Thursday, January 30, 2014


Well, the Super Bowl is this weekend, so if you are wondering what to make, wonder no longer.  Wings.  Every man alive is genetically wired to love wings.  If you want to get some really good points as a wife, or girlfriend, or mother make them wings.

I, in fact, am not making wings this weekend.  I've had a request from my sister who is trying to be healthy to make This Shrimp Cocktail instead (I am also making these, hopefully they'll make up for it a bit: Philly Cheesesteak Crescent Bites from Cook The TV).  Sorry husband.  I guess I think I have enough love?  Nah, I told him I'll make him some wings another time.  Just helping a sister out.

Here's the deal with today's post.  The pictures were taken for Super Bowl 2012 and I never posted the recipe...until now! Also, I was watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the other night and he had a wing guy on who said to fry once, salt, freeze your wings, and then right before game time, pop them back in the oil for about 5 minutes and you will have the crispiest, most delicious wings around.  I dunno, haven't tried it.  Here's how I make wings.

What you need to make rocking wings:
A dutch oven
A thermometer used for deep frying
Canola Oil, about an inch deep. Enough to cover the wings completely in the dutch oven
Paper towels for sopping up oil
Louisiana Hot Sauce (I use Frank's)
1 stick butter

You are going to cook your wings in batches.  This way you don't overwhelm the oil and they cook up nice and crispy.  It takes longer, but you will be rewarded.

Preheat your oil to 375 F.    Throw in a few wings at a time.  About eight a time. Turn occasionally.  Let bubble away for about 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove from oil using slotted spoon and let drain on several paper towels.  Salt lightly.  BEWARE do not salt before you fry.  I tried both ways and my oil almost over-floweth when I added the salted ones.  I haven't done any research as to why.  I would just say, don't do it.

Bring oil back up to 375 F and cook the rest of your wings in this sequence.

Meanwhile, have a large saucepan ready with 1 stick of butter, melted and an entire jar of Frank's Red Hot mixed in.  Toss your wings into the pot and get them nice and doused in the buttery, vinegary goodness.

It's very important to have everything you need within arms reach.  Have your plate with the paper towels close by so you're not dragging oil all over everything.  Have your pan to put the finished, sauce covered wings in right next to you so you're not dragging sauce all over.  This will keep the mess you're going to make a small disaster versus a large one.

Throw the drenched wings into a large pan, like this cake pan, and serve with Ranch Dressing and Blue Cheese Dressing.  Include the obligatory carrots and celery, and pretend you're eating something that's good for you.  Drenched in dressing.  And deep fried.  In butter sauce.

Enjoy the big game!

Follow on Facebook


Monday, January 27, 2014

Thank you, Summer Raspberries

Winter.  January.  Blah.  Sorry to be such a downer, but I can't wait for February.  January is the month that seems to drag and be the smoggiest and yuckiest and coldiest...coldest.  Luckily I have a trick or two up my sleeves to make it through unscathed.  It's like I'm being chased by lions or something. :)

Exhibit A:

An ordinary, January breakfast.

Exhibit B:

A January breakfast that kills!  Oh yes.  Thank you, flat of raspberries I bought last August and turned into freezer jam.  A little taste of sun-ripened berries always makes the gloom and doom of January feel just a little better.

The smiles don't lie.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thank the chickens

They always want food and water and clean bedding. I walked out to do my chicken chores as dawn was breaking and beheld the wonder that is a frosty, winter morn.

January.  The end of winter feels so far away.  We're tired of scraping and slipping and sliding...but then you witness some winter magic, and it doesn't feel quite so bad.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hazards of Crafting...or We have a Ghost

Just your average needle, right? 


To give you a point of reference.  The needle next to your average size orange.  Yeah, it's a big sucker.

I found this needle sitting on my couch.  Just hanging out.  No explanation.  No kids running upstairs hollering, Mommy look what Daddy impaled his foot with!  Nada.

This might not be noteworthy except for the fact that yesterday I took My Oldest on a Sunday walk.  I know I shut my front door.  Come home...the front door is wide open!

Okay, let's say I didn't shut my front door.  I'll give this scenario the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe I imagined that I shut the front door.  I didn't imagine it.  It's winter.

Until this morning.  I go out to check on the chickens.  Give them some food, water and replace their fluff, make sure foxes didn't devour them on know, the usual chicken chores.  Our shed door where we keep all our supplies is open!  And the bar that keeps it closed...nowhere to be found.

I suppose we could have a hobo who walked through my house and out to my shed to use it as shelter in the 8 degree weather and impaled his foot on the giant needle as he was making his way through so he placed it kindly on my couch so nobody else would impale themselves.  Highly unlikely, right?  Which leaves only one option...

It's a ghost.  To further this hypothesis, My Youngest informed me yesterday that she was taking pictures of A Ghost with her toy camera.

I see dead people.

I hope it's a nice ghost....and that our house wasn't built on an Indian Burial Ground.  We do have a giant tree RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE!!!  Any clowns?



Thanks for reading


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grouchy and Gorgeous at the same time.

I am the luckiest gal I know.  My good buddy Nat from Northshore Days makes beautiful, gorgeous jewelery.  And I just happen to have received a package from her the other day.  Nothing better than some new bling to start the new year.  Click here to go directly to her post on Stacked Pendants!!  Because that's what I'm going to be showing off and you are going to want one of your own.

When I saw this creation of hers, I fell in love.  It's unique and like nothing I'd seen before.  The beads are gorgeous and have a real nice heft to them.

Selfy alert!!

 I almost never take this necklace off.  And I get compliments wherever I go! 

Except when I wear this one.  I actually won this pretty piece in the"name this" contest she had on her Facebook Page and I was thrilled!  I love the hip combo of distressed bronze, the wing and key and the pretty red bead which adds a touch of color.

Selfy Alert!  Aren't you lucky a double selfy day here at the hearth.  ahem.  yeah. 

Of course I am wearing my favorite nasty sweater.  Look, it's cold and I try to avoid heating my house.  I wear sweaters instead.  Even ones that aren't beautiful.  Luckily I have beautiful jewelery to offset the rattiness of the sweater. 

And finally, because Nat's so rad, she sent my girls each a beautiful memory bracelet.  My Oldest cannot remember where she took hers off when she wore it the other day.  Grandma's, maybe?  sigh.  So, My Youngest became my reluctant bracelet model.  Prepare yourself for pure grumpy grouchiness...and a cute bracelet.  Seriously, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Won't you put on this pretty shirt so we can take your picture? 

I only want to wear my jammies!!!

At least put your hand down, how am I supposed to get your face?


Just one little smile, with teeth?

nuh uh.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Baby it's Cold Outside. Time for Dirty Chai Tea

I have a long standing affinity for chai tea.  The special blend of herbs and spices...wait...not those herbs and spices.  Cardamon and cinnamon and clove, black pepper, star anise and all-spice.  I guess the herb part could be the actual tea itself.   I dunno, just go with me here (I'm trying to veer the conversation away from the Colonel).  All of this is steeped in milk with a touch of sugar, and you have straight goodness.

As we all know, the weather is cold, with a capital C, so I was pondering warm beverages and thinking what would warm me up the best.  Chai?  Coffee?  WAIT!!! Inspiration hit!!!  What about a combination of the two?  I figured I am a genius and was the first person to ever devise such a wicked, naughty concoction.  But nope, it exists.  It is called a dirty chai and it has rocked my world.  And The Mister's world.  He has declared when we are retired on some tropical island, away from  polar vortexes, this is the only beverage we will consume.  So there you go.  Make this.  Love this.  Change your warm beverage choice forever.

Dirty Chai
Coffee (in official dirty chai, they would use a shot of espresso, I used what I had)
Sweetened Chai tea concentrate

Brew your coffee.

Combine half chai and half milk in a saucepan and heat over medium until hot.  Just make an educated guess on how much you need.  I would say I used approximately 3/4 C chai and 3/4 C milk for two servings.

Once the chai was hot, I very carefully used my immersion blender and whipped up a nice foam.  Don't burn yourself.  You can also use a blender but it doesn't get as frothy as in my picture.

Fill your coffee cup half way with coffee and then the other half with your chai using a spoon to hold back the foam.  Then, because I am a terrible human being, I add a splash of cream.  It's just a tiny amount, but it adds so much to the overall experience, a touch of luxury and a silky mouth feel.  YUM!

Now, spoon on some of your foam, and you have one heck of a warm drink.

Put your coziest slippers on, sit in a nice big chair and prepare to get your insides all toasty and take a mental break from words like: ice melt and wind chill.


Follow us on Facebook


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it's Cold Outside. Chicken 'n Dumplings Time

Oh Arctic air, how I wish you would stay in the Arctic.  But, as you are here for a few days, I thought I'd put up some tips on how to stay warm during this frigid blast.  So, this first week of 2014 is going to be dedicated to keeping warm, and staying inside...especially Minnesota and North Dakota where it apparently is cold enough to freeze your flesh in 5 minutes.

Time to make Chicken 'n Dumplings.  There are several different versions of what a dumpling is.  A dumpling, if you ask me is a plump, fluffy dough ball floating on top of a sea of golden broth, soaking in the flavor-y goodness.  Other places, it's more like a noodle.  We are making the fluffy dough ball kind of dumplings.

I was almost able to make this soup completely using items I had on hand, it all goes back to cooking intuitively.  Saves money and tastes good!

I quite often make enormous batches of protein and then force feed it to my family the rest of the week.  As you can imagine, we get tired of eating the same darn thing day after day.  I had four chicken breasts left after a week of eating them, and there they were, at the end of their life span, residing in the fridge, in the furthest corner, behind the cottage cheese and all the condiments that only were used once.  I'm not saying there was a conspiracy to hide the chicken from me, but....I'll let you decide.

So, after borrowing an onion from my sister, I scavenged the 4 or so ribs of limp celery and 5 pale carrots from my crisper drawer and decided, yeah, these'll do nicely (my family is so lucky!).  Sweated them out in a dutch oven with a dribble of oil, over medium heat until they were softened.  I simply diced up the already cooked chicken and tossed it in. Added enough water to cover the ingredients by an inch or two.  Some chicken base and seasonings later, and I had a half decent chicken soup.  And, I didn't waste a pile of chicken.  Double score! And, my family ate this soup like it was the best thing on earth...except my baby, who hates yummy things.  Thank you, week old chicken.

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble...

I threw the turmeric in because it is good for inflammation and gives a nice yellow-y color to dishes.  Remember to give your soup a taste and make sure it has enough salt.  Season accordingly.

And then dumpling time!

Sorry for the kind of creepy looking picture. It was dark.  And the pot was steaming.  I promise, they taste good and look pretty in real life. :)
This recipe is one my mother has used for my entire life. And maybe the one her mother used for her entire life.  I don't know.  All I know is, thank you Betty Crocker.

adapted from Betty Crocker Please click here for a link to Betty Crocker's page and this recipe I love
I don't know why my font changed, but I couldn't get it back to normal.  Sorry, I'll work on it.

1 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
A dash of dried parsley   (not really for flavor so much as prettiness)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Tbl. Shortening (one of my favorite cooking ingredients...I know it is evil.  It is like, the worst of the worst, except for maybe high fructose corn syrup...but I love it.)
3/4 C. milk (use at least 2%, nobody wants a weak dumpling)

From here it's simple.  You're going to mix these up like a biscuit recipe.  Combine the dry ingredients (including the parsley, because let's face it, that herb is seriously dry and maybe a touch dusty as it was sitting in the back of the spice cabinet, on it's side.)

Cut in the shortening.  You can just use your fingers or a pastry cutter.  Add the milk and stir until it just comes together.  This is a sticky dough.

This recipe will make approximately 10 dumplings.

Over your simmering pot of soup, you are going to gently spoon in the dumplings (try not to burn yourself, the broth is boiling, after all, so use some common sense when adding it to the pot).  The dough balls might sink momentarily, but they should float up to the surface.  Try and space them evenly through the soup.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.  Pop a lid on and simmer for 10 more.  Done.

You should have perfectly steamed dumplings that are light and fluffy and a pleasure to eat, perfect for a freaking cold winter evening.  Stay warm America....except Alaska which is tropically warm right now.  35 F.

Thanks for reading!

Follow us on Facebook

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...