BBQ Chicken and Commitment Issues

So about a week or so ago I posted that I was going to be doing the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Well turns out, I have commitment issues and don’t want to do it anymore. Not because I can’t but because I simply don’t want to. I got bored with it way too quickly. And once I get bored with something that has some what of a deadline I just get irritated and frustrated for the remainder of the time. So instead of nagging myself into finishing it I’m just going to quit it all together. This probably explains why I have yet to actually start any kind of workout program, which by the way is something I seriously need to do, but I digress. So yeah, I’m not doing the 30 day challenge anymore. It didn’t feel natural to me.

I like blogging about whatever the heck pops into my mind, when it pops into my mind. I’m not real keen to itineraries either or things with lots of structure. That is why I love being my own boss and will do my best to never (have to) work for anyone, but myself, ever again. I’m a free, independent thinker, who can also be slightly conservative. Any personality test I’ve ever taken has always shown that I’m equal parts introvert and extravert. Maybe just displaying either side a little too strongly at the wrong time! Ha!

So from here on out I’m giving you me, whatever that is. I promise to always be honest and speak out of love from my heart. I may not always be right, and I may not always have all the facts, or even make sense, but I also promise to admit when I’m wrong and accept it. I promise to always learn from others and to listen to every side of the story. I’ve always tried to live my life empathetically, and imagine walking in someone else’s shoes.

Mom and dad, I know you read my blogs, and I love it. I may not always have positive posts but I don’t want you to worry. I’ve survived a divorce and a miscarriage. And neither of those times did I ever feel like I was truly alone. So if a post seems a little depressing don’t freak out and stage some kind of intervention, just trust that I’m working through whatever it is with God. I’ve figured out how to manage the things that stress me and the steps I need to take to get through it.

I also wanted to let everyone know that I have signed up for Amazon Affiliates for my blogs posts as a way to make a little extra cash on the side. I don’t know if I have it set up right on my page but it’s there. (I may also sign up for an ad provider thing as well, I don’t know). I’d like to make enough money to at least purchase my own domain name for my blog. I don’t plan on becoming some kind of “Gadget of The Week” item hawker, although I will post about some of my favorite things in my blogs. I just won’t be posting just to advertise an item.  I’m not going to promote anything I don’t actually intend on using myself. Anyway, I think there’s some kind of HTML coding or whatever and I’ll have to reteach myself how to do all that mess since I haven’t worked with it since my Myspacing days. Remember Myspace? Don’t you kind of miss it? I know I do. I miss finagling with the HTML codes and pimping out my own page. Oh well. I don’t miss the spam though.

::::Big sigh of relief:::: Moving on…

Now that my introvert self got that off her chest, my extravert side would like to share a dish that I made on Sunday. I posted it on Instagram (@thekajunkween), asked if anyone wanted the recipe, and I had a couple of takers. So here it is, Oven Bake BBQ Chicken from the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook. I highly recommend getting this cookbook for yourself or for anyone you know who loves to cook. There is a wealth of information in there that helps you make the dish perfect. Every. Single. Time.

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Oven Baked BBQ Chicken  Sweet and Tangy Oven-Barbecued Chicken (my bad!)

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbs molasses
  • 3 tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs finely grated onion
  • 2 tbs Worsestershire sauce (I use this stuff all the time and for the life of me still can’t pronounce it right!)
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs maple syrup (the REAL stuff yall!)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 ts cayenne pepper
  • 4 (6-8 ounces) boneless/skinless chicken bewbs (LOL Just seeing if you were actually reading this)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • Now watch this video before beginning. You’re welcome.
  1. Preheat oven to 325, position rack to upper middle.
  2. Whisk all ingredients except salt and pepper and set aside (replay video now if you like, I just did). Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. (Replay one more time just to make sure this song is permanently stuck in your brain for the rest of the day).
  3. Heat oil in a 12in skillet. I used cast iron because it’s how I roll, and because its oven-safe. Heat on medium- high heat until it starts smoking. Add chicken and brown on both side. About 2 minutes if you want to get technical about it.
  4. Remove chicken (from skillet) and pour off any oil that was left behind. In same  skillet add bbq sauce, scraping up all of those beautiful brown bits that were stuck to the bottom. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often, and cook for about 4 mins.
  5. Turn off heat, and add back to the sauce. Coating it oh so graciously. Spoon some sauce over the chicken so that it creates a deliciously thick layer while cooking. Or don’t, its your prerogative. Just don’t come crying to me when your chicken tastes funky. (Tried to come up with a clever funky chicken joke here but couldn’t, sorry.) Bake chicken for 10-14 mins, or breasts register 130 degrees… or until juices run clear. For me it was closer to 14-15 mins, but you do you.
  6. “Using pot holders (because skillet handle will be hot) remove from oven.” It actually says that in the cookbook. And while I rolled my eyes at this obvious instruction and thought “What idiot just grabs a hot skillet out of the oven with out a mitt?” Oh yeah, thats right, me! I’ve grabbed a cookie sheet without an oven mitt before. Good times I tell ya! Fun for all! So take it from me kids, oven mitts are essential!
    Adjust oven rack WITH AFOREMENTIONED POT HOLDERS to just 5 inches from broiler. Broil chicken for 5-10 mins, 160 degrees. Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest. Meanwhile, stir sauce left in skillet to combine then pour into a gravy boat or small bowl. Serve chicken with extra sauce on the side.

So there you have it, dinner and a show story. Thanks again for reading, please subscribe for future recipes or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The Crooked Garden House

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Gather ’round everyone, Auntie Jen is going to tell you a story. A story about a crooked garden house.

Once a upon a time…. Ah, who am I kidding, I suck at story telling. But I will tell you about my garden house and how much it means to me.

Several months ago, I’m talking dead of winter, maybe even early fall, because I can be a stupid, ridiculous planner when I want to be, I presented Joe with an idea. An idea about how to keep those thieving rats out of my garden during the upcoming growing season (Oooo! I sound like a novice farmer! *Ahem* Gardener, my bad.) I told him that I got the idea from Pinterest, blah blah blah, and he said “I have a better idea!” I interpreted that as “Your idea sucks, basically because Pinterest sucks, and you’re a girl.” But that’s definitely not what Joe meant. I just had to trust him, more on that later.

As we start getting closer and closer to spring I start getting really antsy about what Joe has planned. He never really reveals his plans to me, not even a sketch, just a “I’ve got it all in my head, I placed an order at Lowe’s, it’ll be ready for pickup tomorrow. Can you go get it?” Uhhhhh??? Sure? Why not! So off to Lowe’s I go, with Neighbor Julie and Beau, and we pick up the order. Now there are a ridiculous amount of building materials and I’m thinking “What in the heck is he building me? An ark? A panic room in my garden? A bomb shelter?! What the heck dude! Whatever it is, its going to be good and nothing’s getting in…or out!”

About a month later, Joe starts building the garden house. Did I mention he ordered more supplies off Amazon too!? Yeah that was an interesting week of shipments. He gets one wall built and then a few weeks go by before he gets another up. Then another few weeks and another wall. Eventually all the walls get put up, all the while I’m helping as much as I can, trying to be a good wifey. Beau tries to help too but is more interested in running off with daddy’s tools or flinging the dirt out of momma’s beds. Well today we framed out the roof line and later we’ll cover it with the last of the chicken wire. And as usual I thanked him 50 times for working so hard on this even though he’s frustrated with it, and himself, because its crooked. But today the garden house meant something more to me than protecting my veggies and the hard work (and worry) I put into caring for them.

Today the garden house made me see my marriage in a new light. A much deeper shade of love, commitment, and trust. 

You see the crooked garden house is just like our marriage. It’s two people coming together to build something to protect what’s important and precious on the inside, from all the predators on the outside. And I’m not just talking temptation, I’m talking about building a protection around your whole marriage from everything! 

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So many different things went into building the garden house. The right tools and materials, the time, the energy, even the basic WANT to build it in the first place. Joe may see this as just something on the “honey do” list but it’s really much more than that. There first had to be a plan, then the foundation was laid, the walls went up, a protective barrier was secured around them, and finally the roof. 

For a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, some of the walls didn’t have their protective barrier so I went out every day to check on garden to make sure it wasn’t under attack. I even checked the areas around the garden for any sign of intrusion, and there was nothing. Although, I did see evidence elsewhere on some flowers that weren’t protected but I wasn’t as concerned as I have been about what’s actually in the garden.

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Today Joe struggled with getting the first beam secured into the top cross beam. As a matter of fact, the wood split in a couple places and at one point the beam he was working on popped off and hit him in the mouth. Maybe he was rushing through his work or wasn’t totally sure how to go about securing it. Then he remembered some kind of metal anchor that holds two pieces of wood together in such a build. So off to Lowe’s he went. (Now Joe, I know you’re probably reading this and you will smirk and roll your eyes at what I’m about to say, so just go with it.) When he came home he was in a slightly better mood than when he left and he kept telling me about this really nice man he met in the store who helped him. He wasn’t an employee, he was just a regular guy who happened to be building a shed of his own, and I think was even looking for the same part. Joe said they talked for a while, and that “he was just a really nice man”. I’m not saying this man was God, I’m just saying that if I were looking for a metaphor to relate to in this story he would kind of be like God. Only in the sense he was in the right place at the right time. This man helped Joe find the exact pieces he needed to finish building the garden house. Sometimes we have to seek counsel to help us through uncertain situations. (Sure some Lowe’s employee could have been the one to save the day but that doesn’t make for a good story now does it?)

I can’t help but see God’s lesson in all of this. I try to wear those “learning glasses” all the time now. God helped us with this simple project by providing the pieces we didn’t think to get. He provided the way. He took two people who were willing to work together and built a house to protect what mattered to them, even on uneven ground. Sure its crooked and uneven, but so are we. Nobody is perfect but He uses us anyway, and gives us purpose. I was also reminded that often times God doesn’t reveal his plans for us upfront like we always want. Instead, He asks that we just trust in Him and have faith that He will provide the way, much like Joe did in the beginning. I had to trust Joe’s plan without even knowing what it was. I’m sure glad I did because it came out way better than my original plan. Pretty much like when we finally let go and trust God to lead us. It’s always better than we imagined! It’s been hard but I’ve learned to relax and let Joe do the leading. He’s really good at seeing and planning the whole picture, from start to finish. I usually just see the beginning and the dreamy ending, never knowing what the middle will look like.

I really enjoyed building the crooked garden house with Joe. It made me appreciate not only his manliness (someone is definitely getting a tool belt for Father’s Day!) but his brain too! The math that man can do in his head is impressive! I’m more of a cut THEN measure kind of person! And I’m sure I annoyed the heck out Joe today, and every day we’ve worked on it, by flirting with him the whole time. Every time I go outside or even just see it through the back window I’m reminded how much he loves and honors me. Joe loved me enough to build a garden house so that I could enjoy my hobby and not be upset every time the rats ate my veggies. They are the most expensive veggies we’ve ever eaten by the way. I think 1 tomato is worth about $50 by now! First time gardeners know exactly what I’m talking about.

I know that Joe and I will build another garden house one day, it will be bigger, better, and level! 

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(Thank you babe, again, for all your hard work in the yard, and just in all that you do for us. I love you so much. You have been my greatest blessing and my favorite answered prayer!)