Are you ready to roast that turkey?

I write some version of this every year. If you are roasting your first turkey this year it is going to be alright. Turkeys are easy to prepare.

If you watch the news or are on social media you may get the impression that roasting a turkey is difficult. It is easy unless you make it hard.

There are other ways to cook a turkey but roasting it is the easiest. No need to deep fry it or put it on a stick.

For those of you who have never cooked the bird this is what it looks like:

raw turkey

raw turkey

. . but at one time it probably looked like this:

Wild turkey

Turkeys are very easy to roast, in an oven or in an electric turkey roaster, I have hosted more than 30 thanksgiving and a few other events that required that I roast a turkey.

If your turkey comes out too dry it is because it was overcooked. Use a meat thermometer. Cooking time is just s guide or estimate.  Use one of the many roasting charts that can be found online.  Just ask Google for the details about the temperature and time to cook a turkey.

Turkeys can be cooked rapidly at 450 or so, but the easiest way is to put it in an electric turkey roaster or in the oven at 325 to 350 and just ignore it. I like to start with a fresh turkey, never a frozen turkey. Fresh turkey tastes better and I don’t have to worry about thawing it out.

If your turkey is still frozen there are some options. It can be thawed in ice water but I think that is icky. It can be cooked. Start it at 325. Depending upon the size it can take 7 or 8 hours. Once it warms up a bit take it out of the oven or roaster and take out the innards and cook it until done. Keep an eye on the liquids throughout cooking and drain them off or you will end up with a boiled turkey.

I have never thawed a turkey all the way before I cook it so I always allow an extra hour and a half of cooking time and I usually cook it at a lower temperature. (325)

I make the stuffing separately but like to stick a whole orange in the cavity. Sometimes I quarter it, other times I just poke some holes in it. There is less chance of food poisoning if the stuffing is cooked separately. This year my son-in-law will be making the stuffing. He has a way with stuffing.

Clean-up is simple too.  The only challenge is finding a place to store the electric roaster but as a Realtor, I can help you find a bigger home with more storage space if needed.

The FDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 . . if you don’t want to risk food poisoning.  personally, I go for up around 170  to 180 degrees. Please don’t rely on that little pop-up thingy to detect doneness. Use a real meat thermometer.

roast turkey

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Give to the MAX day 2022


Give to the MAX 2022
Give to the MAX

Today is Give to the Max day in Minnesota which means you may be able to donate money to your favorite charity and there may be an in-kind matching donation available. Here is the Give to the MAX website.

My favorite charities right now are food shelves. There is a lot of poverty in St. Paul and people, including children, do not always have enough to eat. The need for food really hit home during the pandemic.

Energy savings tips for 2022

light fixture

I am old enough to remember the energy crisis in the mid-1970s. We took a different approach to save energy but it kind of faded away over the years. We used to find ways to use less energy.

We used less gasoline by driving less and by driving cars that got better gas mileage. Yes, they were smaller than what we were used to. Driving less is the best way to reduce energy consumption and costs. Carpooling became more popular too as people got the idea of filling up their car and making the most out of those gallons of gasoline.

Cars are expensive too. Sometimes it is possible to become a one-car household and share a car. Becoming a no-car household is even better.

Starting a car and letting it run to “warm up” isn’t really necessary and it adds up to a lot of fuel consumption and air pollution.

I don’t recall having LED light bulbs back then like we have today but we saved energy by turning lights off when we left the room and by using fewer lights when possible. We unplugged things too.

To reduce the cost of heating a home or business we used to turn the thermostat down and wear sweaters.  I think people save energy that way today too but people also like to keep their houses cool enough in the summer so they can sleep under blankets and wear sweatshirts in the house. That requires a lot of electricity. Back in the 1970s, we didn’t have air conditioning. We opened windows and used fans and sweated a lot.

We didn’t think about water much back then here in the land of 10,000+ lakes.  Yet here we are in year two of a pretty severe drought. It seems to be hard for people of all ages to learn that they don’t need to leave the water running in the sink to wash one knife and then leave it on as they cross the room to do something else.

Don’t even get me started on greening up the lawn by watering it daily.

My parents used to talk about rationing during world war ll.  People cut back on all sorts of things. They worked together to save resources so that they could win the war.  Gasoline was needed at the front and so were tires. Both were rationed and so was food. My grandmother altered recipes so that they would work with missing ingredients.

The way we celebrate the holidays is all about consumption and waste. They are also stressful. There are many ways to celebrate holidays. Eating less, drinking less, and buying less is the new way to celebrate Christmas. How about more handmade gifts and upcycled gifts?

At any rate, most of us can turn down the heat, turn off lights, use less water and drive less. The problem is that most people don’t want to and some won’t.


Open enrollment 2022

November sunriseToday is the start of open enrollment for those who buy our health insurance via the Minnesota health insurance exchange. People who do not have health insurance through an employer can buy it through the exchange if they want tax credits and deductions.

Sadly even when we do buy it through the exchange we could get a letter from the IRS stating that we did not buy it through the exchange even though we sent proof.  I believe I am owed $900 dollars but I’ll likely never see it because even though I responded to their notice within the required time frame they were months behind on opening their mail.

Another benefit of buying health insurance through MNsure is they will send letters stating that if I don’t do “X” I may lose my health insurance.

I have been buying health insurance through MNSure since the system started.  I remember the year I tried to call with a question and waited hours on hold. I haven’t called since.

There was the year I used the “insurance helper”. I was able to teach him how MNsure works, he didn’t know much about it. I learned not to ask for help.

The MNsure website used to be a total disaster and mostly unusable even when I could sign in.  It is still a bad experience but it now works with more web browsers.

The general layout and design has the look and feel of the corporate intranets used in the late 1990s. They use the same graphics and some of the same menu structures.

Part of the open enrollment process involves documenting what my income will be in 2023. That means I need to know how many houses my company will sell and how much each will sell for and how much profit there will be from each sale.

Health insurance is expensive but one day I will age out of the system and will be eligible for Medicare.

Since the fine for not having health insurance has been removed I am tempted to go without, but knowing that a broken leg or even a hung nail could cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat I keep buying health insurance.

Health insurance and health care are two different things. Sometimes health insurance is referred to as health care but it is not health care. Health care is a service that health insurance will pay for once all deductibles have been met.

In 2021 UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty took home $18.4 million in total compensation, according to the company’s latest proxy filing.

UnitedHealth Group was the most profitable health insurance company in 2021, bringing in more than double the profit of its next-closest competitor with $17.3 billion in earnings, which is less than some oil companies made last quarter but still!  My health insurance is currently through Health Partners which is part of UnitedHealth.

On Halloween, I got a letter from my health insurance company thanking me for enrolling for 2023. I guess open enrollment starts sooner for the insurance companies than for the rest of us.

If you are self-employed or do not have health insurance through your employer I wish you luck during this open enrollment period and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Screenprint  take 11/01/2022