Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

BaconUrkey: You Know You NEED It! (And Can it Make You Smarter???)

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Bacon wrapped turkeyIt’s one week before Thanksgiving and thousands of free range turkeys are blissfully running around barnyards. Donning buffed out legs and chests, they are well oiled, gluten-free machines. High on endorphins, life couldn’t get any better. Even “fresh” sounds good until, well…”their” holiday rolls around.

In fact, many of them must think they’re safe.  I mean seriously, every store is decked out for Christmas and Thanksgiving seems to be forgotten.  I truly believe these fair feathered friends are jogging side by side, planning their New Year’s celebration when they will toast with “grain” alcohol cocktails and drumsticks (ice cream, not…).  With all that said, I’m sure one or two will be able to outrun the Whole Foods and Trader Joes trucks, spinning their legs like egg beaters to help get them over to the bushes.  As for the others? Well, Thanksgiving, here you come.

So you’ve ordered your turkey either fresh, frozen, brined or Butterballed. Either way, you’ve got a week to figure out how to set this Thanksgiving apart from the rest. And that’s where I come in (along with my bacon obsession). Today I am going to help you wow and amaze your friends and family – while keeping them healthy at the same time.  It’s all about “Baconurkey”, and yes, this will change your world.

Last year I shared my bacon-wrapped turkey recipe along with a few factoids.  First, did you know that in a “lighthearted” survey 23% of men ranked bacon as their favorite fragrance? They didn’t qualify this but I’m fairly certain it’s cooked vs. raw so thought it was important to add that disclaimer.  That factoid makes total sense. But in my heart I knew there MUST be something healthy about bacon. I’m sure you’re thinking, how could adding bacon ever be healthy??? Well I’m glad you inquired because I believe it’s my responsibility to find a way to help relieve any guilt you might have, every time you reach for that perfect strip.

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After weeks of research I was finally able to find one healthy fact about bacon. And you know, just as in bad dates, it only takes one 😉  Here’s the one healthy fact I could find about bacon – “Pregnant women should eat bacon because it contains choline which helps fetal brain development.”  What’s confusing is that if it helps fetal brains, why can’t it help ours? I’m sure it’s quite intuitive to take a flying leap, allowing us to assume you’re smarter, if you eat more bacon. (If that’s the case, I swear I must be a genius) So get ready to host a table full of brilliant people. To test them, see if they know what this means before and after dinner: Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum. (translation below)

So how to start…Today, I want to take you into my kitchen where people become smarter. Yes, I am here to introduce you to Baconurkey (“bacon wrapped turkey” – if you were unsure what that word meant, please have 2-3 helpings) I will add a disclaimer – By no means am I licensed to provide cooking instructions, but I’m willing to “chance” it.

So this idea came to me 2 years ago. The thing about turkey is that we really only cook them once a year. Because of this, every November we find ourselves hovered over our computer keyboard typing out the words “how to cook a turkey”. Last time I looked, this search brought over 580 million results! Well, no more. This blog is going to solve any anxiety you may have about next week’s Thanksgiving dinner and make you a superhero at the same time. Out with the plain old browned up turkey. It’s time to put a little sass on your table!  I’ll keep this simple and use photos to describe how you can make a bird like this.

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How to Cook a BaconUrkey (Bacon Wrapped Turkey), 101

  • Defrost or use fresh – typically it takes 5 hours per pound to defrost
  • Scrub that poor bird inside and out
  • Dry the old bird off
  • Stuff your bird with cut apple, onions, celery, parsley, rosemary, garlic (a great time to clean out your fridge)
  • Open a 1 -2 pound package of good bacon (feel the love wash over you)
  • Carefully lay the bacon on top of the bird – note, you can use 2 pounds if you want to completely suffocate it (legs, wings, oven, et al)

bacon wrapped turkey raw

  • Dump a few cans of chicken broth over everything
  • Add and drink 1-2 cups of white wine
  • Cover with a large piece of foil
  • Follow standard cooking instructions
  • Once your sassy bird hits the correct temp ( ~180⁰, take or give a few), pull the foil off and let that bacon brown up
  • When the bacon is golden brown –  get-ur out of the oven
  • Let your beautiful, amazing bird stand for 30 minutes
  • During this time you’ll need to protect the bacon. I’ve lost a few strips during the waiting period.
  • Secret tip: Remove the bacon (and hide it), pop the turkey back in to brown the skin. Then place the bacon back on top for your family photo.
  • A quick note on the gravy – drain off the fat and make it like you usually do. The bacon will give it a divine flavor.
Baconurkey!

Baconurkey!

Good luck and let me know if you’re going to try it! And if you do, and you love it please post a comment. If it doesn’t work out for you, I’ll just remind you of something my Momma used to say… “If you don’t have something nice to say…don’t say anything at all.”  Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!  PS: Mark your calendars!  Bacon Day is less than a year away – August 31, 2014 (the Saturday before Labor Day)! That’s right, even bacon has its own day.

PS – What does “Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum” mean?  Translation: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” I mean, just because we’re all baconurkey-smart, doesn’t mean we can’t be fun…

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Me – pre-bacon wrapped turkey …. No more boring – Today, I’m living the life of bacon! Are you?????

If you’d like to purchase a print to remind you of this beautiful bird, cooked or not cooked, please click on “Contact”.  My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors / saturation of the bacon and bird are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Photographing Reflections in Windows

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Reflections in a Window Photography

“Reflections in a Window” Photography

Here’s another type of photography that I absolutely love (and I hope you’ll try): Photographing reflections in windows. A couple months ago I was in Manhattan Beach, California. One of my favorite things to do is walk along The Strand, which is a bike/foot path that runs along the ocean. On one side you have beautiful homes, the opposite side, the beach. The reflections in the windows are quite amazing and when I see a really cool one, I always take a quick pic. Larger windows with panels make the image even more interesting (Like you see in the photo below – that’s me on right, donning a baseball cap which is how I look most mornings). If you find some fabulous refections let me know!  Cheers!

PS – if you missed my blog on Manhattan Beach, I hope you’ll check it out: https://photogirltravels.com/category/manhattanhermosa-beach-ca/

That's me on the right ;)

That’s me on the right 😉

This gallery contains 2 photos

Taking Flight: Manhattan/Hermosa Beach CA

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You’re looking out over a beach and see a gathering of sea gulls nestled, deep in meditation. Suddenly, you have this urge to run through them, wild and free, feeling their wings flap around you as they take flight.

This morning I was in that exact situation and before I knew it I was sprinting toward those gulls, zero to 1mph in less than 5 seconds. Legs flying around like extra-long egg beaters, I scrambled across the sand. (In my mind I was moving fast – but running in sand is a lot like running in water. I’m sure I wasn’t setting any records.)

Regardless of the speed, those poor birds scattered. Think of the calories they shed not only from being forced into a frantic take-off. But through the shear stress of seeing me coming toward them. How about you? Have you ever scared a few ounces off a bunch of gulls? If not, then maybe it’s time to be a little spontaneous. Let your hair down and “take flight“.

So where do you find that perfect spot where the ocean breeze ruffles your hair and the sand is dotted with sea gulls? There are a lot of places but the one that I’m going to recommend is Hermosa / Manhattan Beach in Southern California. I actually lived in Manhattan Beach for about 5 years so this part of the country is special to me. The energy is palpable and everywhere you look you see healthy people. Granted, everyone looks better with a tan but how can you not be ripped pounding a volleyball around all day in your favorite kini. A trip to Hermosa / Manhattan Beach isn’t just for the summer. If you are looking for a trip in December this is one to consider. The towns drape the shops with holiday lights. Even the palm trees don a little lighted bling. And this year the city of Manhattan Beach has not only strung holiday lights along the pier, they have lined Christmas trees in bright red containers along the entire pier.

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A trip to Hermosa / Manhattan Beach isn’t just for the summer. If you are looking for a trip in December this is one to consider. The towns drape the shops with holiday lights. Even the palm trees don a little lighted bling. And this year the city of Manhattan Beach has not only strung holiday lights along the pier, they have lined Christmas trees in bright red containers along the entire pier.

Things to Do: First, my favorite. Take a walk on The Strand. This is a path that hugs the beach and takes you from town to town. The houses are beautiful, everyone unique. In Hermosa Beach you share The Strand with the bikers, skateboarders and joggers. In Manhattan Beach The Strand splits and the bikers coast along the sand and the walkers are up high, looking over the beach. (Make sure you walk under the Manhattan Beach pier and out to the water’s edge. It is spectacular standing under the huge pillars, watching the wave crash.)

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Look for the green flash! When I was here I saw multiple green flashes each night. Green flashes are an optical phenomena that occur during sunset, just as the sun disappears behind the water. As the sun sets, keep your eye on it and as it dips and disappears in the water you may be lucky enough to see the flash. If you do, make a wish, I’m sure it will come true…

You can rent a bike and ride from Hermosa to Venice beach if you want. Or, get a beach chair and book and just chill.

Shop – Both towns have a quaint downtown with tons of shops. I absolutely love Tabula Rasa in downtown Manhattan Beach. www.tabularasaessentials.com/ If you need a new kini – Manhattan Beach is your town. Also, Riley Arts has some lovely local artwork. www.rileyartsgallery.com

Eat in one of the fabulous restaurants. I had breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. You can sit outside with a view of the water. www.unclebillspancakehouse.com (photo of eggs and bacon was taken there) When I lived here we’d go to the Local Yolk, another placed were the locals hang out. www.localyolk.com. There is a new place that looked really cool when I walked by – Main Street Cafe www.marinestreetcafe.com. Finally, there is El Tarasco where you can get inexpensive Mexican food. I’ve been eating here for years. (Every local in town has eaten here at least once.) I looked for their website but didn’t find one. Their address is 316 Rosecrans Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA. If you have any other places you’d recommend let me know! I’ll pass them on. PS – the Starbucks in downtown Manhattan Beach by the water has the nicest people who work there! And, they open at 4:30am which is great if you want a joe for your beach walk.

What should you pack? Sneakers, flip-flops and at least a sweater. Although the days can be warm, the nights do cool off. You can bring something sassy too; there are some great bars in both towns. Did I miss anything?

Best way to get there? Get a flight into LAX or drive. I drove down from Los Gatos and took highway 101 along the coast. If you’re not a driver then it’s an easy flight in.

Where to stay? I’ve listed a few below that I would recommend. If you go in December it’s off season so easier to find a room. I love the Beach House, it is the only hotel that is right on the water. The rooms have fireplaces and are absolutely lovely. www.beach-house.com Another place you may try is the Sea View Inn. They have beautiful rooms, some with fireplaces and full ocean views. www.seaview-inn.com) Any other places you’d recommend?

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I hope you take flight soon! As my Dad says, “Life if not a dress rehearsal.”

If you’d like to purchase a print to remind you of this beautiful area, please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2012 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

This gallery contains 103 photos

Bacon Wrapped Turkey: You Know You NEED It

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Did you know that in a “lighthearted” survey 23% of men ranked bacon as their favorite fragrance?  I’m personally not surprised as I am one of the most well-known lovers of bacon of all time.   Today, we are “traveling” into my kitchen where I am going to introduce you to the science of a bacon wrapped turkey.  I will add a disclaimer – By no means am I licensed to provide cooking instructions, but I’m willing to “chance” it.

So this idea came to me 2 years ago.  The thing about turkey is that we really only cook them once a year. Because of this, every November we find ourselves hovered over our computer keyboard typing out the words “how to cook a turkey”.  Last time I looked, this search brought over 580 million results! Well, no more.  This blog is going to solve any anxiety you may have about next week’s Thanksgiving dinner and make you a superhero at the same time. Out with the plain old browned up turkey. It’s time to put a little sass on your table!  I’ll keep this simple and use photos to describe how you can make a bird like this.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How to Cook a Bacon Wrapped Turkey, 101

  1. Defrost or use fresh – typically it takes 5 hours per pound to defrost
  2. Scrub that poor bird inside and out
  3. Dry the old bird off
  4. Stuff that bird with cut apple, onions, celery, parsley, rosemary, garlic (whatever is hanging around)
  5. Open a 1 pound package of good bacon (feel the love wash over you)
  6. Carefully lay the bacon on top of the bird – note, you can use 2 pounds if you want to completely suffocate it (legs, wings, et al)
  7. Cover everything with a large piece of foil
  8. Follow standard cooking instructions
  9. Once your sassy bird hits the correct temp (take or give a few), pull the foil off and let that bacon brown up
  10. When the bacon is golden brown – confirm an internal temp of 180⁰ and get-ur-out of the oven
  11. Let your beautiful, amazing bird stand for 30 minutes during which time you’ll need to protect the bacon. I’ve lost a few strips during the waiting period. Also, don’t forget to take a pic – your Facebook fans will be impressed.

A quick note on the gravy – drain off the fat and make it like you usually do. The bacon flavor will give it a divine flavor!

Secret tip: Remove the bacon (and hide it), pop the turkey back in to brown the skin. Then place the bacon back on top for your family photo.

Good luck and let me know if you’re going to try it! And if you do, and you love it please post a comment. If it doesn’t work out for you, I’ll just remind you of something my Mama used to say… “If you don’t have something nice to say…don’t say anything at all.”  Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!

PS: Mark your calendars!  Bacon Day is less than a year away – August 31, 2013 (the Saturday before Labor Day)! That’s right, even bacon has its own day.

Me – pre-bacon wrapped turkey …. No more boring – Today, I’m living the life of bacon!

If you’d like to purchase a print to remind you of this beautiful bird, cooked or not cooked, please click on “Contact”.  My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors / saturation of the bacon and bird are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2012 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

This gallery contains 10 photos