Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

Turkey Roulade

I promised you some recipes this week from our fabulous Thanksgiving celebration last week. This is one of my favorites. We just use our regular sausage stuffing recipe as there always seems to be enough. We also glaze the roulade with our homemade apple habañero jam (which is super easy; I will post that soon.) Last year, Mary actually boned the turkey breast on Thanksgiving morning…quite the undertaking. This year we ordered an extra turkey and had the very nice butchers at Whole Foods do it for us. The boned the breast and kept the pieces for us, which meant more meat and more soup, YUM! You can, of course just buy a breast, but it must be whole and not split. This recipe is surprisingly easy and I think it actually makes a better product than the whole turkey. It stays very moist and is very pretty when you cut it. Not to mention, it makes for great leftovers to send home with your guests. Try it out…maybe for Christmas?


Glazed Turkey Roulade

1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (about 5 pounds)

2 onions halved

3 stalks celery cut into 3 inch pieces

3 carrots cut into 3 inch pieces

3 cups prepared stuffing

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter, melted


Place the stuffing in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan with cooking spray and place the vegetables on the pan.

Rinse the turkey breast then lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board.

Use a heavy pan to pound the turkey breast to a more even thickness.

Dry the turkey very well (this is very important.) Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides.

Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides.

Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine (or close with tooth picks as we did here, though twine is better) every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. About 20 min before the turkey is done, brush with the glaze. Repeat twice about 5 minutes apart.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm.

If you make leftover stuffing, you can place it in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.

November 26, 2011


We are still coming down and recovering from Thanksgiving and mostly taking it easy this weekend with football and classic movies while trying to get outside a bit as well. I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of our day…with some of the recipes to come this week.

As you know from our countdown list, we were working all week…here is the culmination. Our scribbled on master list, our buffet all laid out with sticky notes, the zillion appetizers we ended up with, and my personal fav: Veuve Clicquot, courtesy of some fabulous guests.

All of our appetizers got relocated to make room for the actual buffet, but I have to say they were amazing! Including something new for us, fresh duck and dove; delish!

Lovely table courtesy of Ali and an array of borrowed and creative decorations!

We had an amazing group of people who were all willing to pitch in. Plus, the highlight of an hour-long session of what we are thankful for; gotta love a happy and thankful group! A great party like this makes all the work – and dishes – worth it!


I hope you all had as wonderful a day as we did. I really couldn’t have asked for more!


November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown: 1 Day

Today is a big prep day! Check out our list here. There are always things that come up and things that you forgot to pick up. Or maybe new great ideas you came up with this week that you just have to incorporate. Regardless, I will be trekking out to the store for a few last minute things and some decorations. Plus, a trip to the gym for one more good workout.

Here’s how we split up the day:


5:30 Spinning Class

7:00 Review Thanksgiving lists

8:30 Work

12:00 Lunch Prep time! I work close to home, so in 45 minutes here’s what I accomplished:

  • Peel potatoes and celeriac. Store in water.
  • Cut Celery, carrots, radishes. Store in water.
  • Clean and sauté Leeks.
  • Coordinate with friends –bringing me stuffing so I’ll have it in the am. Also bringing appetizer, squash, rolls and whatever else she wants to make (thanks Lisa!)

Back to work!

I got off easy.

Here’s what Kelly did:

  • Gym for a good 90 minute strength workout got my head on straight for errands!
  • Running store to sign up for the Turkey trot! (Really? Yep. Guess we’re doing that)
  • Went to Whole Foods (For the complicated special order boned turkey for the roulade. Even they think we are crazy; at least we don’t have to bone it this year!)
  • Went to regular grocery
  • Went to specialty store for candles—that worst part with people buying last minute decorations and cookware, yikes!
  • Blanched the green beans
  • Made croutons
  • Made ginger cookies
  • Started setting the table
  • Another run to the liquor store!

Still to do tonight:

  • Set the table
  • Make dip for veggie platter
  • Lay out clothes for tomorrow: running and dress up clothes (what to wear??)
  • Make compound butter for the turkey
  • Lay out serving dishes/utensils for the buffet

Hope your preparations are going as well as ours! The best part of today I have to say was the beautiful Colorado sky and 70 degree weather with an open sunroof. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours!!





November 21, 2011

Holiday Fitness

We REALLY don’t want to gain the usual two to five pounds during the holidays. Here are some things we try to do:

  • Do your best on the non-holiday meals to eat healthy, non goopy meals.
  • For breakfast eat something light and filling like oatmeal, fruit and non fat yogurt.
  • Do your best to include fresh fruits and veggies at each meal, accompany with lean protein like chicken or shrimp.
  • Try to get some exercise in the morning so that it doesn’t go by the wayside. My husband has completed 27 marathons and he says if you plan to run six miles…if you actually run in the morning before starting your day you WILL run six miles. If you wait till lunch it’ll be four and if you wait till after work it will end up being one or two.
  • Set a minimum bottom line for exercise during the holidays. For example, mine is to walk for 20 minutes. No matter what. We’ll see how it goes…
  • Find a Turkey Trot (or other outdoor activity) to do with your family on Thanksgiving morning. Getting some exercise in is a good way to earn your dinner!

P.S. If you can’t decide what to do at the gym, check out Gabby Reece’s Train 360 plans.


November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown: 4 Days

Today we want to share with you our plan for the week. As I mentioned before, we like to spread out our tasks across the week to make things a bit easier. Yesterday, we did most of our shopping, so we are all set to get started. Since some things save better than others, you need to think about what can be done the earliest. Also, now is a good time to reconfirm your guests. Just remember, if anyone wants to come last minute (or cancels), you are already making everything so don’t freak out! Here is what we are planning:


  • Finish menu planning
  • Shop
    • Grocery
    • Beverages, both non-alcoholic, festive cocktails, wine and beer – Ask your guests to bring what they like to drink. If you keep what you like or the basics, then you are covered. Remember kids and non-drinkers.


  • Count place settings
  • Polish silver, check glasses for dust.
  • Make cranberry sauce
  • Make pumpkin roulade (to be frozen)
  • If you are making rolls or pie crust, make them today and freeze
  • Start defrosting turkey in the refrigerator (ours is 21 lbs, check the instructions for your bird)
  • Get nails done (a nice treat after prepping all day)


  • Get a good workout in to start the week off right!
  • Decide on seating arrangements
  • Pull out decorations


  • Complete shopping
  • Make onion jam
  • Brine turkey (if you do this; we don’t)
  • Blanch green beans
  • Make stuffing (leaving out eggs to add before stuffing the turkey)


  • Make cranberry relish
  • Peel potatoes and keep refrigerated in a water bath
  • Set the table
  • Clear serving area
  • Set up bar and chill beverages
  • Clean the house


  • Turkey Trot!
  • Roast Turkey
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root
  • Finish Citrus Green Beans
  • Defrost pumpkin roulade
  • Make gravy
    • William Sonoma makes Turkey Gravy Base that we always keep on hand for Thanksgiving just in case you need to supplement your gravy. It is awesome, especially if you end up a little scant on your drippings. My recommendation is to get it early because they tend to sell out; I drove 35 miles last year to get ours…oops!

Our Thanksgiving tends to be pretty traditional and straightforward. We try to include everything that is a favorite of each guest: if there is something they can’t live without, we make try to make it happen or ask them to bring it. We try to experiment on the other things and tend to make a few last minute additions (often in the way of appetizers and dessert). Plus, as I mentioned, we delegate a lot of the tasks which makes the day much easier! It has always been a team effort for us, which really is fun. Is there anything unusual you include for Thanksgiving? Fried turkey? Noodles? Soup? We always love hearing people’s traditions!

November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown: 5 Days

Our Thanksgiving tradition has evolved over the years, but the last 10 or so years, we have joined forces with a family friend to share the workload and the fun! As we mentioned earlier in the week, we always invite people who are without a “home” for dinner. It really has made things fun and interesting over the years. Plus, when you split things up, it gives us the opportunity to experiment with some new dishes. The weekend before Thanksgiving is a great time to get organized and start on your shopping. Planning out your menu, make-ahead dishes and timeline will also help keep the stress at a minimum for the week. Check out our menu (in progress) below.

Thanksgiving Menu 2011


  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Relish Tray
  • Bacon Wrapped Duck with Jalapeño and Cranberry BBQ Sauce
  • Dove Nuggets
  • Spiniach and Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips
  • Holiday Brie with Crackers and Apples
  • Stuffed Grapes


  • Roasted Turkey
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root
  • Citrus Green Beans
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Rolls
  • Cider Gravy
  • Onion Jam
  • Asparagus
  • Squash Casserole


  • Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream
  • Pecan Pie
  • Chocolate Roulade with Pumpkin Mousse Filling
  • Ginger Snaps

**The items in green were added after Thanksgiving and this represents our final menu with lots of appetizer additions.

What we do from here is to decide who will be making what dishes. Next, pull out any recipes you will need and make a list of all the ingredients you will need for each dish. Then, double check what you have on hand for both equipment and pantry items. Finally, go shopping! Thanksgiving preparation can feel overwhelming but if you do one or from two things a night, it really helps!

A couple tips if you are up for it:

  • Our friend makes copies of each recipe so they are within reach while cooking. Keeps your cookbooks from getting icky. ~Mary
  • I am neurotic and start by listing things by dish and then reorder them by section of the store in a spreadsheet. It really helps make shopping more efficient. ~Kelly

Next steps: Make a plan for the week.

November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown: 7 Days

We got a little too caught up in life this week to pull together a full Thanksgiving prep list for you. So let’s start with where you should be today. You should have:

  • Invited your guests
  • Check on special food needs for guests
  • Planned your menu (not so hard with Thanksgiving)
  • Check your place settings and seating to make sure you have enough chairs and forks.
  • Given your guests assignments of what they can bring
  • Prepare your shopping list for this weekend

Next we always like to ask our guests if they know of anyone who needs a home for dinner. After all, it makes little difference if you do Thanksgiving Dinner for 4 or 34!!! Just get a bigger Turkey.

Next steps: shopping lists, shopping and make sure no one you know is alone on Thanksgiving!!!

& Kelly

November 14, 2011

Chicken Stock

So you made your Roast Chicken, now what? Chicken stock of course! As I mentioned, we make roast chicken regularly and one of the biggest benefits is homemade stock. While there are some good options out there now for canned stock, nothing beats homemade. It really is a simple process with simple ingredients and really worth the time and effort. We use stock in everything, especially soups and sauces. When you keep some on hand in the freezer, you always have the start of a quick meal on hand. It is also a great way to clean out the fridge: you can use all kinds of vegetables, herbs and aromatics to flavor your stock. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors; just know that different ingredients can change the color of the stock as well as the flavor. My great grandmother’s secret addition was a few cloves stuck into the onions, just a little something special. This is a good basic stock recipe that I fall back on; it always produces a good flavorful stock.

P.S. Don’t forget when you are done with your Thanksgiving turkey to save the carcass for turkey stock. Turkey soup is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving after all!


Chicken Stock


1 roast chicken carcass

1 large onion, quartered

4 carrots, cut in 1/2

4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2

Small bouquet fresh herbs including thyme, parsley, etc.

2 bay leaves

Tablespoon whole black peppercorns

2-4 cloves, stuck in the onion pieces

2 whole cloves garlic

2 gallons cold water

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Cover with cold water so the chicken and vegetables are submerged.

Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon a couple times for the first hour of cooking and as needed each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 3-5 hours until you have a rich colored stock.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids.

Allow to cool then place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Bring to a boil before use.

P.P.S. If you don’t have an already roasted chicken, you can buy some chicken bones and pieces and roast them with a little olive oil at 450° for 30-40 minutes before making your stock.

November 12, 2011

Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is one of those wonderful comfort foods and is a staple item that every cook should perfect as part of their arsenal. It creates the building blocks for so many other things that we make. During the fall and winter months, we make this on a nearly weekly basis. It is a great Sunday night meal with leftovers for the week. Plus, we always make chicken stock to use during the week or freeze for later…more on that soon. Sometimes we will throw in a couple extra breasts on the bone if we have a lot planned for the week. We don’t always buy organic for this, but we do always look for a good natural roaster which, according to our butcher, will give you more meat than if you bought two smaller fryers. We usually go to Whole Foods as they seem to have the best consistency and quality in our area. It does cost a bit more than if you go to Costco and buy a roasted chicken, but I do feel like you get more out of roasting at home. It really is amazing how much better a good chicken tastes (and smells!) and how much it effects every dish you make with the ingredients. We used to just buy roasted chickens from the store and the difference is night and day. If you are wanting to get a lot done while making one mess, you can make two chickens and freeze the extra meat and stock. (If you are freezing the meat, try freezing it in some of the stock to keep some of the integrity.) We get 3-4 meals out of each chicken between the initial meal, leftovers, and 1-2 soup meals. Once you get the hang of it, this is something you can easily throw in while you are doing other things.

Mary & Kelly

Simple Roast Chicken

1 4-5 lb Natural Roaster

2-3 T Olive oil or butter

Bell’s Poultry Seasoning

Salt & Pepper

Herb Bouquet

1 Lemon

1 Onion

2-3 Carrots

2-3 Ribs Celery

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Rinse chicken inside and out, and then pat dry. This is important for a crisp skin. Baste with melted butter or olive oil. Season with Salt, Pepper and sprinkle with Bell’s poultry seasoning. Got this tip from Martha Stewart and I have to agree that it’s a great product. You can get it at Whole Foods or via mail order.

Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, parsley, rosemary, whatever you have on hand. I’d also cut an onion and lemon to add to the cavity. If the chicken isn’t trussed, tuck the wings behind themselves and tie the legs together with string. I used to not do this but it really does make it look better and cook more evenly.

If you have a V-rack you can put the chicken on the rack with some celery, onions and carrots under it. I usually use a jelly roll pan or a large skillet and put the veggies under the chicken to hold it off the pan.

Put the chicken in the oven and turn oven down to 450.

Turn on the timer for 1 hour 15 minutes. A lot of recipes tell you to either put the chicken in breast down or turn it over later or to turn it every 15 minutes. Personally, I can’t be bothered with that. Maybe it helps keep it moist, but…I think if it’s upside down it makes the breast look ugly, even if you turn it later. I think fresh cooked chicken, especially if it is a good quality chicken tastes so much better than what we are used to, it doesn’t matter.

Turn the pan around halfway through. When your timer rings, take the temp in the thigh, it should register 175°. Another way to check is to wiggle the leg. It should wiggle pretty easily. And if you poke a knife in the thigh, the juices should run clear and not look bloody.

Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.


November 11, 2011

Thanks to Our Veterans!

On November 11th each year we are reminded to thank the nearly 23 million men and women who have served our country. The history of Veteran’s Day is actually interesting; it started with President Woodrow Wilson honoring the anniversary of the end of WWI with Armistice Day in 1919. The story goes that he knew the soldiers had gone without good food for so long because of rationing so the president invited 2,000 veterans to the White House for a ravioli dinner. Apparently, ravioli was a new staple in the U.S. thanks to the popularity of canning. Maybe next year we will remember to have ravioli to celebrate… I try my best to thank these men and women throughout the year and keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

This day really got me thinking about both of my grandfathers who served in WWII. Both were in the Army; one a TEC 4 and one a Paratrooper in the 503rd Regimental Combat Team. Their stories are amazing to look back on and are a snapshot of the life of veterans. As a child, I did a school project about Corregidor Island in the Philippines where my grandfather jumped and nearly lost his life in 1945. The 503rd jumped into some of the fiercest fighting of the war and it was a turning point in the South Pacific. Apparently, when my grandfather jumped, his chute didn’t open but his rifle and his camera (which he always jumped with) broke his fall. He was rescued by an American medic, who happened to find him in an abandoned Japanese garrison. It is an amazing story of luck and survival. In rereading it tonight, I came across some letters written from a Philippine woman to my Great Grandmother. This woman talked of how they fed my grandfather when he was passing by their farm and needed some water. He was so grateful to have a taste of fresh food and family that he returned regularly to play with the children and chat. This woman spoke of how grateful they were for the help of the Americans and said there would always be a home for my grandfather as long as he was near. My great grandmother ended up sending boxes of clothes and canned goods to this family as a token of thanks. These stories so humanize what service really means. It is amazing to know and be able to pass on this part of my family’s history to the next generations.

Pfc. Robert Eskridge, U.S. Army

Sergeant Jack Cochran Sr., U.S. Army


Remember to thank a Veteran today and remember them every day!!


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