored icing and I changed that over to a vanilla frosting.

So here is how I do it!
I start off with milk 2 cups, 1/2 cup of veggie oil, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Throw all of that into a pan and scald that milk.  After that I go do a chore of some kind.  Fold laundry, work out or whatever.  I'm just letting the stuff sit in the pot and cool off.  If you want you can put it in a heat resistant bowl and throw it in your fridge but I don't like to make extra dishes so I just let it sit.  My pans hold heat pretty well so it can take up to an hour.  Once I can comfortably stick a (clean) finger in it I'll add the yeast.
I put in 2 1/4 tsp of yeast and then I go switch the laundry over or play dolls for a few minutes while it gets all bubbly!

Once it is nice and bubbly I put it in a nice big bowl and slowly Stir in 4 cups of all purpose flour.  I like to mix it till it looks like the picture above.  Then I cover it with a grocery bag to let it rise.  Yeah, I know I said a grocery bag. Most people say a towel but I like the seal I get with a grocery bag.  It doesn't get that hard surface and I think I get a better proof.
when you cover it with a bag make sure you leave a bubble on the top  like this. So you don't have dough stuck to it. Let that rise again for hour till it has doubled in size

Then you want to mix in 1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp. of Baking Soda, 1/2 Tablespoon of Salt, and 1/2 cup of flour More.

If you are doing this over two day this is the point where you put the whole bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge check on it before you go to bed and punch down the dough if it is rising.  In the morning continue like nothing happened and like you woke up at 5 am to feed your family or friends cinnamon rolls. (I'll never tell on you!) 

Mix all of that together and then get to rolling!  I like to roll mine really thin that way I get lots and lots of beautiful circles in my rolls.

I like to melt one stick of butter and spread it on that dough.

Then Ree likes to use 2 cups of sugar in her rolls I use just under a cup with mine then I sprinkle cinnamon all over it and spread it around. So it looks like this all over the goodness!!!

Roll that bad boy up nice and tight. and I like to cut them in about 1/2 inch rolls. The next part is important spacing in your pan is key if they are too far apart they will spread out and lose their shape.  Too close and you will have a squished roll...
I like mine just like this close but not too close.  Let those rise for another half and hour or so covered and then put them in the oven 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  My 19 month old is sitting on my lap right now saying "num num num num!!!"  She loves these.

In the mean time make the frosting.
I like to do 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla, 1/2 tsp of salt, yep salt.  Then I add in whole milk to make it the right consistency. I usually start with 1/4 of a cup then slowly add more till I get it runny put not too runny..
So that I can drizzle it over the top of a warm roll. I like putting pecans on mine.  My dad likes raisins mixed into the dough.  When I do that I only put 1/2 a cup of raisins in during the last addition of flour. Make them your own then enjoy!!! Recipe  insert is below.

Ellie Mae Davis Gobbles Them UP!!