Spring is not yet here in Boston, we still have minus degrees at night with snow on the side of the roads. However, this doesn’t mean that we haven’t had any glimts of spring here and there. About a week ago, we had a warm day where I had to take off my jacket when biking. I lived on that for days!
Anyway – as I know that spring is on the way, I have started thinking about an upgrade on my bike. That, and the fact that both my tires are so old that they need to be replaced. And that my brakes don’t really work in wet conditions. I found that out the hard and scary way.
As my first tire blew, I borrowed a friends bike and realised how amazing his bike was and how dangerous mine really was. It’s incredible how you get used to things. Dangerous and wobbly things…
So, I have now started to think about what I want in a bike and I think I might try going for a cheaper bike. A comfortable bike where I can add a basket on the front and one that has a parcel shelf on the back. Oh how I sometimes miss European ‘lady bikes’.
So, I’ve had a look around at other people’s bikes and online and I think a Schwinn or Huffy cruiser or hybrid might be the best option for me. I’ve been to some big chains around Boston but they have yet not arrived in stores yet. I could just order something online and hope for the best, but I like being able to see and feel it beforehand. So perhaps renting a car for a day and drive out to the bigger chains outside might be in order.
I think the only question now is – what colour do I want?
Light blue Huffy
Light blue hybrid Schwinn
Are you sensing a theme yet?
There was a time when we used to eat chicken more than any other meat, but not anymore. Now that we live in the US, we’ve become a lot more aware of the treatments of animals and we’d rather pay a bit more for our meat and just not eat it as often.
However, this means that we just have to come up with ways to stretch the chickens we do buy, a bit longer!
We started with a Sunday roast in a slightly different way. We tried it spatchcocked for the first time and it made it very moist yet with crunchy skin. The large amount of herbed butter I stuffed the skin with also helped on that account. We made oven roasted veg (carrots/parsnips/sweet potatoes/white potatoes) as well as some steamed broccoli. It was very tasty and I ate a lot of the skin as it was herbed and crackly and absolutely delicious.
In the evening, I picked the chicken clean of all it’s meat and put the carcass in the slow cooker with the neck and innards that came in a separate bag. I also threw in a whole red onion, some carrots that had seen better days, a twig of rosemary and thyme that was starting to wilt, black pepper corns, bay leaf and a whole bulb of garlic that I had cut in half (horisontally). I filled up the slow cooker with as much water as I could and poured in a splash of my fire cider. I let this simmer on low for the next day or so.
The following evening, I ladled up as much of the liquid that I would, strained it from any bits and poured it into silicone muffin shapes that I placed in the freezer overnight. I then push the frozen stock out, into ziplock bags and store them in my freezer. This means I now have smaller portions of great tasting chicken stock (warmed up a cup that I drank whilst ladling the liquid – very tasty!) that I can add to anything I want (my fav sweet potato will be made soon!) or just have a cup, from time to time.
Next phase, I filled up the slow cooker with water again and let it simmer on low for another day.
The following morning, I removed all the bits from the slow cooker and went through what to keep and what to discard. All the bones, skin and sinew from the carcass was discarded but all the liquid, pieces of veg and innards (heart, liver, lungs?) went into the next meal. Yummy leftover meal.
I chopped up all the veg into smaller pieces and finely chopped all the innards (my husband hates this so I will see if I can hide it with all the other bits) and placed it back into the strained liquid. I strained it because I wanted to ensure that there were no small pieces of bone that could turn it into our last meal.
I squeezed all the garlic out of their peel, added another carrot that I had laying around as well as a chopped up sweet potato. 4 big mushrooms were chopped and fried up in butter with garlic and some smaller pieces of a red pepper I found. In the end of the frying process, I added in two new bay leaves as well as a lot of dried thyme. I wanted to heat them up a bit to maximise the flavour.
When all the liquid from the mushrooms had been fried away, the content of the pan also went into the slow cooker.
This simmered away on high for a couple of hours before I cut up the last bit of chicken that we hadn’t managed to eat yet. I added lots of herbs and spices (turmeric, chipotle chili powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, thyme) and took out some of the liquid (along with a stock ‘cube’ from the freezer) to boil some quinoa in. I added a tin of (drained) sweet corn and served the soup over the quinoa, topped with some grated cheese.
So, all in all, we have had from 1 whole chicken and some veg:
*Roasted spatchcocked chicken with roasted & steamed veg
*Leftover chicken with veg x 4 meals
*Chicken stock – approx 3.5 quarts (our slow cooker is 4 qt in total)
*Chicken and veg soup. This looks like at least 8 portions
Isn’t this brilliant?