How Not To Cook A Turkey Dinner

  About That Evening Post

Turkey Found Abused & Tortured

Temple, Texas–A one year old turkey found dead and burned after what officals are calling an ‘apparent temperature overdose’. “The scene was gruesome, and showed obvious signs of pre-meditation” said Rowdy Hen, Senior detective Temple Police. “The kitchen looked like a bomb went off, and a charged burning stench poured out of the oven.” The defendant in custody, 25 year old Jennifer Shidler, told the reporters that it was an accident and she didnt mean for anyone to get hurt. The call to police came in just after noon on Christmas Day, when neighbors reported hearting strange loud noises, screams and profanity. “All was quite at first, then all the sudden we heard a few shouts, then screaming followed by a thud, then all we heard was crying. Next thing we knew, the whole apartment building began to smell like burnt gym shoes,” Georgia Kipper, neighbor of Shidler, recalled. “We had no idea she (Jennifer) was capable of such cruel devistation.” Shidler is being held without bond while she awaits trial. Services for the Turkey, 1 year old Edward B. Utterball, will be held January 1st at noon…..

Ok ladies and gentleman, it is the long awaited sequel. Last week I talked about the best strategy on how to shop for your food for your first ever holiday dinner, and i completely intended on the next post (This one) to talk about how to cook that food (specifically the turkey)for the very first time, that is until I realized  I am the very last person to be giving this advice (real or funny). But hey, that hasn’t stopped me before has it ;)The turkey was a bit burnt on the outside..apparently with out a little bit of liquid in the roaster with the turkey and a tempture set 25 degrees higher than intended for an hour longer than intended is a sure fire way to produce an overly done turkey. After a 30 minute cry session and phone chat with the turkey whisper (my mom)the burnt bird was carved and deemed edible by my guests. I repeat, no family or friends were harmed in the making of this Christmas dinner.   

How NOT to cook your first ever Turkey dinner

1.)Pick the perfect bird, give him or her a name. After three phone calls to my mom and three goggle searches in the middle of walmart at 10 oclock at night, we choose Edward (eddie for short). A proud 13 lb butterball. Edward was raised with out hormones,unlike the chef cooking it!I like to imagine that Eddie was raised in a quiet upstate New York farm where he was valedictorian of his class, lived a full life and acomplished all his dreams before retiring to my oven in late 2012. (hey..whatever helps you sleep at night, right?) Dont be alarmed if you find yourself overly attached to your new friend. When you open his packaging and remove the ‘gifts’ he left behind for you in his chest cavity, those warm fuzzy feelings of love and adoration will soon fade. 

2.) Watch every youtube video you can find. As the boyscouts said, be prepared, not scared, I used every waking moment I had, either watching Youtube videos of cheery cooks with proffesional equipment cooking a turkey similar to eddie (probably a distant cousin or neighbor) with the greatest of ease, or reading magazines which showcased birds to pretty to even eat. Instead of taking advice from the Boy Scouts, i should have been taking advice from smokey the bear “Only you can prevent forrest  turkey fires”

3.) Give your bird the propper send off. We choose to brine edward. This meant preparing over 8 quarts (p.s. i took me longer to figure out the conversion rate from quarts to cups then it took the farmer to raise, plumpen, slaugher package and ship edward to my local grociery store. Mathematics fail..) of water, brother and herbal seasoning to create the perfect poultry bubble bath complete with seasonings that would open your sinus’s for a year. The next mission was finding a bag (might has well have been a body bag) big enough to allow him to soak over night. He was pampered until the very end. 

4.)Get up early  whenever you feel like it to put the bird in the oven. Just like setting an alarm to get up in the morning for work, what started out as a 6:00 am wake up call for the last rights of eddie the bird, ended up with 15 snoozes and the thought “ehh christmas dinner served at 9pm sounds alot better” Next thing you know, its noon, the presents are opened the disney parade is over and your suddenly worried because you dont know which will happen first, you will burn the bird, or the chinese resturant will close. 

5.) For the love of God, CHECK THE TURKEY! You dont want the first time you see the bird after putting him in the oven in the morning, to be through a thick smokey haze broken up only by the white fluff of the fire extinguisher. 

6.)Have the number and locations of local Emergency rooms with a color coded map detailing the best routes that will get you and your family there the fastest. This will not only save valuable time ensuring your loved ones saftey, but also allows more time for presents and the parade. Plus, it is more gas efficient (not that there will be a shortage of gas with this holiday dinner) 🙂

 7.)Get the rest of the side dishes ready. I have a tiny kitchen with limited counterspace, combined with my lack of patience and cooking skills, the side dishes were as instant as they could get. The least instant and most originaly of course being my personal favorite is the cranberry sauce 🙂 No formal dinner is complete with out this cranberry gelatin concotion. This special delicacy takes a certain finness to remove the perfect gelatin form fromt he can with out disrupting its perfect shape. Who said cooking the turkey was the hardest part of the meal anyway..

So Your Cooking Your First Christmas Dinner. Part 1.

;Twas the day of good christmas and all through the house, the food was casually burning, not a piece good enough, even for a mouse. The fire extinguisher was hung by the oven with care, in hopes the fire department would not have to ;soon be there….Ok ok, our family christmas dinner may not have turned out this bad, but the potential was definitely there! In my last post (read it HERE) I spoke of how shopping for holiday presents was not my favorite pastime, and shopping for groceries ranks right up there with it. The aisle are crowded, the check out lines are long, and I, like many other frustrated shoppers, can manage to walk in for a quick trip with specific items in mind, walk out an hour and a half later with 250 dollars with of junk food none of which were on my original quick list, nor do they manage to make one complete meal. Most of the time it is just my husband and I and two cats (who are not that picky thankfully) so the meals tend to be quick and easy. But this week we are hosting our first ever family Christmas dinner. Thats right folks, I, Jennifer Lynne Shidler, is cooking a meal from start to finish, (hopefully with out the aid of the fine members of the Temple Fire Department). In order to prepare for such an event, that means that Matthew and I had to set off on adventure that I genuinely try to avoid. Holiday grocery shopping. After all is said and done, I managed to get all the items I needed and developed another one of my infamous “how to” lists!

How to successfully shop for your first ever Christmas Dinner

Go with a game plan. ;weeks before the actually shopping marathon commences, i like to do a ‘steak out’ (yes pun intended) the store in question. Just like a bank robber casing the joint before the big show goes down, i like to go and map out the aisles, make a color coded diagram and perhaps a shoe box diorama if i have the time. If your lucky/patient enough, you will learn the patterns and schedules of the cashiers. Allowing you to track and record their items scanned per minute average and their average customer service calls per transaction. This step is key as the check out process is one of the most stressful steps. ;
Know your grocery cart “types” There is nothing worse than setting out on a long journey with a bum cart. There are 3 ;

main cart types found in your common grocery stores. First is the squeaker. You know, that cart that sounds like it is auditioning for a solo in the carol of the bells. About halfway through the store you find a squeaky rhythm and next thing you know you have developed your own lyrics and they are now stuck in your head for the next 3 days. The next is the infamous Texas sidewinder. This is the cart that acts like an attention deprived dog on a leash in a park full of cats. You may start out going straight in the aisle, next thing you know your making 90 degree b lines into on coming carts, shelving unites and small unattended children. The last, and possibly the worst cart is the “rode hard and put away wet” cart. This, i think is the worst of all the carts. It is commonly found after a severe rain storm or snow blizzard and was perhaps pulled out of a retention pond just minutes before ending up in your capable hands. The handle bar is either unbearably cold/frozen, sopping wet or an awkward sticky mixture that no amount of wet wipes can fix. Old receipts and mailers are paper machined to the bottom of the basket, zip ties and old gum are holding the only things holding the wheels together and plastic bags are hanging off like streamers. This cart is likely on its last legs but still remains in the cart line up. A week before the event go to the store and tag/pre-select the perfect shopping cart. (don’t be afraid to whip out the GPS trackers) in an effort to secure the perfect cart for your shopping adventure.

Organization is Key. My weapon of choice is an oversized clipboard. Nothing says “back off, I am a serious shopper on a mission” like a clipboard and highlighter with the above mentioned color coded diagram laminated and taped to the back. This not only keeps you on point with what you need and helps minimize the back track blues. Because lets face it, no one wants to be all the way on the straight away of the last leg of a race, only to find that they missed a lap and have to go around again. (Yep, I’m just that lazy) The clipboard also gives you a point of reference to help you see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. You not only need to organize with your clipboard, but you need to keep that perfect cart organized itself. While putting a 12 pound turkey on top of 2 dozen eggs sounds like a winning idea, it really is not. (nor is the bread) ; ; ; ;
Dress the part. Just like the map of middle earth, the different regions of a grocery store require different attire. Tennis ;

shoes are a must. You need to be able to weave in and out of traffic, dash quickly from one end of the aisle to another, jump high, crouch low. The pants and shirt don’t really ;matter, but a easy to remove jacket for the dairy and frozen food sections and perfect grip gloves are ideal for cold grab and go’s. The closer you get to the finish line you can shed the layers!

Don’t be afraid to help direct traffic. It is no secret that one of the most frustrating parts of grocery shopping is the people. Everyone has a cart, everyone has a mission, and we all end up in the same aisle grabbing for the same things at the same time. Just like driving on the open road, knowing the traffic rules in the grocery store could save you a lot of time and energy. It is for this reason that I like to step up and be a leader! ;I bring with me a yield sign, stop sign, an LED blinking light for left turns, and the ever popular back up beeper. But please remember, if you take on this responsibility, know the rule book and memorize the ‘right of ways’. Women with children and elderly people get the right of ways. 25 year old men with beer bellies and a bulk size containers of cheesy puffs ;wait until the green left turn arrow appears. This is non-negotiable. ;
When the sign says, please ask for assistance for items on the top shelf, do it. There is not time in the busy holiday season to make a quick trip to the local emergency room because you didn’t foresee the 10 pound bag of flour falling on your head from the top shelf. ;
Last but not least, try not to take notes in a busy crowded aisle for your semi popular blog as this will back up traffic and will inevitably leave the people around you irritated making your cart an open target for unwanted items placed their by bored strangers. It is funny until you get up to the check out counter with 5 days worth of baby food and preparation h and you don’t have a baby or hemorrhoids.
; ;

Scrooge Goes Shopping…


Imagine this shopping experience. It is one week before Christmas. It snowed about a week ago and has been 65 one day, then 20 the next so the snow has just enough time to kind of melt, but then freeze to a nasty blackish brown slush. Every body and their brother are out shopping, and since I’m just someone’s sister (bahaha) the only parking left is by a smelly Long John Silvers dumpster all the way at the other end of the parking lot. You are wearing jeans and tennis shoes (because Santa has yet to bring you a new pair of boots) and they probably have a hole in them. By the time you travel from middle earth to whatever store you are going to, the snow/slush and sidewalk salt combo has absorbed into your pant leg and is now midway up your calf. You finally make it to the store and while it is warm your wet pant legs give you a cold friendly reminder5221772142_1a63e8d19a_m of what’s waiting for you outside. The happy people drinking their Starbucks, whom got the close parking spots and already have their warm snow boots from Santa are looking at you funny because your wet tennis shoes are now squeaking like a cheap duck call every time you take a step. You’ve probably forgot your shopping list in your car but the trip back to middle earth isn’t worth it, so you decide just to ‘wing’ it. You are wearing a coat that is big enough to keep you warm when your outside but is impossible to manage in small aisles, and does not fit in your cart with all your ‘winged’ purchases, so you decide to wear it instead. An hour later you have broke three mugs and whatever shirt you were wearing underneath your coat is drenched with so much sweat that even if you could take your coat off and leave it somewhere, you cant because, lets face it, no one wants to see that. Your not the type of person that does returns or back tracks to stores, so you have to decided right then and there if your going to buy a particular item for a person because once you lay the item down and leave that store, that present no longer exists. Because of this you will spend HOURS looking at the same framed picture of 5 dogs playing poker trying to decided if Is your house on fire Clark?Aunt Bethany is really going to like it, if it’s the right size or if you can get it cheaper at another store.  You decide after coming across grown men and woman fighting over the last cabbage patch doll (ok, I realize that statement is a bit outdated, but I am not a kid nor do I own a kid, therefore I don’t know what the ‘It” present of the year we shall go with what I know) that it is time to go, so you gather up your winged presents and head for the line that looks the shortest and has the smallest chance of having 10 price checks and minimal coupons. Your almost done and home free…300.00 later your back to your house, all of your winged treasures unloaded you find your list in your purse and began to check things off. You then realize that you forgot cousin Eddy and aunt Ethel’s second cousin myrtle who is going to be at the family dinner this year..people still like cash, right?

If you cant tell from the above scenario….

I despise shopping. When this blog began a few months ago, my second post ever (read it here) was about my strong dislike of shopping, a dislike that is only fueled during the holiday season.It is because of this,that I have developed a very straight forward and strategic method for Christmas shopping, get in and get out..ALIVE. If I can get it online I’m going to. I don’t care if Best Buy themselves are giving away 24 KG iPads to the first 1000 customers on ‘black thufriday’    you will not see me sleeping out in a tent a week in advance. I generally do 90% of my shopping online and make one marathon store shopping session similar to the one described above. That marathon occurred today, and while I am proud to say I made it out alive and most of my presents are nestled snug underneath the tree, the day did not go with out some fun observations that couldn’t help but make my experience a little bit better.

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say….

IMG_1265For the first time ever in my life my holiday shopping experience did not involve snow, hauling around a deadly coat (deadly to glass and fragile often expensive items..) and I wasn’t messing with a car whose heater may or may not be working. It was a very warm 70 degrees today when I left on my shopping expedition! I wore jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops..sun roof was open and Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka” was playing on the radio..I love you Indiana but Texas has you trumped in the department.

People make/buy the weirdest products..

The rest of this blog post is going to be simple in the fact, that it is going to be littered with all the interesting gift ideas I found while shopping in stores today and while shopping on line earlier in the week. I know we are rebounding from a recession, but some of these items could have fooled me..

The 9IMG_12500’s called, they IMG_1259want their gifts back..

Words cannot describe the sheer shock and amazement when I came across an aisle in Big Lots that showcased 4 new in package VHS tapes, none of which were titles I had ever heard of.  The fun continued when I rounded the corner and found beauty number two, a Nokia ‘candy bar’ phone complete with gray scale screen  17 pin charger and the game snake. Don’t worry ladies and gentleman, the phone is locked up in a glass case as to detour thieves. I imagine the VHS will be in there before long.

Some poor kid somewhere…


Probably asked Santa to buy them an iPad from the really cool AT&T representative for Christmas. What Santa heard was, “send one of the elves down to the local family dollar and get the new Glow Pad, 2nd generation with ‘No G’ data service for 10$ and call it a day! Same thing right?





No Holiday love for Beiber or One Direction…


Some book store out there is dying to fill the dreams of some pre-teen Bieber or One Direction fan as out of all the book shelves with all the books, this one section had about 30 copies of each book..un-touched. Even more alarming then none of these books being purchased, was the fact that the book title below looked like it had been picked over and a generally quite popular with the public. Then again, with a title such as “raising a non-violent child” how could you not purchase!


As seen on tv…as wrapped under the tree…..

What better way to get present ideas then staying up till 3 in the morning, long after Letterman andIMG_1252 Obrien have gone to bed, to watch the ever popular ‘as seen on tv’ infomercials. (I wrote another post poking fun of this hobby, you can read it here!) Best part is, you no longer have to pay shipping and handling and processing fees because you can stroll right in to your local store and IMG_1251purchase these must have items! The best item of course, was the 3 piece lint roller set (overly enthusiastic guy not included) with a 5 ft detachable pole. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like to roll lint with the best of them, but what type of clothing is this guy rolling that is going to require a 5ft pole




I would now like to take a second and offer up a moment of silence for the 6 rats and 1 1/2 raccoon that gave their lives (probably against their will) to make this bag so that it could be an unfortunate 30$ Christmas present..your short lived rodent life was not lived in vain..thank you..IMG_1268

Pets deserve presents too…

If you are an ‘avid’ reader, you already know that I’m a bit of a cat person (again, I have another blog post, you can read it here) and while I might obsess from time to time, there are clearly people out there who are going a bit over board, and if I may say so, giving the rest of us cat fans a bad rap. At any rate, I found my email bombarded with the silliest (ok not all are silly ) idea for pet and pet enthusiast presents.

1. First and fore most..CATS USE LITTER BOXES, not 400$ space ships or human toilets. “Ground control to Major Tomcat..permission to lift tail and release fluids?” “Roger that ground control, permission granted”







2. Dressing your pets, and dressing up like your pets..both ways are to cheerfully and fashionably IMG_0998celebrate the holidays. Is this Vin Diesel look alike is rocking this snowflake turtle neck, cat vest combo or what? He looks ‘purrrrrrfect’






What if you don’t have the money or time to go out and buy an expensive sweater that showcases your love for your feline friend? Do not worry, amazons got your back! This book shows you every possible craft you can make with all that valuable hair you cat leaves behind! The possibilities are endless! and to think, you’ve been rolling that hair up on your new 18$ 5 foot lint roller!



IMG_1255 Now that you’ve got your holiday outfit picked out (or made…) it is time to get your pet all spiffied up and ready for Santa. While on my shopping marathon today, I found the loveliest little holiday outfit sure to make my little princes just glow. It’s not everyday that your cat has the chance to be a jester, or one of Santa’s elves!