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Stress-free, Succulent Turkey

turkey dinner

Being Canadian, we have already enjoyed our Thanksgiving turkey, and it was delicious.

I used to dread cooking turkey, hoping desperately that it would be neither undercooked nor dry and overcooked.  With this recipe it’s so stress-free to make tender and delicious turkey!

Here’s what I do (and what some of my friends are now doing as well):

1. The night before, or early in the morning, preheat the oven to 400F.  Then put the turkey into the roaster and pop it into the oven. If it’s huge, as in more than 15-20 lbs, or partially frozen, be sure to put it in the night before.

2. Heat it at 400F for 30-40 minutes. (If you have a tiny turkey, leave it at 400F only about 25 minutes.)

3. Turn the oven down to 200F and cook the turkey all day (and night if you put it in in the evening) at that temperature.  It will cook slowly and stay tender and delicious for hours at 200F.

4. Enjoy.


  • Our turkeys are usually around 15 lbs and mostly thawed when I put them into the oven, and we cook them for 10-24 hours, depending on circumstances.  At such low temperatures they never get tough.
  • The initial cooking time at 400F kills bacteria on the surface.
  • I always cook the stuffing separately.
  • Unless you are certain that your oven thermostat is correct, use a meat thermometer.  Since the oven temperature in this method is barely above the official ‘done temperature’ you must be sure that you do reach the correct temperature.

This is based on a method found in Let’s Cook it Right by Adele Davis. (That old cookbook is one of my treasures.)

Because this method makes such moist, tender, delicious turkey in such a stress-free way, I thought it would be worth letting my dear readers know about it again, so this is a repost from a few years ago.  When I first published it, I was honored that my friend Jacqueline at Deep Roots at Home republished it and added some other links.

For more great ideas, see Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 TuesdayR&R Wednesdays, WholeHearted Wednesday.

Review: The Magna Charta by James Daugherty

The Magna Charta

June 15, 1215, one of the most significant days in English history, saw wicked King John sullenly sign the Magna Charta, acknowledging freedom of the people and restraining his own power.

How did this all come about?  How was such an evil king persuaded to restrict his own power?

James Daugherty, award-winning author of the past, has written a dramatic account of kings and queens, castles and barons, sea battles and sieges, intrigue and honesty, faith and wickedness, all bound together by the outrageous arrogance of John Lackland and the suffering of his people.

There are moments of humor; who can avoid laughing at the image of a powerful king throwing a temper tantrum and chewing on the rushes covering the floor?  There are also moments of horror at the devastation and ruin that plagued the common people, but Daugherty’s way of writing shields the young from its effects.

The Charter itself is also presented, to the groaning, muttering, sweating, and rage of King John.

After the exciting story of King John and the Magna Charta, Daugherty discusses ‘The Children of the Magna Charta’ from the Mayflower Compact to the United Nations Charter, making this book a guide to United States history as well.

The Magna Charta by James Daugherty is a stirring introduction to one of the greatest documents of our history and is highly recommended for every homeschool.  The girls enjoyed the story, and I was moved to see God’s hand in history.

This year the Magna Charta is 800 years old, and we have celebrated its birthday in various ways, seeing one of the earliest copies at the Canadian Museum of History, reading this book, and watching Magna Carta: Our Shared Legacy of Liberty, an anniversary documentary which I plan to review soon.

Because the Magna Charta is fundamental to Canadian history, this book forms part of our multi-year, literature-based Canadian History course . This review is linked to Finishing Strong , Trivium TuesdaysSaturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook.

Disclosure: We bought this book several years ago, and I am not compensated for this review.

Reading Week, Music, Crafts, and More (Week 11)

What happens when Miss 13 reads a craft book

What happens when Miss 13 reads a craft book

We had our annual Reading Week, and it was such a joy!  In one sense it’s a week off from regular schoolwork, and we enjoyed that.  Not that schoolwork didn’t get done; Miss 15 did a lot of it, and I took advantage of the breathing space to plan ahead a bit.  Also, our three-week FutureLearn Dutch course has ended, and it was a pleasant change for the girls, an effective review, and a great introduction to other resources for learning about the Netherlands.

Getting back to Reading Week:  Miss 13 read Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for Kids and did some crafts; she also read Louis L’Amour’s books—there are, unfortunately, language issues as well as violence issues.  Miss 15 really enjoyed The Dorito Effect, sharing tidbit after tidbit with us.  Now she’s exploring another pile of non-fiction books and has pulled out The Other 8 Hours.  We finished our read aloud The Mouse on the Moon (a spoof on the space race and American-USSR relations half a century ago, and started Pegeen and the Pilgrim, a historical novel about the beginnings of the Stratford Festival.  And in our Bible reading we are still in Isaiah; when my husband is home for meals, we read Romans.

This is the first Reading Week that has not involved a lot of fiction.  Even Asterix has been ignored!  Instead, I got dozens of non-fiction books from the library and used the old homeschooling principle of leaving some good books lying around, sometimes known as strewing.  It always works.  The girls looked through the piles, tried something here and there, and then settled on a book or two for some serious reading.

For me this has turned out to be music week as well.  As I’m writing this I’m listening to All Of Bach’s latest recording over and over.  We began the week attending an Evensong in which a friend of ours sings.  Amazing!  Then, a few days ago, I was treated to a tiny private concert by an accomplished pianist.  So wonderful!  Later, listening to Bach’s 8 Little Preludes and Fugues on YouTube, I slipped away from the kitchen to follow along in my sheet music…and I burned our supper.  Sigh!  I spent some blissful hours playing organ myself, finding the hymns of the Evensong and branching out from there.  And then there was listening to Johnny Cash with my husband and to Gershwin for the girls’ music history course.

Last weekend a special conference in Ottawa, Dig and Delve, dealt with many current hot button issues—from creation theories to sanctity of life matters—at a level suited to college students.  It was very worthwhile, and when the conference videos become available I will let you know.  They will be of interest to upper level high school students as well as adults.

As for my personal reading:  I finished 2 Chronicles which coincided, providentially, with what we are reading in Isaiah, and started Ezra which tied in with Miss 13’s ancient Mesopotamia studies.  I also read a few practical home and self-management books:  How to have a 48 Hour Day, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life, I Know How She Does It, and How to Handle 1000 Things at Once.  Do you notice a bit of a theme there?  As life gets fuller and fuller, I am trying to become more and more effective and such books help.  The reading time invested, often while on the treadmill or waiting for an appointment, can make a huge difference even if I learn (or relearn) only one or two practical tips from each book.  Besides, each of the authors is a positive, inspiring person and it’s good to hang around with such people.

Worthwhile links:  This week, two quotations about gratitude from Ruth Soukup’s newsletter:

“Brene Brown once noted that “what separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”  Along those same lines, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

If your life is hard and you are having trouble being grateful, do read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I have not read a more powerful story of brokenness healed by gratitude than this one.

If you want to see more helpful and interesting links throughout the week, follow me on Google Plus.

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up and Finishing Strong.


Review: Journey Through the Night by Anne de Vries

Journey Through the Night-rgb

When I started to read Journey Through the Night to my youngest daughters, they expected to be bored.  However, by the third paragraph one of them jumped up.  “What!  John does judo?”  The other one was interested by the next page.  As the story moved on, they begged for chapter after chapter.  Once, when I could not read aloud any longer, I stayed behind in the lawn chair and, forgetting all my duties, finished the entire book even though I had read it many times before!  When I talk to others who have read this book, they invariably tell me how wonderful it was.

So, what is this amazing book?  Journey Through the Night follows John and his family through the five years of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  Intense humanity and deep thoughtfulness run through all its exciting events….

You can read my complete review at The Curriculum Choice.

Hope, A Few Blades of Green Grass

A few blades of green grass

“Even when the grass looks entirely brown, always, when you get down on your knees and look closely, you will see some blades of green.”*

There is hope in that, and comfort.

Sometimes, when life happens and homeschooling and other matters seem to be hopeless, the little positives gain huge importance.  If you look closely, you will see these good things.  And, even more so, if you are down on your knees in prayer, you will see them.

When you do see happy moments, small bits of recovery, little victories, tiny steps forward, then be sure to celebrate them and give thanks to God!  For it is he who gives these enormous little victories.  He is in charge of these joys as well as all the challenges.

Therefore give thanks for the few blades of green and if you can’t see them, get down on your knees and look more closely.

May God bless you and give you hope.

*This was quoted by Wolterstorff in  ‘The Peculiar Hope of the Educator’, an essay that reminds us that all education is based on hope.

For more encouragement visit Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 TuesdayR&R Wednesdays, WholeHearted Wednesday, Wednesdays with Words, Trivium Tuesdays, and Finishing Strong.

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