5 Ways Busy People Can Say ‘I Love You’

Our nation just experienced another horrific tragedy.  In the midst of these times, we are forced to slow down just a bit to acknowledge how precious, fleeting, and uncertain life is.  Our busy schedules prevent us from spending as much time as we would like to spend with our loved ones, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to let them know how much they mean to us. Here are five ways busy people can let loved ones know that they care.

  1. Send a DM. Send your loved ones a direct message via Facebook, Twitter, SMS or Email. The message should go ONLY to one person at a time (no mass messages) and should include the person’s name in the body and mention a shared moment or memory.  It can be as simple as:

“Hi, Karen. How’s my favorite cousin? I’m just thinking about you today. Remember when we were kids and we would pretend like we were in a band together?  We would always fight over who got to be lead singer.  You were right; you’re a total star.  I love you.”

  1. Tag ‘em. Instagram yourself holding something heart-shaped or post this image to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and tag your loved ones. Add the caption:  I don’t tell you this nearly as often as I think it: I love you.
    I love you
  2. Drop the 60-second L-Bomb.  Call your loved ones and as soon as s/he answers, tell her/him that you’re doing fine and you don’t have long to talk, but you were thinking about her/him and decided to call at this very movement just to say “I love you.”  NOTE: This will only work on those you can actually get off the phone in 60-seconds or less, like your brother or your roommate from college (probably not your Aunt Agnes).
  3. Breakfast and Be Gone.  Speaking of Aunt Agnes, for family members who would not be served by any of the above forms of reaching out because they have no Facebook or Twitter accounts, or most of the photos they’ve taken really look like how you try to make your #vintage Instragram pix look, or there’s no way on earth you would get them off the phone in 60 seconds, do this instead: eat and run.  Plan a breakfast at a restaurant that provides seating for large groups, invite everyone you don’t get to see that often and catch up over French toast!  NOTE: This activity will require some coordinating of schedules and about two hours of your time (yes, two whole hours).  But it involves no cooking, hosting, or cleaning, and you still have the rest of your day to fill up with things to do.  Take plenty of pictures and share them on your social spaces afterward and mail copies of them to your Aunt Agnes.
    You: “Egads! Mail?  Do you mean like going to the postal office or something?”
    Me: “Do worry.  There’s a service called CardStore.com that allows you to upload images and personalize a message and get this: they mail the card for you.”
  4. Be Present. When it is all said and done, no one ever wishes they worked more. No one.  Carve out some time in your schedule to be actively present and in the moment with your loved ones.  You can start with small noticeable gestures:
    • When speaking to your loved ones, stop whatever multitasking you’re doing, make eye contact, and actively listen.
    • Don’t answer the call or text in the middle of a conversation (this should be a given, but you’d be surprised).
    • Have at least one meal a week with loved ones where no one is engaging with a television, tablet, computer, phone, or other gadget while eating together; talk instead, maybe play some “I Spy” at the table.
    • Get used to leaving each others’ presence with a hug, kiss, fist bump or maybe a special secret handshake with the kids.
    • Make a conscious effort to actually utter the words “I love you” more often.

Your gestures don’t have to be big, just authentic. The price of success is not social disconnectedness in the interim. Even with a busy schedule a meaningful moment with loved ones is quite achievable. Start now.

Thanksgiving Superstar: Spatchcock Your Turkey

So you’re planning to roast a turkey.  Before you begin, you should know that your roasting experiment can turnout a few ways.  You could:

  1. Cook the turkey into oblivion and end up with a bird-shaped pile of saw dust
  2. Cautiously under-prepare the turkey and serve a pinkish pile of gut bomb to your guests
  3. Serve an uneventful “meh” s the main course OR
  4. You could SPATCHCOCK your turkey and be completely and utterly awesome

Spatchcocking your turkey is the process of cutting the turkey to flatten it so that the entire bird cooks evenly and in a fraction of the time than a whole bird cooks.  The drawback is that you don’t get make the dinner party entrance and to present a whole turkey stuffed with dressing to your family.  Instead, you get to serve a golden brown, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside poultry deliciousness that was prepared stress-free!  Spatchcocking the turkey is easy.  For best results for any poultry, I would suggest bringing it with our Best. Brine. Evah! before roasting.

Here’s how to spatchcock your turkey:

  1. After brining your turkey, rinse the turkey (the turkey innards should already be removed) and place on a cutting board.
  2. Turn the turkey with the backbone facing upward
  3. Use sturdy kitchen shears to remove the backbone by cutting along each side of the backbone.  Starting at the neck opening is easiest.

Remove backbone by cutting on both sides

  1. Flip the bird over and spread the wings and legs
  2. Place your hands on the highest part of the breastbone (you may need to stand a chair to create some leverage) and press down until you hear and/or feel the “pop” of the separation of the breastbone.  It looks like this.
  3. Turn the bird over again and take hold of the newly cut edges to open the turkey completely

And that’s it!  Flip the turkey back over with breast-side up and lay the bird flat.  You can tuck the wings tips underneath the shoulder of the bird for a neater presentation.

To Roast the Turkey:

  1. An already brined turkey is ready to go, but you can rub oil or butter on the skin to prepare for golden crispiness.
  2. Lightly season the outside of the turkey
  3. Place in oven at 365 °F on a rack in a roasting pan
  4. Resist opening the oven too often; it changes the cooking temperature and interrupts the cooking cycle and there is no need to baste a brined turkey
  5. When the skin achieves an even golden brown, check the temperature of the turkey using a food thermometer
  6. The turkey is ready to remove when the thickest part of the breast reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F
  7. For the juiciest possible turkey, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to set.  The turkey will also carve easier this way.
  8. Carve the turkey and arrange the sliced turkey on a serving tray
  9. Watch it disappear!

Make sure the roasted turkey achieves 165 degrees

If this description was helpful, give us a Like!  Send us any questions you may have.

Happy Spatchococking!

Best. Brine. Evah!!

ImageThanksgiving is coming. That means family, friends, and food (and likely stress about all of the above!).  Follow this easy brine recipe for a moist, flavorful turkey, which will please your family, impress your friends, and take the guesswork out of the most fussed-over part of the meal.  You’re welcome!

If you like it, like us!

Happy turkey brining!

NOTE:  When selecting your turkey, do not choose a pre-seasoned, kosher or self-basting bird; it comes already seasoned, so the finished turkey will be too salty.

  • 12 cups water
  • 4 cups ice
  • 1 gallon of vegetable stock (16 cups)
  • 1 cup Kosher salt (cannot be table salt)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons black peppercorns (can use ½ or 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar (well-packed) (which is an entire 16 oz box)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 fully thawed turkey
  • 1 plastic turkey-roasting bag (usually located in the grocery aisle with aluminum foil)
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir in 8 cups cold water, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and ice. The brine is ready, now prepare the turkey.
  3. Remove the giblets and neck from inside the turkey.
  4. Rinse the turkey inside and out.
  5. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  6. Place turkey inside the roasting bag
  7. With the help of your cooking assistant, carefully poor the brine over the turkey, making sure to keep the brine in the bag or use a large roasting pot to keep the turkey stable while you pour.
  8. Place the bagged turkey in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator if it will fit, or in a drink cooler surrounded by ice if it does not.
  9. Allow the turkey to marinate for at least one hour per pound of turkey (double that amount if you have time)
  10. Rotate the turkey half way through the marinate process because the spices may have settled.
  11. When preparing the turkey for the oven, rinse the turkey and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  12. For faster, more even cooking and a moister turkey, spatchcock the turkey before roasting.
  13. Either way, rub a little butter or oil and seasoning on the outside of the bird right before placing it in the oven.
  14. Sit back, and get ready for your compliments

Image

Did you try this?  Let us know how it went?  Did you add or change anything?  Let us know about that, too.

Happy Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day

Spicy food lovers rejoice!  November 8th is Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day.  In honor of this little known holiday, we encourage you to be bold (no need to be pungent, though)!  Here is Fred’s favorite recipe for Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce.  The recipe was adapted from DamnDelicious (who adapted it from DomesticFits).  Try it and if you like it, Like us!

Baked Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Plate of Brown Sugar Wings Deliciousness

A picture of our Brown Sugar Deliciousness. Yum!

Ingredients:

Yields 3-4 servings

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar, densely backed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika (this is different from red paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
    (we use jarred roasted peppers to save time)
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl or large Ziploc bag combine the wings, olive oil, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Mix well.
  3. Let the mixture and wings marinate for at least 30 minutes and begin preparing the dipping sauce.
  4. Place the wings onto foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Flip the wings at the half-way point.
  5. Broil wings for two minutes on each side to get wings to crisp up even more.
  6. To make the dipping sauce, combine the roasted red pepper, softened goat cheese, sour cream and salt in the bowl of a food processor until emulsified.
  7. Serve wings immediately with the dunking sauce.
  8. Enjoy!

Comments, and revised recipes are welcome.  Send us your pics.

The Kindness of Strangers

Two days ago, I ran to the grocery store for a few last minute ingredients for dinner and some items needed for school lunches the next day.  As I ran through my mental shopping list, I remembered that I also needed to take out money to pay the landscapers who were working on our backyard.  I zig-zagged through the store, made my purchase, withdrew some money and headed home.

Later that night, after dinner was over, dishes were washed, homework was checked, and boys were in bed, I decided to take care of the invoice for the landscapers for the next morning.  But I couldn’t find my wallet.  I quickly became frantic when I checked my purse, empty grocery bags, and the kitchen, car and trunk and couldn’t find it.  As a last resort, I dressed and returned the grocery store to see if perhaps I left it there.  As I drove, I planned the list of businesses that I needed to call to cancel accounts and get back to square one.

I ran to Customer Service and pleadingly asked the attendant about my wallet.  Minutes later, to my surprise, the store manager appeared from a back office… with my wallet.  She said someone found it in a grocery cart and turned it in.  My wallet had everything in place.  All cards and the money that I withdrew for the landscapers were all there.

I thanked the store manager profusely and stood helplessly for a moment after she refused my reward and admitted that she didn’t get the name of the person who turned it in.  I wondered what I could do for the person who gave me the gift of honesty.  Then I wondered WHY?  Why would someone do something so nice for a stranger.  I walked slowly to my car and sat there for a moment still charged with gratitude and disbelief.  Slowly, as I drove away, I realized that that person didn’t do something nice for ME, because it wasn’t about me at all.  But I am extremely thankful nonetheless.

“Character is who you are when no one is watching.” ~ John Wooden

Have you ever benefited from the kindness of a stranger? We’d love to hear your story.