Monday, October 31, 2011

Visiting with Friends

My good friend from college came to visit last week. It was so much fun to be able to visit, spend time together, and enjoy the little things in life. Shelly is great to just have fun with anything she is doing. We don't leave super exciting lives, so I get a little concerned when we have company. I had a lot of fun and Shelly didn't seem bored out of her mind.

After I picked her up from the airport on Wednesday, we spent some time at the Abilene Zoo. I love our zoo! It is small, but they have a lot of different animals. You can also get really close to the animals. We had a great time walking around, watching the animals, and laughing together. After the zoo we had a yummy lunch at Jason's Deli, then picked up some groceries. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out at the house.

Thursday we had to run to town for some errands and also stopped by Hobby Lobby. I had a craft project in mind and needed to get some supplies. Shelly was going to a costume party over the weekend and wanted to make a costume, so we got supplies for her too.

We spent the afternoon working on her costume. We put our minds together to come up with a plan. Then we got busy cutting the fabric, sewing, altering, cutting some more, until we were finally happy.

A few hours later....Shelly is transformed into Pocahontas!

Shelly and I took a break from crafting to make our fried chicken supper. She was a great help and really made the time in the kitchen so much fun!

After supper, we got to work on my project. I saw this idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago and was excited to try it out.

Old tie+beads=new necklace

The rest of the evening was spent watching the intense, nerve-wracking, dramatic 6th game of the World Series.

Shelly had to leave on Friday morning. I was sad to have her leave, but very thankful for our time together!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fried Chicken

One of my favorite memories of visiting my grandparents in Mississippi is of Grandma Kate making her fried chicken. After Chris and I got married, I asked Grandma to show me how she makes her chicken. My recipe is similar to hers, but I've changed a few things to suit us. I took advantage of having my friend, Shelly, visiting to make some fried chicken. I usually don't pay close attention to measuring the ingredients, but I did this time! Shelly was great to write out what I was doing and take pictures of the step-by-step process.

I use about a 3-4 lb. chicken, which is always plenty for the three of us. I buy my chicken whole and butcher (cut up) it myself. I have tried buying the pre-cut chicken, but it was too expensive! You could use this same method if you would rather just fry up a half or quarter of a chicken.

First, you need to wash and cut up the chicken. If you don't know how to cut up a chicken, I would suggest watching a few videos about it. Grandma showed me how to cut it up, but I've since forgotten the right way to do it. So, I end up doing a crazy butchering job on the poor bird!

Once the chicken is cut up, soak it in 1/4 cup of salt dissolved in 6 cups of warm water. (This doesn't need to be exact, but it's what I measured out.) I soak it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. This helps make the chicken extra moist and salty throughout.

When the chicken has soaked and you're ready to fry the birdie, you need to get the battering process prepped.

We like a double crust on our chicken. I coat it in the flour mixture, dip in the milk/egg, then coat in flour again. If you don't prefer this, you can just do the milk/egg mixture, then the flour.

You want to pat the chicken pieces dry as you pull them out of the salt water. This will help the batter stick better.

The first flour mixture is: 1 cup flour, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.

Mix eggs and 1/4 cup milk with a dash of salt and pepper.

The final flour mixture is: 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. (Just a note: I use sea salt in my mixture. I really like how this turned out, because the salt is rather prominent when it is fried up. We like salt, just saying.)

There will be flour left over when you're done with battering the chicken. I'm sorry if this bothers you, but you'll just have to get over it. I have tried starting with less, but I hate running out and having to add more as I'm going along. It really ruins the proportions.

As you're chicken is getting prepped, heat the oil in a skillet. We have a large cast iron skillet that is especially for frying chicken. I fill the skillet about 2/3 full of vegetable oil. Whatever size skillet you use, just make sure there is about 2-3 inches of space at the top. You don't want your grease to spill out or splash out once the chicken is added. My grandma fries hers up in an electric skillet and it works great too.

Once the oil is hot, I put in a few pieces of chicken. I try to get a good mixture of pieces in each frying batch. That way when it's time to eat there is a good variety that is hot and fresh.

Fry each batch for about 15-18 minutes on med/high heat, turning halfway through. If I were really good at this, I would have used a thermometer to tell you how hot the oil was. But, I'm not that good.
While you wait on your birdie to cook, you can take pictures of yourself in your super cute apron. Mine was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law last Christmas. I just love it!

Or of the dog looking oh-so-cute and hopeful that he will get to taste the bird. Too bad, so sad.

Once the chicken looks golden brown, take it out to drain. I drain mine on a plate with a paper towel. However, I recently read that it's best to drain it on a wire rack inside a cookie sheet. I forgot about that little tip. This helps it stay crispy while the other batches are cooking.

And now the best part....

I recommend serving with fresh green beans and mashed potatoes.

I would also recommend this recipe for dessert.

Double Crusted Fried Chicken


3-4 lb. chicken

Salt water mixture:

¼ cup salt

6 cups warm water


2 ½ cups flour

1 T. salt

3 ½ t. black pepper

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. paprika

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk


1. Wash chicken and take out insides. Cut into pieces, discarding skin as necessary.

2. Soak chicken in salt water mixture in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

3. Prepare batter in 3 dishes:

  • 1st flour mixture: 1 cup flour, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Egg wash: 4 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, dash of salt and pepper
  • 2nd flour mixture: 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika
4. Pat chicken pieces dry from salt water mixture. Coat in first flour mixture, dip in egg wash, coat in second flour mixture

5. Heat oil in large skillet, leaving 2-3 inches of space at top of skillet

6. Fry chicken on med/high for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown

7. Remove from oil and let drain on paper towel or wire rack

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recipes to Share

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy trying new recipes and love sharing a good recipe! I've tried a couple new recipes in the past few weeks and have been meaning to share them.

Homemade Chick-Fil-A Nuggets - I LOVE Chick-Fil-A! Who doesn't?!? I was excited to try this recipe and it did not disappoint! They were super easy to make and the flavor was so close to Chick-Fil-A. I couldn't stop eating the cute little nuggets. They are especially good with a little honey mustard to dip 'em in. Yummy!

Slow Cooker Jambalaya - - I didn't actually cook this in my crock pot. I also didn't use shrimp in it because I'm a cheapo and didn't want to spend the money on the shrimp. I used chicken and sausage. It was a little spicy, but I loved it. It was very easy to make on the stove top. This could also make a good dish to take to church.

Slow Cooker Bacon-Apple Chicken- - I was a little suspicious of this recipe at first, because I usually don't like sweet barbeque flavored dishes. But, it had bacon, so I had to try it. I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor. I used a chipotle flavored bbq sauce, so it didn't get too sweet. The sweetness of the apple was a nice compliment, but not overwhelming. The recipe says to cook it on low for 8 hours, but I felt like that was a little long. The chicken fell apart as I was trying to get it out of the crock pot. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been fine after about 6 hours.

Cheddar Bacon Dip or "Crack Dip" - - Ok, so there's a reason this is called Crack Dip! I made this for Friday night supper for our annual meeting. There was a lot of it left to bring home. Once I had it at home, I couldn't stop eating it! I ate it with broccoli, carrots, and pita chips to make me feel a little healthier. :) Using the bacon bits from a bag makes it super easy to throw together. Just be warned that the whole bowl might be empty before you know it!

Let me know if you try any of the recipes and what you think!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Photography Challenge: Week 10

I've been missing the Photography Challenge for the past several weeks, but I wanted to be sure to make it this week.

The assignment for this week was hands. I couldn't pick a favorite, so I'll post a few.

One of Grandma's favorite things to do is to look through her old hymnal. She likes to find the songs that were her husband's favorites.

Sadly, her eyesight is failing and she's not able to read the words as well as she once could. This causes her a little frustration, but she still seems to enjoy thinking back on the memories.