Life is starting to feel a bit hectic. Though I always feel stressed, now I feel stressed and have a lot to do! Agh! Turkey season is really here and if you didn't know, all you have to do is look at the blogs and see the plethora of recipes for Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, cranberries, mashed potatoes, pumpkin, and anything with kale. Whoever invented the Internet or Google and thought it was such a time saver is beyond me. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm supposed to be writing a blog, not just commenting on others. This takes a lot of time and I am starting to feel pressured!
Which somehow leads me to the BIG question. Have you ordered your turkey yet? I have always ordered my turkey from Whole Foods, well, at least as long as they've been in my neighborhood. I like the idea of calmly walking in, and picking up a turkey in the size I want, all packed in a perfect sized box. I don't even have to worry about thawing it. I like the idea that this turkey was treated well. You know what I mean, right? I have a soft spot for turkeys. I mean this guy/gal shows up every few months and sits on my brick wall and well, just sits. Then he ambles off. I've only seen him/her fly once. But it is fun to have a turkey in the neighborhood. I always worry about him/her around this time of year. In any case, I like my turkey. Gobble, gobble.
Whole Foods has lots of different kinds of turkeys, besides big and small. The best part is they bring it out to you and your hands don't have to get cold while shuffling through turkeys thrown into the frozen food bin. I watched this video on Diestel turkeys and I think I want to move there. Unlike massive turkey operations Diestel even invites you to visit their ranch. No secrets there!
Whole Foods offers 5 kinds of turkeys all from Diestel. I always order the basic bird which isn't certifiably organic because the corn and grain hasn't been tested for GMO's, but they are range grown and haven't been fed any animal by products or antibiotics or growth stimulants. You can get a turkey free of GMO's from Heidi's Hens for a little bit more price per pound. You can also get a turkey that is fully mature at 10 pounds and one of those gorgeous heritage turkeys with the bronze and black feathers, but it is dark meat only. This is probably what the Pilgrims would have eaten if they had turkey, which many don't think they did. I would want the feathers from these beauties! And last but not least, Diestel offers a pasture raised turkey. These guys roam around and are able to forage and graze naturally.
Thanksgiving is about the company, but it is also all about the food, don't you know? This is a time I want to treat my family like royalty. It makes me feel better to order my turkey from Whole Foods and I'm not telling you that because they want me to. I'm telling you because I do and have and hopefully always will! I never liked watching manservant put the turkey on the grill and then a few hours later have this plastic thing pop out of it. I mean real turkeys don't have plastic things. Now I know some of you think that's helpful but it just never worked for me. And I really like my turkey, as just turkey. Not injected with something that is probably chemical salt water. We always brine our turkey because we always smoke our turkey. We make our own brine so our turkey will taste the way we want it to taste. We love and honor turkey in this house!
I have always utilized Whole Foods over the holidays to save me time. This is one holiday I truly enjoy because my family is home. This doesn't happen often so I like to make sure that everything is done in advance. I've never been accused of keeping things simple but I do try to simplify. I try to make sure that I'm not stressed and yelling at the top of my lungs. I like everything just so and Whole Foods steps in here and there.
Please note that I am not a gravy person. Never have been-probably cause I never remember having it as a kid. Well, for a long time, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a family that always had gravy. It was then I discovered that my family LOVES gravy. No one told me! So now I buy my gravy and I am not ashamed to admit it, at Whole Foods. I always add some of the drippings from our turkey as it does tend to thicken a bit when heated. This way it tastes like my gravy and I don't have to make it at the last minute. And I've never heard anyone complain!
I do make my own cranberries but this year I thought I'd check out the berries at Whole foods. They are kind of a cross between jelled and fresh berried. I liked them because they remind me of the ones that come out of the can. (Yes, I love the ones that come out of a can.) I even eat them during the year when I have a hankering for cranberries. Usually I eat them with my pb and j! Weird, I know. Well, this year we are having a Southwest Thanksgivingkuh so I thought I'd see how their cranberries work with a bit of tequila and chipotles. My, oh, my. I've got a winner. Simple and extraordinary. This is one way to make their cranberries, yours. I can't wait to use the leftovers on my quesadillas or in my grilled cheese or on my leftover turkey sandwich. Damn they'd be good on a BLT, too. Now I'm still going to make the Cranberry Freeze 'cause it is tradition, but if you need to save some time on cranberries, this works. Totally!
I also buy Whole Foods cornbread to use in my tamale stuffing. It is really good. I think they add a dash of vanilla, but I'm not sure...Yes, when I'm pressed for time I buy it and use that in my stuffing. No one knows and I don't care if they do! (That's the thing people. Good food is good food. People always say how they are afraid to have me over because I am such a good cook. Well, I'm a good eater, too. And I don't care how you make, bake or get your food, as long as it is good! It matters not a bit, how much time you spent in your kitchen. In this day and age anyone has access to good food and everyone should know how to serve it. That, I believe! I'll even show you if you need help!) But I got off track...I buy the tamales there, too and the turkey chorizo. My stuffing is easy to make then and not as time consuming.
The truth is I don't shop at Whole Foods that often. I would like too, but it just doesn't work out that way. I can easily get carried away there because I love to try new things And they always have something new and fun to try! You do know that groceries are in my blood, don't you? Well, Whole Foods is like eye candy for me. I could spend hours in there. Really. You know what I mean.
So, take a word from the wise. Simplify. Plan your menu. Check it twice. Go find out what's naughty and nice. Buy your pies, buy your cheese, buy your turkey (fresh or baked), if you please. Buy your taters and your gravy, get your sauce, don't say I'm crazy. Have some fun and keep it simple, that way you can show your cute little dimples! (OK. I don't want to torture you anymore.)
I'm here to make your life easier. I try to find good recipes and save you time that way. Well, Whole Foods wants to save you time, too. They are offering a $50 gift card to one lucky winner. You could use it on a turkey or pies or gravy or cheese. Or cornbread. Or cranberries or whatever you want! Just enter!
All opinions expressed are mine, baby. All mine. This giveaway is easy to enter as long as you live in the US. Giveaway closes on November 21st. Subscribe if you don't want to miss the announcement of the winner or tune in on November 22nd to see if you won! (And please, if you have a common name, you need to give me a hint like Sue from Sioux City or something like that, or an email address to reach you) The winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator! So now, to enter, (dahdah, dah, dah, de DAH!) just leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite side dish is on Thanksgiving! (Giveaway is closed!)
1 cup Whole Foods cranberries (from the deli)
10 drops orange bitters (I use Fee's)
1 t white anejo tequila
1 t chopped chipotle (from a can)
1 t zested orange peel
Mix together and serve. Please note this can be adjusted to your taste. And it does taste better after it sits a spell. This is great with turkey or goats cheese, or blue cheese or nachos, or bacon or endive, or in muffins, or on top of muffins, or spooned into your mouth!
More great dishes for Thanksgivingkuh:
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins
Simple Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
Cranberry Chipotle Wonton Cups
Mushroom Lover's Pastry
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
Dried fruit Salami
Smoked Trout Pate
Hot Brown Sandwich
My Mother's Brisket
Shortbread Nut Bars
Frozen Cranberry Salad
Brown Sugar Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
Green Onion Garlic Chive Corn Bread
Onion Lover's Twist
Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Skillet Cake