how to deep fry a turkey

This past weekend was super busy, so there's more to come... but first let's talk about how you deep fry a turkey. Because I'm an expert in that.

That's not true. I know nothing about deep frying a turkey, but thankfully my friend Matt does so I watched him do it on Friday night - and took some pictures. So, for fun, let's talk about how I would explain how to deep fry a turkey based on my "experience" - emphasis on the quotation marks.

First, you get a turkey and tie some string around it. This is a two-person job.

Then, you put the turkey on a hook and slowly lower it into the oil. The oil should be hot by this point. (take a step back - make oil hot). It should bubble when it goes in (be careful) and then put the lid on it.

Take a break and take pictures of the dogs and the bonfire. Say hi to Pepper (left) and Buddy (right). Shotsy (sp?) and Lexi were camera shy.

Check the turkey. If the oil lowered in temperature too much, take it out and put it in the pan next to you on the log bench. Check under the fryer to make sure the flame is big enough. A few minutes later, when the oil is hotter, put the turkey back in.

Take a break and wait patiently for the turkey to finish. It's also recommended you eat some spinach artichoke dip from costco. It's yummy, and a good way to kill time.

Also, there's Shotsy (puppy).

When it gets dark outside, the turkey should be done. OK... it's like 4.5 minutes per pound, I think. In our case, that's when it got dark outside.

Then it looks amazing - like this:

Then you wait excitedly while Joan carves it so you can eat. You try to help, but it's questionable how "helpful" you're actually being. Then eat - it is SO good. Great with potato salad, pickles, and cucumbers.

 Then, get ready to take a nap in the drained hot tub. Turkey makes you sleepy.

And then, victory is yours!

And just because I think it's cool, check out Harlee's hamburger hat. Laura said it was delicious. But the turkey was better.

And that's how you make deep fried turkey (BK-style). If you want to know the real way, talk to Matt. He's the pro.

Thanks to Joan, Kyle, Jen, Matt, Jared, Laura, Harlee, Carson, Reagan, Buddy, Pepper, Shotsy, and Lexie for letting me hang out with them. :) It was very educational.


things I find witty... #1

I've done a couple of posts about "things that make me go hmmm..." and now am switching gears a bit to "things I find witty..." I love witty people. People sometimes tell me I'm witty, and I like to think that I am on occasion.

So, a couple of weeks ago, my brothers went canoeing with a big group of friends (men and women) and apparently one of the friends (not the brothers) was canoeing in the nude part of the time. (Yep. Nude.)

He says he's a ca-nudist. (get it? canoe / nudist?)

hahaha - ca-nudist.

I like witty people. Even if they are nude. 



I had some cherries that I bought at the farmers market and they had been sitting for almost a week - so it was time to take action. I don't really know what to do with cherries like this except for eat them plain. Do you? Ideas welcome for next time.

So, this time I tried using them in cupcakes. First, I put the cherries in about 1/4 c. water and 1 Tbsp. sugar in a small pan and boiled them (stirring frequently). They didn't really sauce-up like my blueberries did... but they did soften, so when they were soft, I drained them (keeping the juice), let them cool, and then squeezed the pits out. I put the cherries (less pits) and juice into my food processor, and chopped it up. I think I ended up with 1.5 c. of cherry mash (that's what I've decided to name it.) This was probably more work than it was worth...

I made this recipe for white cake, subbing 1 tsp. of almond extract for one of the tsps of vanilla. I added the cherry mash, and gave it a whirl as cupcakes. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and that was perfect.

Then, I used this butter cream frosting recipe for the top.

They're pretty tasty, but as I said before, the whole cherry prep was probably more work than it needed to be. Oh well, fun to try something new.

Here's the finished product.By the way, it's one of my pet peeves when I see someone post a picture on a recipe site for cake - and you can't even see the cake. Just the frosting. If people want to put a picture of a decorated cake, put it on the frosting recipe. :) And don't worry, I'm not talking about you - just in general.


 My cake is not decorative, so here's a picture of the actual cake - it was kind of purple-y:

 And then I remembered I had kept a cherry for the picture. Now it's decorative:

 So, what else can I do with cherries like this?


something old, something new

This past week seemed exceptionally busy - work during the day and something almost every evening. And then Friday I was sick (booo). Yesterday was spent at home (yay!) doing laundry, etc... I'm not sure about you, but when I have those weeks where I'm gone all week and eating out a lot, the only thing I want is something made at home. It could even be macaroni and cheese, but as long as it's made at home, I'm happy. And when it's better than macaroni and cheese, that's even better!

There was lots of at-home food happening this weekend, and it was awesome. I bought buttermilk yesterday to make corn fritters that we saw on Down Home with the Neelys on the Food Network. (They were good, but I didn't take a picture, so I'll make again and post sometime soon.) Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever made anything with buttermilk before. So, now I have all this buttermilk to use and am determined to use it all and not let it waste.

So, this morning, I made pancakes with buttermilk - but not regular buttermilk pancakes. I found this recipe for Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes on Allrecipes.com. I'm pretty sure this is going to be my go-to pancake recipe because I loved them - and it's all stuff I normally have in the house (except buttermilk, which I understand you can 'make your own', so we're good.) I followed the directions exactly, except I used all-purpose flour for all flour, because I didn't have wheat flour.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes
(this is my something new - I've never tried this one before)
10 Tbsp. quick cooking oats
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. brown sugar (packed)
1 c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients well in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl (I used my food processor and whisk attachment), beat the egg, oil and buttermilk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/3 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until the second side is golden brown.

And my something old? Instead of syrup, I used up some blueberries I bought this week on sale and made blueberry breakfast sauce that I've made before - and it was yummy! (again)

The best part? It's all pretty fast, to do!

Now, I'm making refrigerator pickles to replace the mistake ones I made last weekend (more on that soon).

Also, if you're interested in checking out some of the other things I've made, you can check out the food archive.


my favorite new toy

A couple of months ago, I got my new favorite toy - my Tupperware food processor. (Thanks, Shelly!!)
I hate cutting onions and jalapenos, in particular, and am super pumped about something that does it for me. I still have to cut the jalapeno in half, and quarter the onion, yet, but I still feel like I'm winning in a big way because that's the end of it.

For example, I made salsa yesterday (and a several other times already) and it's awesome. I put the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro in the processor.

And then I turned the crank a few times and it was all cut (and I had no onion tears or jalapeno-finger-in-the-eye - woot!)

And then I threw the tomatoes in (crank, crank) and added fresh corn and a bit of salt... and voila!

Fresh salsa is the best... and I love my food processor that makes it so easy! It seriously takes 10 minutes (including any prep time) and tastes so much better than store bought. I have used it a bunch of other times to cut up stuff, and have used the whisk attachment to make eggs. I'm told I can even use it to crush up Oreos and add ice cream to make my own blizzard - but I haven't tried that yet, but it's sounds good to me! I'm excited to try guacamole, too. 

Thanks, Shelly, for convincing me to get this - I am lovin' it.

Now if anyone knows what else I can make in it, let me know! So excited!


photo seminar

Yesterday I went to a photo seminar and safari to learn more about using my camera properly. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and last weekend I took the Groupon deal for a photo session as a "sign" that it was time. The seminar called Basic Elements was done by Val & Stephanie from Capturing True Emotion Photography out of Orange County, California - and they were terrific.

The seminar part was four hours at a hotel downtown, and we learned about all kinds of things. We learned about ISO, aperture, shutter speed... and by the time to got to exposure, I was getting a little stressed out - will I remember all of this?! And by the end, I was overwhelmed with weeks of information learned in the past few hours. There really wasn't any reason to be stressed out though... everything was in the workbook, and what wasn't, I took notes on. And Val and Stephanie did go at a good speed, reviewed each section, and did a great job with with providing us with materials for reference and a handy-dandy cheat sheet.

I'm a visual learner, though, so (after meeting a friend for lunch) I was thankful for the safari portion of the day. It was the time we took our cameras out of our bags and tried what we had been taught. Val and Stephanie gave us assignments throughout the safari to help us put into practice what we had learned, step by step, and then how to bring it together and get different effects we want.

For example, they taught us how to do "panning" and get photos (imagine a kid running on a soccer field) where there is a runner that is clear, and the background is blurry:

And to have the runner blurry, but the background clear:

And to do action shots:

And here are a few others from the day that I'm proud of (there's not post-production on these):

I have quite a bit of work to do, so don't expect all of my pictures to be perfect going forward. But I'm proud to say that I now know how to use the manual modes on my camera and don't have to use auto for everything, anymore. I know how to use the features and to adjust them and how they fit together.

Totally worth it! If you have a camera (they can help with any SLR or point and shoot) you should consider this.


things that make me go hmm... #2

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been enjoying my first summer in 6 years where I haven't been involved significantly in the back-end operations of our big summer events at work. Big. It's the first summer that I didn't spend most of my evenings and weekends working on it. And this year, I got to just attend. And it was awesome. I get a bunch of my work peeps that from our other offices and that work remotely - and I only see many of them at this event (in the summer and in the winter) every year.

It was great getting to have conversations with people that weren't on the fly, or with me being bossy (out of necessity, of course), or the quick hug and run (yes, we hug - we hardly see each other!). And on top of it, I had time to digest it and remember it later!

A number of people told me: "You look great! So happy and... relaxed!" (I bold "relaxed" because each of them emphasized that part...)

I said: "This is what I always look like the rest of the year. You only saw me when we were at the events twice a year when I was crazy busy!"

Me with our university's founders - Summer 2011.
Now I wonder what I looked like when they saw me before... hmm...

See also things that make me go hmm... #1.



So, I've been a little MIA for the summer. It was time for a break... enjoying the first summer I've really had to myself in about 6 years because my work life isn't nearly so seasonally hectic anymore. Hooray!

So, what has been going on? Well, we've spent some time on the lake.

I've been spending a lot of quality time with my Nook. Some favorites were The Help, the Hunger Games series, and The Front Porch Prophet.

We enjoyed the 4th of July Family Fun Fest!

I saw Bill Clinton speak at the commencement for the university I work at.

I puppy sat for some friends. Meet Tex. He's the smartest, sassiest dog I know. (OK, maybe he doesn't look very sassy here, but he totally is.)

And I went to our family reunion (it's every 3 years, and I've missed the last two - see above about having summer back...) And now I'm on the committee for planning the next one.

And we did some family four-wheeling...

To a bridge that my great-great grandpa built in 1910... (is that the right number of greats??)

And, I'm back - and I feel like I'm on top of the world.

I plan to get back to regular posting now. Hopefully there will be some fun stuff coming soon! This Saturday I'm attending a photography seminar to learn how to use my camera's features properly. Sunday I'm going to a fringe festive play written by a colleague of mine (Change Agent - check it out). More to come!

Oh, and speaking of photos, I linked up this week to Ma Nouvelle Mode's Summer Lovin' photo contest. :) Thanks to my college buddy Laura @ Life with Laura for sharing.

Hope you're Lovin' Summer, too!

p.s. if you want to receive an e-mail notification when I post, you can subscribe here. Subscribers are neat. And so are you. Coincidence?  :)