Google WiFi

When it comes to my home internet I’m a bit obsessive. I check my speed several times a day, and I am very cognizant of latency. I’ve read deeply into cable modems and the “channels” they can handle as well as twisted pair DSL, and Fiber.  I digress into something more helpful.

I have always felt that 20Mbps should be enough for most homes, and my plan is currently at 200Mbps!  Even at these speeds my Netflix was buffering, and when I have multiple kids on Minecraft and the Wii the network feels like dialup. We have been through so many wireless routers that I have a graveyard of the ones that didn’t get returned. (anyone want a nighthawk?)

Mesh network technology has been around for a long time in internet years. It’s a sound technology and usually reserved for complicated setups and administration in businesses, and especially warehouse spaces. So when I was reading what Google and Eero and other companies were doing I was intrigued, but not enough to keep messing with my routers and my settings.

Then one fateful day I was walking through Lowes with Tina and we ended up in the home automation section (not shocking). I was explaining the various devices and how we should probably get some more Nest smoke detectors, when we came to the wifi devices. As I explained to Tina how these work,  it all clicked for me. Why would I NOT be using these!  Google had just conveniently discounted their 3 Pack to $269  I could not wait to find the time to install them.

The install took about 20 minutes. That is, from the time I opened the box to having placed the devices and we were up and surfing!  Our perceived bandwidth went from slooooooooow to almost predictive. Facebook on iOS no longer lagged on loading below the fold, Netflix was crystal clear…the whole show, and no one wondered when I paused their internet, if it was me or Comcast. Reliable home internet! Yay!

Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken

Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken

Ingredients

3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

2 Pints Peanut oil

Directions

In a resealable plastic bag, set in a bowl for stability, combine the 3 cups buttermilk, the coarse salt, and sugar. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Add all chicken pieces to the brine; seal bag. Turn bag to coat chicken with brine mixture. Put in fridge for 2 to 12 hours.

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken into flour mixture, turning to completely coat. Dip flour-coated chicken in the buttermilk, turning to coat. Coat again with flour mixture. Lay 3 pieces at a time on a tray and get ready to fry it up.

Preheat a large Lodge Cast Iron skillet, (or lesser vessel) heat 2-3 inches oil to 350 degrees F. Using tongs carefully add a few pieces of chicken to Dutch oven. (Oil temperature will drop; maintain temperature of 325 degrees F.) Fry chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks), and coating is golden, turning once.

Important: Let oil drain on a cooling rack, otherwise you’ll have soggy chicken!

Keep fried chicken warm in a 120 degree F oven while frying remaining chicken pieces.

Makes 6 servings.

Sunday Supper
Sunday Supper

Additional fun:

Spicy Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken:

Prepare as above, except add 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture, and 2 tbsp of hot sauce to the brine.

Nutrition Facts per 3 ounces chicken: don’t worry about it.

Andy’s Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a kick. Smoky and sweet. Easy to make!

Ingredients:

2 C brown sugar
8-9 crushed and peeled tomatoes (or sub a 32oz can)
2 Tbsp of Spanish Smoked Paprika (or sub 5 dashes of liquid smoke)
3 Tbsp molasses 1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp ground mustard
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup Gentleman Jack

Directions:

Add all ingredients except last one to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stir frequently. Reduce heat to low, continuing to cook for an additional 20 minutes, while simmering, pour Gentleman Jack into a tumbler and sip. Remove sauce from heat. Use immediately. Alternately sauce may be cooled and transferred to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator, if there’s actually any left.

TTC – Hot Cider NOG

Today would be a great day to enjoy my famous Tender Tennessee Christmas Hot Cider Nog!

nog

 

Ingredients

2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon ? Tasty tip
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup bourbon (not optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream (whipped)
1 stick cinnamon

Prep

Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture thickens and coats a spoon (about 15 minutes). Stir in bourbon, if desired. Top each serving with whipped cream. Garnish, if desired.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken:
3-4 Chicken Breast Tenderloins
1 cup flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 cups bell pepper chunks
1 cup pearl onions
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.

Sauce:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

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Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

I made this off of a Pregresso Can and it turned out great. I highly recommend this recipe for a quick weeknight FAMILY dinner!

INGREDIENTS

8 oz uncooked spaghetti

1/3 cup Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ fire roasted tomato cooking sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)

DIRECTIONS

Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.

In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Shake each chicken breast in bread crumb mixture; set aside.

In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic; cook until garlic starts to brown. Add chicken breasts; cook 6 to 10 minutes, turning once, until browned. Pour cooking sauce around chicken; sprinkle chicken with remaining bread crumb mixture and mozzarella cheese. Heat to boiling. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F) and cheese is melted. Serve with spaghetti.

Ham and Cheese Crepes

2013-03-18 10.01.40For the crepes:
250 ml whole milk (1 cup + 2 TBS)
125 grams AP flour (1 cup + 2 tsp)
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
5 grams unsalted butter, melted & reserved

1. Combine eggs & milk in blender and pulse to combine.
2. With motor running slowly add flour and salt, blend till completely combined.
3. Chill for 30 minutes to overnight.
4. Heat an 8″ nonstick (or crepe pan) over medium high heat.
5. Add butter, when melted add to batter and pulse to combine.
6. Add batter to pan, tilting and swirling to cover bottom of pan.
7. Cook until edges are slightly browned, approximately 1 minute.
8. Turn and cook for 15 seconds. Remove to plate till ready to use.

For the filling:
1/2 cup ham (preferably NOT smoked), diced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

For the sauce:
1 Pint mushrooms (white, crimini, shitake or blend), sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 TBS flour, AP
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Butter for pan

1. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
2. Add mushrooms and saute until light brown, add shallot and mushroom and saute until just softened.
3. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir to combine.
4. Add milk/cream stirring to combine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
5. Season with salt.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Simple and easy, it’s a harvest tradition in our house. Here’s what we do:

Take all the seeds from all the pumpkins, soak them in warm water to remove the guts. Pull out the clean seeds and place them on foil lined cookie sheet. Liberally drop tablespoons of butter in several strategic spots on the sheet. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the still wet seeds.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the seeds

Bake in 325 degrees for another 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Add some summer color to your chicken dish!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped red, yellow, orange bell peppers
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 t dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme
2 T dry white wine or chicken stock
small amount of olive oil to coat pan
Preparation:

Heat the oil in the pan on medium-high, and add the mushrooms. Cook until they begin to brown and add the peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes,and then add salt and pepper, and the garlic and herbs. Cook for 30 more seconds (don’t burn the garlic!), and add the wine or stock. Cook until the liquid evaporates.

Makes two pretty large servings, each with 7 grams of carb plus 3 grams of fiber.

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