The Un-Holiday Roasted Turkey — what a bargain!

Turkey is frequently for sale at reduced rates around the holiday season.  We usually pick one up even if it isn’t the planned entrée because I simply cannot resist the sale.  Recently we hauled the big bird out of the freezer on a Wednesday so it could defrost in the refrigerator until the lazy week-end when we were going to put it into the oven.  It was a cold week-end, so having the oven on for a few hours was a welcome condition.BB_Turkey to roast

I never stuff the turkey.  I think they look gorgeous when they are heartily stuffed, and it certainly makes a delicious stuffing after cooking inside the bird – but I’m too lazy.  Today I gave the bird a good rub down with olive oil and I put  him in a turkey sized baking bag.  I have great luck with those baking bags because they cook the bird a little quicker and there isn’t a need for intermittent basting.  Plus, the clean up is quick, which I appreciate significantly.  Don’t forget to toss a little flour in the bag before you put turkey inside, otherwise you’ll have a mini-explosion in the oven before you are finished.  That will create a mess far greater than you bargained for.

BB_Turkey in a bag

One of the positives about cooking a turkey is the anticipation of all the meals that can be planned around that one fine bird.  We typically have one nice turkey dinner, several sandwiches for lunches, a turkey cheese pie, and we finish it off with a rich turkey stock that eventually morphs into a tasty pot of turkey noodle soup.

Before the turkey is cooked and the first meal has been served, Dear Hubby is already asking if we can have that good Turkey Cheese Pie.  He’s like a dog with a bone – and he never forgets (that!).

According to the National Turkey Federation, turkey is the perfect protein.  It does appear to be high in protein and low in fat. 

So cooking a full turkey doesn’t have to be saved for special occasions.  It can be done anytime and your wallet and your healthy diet will thank you.

Gobble gobble……….DebraJ

Don’t forget to check out TURKEY CHEESE PIE.

Reflections on Loss


We have all experienced it – profound loss.  It comes in many ways, but for me it came again with the loss of a well-loved family member.  She was a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend, and to me – she was an aunt.

We didn’t live in the same state, but I was lucky enough to see her frequently throughout my childhood and I always identified with her and loved her a lot.

I suspect she did not know that she had significant influence on me during those formative years.  As a child I observed her as a role model, and I always felt affirmation from her anytime I opened my mouth to speak.  When I approached those uncertain teen years, she never made me feel small or immature, no matter what I said.  Our discussions made me feel as though I was as much an adult as she – and that my contribution to the conversation had equal value.   My parents were active and supportive in my childhood, of course, but it was such a gift to me to gain confidence from someone outside the parental boundary.

She was famous for her quick and encouraging smile.  I think we all benefited from that – and it was her God given gift.  She never had to develop that asset.

So frequently we consider our relationship with a loved one after they have left this life.  That reflection is so pure, and it leaves us with the wish that we could talk to them one more time just to tell them what they meant to us.  While we may remember to show appreciation for our family & friends throughout their lives, it rarely has the depth of our own understanding that we seem to gain once they are gone.

Death is a cruel visitor for those of us left behind.

I hope and pray that sometime in my life I have the opportunity to positively influence someone – even just one person – the way she influenced me.


Reflect often………..DebraJ

Mexican Tamale Casserole

Mexican Tamale Casserole
This is a "once in a while" pleasure with a crunchy corn bread topper...
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (or lean ground turkey)
  • 2 - 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Chili powder
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup yellow corn meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  1. Warm the onion and green pepper in hot cooking oil until tender.
  2. Add the lean ground meat and brown lightly.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients for the casserole except the cheddar cheese.
  4. Simmer 20-25 minutes until thick. (Yummy smells)
  5. Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Pour into a greased 9X9X2 inch square baking dish.
  7. Cover with corn meal topper
  1. Stir corn meal and salt in cold water until thick.
  2. Add butter and mix well.
  3. Spoon over Mexican tamale meat mixture.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
This is one of our "oldies" and I have been using it since I still had kiddos at the dinner table asking me to cut their meat. There are a variety of versions of this recipe in many books and all over the internet, this just happens to be the one I have used for a number of years.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 Calories: 505 Fat: 30 Carbohydrates: 34 Sodium: 1283 Protein: 26 Cholesterol: 92.3

Tamale later…………..DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or free gifts for creating this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Keeping Cake

Keeping Cake
Great gift idea.

I came across this recipe in one of those fun coffee break moments at work when everyone is escaping tasks and chores for a few moments and recycling their brains with some chatter about home.  I have used the recipe a few times, mostly around the holidays,  and I have found the assertion that it “keeps” for a lengthy period of time to be absolutely true.  In fact, as difficult as it may be to believe, it improves with age (as most women do, of course).

Keeping Cake
  • 3 cups cranberries, rinsed and divided
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon orange peel
  • 2-1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups cranberries, sugar and orange peel.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until berries pop and mixtures thicken (about 5 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Chop remaining cranberries and add to the cranberry mixture.
  6. Cool
  7. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
  8. In another bowl beat eggs with sour cream.
  9. Stir egg mixture into dry mixture.
  10. Stir in butter, cranberry mixture and pecans.
  11. Pour into two greased and floured 8X4 inch loaf pans and bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool the cakes in the pans 10 minutes before removing from pans and cooling completely on wire racks.
  13. Wrap cakes in aluminum foil and allow to age 1 week.
  14. The flavor will continue to improve over several weeks.
  15. The cakes will keep up to 3 months in a cool, dry place.


Keeping Cake
Tastes great with fresh brewed coffee.

FREEZE ME — Freezes gracefully and when defrosted tastes great.  Freezing prolongs the “keeping”

This is a perfect recipe for GIFTS!

Refill my coffee, please…..DebraJ.

I have not received any compensation or free gifts for creating this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

6 ways to use plastic lunchmeat containers — repurpose

Today I offer a post from a guest writer – Dear Hubby — where he shares some ways to recycle, repurpose, and reorganize.


Do you have any of those plastic lunchmeat containers? You know, the “throw away” tubs. I know you have seen them, have some or have thrown out several. They can be very handy little tubs to have for a variety of things. I use them for many items around the house, hobbies and in the workshop.

They come in a few varieties; some with colorful lids that can be used to “color code” different items as well as the ones with clear lids. The clear ones I have found easy to label with a marker. Just thought I would share a few things with you where I find a handy use for them. This can be a great “repurpose” project. The landfills don’t need them:

Six ways to Re-Use Plastic Lunchmeat Containers

  • · Paint containers for small projects and touch-up.

These small lightweight tubs are very useful for a small amount to paint for baseboards, small projects, touch-up work, etc. I have found jostling around a large can or even a pint can be cumbersome. They also work well for storing small amounts of paint and can easily be labeled for touch ups later. I find it is best for use with latex paints without solvents.

  • · Small Parts Containers.

I once had several coffee cans of small parts in the workshop. You know how it’s hard to throw extra parts away. You may need those parts sometime later. When these parts are stored n a can, you have to open each one to see what is actually inside. These little tubs make it very simple to see the parts right through the container.

6 ways to use containers


  • · Assembly Projects.

I wish I had thought of this a few years ago when the kids were young and I was putting their Christmas gifts together. During those years, I would open a bag of parts, and there seemed to be hundreds, and I would look everywhere to find the one I needed only to find I was missing one and had to search high and low. The tubs solve the problem of keeping the parts together and within reach.

6 ways to use containers.3


  • · Tackle box.

The tubs make an excellent small tackle box. They are great to take the amount of lures, hooks, weights, etc., you need without hauling a large tackle box to your favorite fishing spot. They clean up easily and are durable. Of course, when they do wear out, they are easily replaced.


6 ways to use containers.2

  • · Golf Tees.

I keep a container with nothing but golf tees. The tubs are a good place to store them and keep them from being in every pocket of your golf bag. Also, the tubs are small enough to put it one of the larger zipper pockets.


6 ways to use containers.56 ways to use containers.4

  • · Drawer Organizers.

I have a 2 drawer metal cabinet in my workshop and I use these handy containers to keep things in their correct place. You can use the lids if you wish and the clear ones can be marked. Most of my containers for this purpose do not have the lids on them, but they are a lot cheaper than buying drawer organizers at the store and keeps the drawers cleaner.

These are just a few of my ideas, I am certain there are many uses you can think of for these little pieces of “trash” as well.


Thanks to Dear Hubby for the organizational tips!


Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie

I’m a working girl so week-ends are my best opportunities to create experiments.  This week-end instead of putting the juicer to work for us we placed fresh ingredients into the blender to create a smoothie.  This is something I have rarely done and so I was eager to see how it would turn out.

Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie
Simple fresh ingredients

I started with some fresh pineapple and fresh strawberries.  These went into the blender with a cup of vanilla yogurt.  I whipped them together until they were smooth and poured them into glasses.

According to the California Strawberry Commission, strawberries are a good source of Vitamin C, high in fiber, potassium and antioxidants.

Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie
Saturday morning breakfast!

As you might guess, this was a complete delight and a yummy week-end breakfast.  I plan to try some other combinations with other fresh fruits.

Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie

Smooth sailing…DebraJ


I have not received any compensation or free gifts for creating this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Dinner in a hurry – Broccoli Cheese Omelets

We frequently have evenings that are so hectic that all we want to do is eat something quickly before we fall into bed.  Believe me when I tell you that firing up the stove and cooking something is not my fondest thought during those times.  But what we have found is that too often we turn to a quick drive through restaurant, which can be a disaster to a healthy diet, particularly when  we are tired & hungry.   That situation can lead to diminished willpower and possible poor dietary choices.

Here is a quick-y that can be made at home with very little trouble.

Steam a half head of broccoli in the microwave.  If you have some left over broccoli in the fridge, that is even better. Whisk together two eggs with about 1 tablespoon of milk. Eggbeaters work well, too.  Pour the eggs into a skillet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.
Place the steamed broccoli on the center of the omelet.  Add one (1) ounce of Velveeta Cheese, cubed.
Continue to warm the omelet until the cheese melts.  The cheese will continue to melt even after you have removed it from the skillet.  Throw a piece of whole wheat bread in the toaster and you have a nice warm meal.  This allows for a quick clean up so you can drag your tired aching body to bed!

Broccoli Cheese Omelet
Warm broccoli cheese omelet tastes similar to broccoli with cheese sauce.

This is eggs-actly what we needed!…..DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or received any free products for this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.



Brummel & Brown (made with Nonfat Yogurt) — is it good?

Dear Hubby and I are always on the look out for products that will offer great taste while at the same time be a more healthful choice.  The issue of butter is always a challenging effort because there is precious little that equals the sweet creamy flavor of, well…butter.

After recently reading about Brummel & Brown in one of the “Eat This, Not That” books, we decided to give it a try.

It was listed at $3.49 at our local Midwestern grocery store.  It has a similar appearance to some of the other “tubbed” margarine products and the fragrance was pleasant.  We smeared some on whole wheat toast and found the taste to be good, but it didn’t melt very well.  We also put some on a hot roasted vegetables and it did melt a little better and tasted quite fine this way.

One tablespoon of this spread has 45 calories (of which the number of fat calories is, yes – 45).  There are 102 calories in a tablespoon of butter, so this is a nice way to budget if you are on a calorie controlled diet.    It lists 35% vegetable oil blend, one of which is the controversial Palm oil and Palm Kernel Oil – both are highly saturated fats.

It seems that this product would be like everything else — use in moderation.

BB_Brummel & Brown

Spreading it on……….DebraJ

NOTE:  I have not received any compensation or gifts for reviewing this product.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.