Thanksgiving Showdowns

25 Oct

What’s the difference between brining and marinating or mashing and whipping? Find out the answers to all of your Thanksgiving dinner questions.

Written and researched by Meaghan Cameron and Amy Zerello

In or Out? Stuffing vs. Dressing

For those who believe the conventional wisdom, stuffing is the stuff that is cooked inside the bird while dressing is baked on the outside. But Chow notes that both are actually the same thing, according to the National Turkey Federation, which states, “Both terms are used interchangeably.” Since this side dish is most often discussed at Thanksgiving, we think the turkey experts at the NTF may know best. If you do choose to stuff your turkey remember that it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees! Sources: Chow.com, usda.gov

Sweet Debate: Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Don’t lose your potatoes over this, but these two spuds are not related botanically. Now that you’ve digested that bombshell, here are a few more potato particulars: Sweet potatoes come in several varieties, classified as either firm or soft. Firm varieties remain firm after they’re cooked, while the soft varieties get moist and soft. The Library of Congress says these soft types are often labeled “yams,” but adds that true yams are native to Africa and it is unlikely you’ll find them at your local grocery store. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, though they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Sources: loc.gov, rd.com

Turkey Bath: Brined vs. Marinated

Every year on Thanksgiving you hear about people brining a turkey, but not marinating it. Why is that? The difference has to do with acidic marinades versus salty brines. Acid, a strong component of marinades, tenderizes only the surface of meats, thus they are not the best way to add flavor to your large turkey. Brining is a longer, deeper process. The salty nature of the brine “adds moisture to the meat through osmosis.” The salt draws the water inside the meat out while the brine flows into the meat, adding extra water and juiciness. Want to do both? Try this Citrus Marinated Turkey recipe from Iron Chef Jose Garces, in which he first brines and then marinates the meat. Source: exploratorium.edu Continue reading

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Words on Wednesday: There Be Witches…

24 Oct

June Marlowe Witch ImageA favorite poem I always recall during this time of year. From Anne Sexton, “Her Kind.”

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Image via lespapillonsrouges.blogspot.com

Run for Your Life

24 Oct

woman runningBack in 1984, experts feared running to be a potentially harmful activity for those over the age of 50. Now, a 20-year Stanford University study suggests the opposite, reporting that running may promote a longer lifespan by delaying the early onset of cancers, neurological diseases, and infections, among other leading causes of death.

Are you ready to pick up the pace and slow down the aging process?

Here are the sites that can help you make the move from the sidewalk to the fast track:

Visit: Runner’s World For: Information that can take beginner’s to the next level.

You’ll also find:

Visit: About.com For: A concise yet comprehensive collection of information on how to run, nutrition for running, and road racing for beginners.

You’ll also find:

More Secrets from Your Wedding Planner

21 Oct

vintage cake topper coupleIt’s easy to think of Jennifer Lopez’s role in The Wedding Planner when hearing about people who plan weddings. Here, planners and pros from across the country pull back the curtain on what it takes to make dreams come true on a couple’s big day.

The second the ring goes on the finger, commonsense goes out the door.

This is a full time job, but on the big day we are steaming the bridal gown, pinning boutonnieres, making sure that the timelines are being met, making sure there are no spots on the glasses or silverware, allowing gum to be spit out in our hands before the ceremony, dealing with any situations that arise, and the list goes on!

I feel like a therapist when I am forced to step in to help with family drama. My insight is to be polite and respectful. Often, meddlesome people just want to be heard out. Since I’m an independent third party, I’m able to bring neutrality to emotionally charged situations.

Sisters are tough to work with. Often the Maid of Honor takes her role very seriously and doesn’t trust my capabilities. I take it in stride but have sometimes been forced to take sisters aside. By the end of the night, we’re friends! Continue reading