Drunken Chicken

My first attempt at Drunken chicken was a rousing success.

I hadn't even heard of the dish until this past week, in a roundabout way - from the Plant Manager at work. I was hosting Mark and Dean from our Billerica office for a IT project and Carl, the Plant Manager used to work with Dean. Apparently, Dean is renown for his drunken chicken, so much so, that drunken chicken became the main topic during the morning's production meeting.

So, what is drunken chicken? A whole chicken roasted on the grill (or oven) with a can of beer stuck in its cavity. The beer evaporates, thus flavoring and keeping the bird moist. A seasoning rub is also used to give the bird even more flavor.

In honor of Dean (who attended college at Syracuse), I used a rub from Syracuse's Dinosaur BBQ Restaurant. Since the Cajun Foreplay rub is a bit on the spicy side, I also used BBQ 3000 from Penzey's Spices. The beer we had on hand - Landshark Beer and an empty Diet Coke can to house the beer (because we generally don't drink canned beer, and I decided to make this dish on a whim):

The Beer is now in the Diet Coke can and I have stuffed the can into the cavity of the chicken, setting the chicken upright to prevent beer spillage:

I placed the roasting pan in the gas grill, running 3 out of 4 burners at low fire so that the temperature inside the grill registered 350-400 degrees F on the grill's thermometer (I have no idea how accurate that thermometer really is, but, hey, it made me feel like I knew what I was doing). After 1.5 hours, the 5 pound bird was done - moist inside, with a crispy skin, flavorful and just plain yummy. It was as good as my Rotisserie chicken, but without the hassle of the spit and the rotisserie burner. So - highly recommended - anyone with a gas / charcoal grill can make drunken chicken.

One last thing - while starting to carve the chicken, I discovered there was still beer left in the can! Next time, I'll drink half of the beer before placing the can into the chicken, because we can't have good beer go to waste.


Food Adventures

Stolen from Patricia's Blog:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Game from an animal that someone in your family killed.

2. Ice cream from a dairy farm that makes their ice cream on the premises. Bonus points if you can eat your ice cream and see the herd of cows that it came from.

3. Wild berries that you find, pick and eat yourself. Where I grew up, wild blueberry bushes grew in the woods. Yummy!

4. Something deep-fried that was never meant to be deep-fried. How about Fried Ice Cream?

5. Pizza from a NY City pizzeria that's at least 40 years old.
Not New York, but I think Pizzeria Regina in Boston's North end might count? They opened up in 1926.....

6. Bread made from scratch, still warm from the oven. I used to bake my own bread.

7. Food from a street vendor. Bonus points if you and that vendor don't share a language in common. In Taiwan, there are lots of street vendors who don't speak English (or they didn't in the 70s)

8. Fish you have caught and cleaned yourself. Northern Pike caught at the St Lawrence River area. I also cooked it.

9. Birthday cake (and frosting!) from scratch. Sure - I was big into baking before we had kids. Now, no time to make it from scratch.

10. Salad from someone's garden. Tomatoes and basil count?

11. Homemade salad dressing. Easier to make than you think!

12. Baseball park food. Bonus points for a Fenway Frank. Beer doesn't count. I am sure I ate something at Fenway Park.....

13. Homebrewed beer. One of Scott's friends from HS / college makes his own beer. Was tasty.

14. Something baked in an EZ-Bake Oven.
My mother refused to buy me one when I was a kid.

15. Slab bacon from a butcher shop or meat market.

16. Real maple syrup. When you live in New England, you are bound to have this and maple syrup candies (shaped in leaves - pure sugar)

17. Astronaut ice cream (purchased from a gift shop on a school field trip, if possible).

18. Something you didn't think you would like, but you tried anyway. Raw oysters and clams, when I was a freshman in college. Yummy!

19. Yuengling beer. I had to google this - I thought it was a Chinese beer! I'll have to look for it at the market.

20. Mastroianni Brothers bread

21. Bueon Y Sano burrito

22. Guiness draft. Warm, in a pub in the UK somewhere.

23. Haggis (not for taste, for bragging rights!) We experienced Haggis last summer during our trip to Scotland. It was OK - kind of like a corned beef hash. I was going to eat more, but I bit into something with the consistency of cartilage and was done.

24. Beets Don't like them, though.

25. Avocado Yummy!!

26. At least 10 different kinds of sushi. Parents operated a Japanese Restaurant for 20 years. I've had a lot of sushi. The kids love it, too.

27. Something you've grown from seed Was into growing tomatoes, basil, parsley from seed before kids. Found that buying the plants was easier.

28. Something with the head still attached when it was served. In China and in Chinese families, fish is traditionally served with the head still attached. I refuse to eat the eye, though it is considered a delicacy.

29. Crawdads/Crayfish (Bonus points if you caught/cleaned them yourself). When visiting the south. But we didn't catch them.

30. Alcohol that was older than you were. Probably not, but who knows??


Parents vs the Kids

A couple of weeks ago, when Brian's Baseball team was still winless, the Baseball moms devised a scenario to build up their sons' self esteem for the less than successful season - a moms vs kids baseball game, which, of course, the kids would win.
The kids found out about the match up right after they won their first game, and riding the high of that win, started with the smack talk - ("we are going to whup your tushies!").

With the team no longer winless, the match up morphed into a Kids' Family members vs the Kids/Coaches game (no doubt, due to the lack of any baseball acumen of the moms). We set to the field last night, a perfect first day of Fall. We dubbed ourselves the "Moon Angels" team - in direct opposition to the Sun Devils

Erica plays in the outfield and Brian is up to bat:

One of the dads tries to prevent the Sun Devils from scoring:

Elaine advances from 2nd, and Patty hobbles from 1st to 2nd:

Erica and Scott in the dugout:

Scott make some sort of a play as pitcher, Sun Devil Cory minds 1st base:

Can you tell we had a blast playing? We all agreed - this sort of match up should be required for all Little league teams. In the end, the Sun Devils won, mainly due to the moms' being softies. If had been under the dads'/siblings' control, the win would have gone to the Moon Angels.


Get Ready to Party....

It's been a busy week, all culminating in Brian's birthday party.

Baseball Game on Tuesday (they won!)
TaeKwonDo Testing on Thursday
Baseball Game on Thursday (Brian did not play - he was at TaeKwon Do - but the team won again!)
Cubs game on Thursday (only Scott went)
Fall Festival Fundraiser at school yesterday

Earlier this afternoon, we set up the Bounce House for Brian's birthday party:

Brian, Erica and the Thomas boys try it out.

The party starts in 30 minutes. 6 boys, one bounce house and then off to play Laser Tag. Hopefully it's enough to wear them out because it's a sleepover party....


Decided 2nd Degree BlackBelt

Brian smashed through his board breaks Thursday night and joined the ranks of 2nd Degree Decided BlackBelt:

Setting up the board for the Hammer Fist Strike:

He punched right through it:

Same thing for his Axe Kick:

We had the goal of getting all of this done before his 9th birthday, because the boards get harder at age 9. But I am sure he wouldn't have had a problem with the next level of boards..... just good to have accomplished this goal.


Cubs Game

Yesterday Scott filled a gap in his baseball resume - he attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. He took three other baseball fanatics from work and they enjoyed what ended up being a remarkable game.

Because Scott isn't the veritable "camera Nazi" that I am, he forgot to bring one, but fortunately, one of the "posse", Eric (GenX Techno dude), always has a camera on him and took most of these pictures.

A perfect September afternoon and the ballfield:

The classic mechanical score board:

Scott enjoys his $6.25 beer. Outrageous, eh?

Serious Scott savors his beer - at $6.25 a cup (and not even a souvenir cup!), he wasn't chugging it.

The view from their seats - 6 rows directly behind the Brewer's dugout.

After a spectacular rout in the bottom of the ninth, the teams went on to play 3 additional innings before the Cubs scored a run in the bottom of the 12th to win the game, and they stormed the field.

A fun day for all!


The Power of Advertising - Gourmet Coffee at McDonalds

The kids have fallen prey to the power of advertising and marketing - and learned that just because the product in the ad looks delicious and is something to be enjoyed, that isn't always the case.

Just a week ago, the notion of Gourmet coffee from McDonalds did not register anywhere in our brains. Then the marketing and advertisement blitz started - billboards displayed at the Illini game, radio spots, and the ad insert in Sunday's paper. The kids read Sunday's ad insert with much interest and started to salivate over the prospect of having a warm, chocolaty Mocha.

Erica taped the ad to the kitchen wall. Every morning both she and Brian asked if they could have a Mocha from McDonalds, pointing to the ad and reading the description of how the Mocha is created (see the above picture).

I promised they would have their luscious Mochas on Saturday.

So, here we are, Saturday morning, and what is the first thing out of their mouths this morning? Not "good morning, Mommy - we love you!", but "Mom - where are our Mochas??? - Go get our Mochas!". Geez - I can't get them to remember to bring their dirty dishes to the sink, but they remember that today is Mocha day!

I realize that they have been drawn into the power of McDonald's advertising ploy. I KNOW my kids don't like coffee, I KNOW that all they really want is a nice Hot chocolate with whipped cream. Heck, all they really want is just the whipped cream! But I know that if I don't go out and buy those Mochas, there won't be an end to their obsession.

I drove to McDonalds and bought 3 medium Mochas (Scott wanted one, too). I would have purchased one for myself, but I hypothesized that after a couple of sips, Erica and Brian would be willing to part with theirs.

And I am writing this blog entry with two partial Mochas at my side. Good to know that I know my children better than those Ad companies....


12 on September 12

September 12 is a special day for us - 16 years ago, Scott and I were married! As a 12 on 12 bonus, we have a poor quality picture from our wedding day - don't we look young!

But back to the present day..... rains and tropical air (HUMID) rendered today rather miserable. Scott had planned to play in a golf outing, but it was rescheduled due to the rain. I had planned on taking the day off to Scrapbook and scout out the local parks to serve as the backdrop for our yearly family holiday pictures. The Weather Channel's Doppler radar showed a lot of green, so the rain was here to stay all day. I decided to go work instead.

But the rain has been needed in the garden. My basil plants will love the moisture:

I dropped the kids off at school (Erica is too embarrassed by my picture taking, a typical Middle School student)

At least Brian isn't holding up his hand to block his face....

Yesterday, Scott took the kids to school and they strapped Fluffy the Hamster into his "Car Seat". I see him every time I look at the rear view mirror. Fluffy travels with us all the time (case in point, he has been to Scotland), and he enjoyed being a part of this month's 12 on 12.

Normally we go to lunch on Fridays with several co-workers. But since it is our anniversary, Scott and I head out by ourselves. We eat at the Candy Kitchen - a newly renovated Candy shoppe / Soda fountain / Restaurant on historic Main Street. The unique fixtures, antique booths, original ceiling and floor tiles give the place old time charm.

They serve traditional sodas (Phosphates) and homemade ice cream shakes. Yummy!

Scott brings home flowers and a cute (lumpy-bumpy) anniversary card:

My pictures from mpix have arrived:

I don't feel much like scrapping tonight, though. We are just hanging out, watching Hannah play around.

Tomorrow night, Scott and I will go out (sans kids) for dinner at Radio Maria to celebrate our anniversary some more (I guess you could consider it a celebration to the start of year 17 together).


Finally! A Win for Brian's Team!

The Last Game of the Fall Baseball Season.

0-9 record going into tonight's game.

Losing 2-5 going into the top of the 4th inning.

Tied 5-5 going into the top of 5th (last inning).

Two quick outs in at the top of the 5th inning.

Then Brian's base hit was the start of a 5 run rally to put our team up 10-5.

They sealed the deal with 3 up 3 down.

Better late than never, Brian's baseball team won a game!

(Brian was the lead off batter tonight - a first for him!)


Label Obsession

While perusing various blogs off the ScrapShare Blog Roll (in the sidebar) this weekend, I encountered a Label Cloud on Tonia's blog that I just had to get. Tonia was so helpful in providing the source for the widget and I added it this evening - and a new obsession was born.

I realized that I had lots of single labels. The OCD side of me kicked in and I then spent the next hour re-organizing the labels of my posts. I started blogging before the Labels functionality existed, so many of my earlier posts didn't even have labels. That's no longer the case. Blogger's Label Action functionality is a little bit clunky and time consuming, but I think I am getting better at it.

So, if you want the Label Cloud, go to this link: Get Label Cloud Here. But be forewarned - it may lead to endless label putz-ing.


Friday Feast (#195)

Taken from Heidi's Blog, originating from fridayfeast.com - 5 questions to answer on Friday.


What is the weather like today where you live?
Oh, some might say gloomy, grey, cloudy, damp, but I love today's weather - after remnants of Gustav dumped 4.5" of (much needed) rain yesterday, the moist, cool air refreshes my soul. Perfect running weather (if I was well enough to run - still recovering from that cold).

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?
Probably 7. At this point in my life, with the kids, cats, hubby, etc, my current job suits me perfectly. I'm not looking to rise to CIO - way too much travel and responsibility. But I enjoy my job and like the level of responsibility and challenge it presents me.

What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?
Blinds and curtains. Oh, and occasional bedsheet (One of the blinds fell down and I haven't had it replaced).

Main Course
Name something that instantly cheers you up.
Good music. A lovely photograph.

How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?
I get up as soon as the alarm goes off. It's just easier that way.


(Late) First Day of School Pictures

Yeah, school started two weeks ago, but, hey, I grew up in the Northeast where school doesn't start until after Labor Day. So per that schedule, I am right on time!

Erica is now in 6th grade:

Brian started 3rd grade:

Their schools both start at 7:40 - that has presented a bit of a challenge in the mornings, but fortunately, the two schools are fairly close together. We need to leave the house around 7:20 to get the kids to school in a (relatively) stress-free (ie, no mad dashes and hurried driving) manner. So far, so good.


Catching up a bit.....

Compliments of a co-worker, I spent the entire Labor Day weekend sick with this sinus - achy - headache thing. Not sick enough to warrant lazing around in bed all day long, but just sick enough to walk through the day in a haze, not motivated to do anything truly productive. Case in point, I spent a total of two minutes in my Scrapbooking area - enough time for me to realize I was in no mood to create anything.

But I did get a lot of reading done - I joined a neighborhood book club, and September's selection is "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I picked it up from the Bookmobile (public library on wheels that comes to our neighborhood every week) on Thursday. Finished it yesterday.

I also made good progress on Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, so I guess the weekend wasn't a total loss.

And I didn't forget that my little sister, Teresa turned 40 on Sunday!! Here is a picture of the two of us from October, 2007:
. And T, I plan to ship out your Rescue scrubbing pads tomorrow or Thursday (OK, probably Thursday).

I noticed that the ScrapShare Blog roll registered an update from my blog this afternoon - that confused me until I realized that I updated a previous post. I decided not to renew my Imageevent Image hosting account, as I have moved to Flickr. Unfortunately, many of the pictures in this blog are linked to pictures in Imageevent, so I am in the process of un-linking them and re-linking to Blogger. What a pain. My top priority is to edit the posts from my trip to China in 2006 - after those posts are done, I'll prioritize some more. I have a month, so hopefully I'll get it all done.

Last update - Brian's Baseball team lost again tonight, but only by one run, and they were missing two of their strongest players. I feel a win in their near future!



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