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10 Common Turkey Mistakes You Won’t Make This Thanksgiving

10 Common Turkey Mistakes You Won’t Make This Thanksgiving

Everyone makes mistakes while trying to prepare a fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. But this year, RELAX! You’ve got it under control with these 10 easy tips that will save your turkey and make you look like a culinary rock star!

1. Not giving your turkey enough time to thaw.

    Chances are good that you’re going to purchase your turkey frozen, because that is how the majority of them come. It’s crucial to allot enough time for yours to thaw safely. The best way to get that frozen bird thawed is in the refrigerator. It will defrost at a rate of about four pounds per day, so the average 16-pound turkey could take at least four days to completely thaw! If you fail to give your turkey enough time to thaw, it will cook on the outside, but the inside will be super raw. Gross!

    2. You don’t let your bird come to room temperature.

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    roomTEMPturkey

      Take your turkey out of the refrigerator and park it on the kitchen counter for 60-90 minutes before roasting. Unpackage it and remove it from its brine (the liquid). This ensures that you cook an equally moist bird. If you’re a germaphobe, rest assured that this is safe and sanitary for that hour and a half.

      3. Stuffing your turkey.

      StuffingtheTurkey

        The middle of the turkey takes the longest to cook, so when you’re putting food into the cavity of the bird to pull out and eat later, it could be a potential health hazard. For the stuffing to be safe to eat, it needs to reach 165 degrees. However, by the time it reaches that temperature, the rest of the turkey is overcooked. Your options are to have an overcooked bird with properly heated stuffing or a turkey cooked to perfection but the stuffing is mushy and undercooked. Play it safe and bake the stuffing separately so that you can enjoy both foods. You’ll be glad you avoided this turkey mistake!

        4. Putting a damp bird in the oven.

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        patturkeydry

          It’s important to pat your turkey dry before you roast it. Don’t neglect drying inside the cavity of the bird as well. Many people forget about that because they are stuffing it. You want the bird to be dry if you wish to have a crispy, golden-brown turkey.

          5. Forgetting to season.

          cajun-smoked-turkey

            If you want a savory bird, you need to season it thoroughly. This means inside and out. You could simply sprinkle some salt in its cavity or loosely stuff it with herbs, lemons, onions, and fennel (not to eat). This adds flavor to the meat and the aroma will make your kitchen smell great too!

            6. Not using a roasting rack.

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            thanksgiving-turkey-tips_608

              It boggles my mind how many people don’t use a roasting rack. The roasting rack helps to cook the bird evenly. Without it, the meat on the bottom ends up dry, overcooked, and often burned. If you don’t want to waste part of your turkey each year, invest in a rack for your roasting pan. You can use it for roasting other meats too, so you’ll get use out of it more than just once a year.

              7. You skip the meat thermometer.

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                Many people skip using a meat thermometer and just rely on the plastic pop-up thermometer. This will get you into trouble. Use a standard meat thermometer that is metal and designed to withstand oven temperatures. Position it in the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh, because the dark meat of the turkey thigh takes longest to cook. When the thermometer reads 165, take it out!

                8. Cooking at too high of a temperature.

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                burnt-turkey

                  If you cook your turkey at too high of a temperature, the skin will burn and the meat will likely be undercooked. Yuck! It’s best to start roasting the bird at 475-500 degrees for the first 20-30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 400 degrees until the bird reaches 165 degrees.

                  9. Roasting the turkey well over 165°F.

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                    Maybe you’re using a meat thermometer and you’re roasting the turkey the oven at 400 degrees, but you still cook the turkey well past 165 degrees. If you’re letting the bird’s thigh temperature reach 180 degrees, it will be dry. There is no sense in waiting this long because the meat is perfectly safe for eating at 165 degrees. You could even cook it to just 160 degrees because the meat will continue to cook for a little while after you remove it from the oven.

                    10. Your turkey carving is shameful.

                    butcheredbird

                      Does your turkey look like a shredded mess on a platter? Or perhaps a poultry crime scene? Turkey carving is all about presentation. Here’s what you can do to make your carving turn out better this year:

                      1. Allow the bird to cool down for about 15 minutes before you start the carving process.
                      2. Start with cutting the leg quarters away first, and then work on the breast meat.
                      3. Try to take the breast meat off of the bone in one large piece and then slice it crosswise to ensure thicker, even slices.
                      4. Cut the thighs into larger pieces.
                      5. Only cut off what you will eat right away. If your family doesn’t plan to eat most of the bird during dinner, carve only half of the turkey. Carved meat will dry out faster than if it remains intact on the carcass.

                      Featured photo credit: whole turkey/Aimée Wimbush-Bourque via simplebites.net

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                      Naomi Teeter

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                      Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                      Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

                      In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

                      These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

                      1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

                      Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

                      But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

                      Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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                      2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

                      You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

                      The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

                      3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

                      If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

                      Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

                      If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

                      4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

                      Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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                      To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

                      In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

                      5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

                      We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

                      If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

                      Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

                      “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

                      6. Give for the Joy of Giving

                      When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

                      One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

                      So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

                      7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

                      Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

                      Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                      8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

                      When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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                      So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

                      9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

                      Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

                      It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

                      It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

                      10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

                      There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

                      But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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                      Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

                      More About Living a Fulfilling Life

                      Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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