Prepare the perfect turkey

You might be surprised at the number of ways that people have to cook a turkey. You would not think that there were as many options available as there are, but like nearly every other food dish, everyone has their own idea on what works best for them. Most people do not cook turkey except during Thanksgiving or perhaps Christmas, but turkey can be a sensible, healthful alternative at any time.

Leftovers are versatile and may be used in soups, sandwiches or a turkey pot pie. There is no wrong or right way to cook a turkey; as long as the turkey is fully cooked and properly handled, it will most likely be fine. Here are some guidelines on how to cook a turkey.

To get started you will need:
  • Fresh or frozen Turkey (thawed)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Stuffing (if desired)
  • Deep roasting pan
  • Cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer
Tips and tricks pre-cooking

Remember to thoroughly clean the turkey. Remove all of the giblets, neck and organs from the cavities and wash thoroughly in cold water. Be sure that before and after you handle a raw turkey that you wash your hands in hot water; always practice safe food handling procedures.

To thaw a turkey, the preferred method would be in the refrigerator. Soaking the turkey in cold water (with the wrapper on) is also an acceptable method. Never allow the turkey to soak in warm or hot water.

Preparation for cooking

After you have thoroughly cleaned the turkey, it is time to prepare it for the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) while you are preparing the turkey.  Pat the turkey dry with paper towels (and discard immediately) and place into a roasting tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray (will help prevent sticking).

Carefully pull back the skin on the sides of the turkey breast.  Take the stick of butter and cut it into four (4) long slices. Carefully push the slices of butter up under the breast skin.  This will help add vital moisture (and flavor) to the turkey.

If you have elected to stuff your turkey, prepare your favorite stuffing recipe and stuff the cavity of the turkey and then truss the legs. Trussing may be done with metal trusses or with twine.  Spray a sufficiently large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the roasting tin tightly. Place in preheated oven.

Cooking times and browning

If you have stuffed your turkey you should cook it for 25 minutes per pound.  20 minutes per pound is sufficient for turkey you have not stuffed. If you are using a meat thermometer, you should test at the thickest part of the thigh. Many turkeys today come with "pop up" timers that eliminate this step.

When there is about 30 minute remaining in cooking time, remove the aluminum foil from the top of the turkey to allow the turkey to brown. This method should not require any basting and you should have sufficient drippings to make turkey gravy.

Cooking a perfect turkey does not have to be a complicated process. This simple-to-follow method of cooking a turkey will produce a perfectly cooked, moist turkey each time. When you cook a turkey, you should allow it to "rest" for approximately 20 minutes before slicing.

Great money-saving tips for Thanksgiving

Preparing for Thanksgiving can be fun and does not have to be expensive if you plan ahead. Like any other time of year, and especially on holidays, it is easy to blow your budget on what should be a simple meal.  Remember, although many of us have built a family tradition of having a large meal at Thanksgiving, this is more traditionally a time to gather with family and give thanks for what we have.  Here are some great money saving tips for Thanksgiving:
  • Buy a frozen turkey instead of fresh - While a fresh turkey may taste better, a frozen turkey can save a lot of money. Check out your local markets and you may find that the cost of a frozen turkey is between thirty and sixty cents a pound cheaper than a fresh turkey.  While the preparation of a Thanksgiving turkey is a bit more complicated (given the amount of time it needs to thaw) with a frozen turkey, the savings is probably worth it.
  • Avoid the "trap" of decorative cups and plates - Forget about the expensive paper plates, cups and disposable utensils that you can purchase for Thanksgiving. If you insist on purchasing disposable cups, enlist the help of the children in the household for decorating them. They will enjoy the challenge of doing the decorating and your guests will enjoy seeing their hand crafted cups.  Use your standard plates and flatware and enlist the help of guests for cleanup.
  • Enlist the help of guests - Ask those who are invited to help with preparation of parts of the Thanksgiving dinner. Assign a guest to bring vegetables, snacks and dessert and cut down on how much you have to spend on Thanksgiving dinner.  Avoid purchasing pre-made pies and cheese trays and make them yourself at home.
  • Keep an eye on sales - In the weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving many stores will run sales on items such as poultry stuffing, gravy (or you can make your own turkey gravy from drippings), cranberry sauce and vegetables.  If you are careful buying vegetables such as potatoes for mashed potatoes and butternut squash, they will last a couple of weeks.  Purchasing items on sale when you see them can help you save money on Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Wines and other beverages - Keep an eye at your local liquor stores for specials on wine. Frequently, you will find some of your favorite wines (such as Rieslings which are a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner) on sale. Purchase them ahead of time and keep them icy cold until you need them for Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving dinner is a big affair for most of us as we gather with our family and friends and give thanks for what we have. Do not break the budget serving a great Thanksgiving dinner, use some of these great money saving tips for Thanksgiving to stay within your budget.

Challenge of Premises Liability Cases in Rhode Island

Perhaps the last thing any of us are thinking about as we head into our local shopping center, restaurant, or fitness center is that we may be injured because the property owner failed to correct a defect. Unfortunately, these types of accidents result in people being injured every year in Rhode Island. Victims of an injury that could have been prevented if the property owner had exercised proper care may have the right to file a premises liability personal injury lawsuit.

What is Premises Liability?

Premise liability occurs in Rhode Island when the owner of a property fails to ensure the safety of people who are on the property lawfully suffer an injury. There are factors which impact the ability of a person to file a premises liability lawsuit which are important to understand.

  • On the property legally — someone who is trespassing, breaking and entering, or otherwise illegally on a property is owed no duty of care under Rhode Island law. Therefore, the first thing which must be established is the person who was injured was on the property legally.
  • Not on the sidewalk of the property — when someone is injured because of uneven surfaces or other hazards in a sidewalk on a property in Rhode Island, the abutting property owners cannot be held liable. The city/town is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk.
  • Reasonable care expectation — if you are in the aisle of a grocery store and someone drops a bottle of juice in front of you, resulting in a fall and injuries, the store owner cannot be held liable. Reasonable care means the owner should have known in advance there was an unsafe condition. An example of advanced warning would be if there was frayed carpeting that resulted in a trip and fall accident. Frayed carpeting does not occur suddenly, it develops over time and the owner should have been aware of it.

When a Maintenance Company is Involved

Large apartment complexes, banks of offices, and shopping centers often hire an outside maintenance company to manage their facilities. The more "individual" tenants there are in a small are, the more likely this is to be true. However, under Rhode Island law, a property owner cannot abrogate their liability by claiming a maintenance or management company was responsible for maintaining a property. The responsibility for safe conditions remains entirely the responsibility of the property owner.

How Comparative Fault Can Impact Premises Liability Cases

Rhode Island has a comparative fault statute which states that both parties, the victim and the other party involved in an accident can each be partially responsible for injuries. In premises liability cases, the defendant's attorney may attempt to prove the victim was partially responsible. For example, if you tripped over a piece of frayed carpeting while you were sending a text message, you may be held partially responsible for your injuries. The percentage of the fault assigned to you is dependent upon what the jury finds. Any fault that is assigned to you will reduce your final judgment amount. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and the jury determines you were 10 percent at fault, your final award will be reduced by $10,000.

Anytime someone is involved in an accident resulting in an injury which was the result of negligence, they should contact an attorney who understands personal injury statutes and how the law applies to their case. This is true whether a victim is involved in a car accident, or whether a victim fell on someone's property. All personal injury cases require an attorney who is willing to review the facts of the case and advise their client on potential outcomes, and help them determine the best way to proceed based on the facts.

Difference Between a Checking Account and a Savings Account

Most consumers understand when they open a checking or savings account, they are in effect loaning money to a bank. They further understand a checking account is a transactional account, meaning when they need to pay bills they can write a check, or if they need cash, they can easily obtain it from an ATM. Savings accounts are designed for longer-term needs and in general, the funds are more challenging to access. Typically, a consumer needs to transfer the funds out of a savings account or visit the bank to access the funds since most savings accounts do not offer ATM access.

Why Have Both a Checking and Savings Account?

While nearly everyone has a checking account for the purposes of paying monthly expenses, not everyone has a savings account. One of the primary reasons for having both is to provide a firewall between funds that are easily accessible versus less accessible.

Since most of us write checks out based on the balance in our account, and use "extra" funds for spur-of-the-moment purchases, having to transfer funds from a savings account tends to limit impulse spending.

Savings accounts by nature make it harder to access funds, they make it more likely you will save funds for the future. For some, this may involve saving for more immediate needs, for example using a Christmas Club Savings Account. For longer term savings, or substantial amounts, a Money Market Savings account is generally a better option.

Why Not Keep All Funds in One Account to Earn More Interest?

One aspect of checking and savings accounts that many people do not know is they do not pay the same interest rates. Generally, a savings account pays a higher rate of interest than a checking account. This is because banks understand most people tend to keep funds in savings accounts longer than in checking accounts. If a consumer keeps all their funds in a checking account, they are far less likely to save. Conversely, if they keep them all in a savings accounts, they will have to make regular transfers out to accommodate their monthly expenses. Some savings accounts put limits on the number of transfers which may be processed without a monthly fee, making this unsustainable.

Easy Crockpot Soups

How to make crock-pot split pea soup

Winter and fall weather often mean we are searching for more cost effective meals that are nourishing as well as hearty. Split pea soup is one option when you are searching for an easy meal for your family. Split pea soup can be served by itself with salad or may be served with crackers, as a side dish to a complete meal or may be a meal in itself. Depending on how large a serving you are dishing out, you may find that it is hearty enough for the largest of appetites. If you are planning on serving pea soup as the main part of your meal, consider including ham in the recipe. Simply chop ham into bite sized chunks and add to the crock pot one hour before it is finished.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 pound dry green split peas
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 large onion (1 cup diced)
  • 4 large potatoes (2 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 lb salt pork
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 medium Bay Leaves

Helpful Hints:

  • You may substitute yellow split peas for green
  • You may substitute whole dry green peas
  • Salt Pork is optional and can be eliminated
  • Diced (or chopped) Ham may be added for flavor
  • Use caution when adding salt and pepper as the crock pot intensifies flavors

Step One: Initial Preparation

Chop the salt pork into 2X2 cubes and lace in a pre-heated skillet.

Add onions and saute until the onions are transparent. Stirring frequently will ensure the onions are not scorched.Once the onions are transparent, you may add them to the bottom of the crock pot.

Note: This step is optional. You may cube the salt pork and place it into the crock pot with the vegetables if you desire.

Step Two: Preparing Peas

Using a colander with small holes, empty the bag of split peas into the colander under running cold water. Carefully examine and remove any rocks or other debris from the peas. Remember, that since peas are picked raw and typically by machine it is not unusual to find debris in them. Place into crock pot when finished.

Important note: If you have elected to use whole peas instead of split peas, you may want to soak them overnight. This will keep the recipe from taking longer to cook.

Step Three: Add Vegetables

After preparing carrots and potatoes and rinsing, place them into the crock pot. Immediately empty water into the crock pot and add salt, pepper and bay leaves. Set crock pot to high and cook for six (6) hours.

If you have decided to include ham in your pea soup, you should place it into the crock pot (chopped) at the beginning of the fifth (5th) hour of cooking. You may also place the ham into the crock pot at the beginning of the cooking stage if the ham is pre-cooked. Do not use raw pork.

Step Four: Serving

Remove the bay leaves from the crock pot and the pea soup is ready to serve. Serve piping hot with oyster crackers or Italian bread. If you are serving pea soup as a side dish, this recipe will serve 10 - 12 people. If you are serving it as a main meal, you can serve 6 with this recipe.

Next page: Crock Pot White Clam Chowder