Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Well Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday too. I don't know about you, but I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There was a lot of wonderful food all around. I was very fortunate to be able to spend this day and enjoy good food with family. This is the stuff that some of the best memories are made from.

Even though I had work all week, except Thanksgiving Day, including Black Friday and the following weekend, I started my cooking contributions Monday night. I actually didn't even get my turkey until then. I know, I know, that's bad planning on my part. So I got that thawing in ice water. The size turkey I had took about 12 hours to thaw. After I got that going, I made some pies. All the great pies everyone brings, are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving for me. This year I made up my own pie to make. I'm not yet happy with the results but when I get that recipe where I want it, I'll share it with you. After the turkey had thawed out, it was time for the brine. So on Tuesday I got the brine made and the turkey in it. Wednesday was mostly uneventful for me. About all I did that day was get the stuff ready for putting the turkey together to cook. Some sweet potatoes, carrots and onion to cook with and some apples, onion, fresh rosemary and garlic to stuff the bird with for flavor. I was scheduled for work until late so my wife got it out of the brine, put together and started cooking. If you're paying attention you may notice that we started cooking the turkey on Wednesday. No, we didn't eat it on Wednesday  we had the turkey Thursday evening. We planned on cooking in a pit and planned on cooking for the better part of a full day. Thursday was the busy day for me. I started cooking about 6:30 in the morning. I got a batch of rolls rising. Then went and did some sale shopping. After I returned home I made cupcakes and cookies. Kneaded the roll dough and form rolls for them to rise again. Also my wife and I made mashed potatoes. At 1:00 in the afternoon it was time for lunch with my family. Later it was time to help get the turkeys out of the pit, bake the rolls, and make some more mashed potatoes. 

We had many of the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods. Including but not limited to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, garden salad, green bean casserole, and rolls. Like many of you, I'm sure, my family spent some time with both sides of our family. On my side we went to my grandmother's house. We had roast turkey and all the fixing there. My mother cooked the turkey and it was a good one. I like her stuffing. She makes it with french bread, celery and onion and bakes it in the oven. My family has never really been one for stuffing the actual bird. Mostly  I think, because everyone wants some and the bird wont hold enough. So why bother stuffing the bird and baking more when it is easier to just bake all of it. We had peach cobbler, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, chocolate meringue pie, my butter finger pie, apple pie and some little pumpkin custard pies. Yes, we like pies.

Later we had dinner with my wife's family. We had more people there so we had two turkeys. These were cooked in the pit. I brined one and my sister-in-law brined the other. My wife and sister-in-law were the ones that actually got them into the pit though. I personally like the pit cooked turkey better. It was more moist, tender and flavorful. Other members brought in some great food as well. We had sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, carrots, onion, and rolls. Pecan and pumpkin pie were brought. We also had cookies and cupcakes. 

It was great getting to spend the day with our families and share all the wonderful food. There were many great dishes. I am grateful for times like these, when we can not only enjoy such great food but share it with those we love. I hope your Thanksgiving celebration was a great one as well.

<p>Image courtesy of [Tom Curtis] / <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>
Image courtesy of Tom Curtis /

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Homemade Butterfingers Recipe

        As promised, here's more about those homemade butter fingers. So what to do about all that leftover candy? Specifically candy corn. Personally, I like candy corn for about a day and then it is just gross. Of course I keep eating it anyway, all the while thinking how much I don't like it anymore. So that is why this recipe seems like the perfect solution for that leftover candy corn.
These are amazing, give them a try.

        My co-worker originally told me about this recipe and I am so glad she did. It comes from the Plain Chicken blog. She's actually got a lot of great recipes to try out. I will be going back to try more. Here's the link Plain Chicken: Homemade Butterfingers

Here is the simple recipe
  • 1 pound candy corn
  • 1 pound peanut butter
  • 1 pound almond bark
        Melt the candy corn. Place it into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Stir, then microwave for fifteen more seconds. Alternate stirring and microwaving on high in fifteen second increments until candy corn is completely melted. Mix in the peanut butter and then spread into a parchment lined 8" x 8" pan and let cool completely. 

        After the filling has cooled, cut into pieces  Melt almond bark, and dip the cut filling pieces into the chocolate. Place coated pieces onto waxed paper and let cool completely. Enjoy.

        Overall, I found the process pretty easy. However, this was the first time that I had ever tried to chocolate coat anything, and that turned out a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I think If I had frozen the filling pieces after I cut them, they would have been easier to work with. Smaller pieces probably would've helped too. As soon as I got them into the chocolate, they got warm and started to get soft and fall apart. 

        Some tips I can give, start with getting your peanut butter out of the jar first. Let's face it, it takes time to get a whole pound of peanut butter out of a jar. You don't want the candy corn to cool too much before you get it mixed with the peanut butter. It gets too hard to work with. Also, the microwave method is not your only option for melting the candy corn. If you are more comfortable, a double boiler will also work. Either way, be careful not to scorch it. Next, cut the cooled filling with a straight edged knife with a thin blade. I tried a serrated knife and a thicker blade and they both broke the filling up more than cut it. The chocolate can also be melted in the microwave or on the stove with a double boiler. Either way, be careful not to scorch it. Freeze the filling pieces before dipping as it will make them easier to work with in the chocolate. I'm sure there are many other things that could make it easier to do this already easy recipe but those are the ones I noticed.

        Like all the comments that I noticed said, this recipe is really delicious. I personally think that the peanut butter flavor is a little stronger in these than the original. However, that may be due to the brand and type of peanut butter that I used. The taste is awesome at any rate. The texture is not the crispy, crunchy texture from the original. Mine did turn out crispy and crunchy, just a lot chewier and softer than the original. Even though it was not the same as the commercial product, I did fine the texture very pleasing and ultimately adding to a very enjoyable piece of candy. My family loved them. Well those without peanut allergies that is. I made chocolate covered pretzels and popcorn with the leftover almond bark to make up for it though. So everyone got a treat. I hope you enjoy these as well. I thought they were great.

Thanks to Plain Chicken for letting me share this one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homemade Butterfingers

        Well Halloween is over. My kids had a great one. With that, of course, means having all kinds of leftover candy. Between that and all the candy that is going on clearance at the store I work at, something evidently needs to be done with all that candy. Well that was the topic of conversation one day at work and one of my coworkers told be about this recipe. So of course I need to give this a try. Here's the link:
Plain Chicken: Homemade Butterfingers
        On the post itself a lot of the comments indicate that these are really good, just nailing the Butterfinger flavor on the head. It was indicated the the filling texture is a little softer though. I'll post again after I've given it a try.

edit: The recipe and my experience with it can be found at Homemade Butterfingers

Recipe can be found on Plain Chicken