chicken.brine

We brined our first poultry for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. Since then we’ve been brining all of our chickens and they are pretty out of this world. It’s the easiest thing to do and basically guarantees a super juicy a delicious bird.

  • Add a gallon of water to a stock pot
  • Pour 1 cup kosher salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3 bay leaves, a handful of peppercorns, 2 cloves chopped garlic and a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes to the water. If you have a lemon on hand, cut that in half and add to the water (a few squirts of lemon juice will also work)
  • Heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved and allow to cool fully
  • Add bird and allow to marinate – at least 4 hours (I like to leave the stock pot on the deck outside in the winter all day)

 

When the bird is done, remove it from the water and pat dry. Season as you would normally, but omitting the salt (it’s already salted). Cook as you would a roasted chicken and be amazed. Yum.

 

 

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sour.cream.blueberry.muffins

The husband doesn’t request specific foods a lot, and definitely not anything that would be considered a sweet or a bread. So when he casually left the Alice Bay Cookbook (A savory sampler from Washington’s Skagit Valley) laying around the living room, instead of being mad as his slovenliness, I took it as a sign he wanted me to make his favorite muffins.

  • Preheat oven to 415*
  • Cream 1/4 cup room temperature butter with 3/4 cup sugar
  • Slowly add 2 eggs,1 at a time and continue mixing until combined evenly
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Alternate adding sour cream (3/4 cup total) and flour (1 1/4 + 2 TB total)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and gently fold in 1 cup blueberries

Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Stuff face. Makes 12 delicious muffins.

muffins

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garden.starts

We haven’t had much of a winter up here in Alaska. In fact, we have been steadily warmer and more pleasant winters here in Anchorage than most of the country for the past 2 seasons. This leaves me in a weird mood re: this season’s garden. I know I should have had things starting weeks ago but since it never really felt like winter, it doesn’t really feel like it’s time to grow stuff. But after requesting some tough love from my Facebook friends, I finally got my ass in gear and started the tomatoes, peppers and some other goodies that require a bit more time.

 

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The seed trays will hang out on my kitchen counter with heating pads and attention until they start to sprout, when they will be moved to my storefront windows which get a ton of light and great heat from the sun. Some of these plants will even spend the entire summer there – increasing our yield even more.

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I went a little crazy ordering new things this year as our neighbors took down a crop of trees last year, vastly increasing our available light and growing space. I checked out Rare Seeds and promptly threw all of my money at them. Heirloom seeds and fabulously cool veggies to choose from. I can’t wait to see what we end up with.

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adventuring:peru

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It seems it has been forever since I’ve updated (actually, it has. Really.) and part of that delay is that the husband and I were off gallivanting again. This time we went to Peru! A new continent and country for both of us and it most certainly did not disappoint. We switched things up a bit by meeting my parents down there and was a fun dynamic. Why the family reunion? As it happens my dad was in South America in 1969 and has always talked about going back. In addition to that, our family hosting an exchange student from Lima my freshman year in high school and we wanted to be sure to see my Peruvian hermana too. It was fab to see her and her amazing family, and bonus: built in tour guides!

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My favorite of the fruits were the little orange fruits (aguaymanto) and I even broke my “no chain restaurants in a foreign country” rule to have a McD’s ice cream sundae with these fruits as the topping. Love it!

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A cemetery I could have spent days in – mausoleum style with ‘shadow box’ style markers.

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Dad’s first anticuchos in over 40 years (and he’s been talking about them for just as long). They did not disappoint! In fact, my husband declared that we have anticuchos again before leaving the country lest he “pull a Larry” and crave them for 4 decades. And the girl in the back? That’s Ale – my Peruvian sister. She’s going to kill me for posting this.

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We were able to take this photo for 1 sole (about 30 cents). This woman comes here every day to pose for photos but I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only ones to totally lose my shit over the adorableness of the baby llama.

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The altitude in Cuzco was no joke. Mom and Galen had blue lips, and neither my dad nor I were feeling all that awesome. Asking the hotel front desk for oxygen in Spanish was a first for me.

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It’s still pretty surreal to say that I saw this…this view of a place we have all seen photos of our entire lives. The only thing to ruin it were people and their stupid selfie sticks. Ugh.

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Tipon archaeological complex. This was an agricultural testing ground for the Incas and it was pretty amazeballs.

I have yet to offlaod the rest of the photos from my camera. I seem to have brought some sort of bug home that I can’t quite shake and I’m not firing on all cylinders. But I hope to A) process the photos soon and B) feel better. Because feeling better is good.

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2014.in.review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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white.trash.recipe

Everyone has their favorite Christmas Crack recipe, and this is mine. Well, actually my grandmother gave it to me, but it’s so stinking easy anyone can do it, so I feel I need to share it with the world. I could strap this stuff on my face with a feedbag and eat it all day.

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dinner.rolls

I few people asked me if I had any great dinner roll recipes this Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I didn’t. However! I do have a great hamburger roll recipe, and thought, why couldn’t that be used? So I gave it a try myself and omg…..those rolls are so good. Follow the recipe just as you would for the hamburger buns, but form smaller dough balls. Slather with butter. Shove in face. Repeat.

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We did the traditional Thanksgiving spread, including mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, giblet gravy and stuffing (not much of a healthy vegetable to be seen – I’m ok with that), and of course, a giant turkey. Like, 23 pounds of giant turkey. I know – that’s huge. But of course we use all parts of it and feel that if you’re going to go through the trouble of brining and basting and whatevering, you might as well make it a big ass bird. The stock has already been simmered in the pressure cooker, and the meat has been separated for leftovers, etc (I can’t wait for the husbands epically awesome turkey enchiladas tomorrow – homemade enchilada sauce from scratch – with turkey drippings!!).

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