Friday, August 17, 2018

Barbecued Chicken

You guys.  I am so overwhelmed by my life right now that I'm treating myself to a few minutes of blog time to cope.  Plus, you need to know that this chicken is delicious and pretty fool-proof and pretty easy.  It's your basic American delicious kind that wants to have all the fresh veggies beside it and some potato salad.  It's not fancy, just satisfyingly good.



I hope you can get some on the grill before grilling season is over.  The overnight brine/marinade is the key to succulent chicken, and the BBQ sauce gets put on at the end of grilling for just enough char.


I see that my sidedish here is coleslaw with wakame (seaweed) in it - a happy discovery from our Maine vacation.  Which, I'm sorry, will have to wait for another post because I need to go wake the napper and pick the big kids up from the pool.  August, you are nuts.


Summer BBQ Chicken

Marinate overnight in the fridge:
3-4 lbs. chicken parts, bone in, skin on
1-2 cups thin yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk
1 Tbsp. salt

At some point, mix up the BBQ sauce in a small saucepan:
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. paprika (bonus if it's smoked!)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne, or to taste, optional

Simmer sauce for 5-8 minutes.  Cool.  Keep in jar in fridge. Enough for 9 lbs. chicken or for other recipes.  (You could probably use commercial BBQ sauce - I don't keep it on hand.)

So, back to the marinating chicken. . .
Thirty minutes before grill time (about 1 hour 10 minutes before you want delicious hot chicken), drain off and discard marinade.  Allow chicken to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to 400F.  Sear chicken pieces on each side, about 3-4 minutes a side.
Turn heat to low/med and grill for 30 minutes without flipping or peeking. Turn pieces.  Brush topside with BBQ sauce. Continue to grill for 5 minutes.  Flip pieces.  Brush topsides with BBQ sauce.  Grill 5 more minutes.  Done!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Typing

In a suddenly adult moment, I realized that my children were not going to be taught how to type by their schools.  I guess the schools can only focus on state testing? Expect students to use their texting thumbs forever? It was up to me to launch them into the world as typists.  I expect this skill to be useful for at least a few years until whatever new mind-blowing device appears that we can't even imagine yet. I decided it was worth it. 



I scrolled through a few free typing programs and settled on BBC's Dance Mat Typing.  This proved to be too silly for Genevieve, so I let her switch to this program, but the rest of us go around cooing "type on me" in a British accent.



I make Genevieve and Ben work on their typing every day as part of their chores.  They complain about it.  They don't see the need for this skill (please weigh in if you think this a useful skill anymore!). I was hoping they'd be great typists by summer's end, but they're both only about three-quarters of the way through memorizing the keys.  Oh well.  There's always next summer.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

I Made My Perfect Summer Dress

I first saw this pattern courtesy of Zoe, and finally made some time to sew it up.  Boy, am I glad I did! It's pretty easy to make, so comfortable to wear, and flattering on top of all that.  The trifecta!



I used a sprightly vintage calico that I love beyond telling - the deep dark green background feels so cool and foresty, but spicy with all those bright flowers, yet not cutesy which I could never pull off.  I am not cute.

I did add a patch pocket to the front left side - always handy for dropping in keys, rogue clothespins, loose coins, my phone, you know.  Stuff.

I also had to modify the waistband a little bit.  The extra seam allowance is supposed to be enough to form the casing for the elastic, but I had to use a smaller elastic, and then, after two wearings, the stitching pulled through the edge of the casing (I guess I am pretty active in my summer days, what with all the kid and laundry and food wrangling).  So I had to strengthen the casing with some bias tape (the same yellow I used to finish the hem).  I do also have to wear this dress with an x-back bra or else my bra straps show and I'm not that type.


I seriously love this dress.  I am already planning another and it happens to be green as well, which means, I suppose, that I have a crush on green.  I do wish I had some photos of it in action, but thanks to Genevieve for these quick porch photos so I can get back into the blog world with news of a new dress.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

All My Faves Hotpads

My old hotpads were stained with that greasy feel that only partly abates after washing.  Some of the edges were flame-crisped, too (oops).  Time for some new ones! 

I dug through my piece bag and pulled out all my favorite scraps that said "happy kitchen" to me.



Such a good feeling to grab these bright hotpads out of the drawer.  They are my go-to hotpads for size and thickness.  For filler this time, I used one layer of old towel sandwiched inbetween some knit fabric scraps. For me, this is enough heft for heat protection while still allowing give and bending. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Dinner: Amish, with Red Beet Eggs and Apple Butter

I went all Pennsylvania-Dutch with this Amish Sunday dinner.  I marinated hardboiled eggs in my canned red beet brine, and set out tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, bread, and apple butter.  


I think my husband got out the mayo, too, and made himself a tomato sandwich (looks like he got out the wine, too!).  But we all ate various combinations.  I experimented with cheese and apple butter, and it was wonderful!  Until now, I had used apple butter like a spread on toast, or dolloped on cottage cheese as you find on the food buffets around here. But I now highly recommend that you make some cheese toast and spread some apple butter on top - it's been my breakfast for a few mornings running.



This was the Sunday dinner where I had made a pie, a French fruit tart with blueberries and blackberries. It did not photograph well, nor was it popular with the kids for various reasons.  Humph.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Phoebe's Easter Dress

When was Easter? April? Well, Easter Sunday was pleasantly warm around here and Phoebe actually wore the little outfit that I had fun making her.  And then, Sundays were chilly or we were away or because I rarely stage photo shoots for my blog, it was not until June that I actually got pictures of her to document the outfit.


The pattern is McCall's 8121 (used for Phoebe before) and I added  yellow bias-tape ruffles to the bloomers because how could I not?

 I recall that I was aiming for a little French girl in the spring, but where my inspiration came from is a mystery to me.  So the fabric is a lovely slubby blue cotton - very soft and fine.  The dress is quite plain with striped buttons down the back.  I used black elastic and more bias tape to make a bright headband to go with it.  The flowers are sort-of poppies with their black bias-tape centers.  

On Easter, she wore knee socks - I adore the classic look of little girls in dresses and knee socks.  She also did wear a black cardi on Easter, too. 


But now it's summer! And nobody is thinking about Easter. Phoebe wears her sleeveless dress now with sandals. 



Monday, July 2, 2018

The Last Straw

I was at a school meeting where a meal was served on styrofoam plates with bottled water and plasticware.  One of the dads casually whipped a reusable fork/knife/spoon set out of his work bag and avoided the plasticware.  I was thrilled. All the plates, plasticware, and water bottles were thrown away as trash, of course (which drives me crazy - our city has an excellent, comprehensive recycling program and has made recycling mandatory!! but enforcement and education lag behind, of course).

However, this dad inspired me to think about how I could replace the plastic trash with reusables when I go out. I have napkin rolls that already make potlucks and picnics easy - I'm going to start carrying them more places.  I've seen Zoe (on Instagram) take her own containers along to restaurants for any food leftovers.  And I have stopped using plastic straws (more education at this website). 

I made this little roll-up of metal straws to keep in my purse.  I bought the set of straws at a local store, and the handy cleaning brush came with them.  I got this set up before a big vacation to Maine (another post for another day!), but I am planning to be straw-free at home, too. 



The other day, Genevieve wanted to make a little project with plastic straws, and I had none whatsoever in the house.  But when I went for a little jog around our neighborhood, I found no less than 4 straws among the rest of the litter and brought them home to sterilize for her to use.



The thought of all those dumb plastic straws out there as litter is maddening. I'm going to try to do my part, and I might even turn into one of those people who decline the straw and then furthermore try to educate the person offering the straw. Might.

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