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Black Friday – Avoided

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and all is quiet in the house. And while I love Thanksgiving Day, I love the day after even more. I get to sit in my sweats reading the news or a book. The kids are home, usually sleeping in till noon. Hubby walks the dogs for me. There are plenty of leftovers, so no real cooking effort needs to be made.

Yes, it is the perfect calm before the storm: The storm of festive flurry we call Christmas.

Thanksgiving has a gentle lead up to it. Mother nature does her part, slowing the cycle of life to a dormant state of rest. Plants and animals alike preferring to sleep through winter, to be awakened by springs breath, tickling them to awake. One is busy through Halloween, preparing ourselves for this time of ‘wintering over’. So, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, attention can be focused on giving thanks, untouched by the other distractions so prevalent in spring and summer.

Thanksgiving is the time of year families turn inward, reconnecting and cherishing each others presence. It is the time of year we seek out those who might not have the blessing of genetically related family, extending the hand of familial friendship, embracing new connections and relationships so that hopefully no one unwillingly spends the day alone. In our home, with the exception of my brother (who drives the long 4 hours in traffic) we don’t have our own extended family nearby. Instead, we have been blessed with amazing family friends with whom we have created our own traditions, and break bread with. Some years our little family has shared the occasion with three or four families, house bursting to the seams with laughter, conversation and joy. Some years it has been quiet and cozy, shared with one other couple or my brother, an emphasis on comfort and intimacy. All have been wonderful and wonderfully different.

When Thanksgiving Day is over, it’s the perfect time for me to pause before mentally and physically gearing up for the chaos that todays culture has created, Christmas. We all try not to get caught up in a ‘keep up with the Jones’ attitude towards Christmas; but many of us have traditions we wish to keep. The result can be a self imposed pressure to fit all that we have individually defined as ‘Christmas Spirit’ into the Christmas season. Ideally, we spread the ‘reason for the season’ throughout the year. But let’s be honest, it is at least nice to have a time of year were we are encouraged and motivated by society and culture to be intentionally giving and sharing.

And so we come back to Black Friday, a nightmare of consumerism, resulting all too often in the most base of behavior. It’s hard for me to fathom the very people who were sharing their time and table one day, embracing the concept of Thanksgiving, are the very same people mowing down their fellow man/woman in a mad rush to be the first at the bargain table the very next day. For those who work this day, I thank you for your patience and service. It can’t be easy to work on Black Friday, but with the demand for the stores to be open, someone must be there to open the doors and ring the cash registers. And ring they do.

I’ll leave the thrill of the sale to others. I am going to sit here with my steaming cup of coffee and give a pass to the madness. As I read the headlines of the morning, history has been a good indicator of the present. I am reminded of an appropriate metaphor: Don’t feed the beast. So, I won’t. Instead, I think I’ll make a leftover turkey sandwich and be very thankful I am home.

 

Domestic Goddess Tip : Cookware

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Domestic Goddess Tip : Cookware

Making my morning eggs (today I fried leftover arroz con gandules with an egg) reminded me to share a cookware tip I learned from one of my favorite cooking magazines.

When it comes to non-stick cookware, don’t invest a lot of money. The non-stick does not remain non-stick forever. In fact with regular use, it will only last about a year. Armed with that knowledge buy a pan that is heavier metal and hopefully cladded (metals pressed together into a disc that provides even heating). In current pricing, that price range should be under $40. Target and HomeGoods are favorite shops I find good quality, low priced non-stick in. HomeGoods typically has nice pans for $20 or under.

I use my 6 & 8 inch non-sticks daily, definitely on a regular basis, but I only use them for foods that are liable to stick, like eggs do. Many will use them for low-fat cooking, but I find them to not brown food as well as a traditional pan. So in my kitchen, they are limited to the sticky food cooking. For a pan sautéed chicken breast, I will use my traditional pan, because I want the flavor packed fond that is created by the Maillard Reaction. (click photo to have Maillard Reaction explained)

So my tip of the day is to check your pans. If they are older than a year, it’s time to pitch it and pick up a new one.

Note: If you have purchased a non-stick brand like All-Clad, they have a lifetime warranty. Contact the customer service to see if you qualify. Personally, I find that whole process a hassle, that is why I stick to inexpensive and disposable.

Domestic Goddess Tip : Turkey Brining

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Domestic Goddess Tip : Turkey Brining

I suggested in a previous post (click on the photo to take you to ‘Got Turkey? Brine it!‘), I brine my turkey in a construction cooler.
Some of the benefits of doing it this way are:
*Its insulated, so it frees up your refrigerator
*You only dirty one container (and a measuring container)
*it fits up to a 20 lb bird (although you may have to cram it in)
*draining is a snap!!!
When your brining time is up, simply heft it up to the sink, push in the spout and drain out liquid. Then its a breeze to pull out your turkey, rinse it off and prep it for the oven.

(For brining recipe please visit the link : Got Turkey? Brine it!