Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Helps Ten

Ten Things to Help with the Holidays

Artists Helping Children has an entire page here of kid-friendly Thanksgiving arts and crafts to keep the youngsters busy while you cook.

All of your turkey prep questions can be answered over at Butterball's website here, and their 30th annual Turkey Talk-Line (1-800-BUTTERBALL) is already up and running if you want to talk to someone live. has over 500 searchable sweet cookie, candy and other treat recipes to inspire you.

One no-cook appetizer that appeals to everyone, even kids, is sometimes tough to manage; the most popular at any gathering we have are my fruit and cheese skewers. Make them by placing chunks of cheese and fruit on bamboo or plastic skewers (cheddar, grapes and pineapple chunks are a popular combo, as are strawberries, raspberries and swiss.) You can shape the cheese by using small cookie cutters to cut them from a block. A dessert spin on this is to replace the cheese with marshmallows or brownie bites.

When I need meal inspiration I always go to Cooking Light magazine's online site to hunt for healthy recipes; visit their Ultimate Holiday Cookbook section here for some terrific ideas.

Crochet Concuspience has links to 20 free online patterns here for one-skein crochet projects you can complete before Christmas arrives.

Make one of these five free Christmas stocking quilt patterns, fill with homemade cookies or treats and you've got a gift for almost anyone on Santa's Nice List.

Food Network's Thanksgiving page offers recipes and ideas on every aspect of your holiday meal from some of the most popular chefs on TV.

Knitting Daily offers a free e-book here with 4 one-skein knitting projects and 3 bonus holiday patterns.

Every year people ask me for my No-Brainer Fudge recipe (#5 on this old holiday ten list here), aka the easiest dessert/treat to make in the universe.

Do you have any holiday helpful tips or links to share? Let us know in comments.


  1. If you aren't doing a presentation, roast your turkey upside down. All of the juices flow down into the white meat and it's the best! Just do your normal roasting; just turn the bird breast side down. YUM!!!

    1. I've heard that advice a couple of times over the years, Lisa -- I've just never worked up the nerve to try it. Next year my guy and I will likely be having a solo Thanksgiving so maybe I will get the courage to invert my turkey in 2014. :)

  2. I had to wait til today to post this because we didn't eat the pie until last night, but I made a new pumpkin pie recipe this year from Chef John on and it was A.W.E.S.O.M.E!!!

    I did NOT use the Chinese 5 spice though because I don't like anise (ew) but it was still the best pie I've had. And he's right, it didn't crack in the middle! Might not be for the faint of heart, but we only have it this one time of the year...

    I also do my turkey in my Nesco roaster. Nineteen pounds this year, a little herb butter under the breast skin and slathered all over the bird, in the roaster on a rack with just enough chicken broth to cover the bottom, I did 400 degrees for half an hour then 325 for another four. It was juicy, tender and perfectly cooked :)

    This was a good Thanksgiving. Some haven't been...

    1. Thanks for the recipe link, Theo -- my daughter is crazy about homemade pumpkin pie so I will definitely try it out during December.

      We went with roasting a 12 lb. turkey this year (by comparison last year's was over 25 lbs.) It came out nicely tender and juicy, and we only managed to eat about 1/2 of it so being conservative on size was the right choice.