Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Crispy Chicken Thighs

This recipe is as good as any fried chicken you have ever had though it has no coating and it is not deep fried.
 Pat some chicken thighs dry, clip off any excess skin and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

 Melt several tablespoons of coconut oil in an oven proof, heavy pan.  Place the thighs skin side down and let them cook for 10 minutes.  The pot needs to be hot enough that the chicken sizzles when placed in the pan.  After 10 minutes, place the pan in the oven for 5 more minutes.

 After the 5 minutes is up, turn the thighs over and let them cook for an additional 10 minutes.

 Finished thighs.

 I served them with mashed potatoes and chicken gravy.  They are crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  All the fat in the thighs will have been rendered.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where is My Winter?

 No snow for all of December.  We've had lots of ice and rain.  I need snow!!!

 Teddy does not like rain.  She spends lots of time inside praying to the Food Dropping Gods.

The rest of the time she sits by the open door, waiting for the rain to stop and wearing her 'I hate this weather' face.  I sure hope we have a snowy January!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Eve-il

Traditionally, we drive around on Xmas Eve to check out decorations and lights.  We read about this house and had to have a look.  Apparently, this home used to be quite the holiday attraction about 15 years ago.  But then, some neighbors complained about the traffic lining up to see the display and from then on, Xmas headed south in this neighborhood.

Click for a closer look at the decapitated choir.  You can see their heads taped onto traffic cones in the first photo.  And once again, a no trespassing sign in a place where no one really wants to go anyway.

I have some pretty dicey neighbors which I suddenly have a new found appreciation for.

This fight has been going on for over 10 years. Property values have plummeted and the neighbors won't allow their grandchildren to visit because of how frightening this is.

These are the lights that the owner of this horror house shines in the direction of his neighbors. This goes on all year long.

Signs like this cover the exterior of the place.  Click to enlarge.

This is the decapitated choir at night.  This case has gone to the state supreme court and still there is no resolution.  An example of mental health care in America...or lack thereof.  Hug your neighbor today!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Hungarian Smoke House

 In some ways, this is my favorite time of year to drive in the country.

 There is such beauty in the starkness of the woods.

 Though, I do need snow in the worst way.  It was 60+ degrees and sunny here yesterday.

 We drove out here to visit this Hungarian Smoke House.  And yes, that is a dead deer laying next to the truck.  This is deer hunting country and there are deer processing places everywhere.  The guy in front of us in line bought the last of the Hungarian kielbasa.  We had to settle for buying Polish.

 We passed this fabulous Victorian farm on the way.

 This house made it look like Xmas lost the war.  The entire yard was filled with deflated inflatables.

We stopped at this very patriotic country market.  Notice the huge rooster in the roof?
And a patriotic pig.  You never know what you are going to see on these country roads.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Day Raclette

 My daughter shows off her brother's wrapping job.
Teddy has to check out each present.
I got a new book.
Teddy got some presents too.  They have already been buried.

Every year we have raclette for Xmas brunch.  I forgot the pic of the potatoes.  I made smashed boiled potatoes which were then roasted in the oven until crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. The raclette is served with sweet pickles and onions, meats of your choice, mustard and cranberry sauce.

 The meats cook on top of the grill while the raclette broils underneath.

When the raclette is bubbling, it is poured over a potato.  It sure is good.  Hope you all had a good Xmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!  Bring on 2015!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Gnome

 I received this fabulous Christmas gnome from my friend the other day.  I love felting and hand stitching so this is right up my alley.

 Look at the perfect blanket stitching on it. And see the tiny knots on the waste band?

 And the intricate holly and berries stitched on the hat.

 This piece has really inspired me.  I am going to teach myself to felt and to do this kind of stitching.  At least I am going to give it a good shot!

 Look at the tiny details on the back of the hood and the cape.

She is standing in the forest under the big scary witch.  Thanks C!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

 I recently was made aware of a very sad story about a man that lives in the town we have adopted.  He was incarcerated for 18 years for a crime he did not commit.  A local group proved his innocence using DNA.  As if losing 18 years of your life is not bad enough, we live in a state that does not compensate people for false imprisonment. This poor guy has nothing.  He gets 700.00 per month from social services, half of which pays for the room he rents. So, I am making him Christmas Eve dinner.  It is a drop in the bucket but at least he will have something for Christmas.  This morning I prepared a green bean casserole for him.  Tomorrow I will roast him a large chicken and make mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato casserole and rolls.  He is getting a cookie platter, a decorated tree and some presents too.

 I never made the traditional green bean casserole for my family but a lot of people associate it with holiday meals so I've begun to make it when I am giving meals away.

 It is so easy to make from scratch and so much better than making it using canned soup.

 Here is the recipe:

Add the flour and stir for a minute.  Add the salt and pepper, lemon zest and parsley.

Next add the milk.  Cook a bit until it starts to thicken.

 Stir in the sour cream.

 Add the sauce to the beans which you have cooked following the package directions.

 Stir in some of the cheddar and some of the fried onions.

Place it in a casserole and top with the remaining cheddar and fried onions.  I am refrigerating this and cooking it tomorrow so I will add the toppings just before it goes in the oven.  Bake it at 350 degrees until the cheese melts and the edges are bubbling.  About 25 minutes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Cookie Platters

Phewwwwww....I am finally done.  I made 18 of these this year.  Each platter has about 5 dozen cookies or more on it.  That's over 1000 cookies.  I don't think I will be baking anymore cookies for a while.
 Throughout fall I look at thrift shops for Christmas plates.  They rarely cost more than a dollar.

 Very early this morning I lined them all up.

 Then I started piling on the cookies and adding candy I buy from Salem. There is a really good candy shop there.

 Next, I wrap them in clear cellophane.

Each one gets decorated and has one of the ornaments I made attached to it.  All there is left to do now is deliver them.  Done for another year!