cooking, family, food, grilling

Smoked whole chicken – JuJuBQ

The taste of last week’s Frickin Chicken Shack smoked wings lingers. Talk of those smokey appendages still fresh.

With no space for a return trip on the calendar, we turned to JuJuBQ. For Mother’s Day this year, this20140711-085911-32351188.jpg joined the “kitchen” repertoire. And I’m so glad she did. My new favorite gadget.

I brined the chicken, a first for me.
1 gallon water
1/2 c salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
5 pound brined for 4 hours. A little longer than I wanted, but hubby and I did a lunch date. More on that in another post.

Some people remove the backbone for more even cooking and/or faster cooking. Rather than remove the bone, I pushed down on the bird to break the bone and flatten it somewhat. Probably against BBQ etiquette, but I was 2 hours late putting the bird on.

After a good dry towel session, the clucker was ready for a massage. The Heffer Dust made and sold by a student was empty. I tried to replicate the seasoning from memory. His magic, family secret recipe is far superior. My mediocre rub was a dump and mix fest. Miss E and I tasted and adjusted. No measuring. Just salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, and paprika. Not a bad first rub.

I smoked the bird to 160, about 3 hours. The last 30 minutes I put on a slight smattering of BBQ sauce (totally not needed). The fledgling results were AMAZING! Juicy, succulent, and from my smoker!

From the local farmer’s market, we had a pound of green and yellow wax beans. Marinated in EVOO, lemon juice, and a bit of rub for an hour, I finished them on the smoker grates. After 30 minutes, the beans were veggie candy to the hubs and I. Like the Cheshire Cat, we looked at each other and telepathically listed other veggies to smoke.

JuJuBQ is prepped and ready for the next smoke session. Salmon? Brisket? Potatoes? Cabbage? Corn? Fruit?!




food, the small town foodie in me, traveling

City Vu in Holland

A much needed date night. A beautiful Fall drive. Some adult conversation and beverages. All the makings for a wonderful time.

A top the modern City Flats Hotel in Holland is the City Vu Bistro. And a lovely view it is! Unfortunately I was overwhelmed by the food choices and missed the outdoor photo op.

Many reviews comment on the amazing flatbreads. The flatbreads smelled and looked delish, but wanting to not fill up on bread, we opted for four small plates. Two items, the Duck Prosciutto and Mussels, were monthly specials. Being prosciutto crazy, we devoured the duck and all accompaniments; figs, Greek olives, feta, roasted peppers, Granny Smith apple slices, and everything crackers. The crackers were a definite miss step, but each other element allowed for varying flavor bites.

Yummy mussels garbanzo beans, check!

Seared tuna and flaw, delightful!

Barbecue braised short ribs with cabbage and carrots, yes please!

When return, we will sample the flat breads too.

Another date night down for these foodies. I cannot wait for next months night out! Where will our palettes take us?

family, food

Party Planning Flop

My husband and I planned a gathering of friends with kid tagalongs as a high school pregame chill time. Email sent a week before, house cleaned, food purchased, and kids prepped for hosting. The day of our party, a few declines, but we were holding strong. And then, the bottom fell out. A decline of my daughter’s BFF left her in tears, later my son’s friends passed and he went into bummer mode, and we, the parents, sat stunned. Now what? No guests, food and drinks on hand…a lesson learned. Add a RSVP for a day or two before the event so “it’s my party, I’ll cry if I want to” does not become the theme song.


cooking, food, the small town foodie in me, traveling

North Star Bakery

When traveling the winding 123 North to Paradise, Michigan, you will pass a small family owned bakery, North Star Bakery. You MUST stop! All the bread is made from an 15 year old starter and baked in a brick oven. Did I mention it is in the middle of nowhere?! Only open in the summer months, the owners bake up quite a delicious variety of breads and flat breads with local ingredients. M gave the blueberry bread 1000 thumbs up. Accompanying our chili, we devoured a loaf of blue cheese bread. Smell-o-computers would leave you drooling. Please stop by next time you head to Paradise, Tahquamenon, or Whitefish Point. You can thank me later. Nine years ago, we stopped by here and enjoyed a mouthwatering onion tomato flat bread. So thankful that this little bakery is still around!






camping, family, food, the small town foodie in me, traveling

Muldoon Pasties

Labeled the best pasties in the UP and praised by the Shipwreck tour crew, we stopped in for a quick snack at Mudldoon’s Pasties in Munising. Our snack turned into a mini meal as E and M devoured two pasties with gravy. Being traditionalists, we devoured beef pasties (rhymes with nasty). Also available are chicken and veggie. M the family mini-foodie gave it 2 thumbs up.



cooking, family, food

The perfect egg

My secrets to the perfect hard boiled egg.
1. Fresh eggs
2. Load up the pan, cover with water.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Cover pot and shut off.
5. Set timer for 12 minutes, have a cup of coffee, and relax.
6. When timer rings, dump in ice bath and peel immediately.
7. Call in hungry kids.



3 kids ate 1/2 dozen eggs!