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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 August 15, 2018

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                      Video Summary

                      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                      One Exercise, multiple benefits

                      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                    How to hold a plank position

                                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                      • Prolapse
                                      • After prolapse surgery
                                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                      • Previous childbirth
                                      • Overweight

                                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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