The Bunka Log
RSS Feeds

Entries in Thanksgiving (9)


Happy Thanksgiving! (plus a free printable)

What a weekend! Hosted our annual preThanksgiving Feast for friends, and yesterday we bought me a brand new laptop - Yay! It even has a funcitioning disk drive, monitor and battery. Pretty amazing...

For a little music fun this week, I made up this turkey worksheet.

Great for key identification, chord builiding or scale building. Can't wait to use it in my first lesson!


Thanksgiving Shopping! (for St. Paul area)

Thanksgiving is on its way and I am very excited! I love this holiday all about appreciating and being grateful for what we have. And since it's almost Thanksgiving, it means that I'm getting set to host a bunch of my friends for my annual PreThanksgiving Thanksgiving Feast. Check out my previous posts tagged Thanksgiving for tips on making the grand feast. Today I thought I'd share my price comparison for ingredients.

Confession: I wasn't really thinking about sharing this when I was making it, so sometimes I didn't write the price from a store for an item I know is cheaper at another store. I checked it at the store, but didn't write it down. Also, I limit myself to 3 stores (Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods and Target) to limit how much time I spend shopping.

Apology: So this is the list of stuff I needed, and since I wasn't thinking about blogging this, well, I just didn't search for anything I don't buy (cream of mushroom soup, broth) or already had in my pantry. Sorry.

I shop at the Midway stores for each of these. Prices may vary at different stores. I tried to remember if you need a coupon for most of these. Sorry if I forget one.

The Turkey: I believe I prefer Butterball. I'm testing that out this year. I'll get back to you on that, but basically Jennie-O is cheapest. Rainbow has it for $.55/# with coupon and $25 purchase (before the turkey is added). My list is comparing Butterballs though. Which is also cheapest at Rainbow.

Here is my price comparison and shopping list.

Again, I just thought I'd share what I found while out and about shopping yesterday. 100% my opinion and not set in stone. Keep in mind, these are the prices for this week and will probably change next week too!



Thanksgiving Tips, Take 2.

I can not concentrate, I want it to be Thanksgiving today. There is snow outside on the ground, I finally broke out all my winter wear, and my cat is snuggled up on the bed behind me. I cannot wait to wake up on Thursday, watch the parade in my pajamas while listening to The Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential on MPR and dream about the meals ahead of me. In the meantime, I guess I will just eat this slice of pumpkin pie and share a little more.


Do not be afraid. This is really easy. Ready?

- Make bread into smaller pieces (tear, cut or snip with scissors). Dry them out naturally or in oven at a low temperature (200s). Saute vegetables (traditional: butter, healthier: 1/2 butter, 1/2 olive oil), combine with bread. Add herbs. Add stock until desired consistency. Put in 9x13, bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

- The night before the big day, I put a pot of water on the stove, add: couple bay leaves, 4 sprigs parsley, salt, peppercorns, garlic, moderate sized pieces of onion, carrots, and celery; bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer while I tear up and toast bread crumbs and chop up my veggies for the next day. I use the veggie stock in my stuffing and whereelse it's needed.

- 1 loaf bread = about 6-8 cups which is good for 6-8 people.

Combinations I like:

Traditional: wheat/white bread, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano, carrots, celery, garlic, onion

Cornbread, jalapenos, bell peppers, onion, corn, celery, a little cheese, cilantro, cumin, garlic, chili powder, oregano (non-veggie: add some chorizo)

Rye and wheat bread, sage, parsley, thyme, carrots, celery, quartered mushrooms, onion, garlic (non-vegan: add parmesan)

Adding chopped apples, craisins, pears, or all 3 can lend to a simple and delicious variation

- Check your stuffing during its cooking to make sure it's not too dry.

Green Bean Casserole

- Off brand french fried onions are never as good, stick to French's.

- I make my own cream of mushroom soup. Saute about a pound of mushrooms (whatever you want to use), again I use half butter/half olive oil, add some onions and garlic and let it sweat for awhile. Stir in 1 T. flour, then add 2 c. milk and 2 c. stock, simmer. You can either puree or not.

- Mix green beans (french cut are the best), cream of mushroom soup, some parmesan, and 1/2 c. of french fried onions together. Put in pan, top it off with the rest of the onions and bake 30-45 minutes depending on what's in your oven and the temperature.

- If you're using canned beans, let them sit in a strainer for a good while (20 min) to get rid of excess water.

Sweet Potatoes

- Sweet potatoes are not yams, and yams are not sweet potatoes. But most people don't know the difference.

- Orange juice, butter (if you want), a little brown sugar, little molasses or maple syrup, a tiny amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, and add a little salt and ginger

- Spread in an oven proof dish and top with marshmallows. Either bake to reheat, or broil to brown marshmallows.

Mashed Potatoes

The secret to my mashed potatoes is that my husband makes them. He's a potato master.


- Martha Stewart's pie crust recipe is the best. Always use it, always have a great crust - except don't add water to the food processor. You need to work it into the dough a little bit at a time yourself so that you can tell what your consistency is.

- I use about 3-4 pounds of apples in a pie. Apple-licious. Use both brown and white sugar, even if it just calls for one. I also add a little ginger into my apple mix with the cinnamon. Also, I like a crumb top on my apple pie. Mix together some flour, sugar, and butter - sprinkle over the top.

- Pumpkin: I use the can recipe, but add the milk at the end a little at a time to make sure it's not too runny. If you fill your crust and have extra, bake a little pumpkin delight in a ramekin. It's my favorite treat.

- Whipped Cream: 1 part heavy cream to 1 part powdered sugar, a little vanilla. Use a mixer or immersion blender and in 5 minutes you have homemade whipped cream. It's that simple. Seriously.


One more tip I forgot - plan out what dish is going to be cooked and served in what beforehand. I put notes in the dishes so that people helping don't guess or get it wrong. Also, this helps you remember something you forgot. Like that jello salad sitting in your refrigerator the whole meal. Or the sweet potatoes you put in the oven in a plastic dish and forgot until that funny smell... 

Mmmm... Thanksgiving. What a delicious holiday.




Do not fear the feast of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the entire year - I love the food, the colors and it all makes me thankful for such a wonderful life. Every year I host an early celebration, dubbed the Prethanksgiving Thanksgiving Feast, for my family of friends as well. While in the past two years I have enlisted people to help me provide all the food and drink, I have always made the turkey, a round of stuffing, green bean casserole, and potatoes, plus a pumpkin and apple pie.

So this year, as I dine on the leftovers of another successful year, I have decided to share some of the tips and knowledge I have gained over the years through experience, numerous magazines/cookbooks and various internet resources.

In General:

- If you buy a disposable aluminum pan every year, buy the one with the rack once and then reuse the rack every year with a new pan.

- Chop vegetables, make bread crumbs, bake pies and make stock (if you are going to) all the day or night before. Put on some music you like, pour a glass of wine and have fun. All of this just makes the next day easier.

- Plan your cleaning when you plan your cooking schedule. I have 9 rooms and try to clean 2 per day (one easy, one hard to balance), which then leaves me with the day before the gathering to do all dusting and floor cleaning. I like to dust and do the floors the day before, not only does it leave less to do the day of but it seems to help my friends with allergies as well.

- Buy plain plastic cups for children and leave out stickers for them to decorate their own cups.

- Buy plastic containers at the dollar store so your guests can take some holiday grub home with them.

- Your porch may seem like a great secondary refrigerator, but just make sure that it's unaccessible to your animal neighbors. A screened porch is not going to get in the way of a squirrel and some pie. Trust me.

Turkey Tips:

- 1 pound per person is plenty for a full bird.

- Always unwrap your turkey the night before to check whether it's completely defrosted, or needs to take a water bath for awhile.

- Brining: Seriously, this is just one of those things where everyone has their own firmly held belief. I think that it's just nice to do something with the turkey. If your bird is over 16 pounds, wet brining very annoying. Dry brine by unwrapping your turkey, rub it with a bunch of salt (and I also like to rub some herbs under/over the skin as well) and let it stand uncovered in your fridge. Wet brine under 16 and I just submerge it in a big stockpot and put it on a lower shelf.

- I don't stuff because  I like to keep as many of my side dishes vegetarian or vegan as possible.

- I like to prep all the stuff I put in and on the turkey before I mess around with anything on a clean counter. That way it's easy to clean up and cuts down on contamination.

- This is what I do to my turkey: I quarter one or two onions, peel all dry skin and chop off the top of a garlic head, quarter an apple to put in the cavity. I combine dried rosemary, sage, thyme, pepper and oregano together for my rub. I peel 6-8 garlic cloves. Pour about 3-4 T. of olive oil in a ramekin. Then I bring over the turkey, rub the herbs over and under skin, rub oil over/under skin, put 1/2 garlic cloves on one side and then other, fill cavity.

- If my turkey is 18 pounds or lighter, I cook it for the first half with breast down. Any heavier and it's just scary to flip. I always foil for the first half, and take it off for the last. I don't baste and it seems to be fine.

- Always let your meat stand before carving. Full turkeys can stand for 30 minutes.


Okay, that's enough for today. Tomorrow I will add some of my tips for side dishes and dessert.

Gobble gobble,


Page 1 2