Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Some post-Thanksgiving tips from an ardent food-stretcher.

Every year, after Thanksgiving, I have a few friends who bring me a very unusual gift –their turkey carcass (that’s what I call the big pile of bones that’s left-over after all the meat has been removed). Granted, bones might seem like a strange gift, but truthfully, I am the one who asked my friends to start saving them for me, and my friends have always been gracious enough to accomodate my odd request. Believe me; I always appreciate my boney turkey treats –and the friends who bring them.

Actually, this little tradition started several years ago when I was searching for ways to stretch our food a lot farther than our grocery budget. I know that many of you already do creative things with your left-over bones (broth), but today I want to veer from my traditional blogging long enough to share some post-Thanksgiving tips with those who might benefit from them.

After I put the rest of our turkey meat into containers and tuck them safely into the refrigerator for the next week’s turkey salad, pot pie, and casserole meals; I tightly wrap the bones in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. When it’s time for some scrumptious soup–and what better time than a cold December day– I put the defrosted (or frozen) bones, in my boat-size slow cooker (and cover them with water) to prepare some tasty and nutritious broth. Unless you plan to feed a small army, however, you will probably want to use a crock pot and only half the bones).

Next, I open the spice cabinet and throw in whichever seasonings suit me at the moment. These usually include celery salt, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sea salt. I cannot give you exact measurements, though, because I am one of those “pinch of this” and “smidgen of that” kind of cooks. Just season your broth according to preference. Don’t forget, however, there is an unwritten law that anything cooked in a pot should have fresh garlic gloves tossed in!

Let the bones “cook” until the rest of the meat falls off the bone –and you will be amazed at how much there is. Then, strain the broth and sort through the bones, tossing the meat bits back into the broth. By this time you will have finely chopped some onion, celery and carrots to cook in the broth. I find that chopping the vegetables in the food processor makes for a much better soup than cutting them into bite-sized pieces. After the veggies have cooked a half- hour or so, stir some rice into the broth and let it cook until tender (how much rice you use depends on the size of your cooker and the amount of broth you are making. Add the rice sparingly, though, as it will swell greatly and your soup will turn into soupy casserole otherwise.

Finally comes the best part; about fifteen-minutes before serving, add ™Velveeta cheese, or shredded cheddar, to the broth and let it melt. Obviously, the amount of cheese will depend on how much soup you are making, and how cheesy you want it.

But wait, there’s still more. If you used only half the bones, you can repeat the broth process later for some other delicious foods. I prefer to make the larger batch of broth in the slow cooker then pour at least half of it into canning jars to store in the freezer. If you choose to do the same, be sure to leave at least one-inch of space at the top of the jar for the liquid to expand as it freezes. (You can freeze this soup after it is finished, but the better option is to freeze only the broth and finish the soup on the day you will be eating it.)

Now what to do with that extra broth? On a day when you need a very simple, no-fuss meal, simply pour a jar or two of defrosted broth into your crock pot with one or two bags of ™Reams egg noodles and let the crock do all the work. (If you froze small batches of leftover turkey as well, throw some of that in there too.) Can you say delicious?

By now, you have probably stretched that Thanksgiving day bird into at least six budget-friendly meals. And you might even have extra broth for some good old-fashioned turkey & vegetable soup or other recipes that call for chicken/turkey broth.

If you are blessed with awesome friends like mine, ask them to toss their turkey bones your way. You can make quite a few quarts of broth with just one turkey carcass. If you are like me, and spend half your life in the kitchen, you can use a pressure canner and can the broth. But freezing the broth works well too. I recommend the canning jars because the broth freezes well in them and stays fresh for a long time.

I could throw a few more ideas your way, but Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I’m sure you are busy; so I’ll wrap this up with a final thought:

Although we all enjoy the holidays, they can leave us feeling drained and weary. But life goes on and so must we. After all, there are plenty of people who need us, whether they realize it or not. I would just like to encourage you, dear reader, that when you are exhausted and feel you have nothing left to give; you still have a great deal more to offer.

There is an important lesson to be learned from those after-dinner turkey bones; although they appear stripped and useless, they are still sufficient to feed the hungry through the hands of a wise cook. In the same way, you  may  feel completely depleted, but if you place yourself in the hands of our wise and  loving LORD, He will multiply what little you have in order to “nourish” the lives of others; you need only be a willing vessel.

And he [Jesus] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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Happy Givingthanks!

From the bottom of our hearts, my family and I wish you all a very happy and blessed Givingthanks day! No, I’m not linguistically challenged; I spelled it that way intentionally.

In just a few days our whole nation will be sitting down to sumptuous feasts, ones which reflect the bounty and prosperity which God has so graciously bestowed upon us. Hopefully we will all take the time to reflect on those blessings and firmly resolve afresh to never take them for granted.

Indeed, giving thanks is at the heart of Thanksgiving Day. How excellent it is that our nation still remembers to do so! Even so, I think it would be so wonderful if we all emphasized the giving part more this year. Wouldn’t you agree that as God’s children-His hands extended, we should be giving more than just simple thanks?

That’s why I am wishing everyone happy Givingthanks Day this year. I want my greeting to be a reminder to myself and to others that it would be magnanimous to put giving first.

I know a few families that spend their entire Thanksgiving Day filling plates and cleaning tables in a homeless shelter so that those facing difficulties and hardships don’t miss out on a wonderful home-cooked meal and fellowship on this special day. Their main reason for being there, however, is to share God’s love, not through bible tracts or words, but through action. I am not suggesting that everyone head to a shelter and serve likewise, but there are sundry ways that we can all give something special on Thanksgiving.

We could, for instance, donate food to homeless shelters or battered women’s shelters, etcetera. Or, we could volunteer a few hours to a nursing home this week. One of the nursing homes in my area is always in need of volunteers to simply help the residents play bingo. Anyone can do that and it would surely make someone’s holiday a lot less lonely. We could even obtain a list of the resident’s first names and bless them all with a Thanksgiving card (with permission of course). If nothing else, we should consider sharing the wonderful gift of compassion by inviting someone to our homes which has no place else to go, perhaps a widow or a college student who cannot afford to travel home.

I’m sure that if we all pray about how we might give more of ourselves this Thanksgiving, the Lord will show us how to individually bless Him by blessing others. It goes without saying that our Heavenly Father always desires us to be thankful, but it delights Him abundantly when we give gifts of love to others because this is a sacrifice of praise unto Him.

Again, happy Givingthanks Day!

May God be pleased with your giving of thanks, and others blessed by your giving.

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35


pencil lady

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