Yellow Rice with Cardamom

As a kid I was always delighted when Daddy took us to Greektown in Detroit. All those fragrant dishes that tasted so wonderful and seemed so exotic captivated me. And one of the ones that, for some reason, really intrigued me was the yellow rice they served, usually with tomato sauce. I decided to try my own version of yellow rice with cardamom.

Yellow rice with cardamom

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Life with Ducks

Since we brought Penguin and Spot (and the rather unfortunate but delicious Stu) home from Indiana it’s been frustrating and fun. People are still flabbergasted that we have these two ducks living in a tub. Mr. Comfortable recently mentioned how it’s going to be strange when they move outside. He’s going to have to get used to it. They will be moving as soon as it’s safe for them! In the meantime, enjoy these pictures and videos of our life with ducks!

Life with ducks is fun and frustrating!

Since we first began living with Ducks in the tub I’ve learned a lot. I want to be sure these two ducks and any more that come along are healthy and happy. And it’s been more than just online research that’s taught me things about our ducks. They’ve shown me their personalities, quirks, and likes and dislikes!

I’ve discovered that these two are treat hogs! They have feed that is perfect for their age and where they’re living right now. But they can pick out treats added to their feed in a heartbeat! Throw in some canned corn, parsley, or even broken up dog treats (yes, they can have those occasionally) and the feed stays in the dish but the treats disappear! This means I have to stop Mr. C (a.k.a. Duck Daddy) from giving them treats the way he tries to dispense them to the dogs! These ducks would weigh 800 unhealthy pounds!

Penguin will take treats from my hand but Spot is still quite shy!

Sometimes I add water to the feed since ducks need lots of water to get the food down anyway. And they make a funny noise when there’s a lot of water in the dish so I get a kick out of it.

Part of life with ducks in the house is that every day the ducks get to swim in the tub. We try to put a reasonable amount of water in but sometimes we forget and the ducks get a deeper pool! We were just a couple of minutes from disaster that night!

Our two ducks love swimming in the tub!

They do love their swim times and they have fresh, clean water for it every evening. It’s going to be tough to explain to Mr. C that, when they’re living in their log cabin, they don’t need a regulation size pool!

The ducks have a toy, so to speak, that they absolutely love! It’s just a couple of rubber bands tied together that they can tug. They’ll take turns pulling on it! Perhaps it makes them think of worms. I got the idea from a duck raising website the name of which I cannot remember. I wish I did. They sell duck diapers and I’d like to find out the prices. It would nice for the ducks to be able to wander around the house a bit.

A very simple toy that ducks love!

They also love knocking on the side of the tub with their bills. They’re actually getting bits of down that they shake off themselves. I’ve learned that ducks will eat anything! They eat their own feathers, the down, and anything else they can get their greedy little bills on! I’ve become an expert at snatching feathers and other things up before they can pounce!

Of course the bathroom is always a mess and both Mr. C and I find ourselves going to the guest bath in the middle of the night. We’re trying to avoid disturbing the ducks! But I’ve allowed myself to become quite attached to Penguin and Spot and I’m glad they didn’t end up in the freezer…like Stu…and their future offspring.

Quarters for the ducks are a bit tight right now but in the spring they’ll have their log cabin and a tractor so they can forage and wander. For now, they seem pretty happy in the tub! It’s been interesting living our life with ducks!

 

 

 

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Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs

Chicken is still an inexpensive option for a great dinner. It’s versatile and can be a delight but certain cooking methods can result in disappointment. If I leave the skin on chicken it’s because I want that nice, crisp skin. Braising chicken infuses it with the flavors in the liquid but can leave the skin soggy. But these Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs give me all the flavor I want and a nice crispy skin, too!

All the flavor of braising and crispy skin too! Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

I love bone-in, skin on chicken thighs! The meat is so flavorful and juicy and crispy chicken skin is terrific! And Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are one of the best ways I’ve found to infuse the meat with lots of flavor and still keep that wonderful crispy skin!

This recipe is adapted from Cal Peternell’s recipe for braised chicken legs. I didn’t want an overpowering (to us) flavor from the wine and my thyme plant gave up the ghost living on the windowsill (too cold, I think) so I used dried thyme.

First I generously seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper. Don’t forget to do both sides. It may seem like you’re using too much salt but, trust me, you don’t want to be stingy. Then let the chicken sit for about 30 minutes.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs start with seasoned chicken

When the chicken sat for a while in the salt and pepper I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

I dredged the chicken in all-purpose flour. I used 1/2 cup but I ended up throwing some away. Next time I’ll start with just over 1/4 cup and add some if I need it.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are delicious and juicy!

When the chicken was coated in flour I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in my cast iron skillet. My cast iron is really well seasoned so it can handle the acidity of the wine.

I browned the chicken, skin side down (although both sides really had a lot of skin) for about 5 minutes. Then I turned the chicken over to brown the other side. When it was nicely browned I removed it from the skillet and set it aside.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

While the chicken was browning I cut up 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery into chunks, and quartered a yellow onion. I also minced a large clove of garlic but didn’t put that with the other vegetables.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

There was some butter still in the skillet so I discarded that. I poured the white wine and the 2 cups of the chicken broth into the skillet.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I really scraped the skillet to get all those little browned bits of deliciousness loose. When the skillet was completely deglazed I poured the liquid into a bowl, reserving it. That liquid is part of what my chicken was going to braise in later.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I added the remaining butter to the skillet and melted it. Then I added my carrots, onion, and celery and let them cook until they were slightly softened (about 8 minutes). I added a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, and the minced garlic. This all got cooked until the garlic was fragrant (about 1 minute).

Full of flavor, Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

The chicken went back into the skillet on top of the vegetables and I poured the reserved liquid into the skillet. I was careful not to pour it on the chicken. Then I added the remaining chicken broth the same way. I didn’t want the liquids directly on the top of the chicken because I wanted that crispy skin! You only add enough liquid to come about halfway up the side of the chicken.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I put the skillet in the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes. When the temperature was 160 degrees I removed the entire skillet from the oven and put the chicken on a plate to rest and reach 165 degrees internally.

I strained the vegetables out of the liquid and tossed the bay leaf. The liquid went back into the skillet. I mixed about a tablespoon of cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water and poured it slowly into the liquid in the skillet. I whisked the liquid constantly while it reached a boil and let it thicken a bit. You could also serve the liquid as is but I like it a little more like gravy.

And voila! Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I served the chicken with rice and the vegetables braised with the chicken. Holy cow! Chicken braised in all that flavorful liquid but with crispy skin. I was in heaven! Mr. C had two thighs and cleaned his plate! So if you’re looking for a delicious, new way to serve chicken I suggest you try Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

 

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are packed with flavor and have a wonderful crispy skin. Your family is sure to love this recipe!

Add remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to skillet (use less if chicken would be submerged with the entire cup).

  1. Place skillet in preheated oven for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook for 25 – 35 minutes (until internal temperature is 160 degrees. It will reach 165 degrees while resting).
  3. Remove skillet from oven and set chicken on a plate.
  4. Strain vegetables from liquid and keep warm
  5. Return liquid to skillet.
  6. *Mix cornstarch and water and slowly whisk into liquid in pan, bringing to a boil, whisking constantly until desired thickness is achieved.

 

 

 

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New York Strip Steaks

Mr. C’s sister sent us a gift certificate from Kansas City Steak Company for Christmas. It took me a while to decide what to get since everything in the catalog was very expensive and spending that much money on a small amount of meat was difficult. But, since we had the gift certificate I finally decided to go pretty much all out and bought  16 ounce New York Strip Steaks.

Pan-seared New York Strip Steaks are tender and juicy.

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Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great

I first posted this last (early) spring. When our homes are closed up due to cold weather we need to do something to freshen them. Since winter came back this year I thought it would be a good time to post it again! And if you have ways that you use to freshen up your home I’d love to hear them! Meanwhile, please enjoy Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great!

Easy ways to make you home smell great!

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Raising Rabbits for Meat

When my sons were kids they raised rabbits, mostly for showing. Yes, there are rabbit shows just as there are dog shows. The boys’ primary breed was Mini Rex and they did incredibly well. They were first in the country in their breed. But their secondary breed, which they showed mainly at our county fair, was New Zealand (whites) and those are the rabbits I’ve chosen for my next project; raising rabbits for meat.

Raising rabbits for meat is a great way to provide for your family!Picture via Adopt a Rabbit

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Steak Sandwiches with Red Onion Jam

Have you ever tried two recipes and loved them both? That’s what happened when I saw a recipe for a steak marinade on All Recipes and thought of a recipe I’ve used for years from Brian Boitano when he was on Food Network. I had a 1 pound rib eye steak, some mini French bread buns, and a hankering for something really savory yet with a touch of sweetness. So I made Steak Sandwiches with Red Onion Jam!

Steak Sandwiches with Red Onion Jam are absolutely delicious!

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Bam’s Tuesday Casserole Updated

Back in April I posted my recipe for Bam’s Tuesday Casserole (which isn’t really a casserole). I’d been making it the same way since my sons were very little. I really like it, don’t get me wrong. But I thought it was time to make a couple of changes. Get ready for Bam’s Tuesday Casserole Updated.

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

I know. I really should stop calling this a casserole but I’ve been calling it Tuesday Casserole for going on thirty years. I may be too old to change. Whether you call it a casserole or a skillet dish doesn’t matter. It’s a great way to use inexpensive ingredients to make a meal!

The changes I made were minor. I used Worcestershire Sauce in the recipe and cut back on the tomato juice. I also added a little salt to the liquid.

I chopped my vegetables just like the original recipe. Then I mixed 1 1/2 cups of tomato juice, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

I browned the ground beef, seasoning it with salt and pepper. When it was cooked through I drained it and set it aside.

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

I sautéed the carrots and celery until they were slightly softened. Then I added the onions and cooked them until they were translucent. The garlic was added last and I cooked that only until the garlic was fragrant.

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

I put the ground beef back in the skillet and added the liquid. I let it simmer for a few minutes then added a cup of peas and let them heat through.

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

I made mashed potatoes and put a big scoop into each bowl then topped it with the burger mix. It is definitely a more grown up version of Bam’s Tuesday Casserole but kids will still love it!

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

With a tossed salad this bowl of yummy makes a complete meal that’s fast to make and very filling!

Bam's Tuesday Casserole Updated

It takes only 8 ingredients to make this inexpensive one skillet dinner!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (diced)
  • 1/2 cup celery (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peas (frozen works fine)
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain and set aside.

    Add carrots and celery to skillet and cook until tender crisp.

    Add the onion and cook until translucent.

    Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (1 – 2 minutes).

    Return the ground beef to the skillet and stir to combine beef and vegetables.

    Combine tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.

    Pour liquid over beef mixture and stir to combine.

    Simmer for several minutes then add peas and simmer just until peas are heated through.

    Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles and a green salad.

 

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Winter Storm Preparedness

Here in Michigan we have an ice storm nearly every year. And every few years we get an ice storm that’s epic. We also have some impressive snow storms and periods of extremely cold weather. Mr. Comfortable and I were, we thought, well prepared for winter events until he was in the middle of his cancer treatments. The actual temperature was -15 degrees F and with the wind chill the cold was utterly bone chilling. Our furnace died on the first night of that cold snap. And that’s when I discovered that our winter storm preparedness plan needed some work!

Winter Storm Preparedness is smart!

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