Come Take A Bite Out Of The 9th Avenue International Food Festival

Memorial Weekend is fast approaching which means summer is almost here. If you live in New York City that means  upcoming weekends of trying to find   fun outdoor things to do . Why not try going to a  street festival .You  will be pleasantly surprised.
 Two weekends ago I  happened by chance upon  the best street festival ever. It was the 9th Avenue International Food Festival, an annual foodies paradise where thousands  of people chow  into a plethora of   international food dishes  and drinks.
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Minutes into starting my trek up  9th avenue at  42nd street  I   bump into a man holding a plate filled with the  most delicious smelling curry chicken with rice and peas.In the other hand he held a  roasted corn dripping  in butter with parmigiana cheese and red pepper seeds . Saying sorry, I ask where he got the food  and then  I was off to get my own.
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Finding  the  roasted corn  I jumped on  the long line and
wasted no time, sinking my teeth into its sweetness.
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As I looked around there are so many food choices it becomes hard to choose ! Can you say Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Colombian BBQ, Asian Pot Stickers, Fried Oreos, Korean Food, Pulled pork, Spanish Paella, Fried Mac n’ Cheese, Zeppoles,  Japanese Oyaki, Irish Pub Food, Authentic Greek Food, Louisiana  Creole Cooking, Vietnamese  Food, Curry Chicken, Italian Sausage, Thai Noodles, Southern Desserts, Indonesian Food, German Sausages  and more.
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9th avenue international food festival/ crownheightsmom
There was a food dish for everyone’s taste palate.My plan then became –try and sample as many dishes  as possible .

If you missed  this street festival don’t fret. You can see the  wonderful pics of  the fun day all along the  15-block long  smorgasburg avenue filled  with food offerings. Spanning from 42nd to 57th streets it was a feast of a  festival that would have food connoisseur Chef Ramsey going “#@$%*!.”.

If you  didn’t get  to be there  this year don’t worry There is always next year, plus  you can sit  back and read  my post  because I have  the perfect  recipe for you to feast and salivate through.
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Grabbing  my  first plate of the day I opted   for  vegetable fried rice andPad Thai which I devoured  while walking  and enjoying the great weather . With  temperatures  hitting  above 73 degrees walking the full stretch  was a great idea and  added to my upbeat feeling.Plus the idea burning off the calories of all I was eating and drinking was a win-win in my eyes.  Feeling great I headed up to 57th street then turned around walking on the right side  to see what merchants were selling, then walking over to the left side,  I headed  back to 42nd street. I was  definitely not trying to miss anything, especially any food and drink options.
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In my opinion  this  street festival  literally  takes a bite out of the Big Apple—- offering up  savory bites, desserts and drinks   from practically every country on the planet. Well, maybe not every country, but you catch my drift.
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Mediterranean food loves flocked in droves to Medi to feast on fresh delicious oysters and more

 Soon after walking  and everyone having so much fun eating, laughing drinking and getting free giveaways  it didn’t take me long to dig in to my second plate of the day. This time it was an  offering  of fried ice cream. When I tell you I died and went to heaven after eating these treats.  Guys! These desserts should be outlawed for being so  darn good. Oh myyy!
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Waiting for fried ice-cream was so worth it. These ice-cream filled mini dough ball is a girl’s bestie on the best and worst days.

We all know that food and music goes hand in hand. So, of course, as I approached 53rd street  a live  band  was performing the classic Frank Sinatra New York, New York  anthem.   I immediately joined in and began belting out the song with gusto.

Start spreading the news/I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it/New York, New York
 ………..If I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you/ New York, New York
There was also a merchant selling   old school soul music cds .A huge crowd   packed the street outside the stall  with people singing and getting down to the the old school jams. It was  wonderful to see young and old enjoying the 70’s and 80’s  throwbacks.
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The crowd was grooving to the soullll music

 I too was getting my dance on and enjoying  the joy of what music  does
Minutes after dancing in place and  flexing my singing chops I spotted  Alfie’s Bar, Kitchen & Craft Beer. I ordered a sangria and it was  DA BOMB!
It was all about the sangria at Alfie's which was a very well spent $6 dollars

It was all about the sangria at Alfie’s which was a very well spent $6 dollars

Other  food standouts for me  included  oysters  at  Medi .  It was also a great idea that they had a chef on hand outside  preparing them for customers.
Oysters being prepared at MEDI

Oysters being prepared at MEDI

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I have to note  that whether it was  a gyro being freshly made,  chicken jerking in a  smoke drum or corn-on the-cob roasting —many of the faces behind the merchants   represented the city’s vast  immigrant population. The array of foods and drinks from various countries made it even more evident that NYC is indeed a melting pot for all.
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 Some well known merchants  like  the New York Daily News,  Real Time Pain Relief,  The Big Bite Tour which included Snyders of Hanover pretzels ,  Gold Bond Men’s Essentials  , Turkey Hill Dairy promoting their new  Haymakers line of drinks,were at tables  along the  street . Also spotted  Rolaids,  Mentos and In The Raw products  with  their  first ever  drink beverages to hit store shelves . Haagen Dazs Ice Cream was a big  hit on the avenue as well with volunteers handing  out free mini tubs of its vanilla  flavor to lines of people at times  snaking  two blocks long to get the  cold delicious delight.
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Haagen Dazs was a must. I grabbed two samples.

Haagen Daz was a must. I grabbed two samples.

The 9th Avenue  International Food Festival wasn’t just about the  food.  It is also  a place  to connect with those you love. For example all around young love was spotted on display. Couples were out in numbers.One such couple was Steve and Meghan . These two I met  while standing by watching  families and  friends jump onto  this huge chair to take selfies and pics. They waited  rather excitedly  to have  a picture taken on this big comfy chair.
Megan and Steve werer having a blast at the food festival . Even taking pics iin the oversized chair

Megan and Steve were having a blast at the food festival.

After  attending this fest there is no doubt how much I love NYC! There is no other city like it . I am glad  no “walls” will be going up in the Big Apple  to keep people out.What  makes the  Big Apple attractive is its diversity and in a nutshell this  is also what brings thousands  of people year after year to the 9th Avenue International  Food Festival . It is where everyone can come  and eat, drink, make friends with people from all over the world,  get free stuff , listen to great music and then go home with a full satisfied tummy.There is something to eat for every faith, kosher and non-kosher, vegetarian and meat eaters. I love it!
Here’s to good food, drinks and my satisfied tummy…..by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Digging in on another offering of delicious food

So many wonderful food choices to choose from
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SPICE UP THAT SUPERBOWL MENU WITH CURRY SERVINGS FROM BROOKLYN’S KING OF TANDOOR

Brooklyn residents looking to spice up their menu servings on Superbowl Sunday, need look no more. Problem solved! King of Tandoor Indian restaurant  is the answer to finding  delicious, affordable bang-for-the-buck Indian cuisine in Brooklyn  when you don’t want to take that trek to Manhattan’s Curry Row.

Nestled right in the heart of Brooklyn,  King of Tandoor  is a cozy spot  offering up some of the best Indian food crownheightsmom has sampled . So if you are a curry lover like myself or you are having a hard time  finding that curry-in-a-hurry spot that’s easy to get to,  then  pop over to the Prospect Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn –just a hop-skip and jump from Prospect Park, along Flatbush  Avenue and not far from  –Crown Heights, Park Slope, Bed-Sty or  Downtown Brooklyn. Not in the mood to come out, no worries, forego the walk,  pull out the cell phone and dial  them up for delivery.

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The family owned 32-seat  restaurant has been in the neighborhood just over eight years says  Naz who greeted me as I entered  to grab takeout on Friday night.

“Most of our revenue comes from  deliveries,” he says as the phone rang-off-the-hook while offering me a cool delicious glass of mango juice as I waited on my  order.

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A busy evening as Naz takes  yet another phone order

Located in what was once a predominately Caribbean-American neighborhood where the lively sound of soca and reggae music echoes through speakers  of small business  ranging  from —barber shops, Jamaican  bakeries, Korean fruit markets, African hair braiding salons, Dominican bodegas and international fashion shops –the neighborhood is  experiencing a boom in new businesses as high-rise buildings go up  every few months and gentrification prices out many of the moms-and-pops businesses that once lined  the avenue.   These changes  though says Naz,  “is bringing an influx of new families and we are welcoming it.”

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The restaurant  is looking to expand  later this year . “Our kitchen isn’t that big but we have two  persons on every station, ” Naz lets me know  about keeping up with filling orders for seated customers, takeout and delivery .  As customers come in and out of the A-graded restaurant Naz engages them  in small talk and a smile.

King of Tandoor manager Naz

Naz, the manager of King of Tandoor

“We know everyone that comes in or we at least get to know them,”  he adds  as another customer enters the restaurant after jumping out of one of the many Dollar Vans swooping down the  avenue -the sounds of reggae music echoing from the  speakers as the door slams shut. “If ever there is an issue that our customers have, they can talk to us, ” adds Naz . “We love the people in the neighborhood . They are are very friendly and we like that.”

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Adorning the walls of the restaurant are  traditional Indian pictures of palaces in Bombay while the tables are outfitted  with red and white tabletop settings. “We are planning on making the restaurant  bigger so we will be renovating soon, ” he says.

As the winter season gears up Naz says  they are excited. “Winter is one of our best and busiest seasons for deliveries especially Fridays and Saturdays.” In fact when the snow blizzard hit New York City a week ago the restaurant closed just on Friday  but by the next day they were open and filling orders around the clock . They experienced one of their busiest  days of 2016 thus far . “We were very busy, ” says Naz,  adding “the phone rang non-stop with orders and a lot of customers came in.”

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Deliveries and takeout orders come out of the busy kitchen

For  local residents dining and getting takeout  King of Tandoor has become their own little piece of India, especially when they get to chow down on favorites like vegetable samosas and thandoori appetizers or curry specialities like  Vindaloo Curry or Do-Piaz Curry with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or keema  cooked with  onions and tomatoes in a spice flavored sauce. Washing it down one has  the choice of a soft drink  or a delicious mango drink.

For  one customer  who lives in the neighbor the restaurant is definitely  King! Says Kate who lives nearby. “I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and it is  just amazing. It is the best Indian food I have  found in Brooklyn thus far.” Kate insist  that  “next to Indian food from restaurants in London, King of Tandoor  on Flatbush Ave takes a close second.”

So spice things up  with a few servings from King of Tandoor as you celebrate 50 years of the big game on Superbowl Sunday . We  certainly will!

Crownheightsmom give Brooklyn’s King of Tandoor  restaurant  opened daily  noon -11pm 7 days a week a rating of 5 out of 5  Serving Spoons for delicious food and great customer service.

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Disclousure : No monies were exchanged for this review.—CrownHeightsMom ordered  her food, picked it up  and paid for it. This review is a result of the food being so darn good! Loved it!

CINDERELLA PERFORMED LIKE A QUEEN AT THE BOX OFFICE!…..BY DEBRA LEWIS-BOOTHMAN

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I like the Cinderella movie because it was romantic—–Kameko, 8

Jumping on that iron horse aka a NYC subway train  oftentimes can be a hit or miss  most days, thus  the case last Tuesday when the  kids and I headed from Brooklyn  into the city to catch a screening of the  beauty  of all fairy tales, Cinderella.

Getting to the screening took great effort,  for we almost didn’t make it on time to Times Square’s  Regal E-Walk  Theater   due to an MTA power outage on our subway line. In addition there was a  thundering rainstorm happening but hail, nor rain, could hinder crownheightsmom from getting her kids   to the scheduled 5:15pm  MOMS and Oral-B and Crest sponsored  special Disney Studios screening  of Cinderella which was preceded by  the Frozen movie short  Frozen Fever . The sneak peek, a prime teaser to  the  sequel of  the 2012 worldwide hit.

The gang from Frozen return in Frozen Fever

The gang from Frozen returns in Frozen Fever

 

Stuck underground  on an F train  at York Street  I had to make a decision what  to do. Should we stay or should we go . When the conductor finally announced that all  A, C  and F  trains were going to be at  a standstill and backed up  due to a power outage at the World Trade Center stop in Manhattan.that was it for me.

F train

F train

 

Trying not to panic as the time slipped  closer and closer to the movie start  hour  we are still in Brooklyn  trying to get to Manhattan.  The  kids, especially my 8-year-old daughter  starts  to get  worried we will miss the screening entirely. I ask ‘should we just  go  home, forego the trip to  the city. I  automatically get a resounding “NO”  from them both.”

The glass slippers every little girl dreams about  from her prince

The glass slippers every little girl dreams about

Putting on my supermom hat I took their hands and we  join the mass exodus of straphangers exiting the subway station  to the  street in search of the nearest subway line..  Finding the  R train we jump on with what seems like  hundreds of people .

Packed  train we jumped into

Packed train we jumped into

We  would take this R  to Canal Street where we transferred  to  the Q Express to 42nd Street Times Square where  the  theater  is located.

 

Regal E-Walk in Times Square NYC

Regal E-Walk in Times Square NYC

.Reaching the Regal E-walk  theater  after 6:30pm we are overjoyed and happy to hear that we didn’t miss the  screening and  that it was going to start at 7pm. With some free time before the screening  I headed  to security  to give my cellphone in as no mobiles phones, or tablets or ipads  of any sort  were allowed into the screening room. . We also  picked up  our  free popcorn and water  from the concession stand and were   just in time to  see the  presentation of the  new Disney Magic Timer app by  co-sponsors Oral-B and Crest  as seen below in this new ad with actress Kristen Bell.

Pics below  from event courtesy of the MOMS

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Crest and Oral-B’s Frozen Fever Toothpaste and Toothbrushes

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The little princesses and princes getto see how the Disney Timer app works…..they will love to brush!

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Crest & Oral -B Frozen Fever dental products are presently available in stores

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Princess Alert: The MOMS co-creators Melissa [L] and Denise [R].

If new live-action remakes of classic fairy tales  are the future for family movies then I want more of them, especially if they are  anything like the new Cinderella movie.

 

-I liked the movie  because it”s  about a girl who was once happy,  then her life became sad when her mommy and daddy died, then  her life  got better and she was happy again.. My favorite part was when she married the prince because it was a happy  ending —-Kai, 7.

 

A whopping $70.05 mil at the box office is what  was raked in by the new Cinderella movie this weekend says Box Office Mojo. The count comes after  receipts were tallied at   3, 845 movie theater locations nationwide  playing the newly  revamped children’s classic. See the US trailer below.

I am really happy I decided to defeat the odds and go to this wonderful remake on March 10 with my two small children. For those parents reading this believe me,  you are in for a great  treat. This release promises a great update to  the  Disney classic most are familiar with  replacing  the cartoon characters for  live action ones who are not only  beautiful but have great screen presence.

 

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Even the wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her spoiled daughters hold presence on screen.

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My 8 year old daughter and my 7 year old son reviewed the movie. Dressed  up for the occasion Kai  donning a bow tie while Kameko who has outgrown her two Cinderella dresses chose an old Hollywoodesque  style dress for the occasion topped with her  30’s style  netted pillbox hat.

Out of 5 Popcorn Stars……….. Kameko  and Kai  gives  Cinderella  5 STARS  for being romantic and being about love, kindness  and forgiveness.

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Says 8-year old Kameko  .”I thought the Cinderella movie  was very romantic . It was sad to see her parents die though and compared to  the other Cinderella’s  like the cartoon an in the book I have read  they  have never said how her mum and dad died so it was kinda ok to know how that happened in this movie.

 

The happy dance

“We are so happy Mommy. Thanks for taking us to the screening,” as they  break out  in a happy dance.

 

Kameko, 8- I felt that the Prince and Cinderella were a perfect match!

 

The effect of the movie on them.

The effect of the movie on them.

 

Still dancing in the aisles  and singing the catchphrase song  from the movie “Lavender’s Blue” (Dilly, Dilly)  my two little ones and I head out  for home content and happy  after retrieving our cell phones from security. It is now 9:30pm and as we head to the subway we are hoping that the MTA ha,s by this tim,e   gotten the train service in order.

If you too enjoyed Cinderella’s beautiful song  “Lavender’s Blue (Dilly Dilly)”  here it is for you.

By Debra Lewis-Boothman

A GO-TO COMFORT FOOD DURING A SNOWY BLIZZARD…CURRIED CHICK PEAS INDIAN STYLE OF COURSE! by Debra Lewis-Boothman

I love Indian food especially in the  wintertime. It is my comfort food of choice . Choosing a healthier  eating lifestyle was one of my new year resolutions and since Jan 1  I have  been eating more fruits, salads and chick peas. Yes,  I did say CHICK PEAS!

Chick Peas the beans of life

Chick Peas the beans of life

After threading  through yesterday’s high winds and freezing snow and gaining  frozen toes and fingers  while heading  to pick my kids up from school  I  decided when we arrived home that I needed to  spice up  some chick peas and make the  hubs and I a spicy  Indian style  curried chick pea delight to chow down on . I needed a comfort food.

Heading home from  school  in the  snowy blizzard of 2015

Heading home from school in the snowy blizzard of 2015

I found  a curried potato chick pea recipe on foodnetwork.com  added a few of my own caribbean spices  and got  down to my culinary skills in the  kitchen.

Cooking up the  curried Chick Pea dish

Cooking up the curried Chick Pea dish

I would eat chick peas  every day if I had my way. They are delicious and not too heavy on the stomach, plus they are rich in fiber. Thinking back, I remember as a kid how  I  hated the weird distinct taste   especially when my grandma would serve them with dinner. Many times unbeknownst to her,  or so I thought, I would rake them off my  plate and  hide them in a napkin on my lap so I wouldn’t have to eat them. In  retrospect, I think grandma knew what I was doing but never said a word. So I am not too upset  that my now 8 and 7-year olds are not  turned on by  eating the small bean preferring instead to eat it as  chickpea hummus. At least they are still getting its valuable nutrients.

Making a curried chick pea meal is one of the  quickest  to prepare- with cooking times  of 15 minutes  and prep time of 20 minutes . I set forth to prepare  this  recipe which  is one of the easiest  and can be  a favorite on any  vegetarian, vegan or meat lovers plate.

The Chick Pea or Garbanzos Beans as my  South American peeps call them is one of the healthiest beans available.  For those who love their food spicy I say bring on the curry and the scotch  bonnet  pepper and make this baby indian style.

Quick and Easy way to make. Get  it in the can.Goya is a great brand but you can choose most others as well. You can use  dry chick peas but you will have to soak them for hours  or overnight or boil them.

Chick Peas aka Garbanzos beans is one of the world's healthiest foods that is rich in fiber. Great food for Diabetics.

Chick Peas aka Garbanzos Beans aka Chana -is one of the world’s healthiest foods that’s rich in fiber. Great food for Diabetics.

Known for its rich fiber benefits it is no wonder there is always some choice of chick pea or Chana  as my Indian  friends call it  being offered on the menu of restaurants in India . In fact chickpeas has long been a staple of the  daily diet in India.

Some of my favorite cities  with Indian restaurants that  make the best curried chick pea  meals can be found in  Covent Garden  or amongst  London’s Brick Lane curry  houses as well as in  New York City and  Chicago.

RECIPE  FOR CURRIED POTATOES AND CHICK PEAS  courtesy of The Food Network Magazine and updated to include ingredients  added by crownheightsmom.

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15 -ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups fried onions (one 2.8-ounce can)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)...–NOTE: I used Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers instead of Jalapenos and I added fresh garlic, scallions, thyme and a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. I also ncluded   1 teaspoon of Cumin.

Cook your chick peas slow and steady.

Directions
Put the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fried onions, garlic, thyme, scallions and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; cook, mashing the potatoes with a spoon( I did not mash my potatoes), until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add more cooking water, if needed. Season with salt.

Mix the yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Divide the potato-chickpea mixture among bowls. Top with the yogurt sauce, the remaining 1 cup fried onions, the sliced jalapeno and cilantro leaves.

Curried chick peas and potatoes smell so good and  the  peppery flavor of the scotch bonnet peppers gives it  a kick.

Curried chick peas and potatoes smell so good and the peppery flavor of the scotch bonnet peppers gives it a kick.

Almost ready  to eat and a dish I am sure  renowned chef  and Hell’s Kitchen mentor Gordon Ramsay would love.

Yummm…all spicy and ready to be devoured

You can choose to eat  your  curried chick peas alone, with flat bread, a salad or on top of rice -basmati or  parboiled,  or  a pasta  of  your choice.  I paired mine on top  of Penne and it was delicious! The  spicy  kick from the scotch bonnet peppers  hit the  spot. I was warmed  all over.

We enjoyed alongside a  glass or red!

Alongside a glass of red wine

Alongside a glass of red wine

THANKSGIVING IS SHARING: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD AND FAMILY

For most of us Thanksgiving morning begins at the crack of dawn getting up to season that turkey that has been sitting in the fridge after being rubbed down and washed in lime and  salt.

Coming from Barbados, West Indies  that  Turkey will have to be seasoned well in seasoning that  consists of a mixture of spices including chopped/minced  onions, garlic cloves, salt, peppers, scallions, thyme and a half or whole scotch bonnet pepper( depending on how spicy you like it). Mixed together in a bowl take  little handfuls and spread throughout  every crevice and pocket of that turkey. The end result? One  tasty  seasoned bird that ‘s  fit for  a King.

I hope you  try this seasoning recipe . It’s good for all meats, poultry and fish. If you do,  let me know with a comment.

The feast is ready! Thanksgiving 2014

The feast is ready! Thanksgiving 2014

Nothing like a sip of  Stones Ginger Wine. LOL

Nothing like a sip of Stones Ginger Wine. LOL

Sharing  this special day with delicious food and drink  with family and friends close  is what’s its  all about.

Children and Family is what it is all about.

Making this day special is what allows your children to carry on the tradition with each generation.