Christmas meals and the holidays can both be the best of times to be enjoyed and stressful as well. Below are some recipes and tips to help you enjoy the holiday and in particular Christmas.
Roast Turkey with Thyme and Onion Stuffing
This traditional recipe is hard to beat!
- 7 kg turkey oven ready
- salt black pepper and a little flour
- 2 tablesp. softened butter 8 slices streaky bacon
- 450 g bread broken into pieces
- 6 tablesp. fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tablesp. fresh thyme chopped
- 1 medium onion cut into quarters
- salt and black pepper 100-150g butter softened
Place the bread, parsley, thyme and onion in a food processor. Process until you have fine breadcrumbs and the onion is finely chopped. Remove to a bowl, season and mix in the butter.
Loosen the skin at the neck end with your hands. Pack the stuffing in, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin, but not too tightly, because it will expand during cooking. Tuck the neck flap under the bird’s back and secure with a cocktail stick. Any remaining stuffing can be cooked in a covered baking dish with the turkey. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time. Allow 15–20 minutes per 1⁄2 kg (allow 10–15 minutes per 1⁄2 kg for turkeys weighing over 8 kgs). Place the turkey, breast side up, in an oiled roasting tin.
Set the oven at Gas Mark 7, 220°C (450°F).
Season the turkey with salt and pepper and dust with a little flour. Rub all over with the butter, then lay the bacon slices on the breast, overlapping each other. Cover the bacon with a piece of buttered grease-proof paper. This will keep the bacon in place. Wrap the turkey loosely in tin foil and roast in the preset oven. After the first 3⁄4 hour reduce the heat to Gas Mark 3, 170°C (325°F). Baste a couple of times during roasting. For the last 1⁄2 hour remove the tin foil.
To check if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg – the juices should run clear.
When the turkey is cooked remove from the oven, transfer to a large plate, reserve the cooking juices in the tin to make the gravy. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and allow to rest for 1⁄2 hour in a warm place while you finish the ham and roast potatoes or vegetables.
TIPS FOR COPING WITH THE HOLIDAYS
Stay close to family and friends who understand your illness.
Take your medications as prescribed. Be sure to get the sleep you need.
Celebrate the holidays in ways that are comfortable for you.
The holiday season does not stop feelings of sadness and loneliness. Give yourself permission to work through these feelings.
Don’t compare this season with previous ones. Enjoy all the little things you have now.
Talk about the stress you feel with family and friends.
Keep expectations manageable. Plan your work and work your plan.
Set a budget and stick with it. Many items that you can give do not cost money – a phone call to a friend may mean more.
Do something nice for someone else. Do something nice for yourself.
Stay out of department stores.
Play your favorite non-holiday music.
Celebrate the New Year in a way that is comfortable for you.
Surround yourself with close friends who understand your feelings about the New Year.
Reflect on positive memories from the past year and try to build on them.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negative. If the negative thoughts come, acknowledge them and let them go. Return to a positive thought or memory. Don’t beat yourself up for having a negative thought.
Remember that the holiday season does not magically banish all reasons for feeling sad and lonely; sometimes holidays can seem to magnify those feelings. It can be a little easier to get through the holidays when you look for things to appreciate and focus your thoughts on those positive things.
Don’t dwell on past loses.
Do work through unresolved grief.
Do remember that they will be a difference between the ideal holiday image and the reality of one’s life.
Try not to dwell on any disappointment you may experience.
Don’t accept the role of victim – get out of the house if you can and enjoy the sunshine (when you have it) and fresh air.
Remember, celebrations are what you make them – and make them comfortable for you. Create new (comfortable) memories.