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16 quarts water

1 ½ c kosher salt

1 ½ c pure maple syrup

4 T black peppercorns

16 garlic cloves, crushed

2 lemons, thinly sliced

Spice rub

4 T minced fresh thyme

2 T dried rubbed sage

2 T poultry seasoning

1 t black pepper

8 garlic cloves, chopped

4 onions, quartered (I use red onions mostly because they turn a burgundy color)

Cola Syrup

2 C cola (not sugar free! I use the stuff from Trader Joe’s, as it’s not so full of unpronounceable additives)

1 C pure maple syrup

Boil cola and syrup in a small saucepan for one minute or so until it thickens up a bit.

1. To prepare the brine, combine all ingredients in a large stockpot, stirring until the salt dissolves.

2. To prepare the turkey, remove giblets and neck from the turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry, trim excess fat.

3. To brine the turkey, I place it in a plastic garbage sack, which I then put in a large ice chest. Then I carefully pour the brine over the turkey until it is well covered. Tie it up tight and the leakage is minimal. Surround the bag with ice and close it up.

If you have a large enough pot, it would be easier to put the whole thing in the fridge to brine. But who has a pot big enough for a 24-pound turkey?

Allow at least 24 hours for the turkey to soak in the brine.

4. On Thanksgiving morning, remove the turkey from the brine; pat dry. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen the skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub thyme mixture under loosened skin, sprinkle inside body cavity.

5. At this point, I put some of my sausage stuffing into the cavities of the turkey. The stuffing will be somewhat sweet. Do not over fill the cavity. I put the rest of my stuffing into the crock-pot and add plenty of broth so it doesn’t dry out.

6. Roast the turkey as per directions on the wrapping. After about an hour, start to baste it with the cola/syrup mixture every so often.

7. I love to use the drippings to make gravy with- but its sweet, so I also usually buy good gravy at Trader Joe’s for those who prefer a more traditional gravy on their turkey and mashed potatoes.

Cream Gravy

2 (14 ½ oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 C whole milk

4 T cornstarch

1 t salt

½ t black pepper

I usually ½ this recipe since we do not use much gravy for left overs.

Place broiler pan with turkey drippings on top of the stove. (be sure to use a separator to skim the fat off the top or you’ll have a greasy gravy), add broth. Combine milk and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk; add to pan. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute or so, stirring constantly.

That’s it! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Maple Apple Crisp:

What You Will Need:

4-5 granny smith apples, pealed and chopped into small chunks

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ cup real maple syrup

2 T cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ cup oat flour (whole wheat flour works too)

¾ cup slow cooking oats

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

4-5 T earth balance butter (or real butter)

Mix apples, lemon juice, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon all together and place in a medium or large baking pan.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and sugar and cut in the butter using a pastry knife until butter is all in small chunks and ingredients are combined. If the mixture seems to be too dry… you can always add more butter!

Pour topping over apple mixture and bake at 350 for 45 min. Check it at that point and see if the top is starting to brown, it may need a bit more time.

Enjoy with vanilla ice cream, coconut milk ice cream or pumpkin ice cream!

Other variations:

-       You can use a pie crust (I think the store bought ones are the best!) on the bottom and then follow the same instructions if you want it to be more pie like

-       It is also delicious with real caramel syrup drizzled on top!

-       If you like lots of topping… just add ¼ cup more flour, oats, and sugar and a bit more butter.

Best Bread Ever:

½ C butter

¼ t garlic powder

2 (10 oz.) cans Hungry Jack Refrigerated Flaky Biscuits

½ C chopped green onions

½ C shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oven to 350. Grease bread pan. In small saucepan, melt butter; stir in garlic. Separate dough into 20 biscuits, dip biscuits into butter mixture. Stand biscuits on edge in prepared pan, forming 4 rows crosswise of 5 biscuits each.

In small bowl, combine onions and cheese. Place 1 T cheese mixture between each pair of biscuits. (Do not place cheese on outside of biscuits)

Drizzle with any remaining butter.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until deep golden brown and cooked in the middle.

Cool 5 minutes; loose edges; remove from pan. Serve warm or re-warm right before the meal.

Turn off all smoke alarms!

EtcIntentional Parents