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Monday, October 21, 2013

Ultimate Gift Guide Giveaway US only Ends November 20th

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Welcome to the Ultimate Holiday Giveaway!!  I have to thank each and every wonderful sponsor who helped truly make this the Ultimate Giveaway!  No matter who your looking to buy for there is bound to be something for them on this list!  You might even find a package with a few things to reward yourself with!

Please be patient with our bloggers websites and load times since this is such a large event.  The forms may take a little extra time AND it may seem like this one has a little extra work to enter.  Even though each of the packages have their own giveaway form, you will find that most of the entries are identical.  This way if you like/follow a page in one you will already have it done for the next!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Summer has flown by. Kids are back to school, the weather is getting cooler and Halloween is right around the corner. That means it time. Time to reflect on where your journey has taken you this past year, time to concentrate on everything you are thankful for.  I have many. Although this past year(s) has introduced every major life event. We made it. The Huie's are still here and we are thankful. So very thankful for being here for another year. We are thankful for all of our friends, family and health. We are thankful to have a place to call home at the end of the day. We are thankful for having such awesome children and the means to take care of them, no matter how creative and frugally that may be. We are here, and we are here together with love and hope.

Thanksgiving to us, is a time to step back and take a moment to be thankful for the big things, the little things and of the hope for tomorrow.  Thanksgiving allows us some time together as a family to re-connect and enjoy a moment of togetherness because, life passes by so quickly, as you get older these moments become so much more precious. For this I'm thankful.

Okay, now that the reflection is out of the way, lets get to the best part of the Thanksgiving celebration. The FOOD!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cook!  I'm still traditional when it comes to holiday fare and this is what I have planned for this year..

Turkey. I love Turkey! I happen to make an unforgettable birdie. My heat of choice? The BBQ! 
Don't let that scare you, I know what your thinking.. "But it will be dry!" 
No it won't trust me because here is my secret to a deliciously juicy bird:

Things you'll need: 
• A Turkey! (I usually go for a large bird so we have left overs)
• A large cooler or brining bag
• Brine Mix 
• An aluminum roasting pan 
• Tin foil
• Applewood chips
• Bacon

To brine a turkey you'll need to have a large tub, cooler or brining bag that you can fully submerge your bird in.

I like the brining bags sold by epicure (food safe) but an old cooler will do the trick as well.

You'll want to start the brining process about 24 hours before you want to cook the turkey. This allows the brining procedure penetrate the Turkey and plump it up! 

I like to warm the water and stir in the brining solution so it dissolves easily.

Let the solution cool to room temperature and transfer into your cooler or brining bag. Gently lower the Turkey into the solution. If its cold enough where you live you can leave it in the garage or outdoors. If the temperatures aren't that cool where you are, that's ok. Put a few bags of ice in and keep it closed!

I can usually fit it in our fridge. Hey, it's a worthy sacrifice for 24 hours! 
Try to time it so that your turkey (in the brine solution) is allowed to come to room temperature before you are ready to cook it.

Have your pan ready, and slowly lift the turkey out and place it in he pan.
Pat dry with some paper towels.

Now is a good time to make your smoke pack.  Soak your applewood chips in warm water for about an hour, drain and wrap in a foil pack. Poke the pack on the top with a fork

Massage your Turkey with 2 tbsp of butter. Real butter.... All over.. Massage it with love! Then add a dry seasoning mix. You can buy a pre-made rub or make one of your own.

I like to make my own with sage, rosemary, cumin and fennel.

If you like to stuff your bird, now is the time to do it.
Personally, I don't. I prefer to do my stuffing separately, but I do cut in 1/2 an onion, orange and an apple and place them inside the cavity. 

Now you are ready to put the turkey on the BBQ.

Just kidding! Don't forget the most important part! Covering the turkey in.. You guessed it! Bacon! 
Place strips of bacon over the wings, thighs and breast, it not only adds a layer of protection, but also slowly bastes the turkey with bacon grease and keeps it nice and moist.

Pre-heat your grill and turn off the centre burners. Put the pan with the turkey in the centre (indirect method) place the smoke packs on either side and leave on medium heat

Let it smoke like this for about 1.5 hours.  Baste with the juices at the bottom of the pan. Check the temperature.. Cover and roast another 1.5 hours. 
Check the temperature adjust cooking as necessary. Leaving uncovered.

Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends cooking a whole turkey to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the breast and 180°F (82°C) in the thigh.

Once the internal temperature has been reached, remove, turn off the Bbq and tent the turkey. Let it settle for about 20-30 minutes.

Don't forget to use that yummy, buttery turkey juice to make gravy!

Carve and enjoy! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jaxs' 2013 Holiday wish list

With Halloween almost here, the stores are already setting up their Christmas displays. (Some have been since back to school in August!) Disgusting right!?

Now I have to admit, I LOVE the Holidays! I love It more now with the Toddler! The elder children lost that excitement long ago, it's nice to have fresh, new spirit in the house!

The Holidays with the Huie's dulled when the elders hit pre-teens. No one wanted presents anymore.. (Unless it was something BIG!) Like 6 years ago when they all pleaded together that the only thing they wanted for Christmas was a dog... poor Ziggy.. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't turn down a flat screen TV or the latest gaming system, but we just don't have it like that. Especially with three teens! Don't even bother buying clothes for teens anymore because unless they've pulled you right into the store and you noted the exact description, colour and size, what ever you get they'll somehow not like it. I broke and learned to save myself the headache (and heart ache) by getting the ever so impersonal gift cards or the one guaranteed to bring a grin, hug AND kiss is good ol' hard cash.  They still get the token under shirts, undies and sox. Body wash, razor, tooth brush, chocolates (and our traditional tangerines) in their stocking. What ever cash or gift cards they amass, they put towards what ever it is they have their eye on and have been pretty good at snagging some great clothes during Boxing Day sales. 

I miss when they were little and the excitement and wonder the holidays brought.  Spending time together playing games, watching a movie. Things that at some point, stop happening when you have adult children.
Now that the Toddler is communicating and can have somewhat interesting conversations, everything is getting much more exciting! That even means ME! 

For fun the other day, I asked the adult children what they would want for Christmas the responses were:

Eldest #1: A giant sly smile in a serious tone..
 "A 50' flat screen for my room."
- better get saving buddy.

Eldest #2: With a Cheshire Cat like grin..
"An Alienware 17 laptop"
- Ha ha ha I never laughed so hard! (After I got over the fact that a laptop could even cost so much and not be encrusted in jewels)

Eldest #3: looking up at the ceiling a million things running through her head..
"Um... Money?"
Me: "No hunny, besides Money..."
"Ahh.. A gift card for the mall?"
Me: "No like, an item"
"What else is there?"
- Oookay, we will keep it at that.

Toddler: (Not really remembering what Christmas is)
Me: "Yes, Christmas, what do you want Santa to bring you"
"Sa-tah?.. Sa-tah pessents me?"
Me: yes, yes, what present do you want, what does Jax like?"
"Meh-mo" (Elmo)
Me: you like Elmo?
"Meh-mo yes! Pi-ates too an Mouse house"
Me: you like Pirates too? Jake and the Never Land pirates? And Micky Mouse club house?
"Yep, yep I uh-ove (Love) das ones"
- I love you!

I have to admit, I am gushing with excitement for holiday season 2013 in the Huie house.

Jax Christmas list so far:
- Big Hugs Elmo (sure to sell out fast to make sure you get one early!)
- Innotab 3 with wifi (Since the Toddler confiscated my iPad) this is my only glimmer of hope to get it back.
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates play ship 

I plan on a few surprises this year and shaking things up a bit.. I am going to get the festive spirit back in this house if its the last thing I do!

(P.s. Santa, mommy wants a Microsoft Surface for blogging)