Instant Pot Chicken Dinner

I am so grateful to Lacey Grim for saying the words “Instant Pot” in a doTERRA training last year. What a life-changing utterance! I whipped my cell phone out of my pocket and ordered one from Amazon before that class was even over.

Oh, the peace and joy it’s brought to my life! Amazing food FAST. Healthy. Easy. Empowering. Awesome.

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Today’s recipe (with atrocious picture, because I made the mistake of taking a bite before taking the picture and I was like HURRY UP CAMERA I HAVE TO EAT THIS NOW):

Layer bone-in chicken thighs in the bottom of the pot. Squirt them with Boars Head mustard, fig jam from Whole Foods, and honey – maybe 1 tsp per piece of chicken for the mustard and jam, and maybe 1 tablespoon total of honey. Half-fill the fig jam jar with water and dump it in there. Top with whole medium-sized potatoes, and some shredded cabbage. Top with some apricot jam that your mom made (I guess you could buy it at the store, too, but Mom’s is best – about two tablespoons).

Set the pot for 15 minutes on manual, do a natural pressure release, and enjoy. The meat is falling off the bones, the potatoes are perfectly done, the cabbage is a nice accent, and the flavor is out of this world. I only added a pinch of himalayan pink sea salt at the end.

Yes, I did say 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing 1 or 10 chicken thighs, the time will be the same, due to the awesomeness and divinely-inspired design of the Instant Pot.

You want your own Instant Pot, don’t you? You can have one, and help support this blog and our ministry in the process! Get it from our Amazon affiliate link!

Hibachi Grill

Ken said something earlier about this on facebook, but I wanted to weigh in also. We’ve eaten at Hibachi Grill on the HP/Archdale line for years… so when a friend told me that the owner’s husband had kicked out a homeless veteran, I thought that was really out of character for these people.

So we got talking to the owner last night. Turns out the homeless guy is someone we know pretty well (we do lots of ministry in the area the restaurant is in). This particular person is most assuredly NOT a veteran. Not even close.

He had been hanging around the restaurant and getting free water, but that turned into panhandling and that turned into harassing customers and cussing out a waitress. The night that everything got ugly, his meal had been purchased by a customer (which was fine) but because of his history, at checkout he was asked to not hang around outside any more that evening. In the past, he’d gotten one customer to buy his dinner – then another – then another – and many customers were reporting that they felt harassed and intimidated.

The people who bought his meal blew a gasket over this request… and then started a smear campaign against the restaurant… based on a completely falsified story.

And that turned into an all-out assault by “well-meaning citizens” – harassing phone calls, threats, flat tires, blatant racism… really crazy and nasty stuff. The irony is, this restaurant does a lot for all sorts of people – veterans, police/fire benefits, and even caters some meals for Open Door Ministries.

I totally get that people would be outraged if the story that’s circulating were true… but a) it’s not and b) even if it was true, how does that warrant threats against these people? But the bottom line is this – it’s not true. Period.

Anyway – it’s a great place to eat, owned by really sweet people, and if you believed this story and have boycotted the restaurant, you should stop now and go get some potstickers and sushi. ­čÖé

An experiment

I’m trying an experiment – going back to actually blogging, instead of having the Facebook to Twitter to Blog loop.

So for the time being (if the beta test works), my facebook statuses will aggregate on the blog weekly. I’ll post short updates to facebook, and longer updates to the blog and then link from FB to here.

 

We’ll see how it goes ­čÖé

A tale of two restaurants

On our recent vacation in the Wilmington area, we ate out several times. We hit favorites like Front Street Brewery in downtown Wilmington and HarborMasters in Carolina Beach – both truly excellent establishments, consistent in both food and service. We also hit up a couple of new-to-us restaurants, and it’s those I want to talk about here.

The first was Big Daddy’s, a Kure Beach icon. It’s been in business there for four generations, and used to have a great reputation for both food and service. I sure hope the current generation can turn it around, because it sure doesn’t look good.

The second was Atlantic Seafood in Southport. They’ve only been open a few years, but goshgolly someone’s doing something right there. We actually ended up eating at Atlantic because of our experience with Big Daddy’s – Ken still wanted some good seafood and he got it!

Like most vacationers, we were looking to get the most bang for our buck. We also wanted some great seafood (it being the beach and all). So our first day there, we went to Big Daddy’s. It was surprisingly not busy, for a holiday week at the beach. They said it was because most folks were up at Carolina Beach for the fireworks. I don’t know about that, given that the other restaurants on that block were all quite busy. (It remained that way for the rest of the week, too – every time we drove by, we noted the number of cars and customers there and across the street. Sad.) We asked to sit outside but were told it would be a long wait – not because there were no tables open, but because there were only two waitresses out there (there were waitresses standing around inside twiddling their thumbs, one even asked if she could go home).

It is not an inexpensive restaurant and we wanted to see if we could do an appetizer and share the biggest combo plate, then split a dessert. Ken asked the waitress (a most unhappy person) how big the portions were and she said, “They’re HUGE! Plenty of food for two.”

First we ordered the crab dip with toast points. It was … okay. Just … okay. Needed salt. I’ve made better at home from recipes I found on the internet. But it was okay.

Then the waitress (still sad and unhappy) brought our meal. It was definitely NOT okay. We had ordered the $20 seafood combo platter… flounder, shrimp, and oysters, with french fries. There was a handful of greasy fries buried beneath a small piece of fish, six shrimp, three oysters… it was barely bigger than a child’s plate. In fact, we asked each other if they’d made a mistake. The nervous-looking manager came over, asked us if we had a problem… um, yes sir, we do. Back home we pay half as much for twice this much food… and this isn’t even local-caught/fresh. “Oh no, I can’t do that,┬ábut I’ll bring you some more shrimp” and he practically ran away. He did, a few minutes later, bring us a few more shrimp. ┬áThe taste of the food was barely acceptable… the portion was barely enough for one…maybe if we’d gotten the seafood at Long John Silver’s or something, it would have met our expectation.┬áNeedless to say, we didn’t bother ordering a dessert, and we didn’t need to ask why all the waitstaff was so unhappy. Almost $50 spent, and we actually went back to Mom’s and got a snack because we were still hungry.
A few days later, we ate at Atlantic Seafood. ┬áThe first thing we noticed is that every employee seemed genuinely happy to be there… even the guys cleaning tables. Our waiter, Ryan, was friendly and personable.┬áOn a whim, we decided to do exactly the same thing that we’d done at Big Daddy’s – crab dip and seafood platter.

The crab dip was truly excellent. I mean TRULY excellent. I’m not sure what spice they put in it, but as a┬áconnoisseur┬áof fine crab dip at many restaurants, I’d call this among the best I’ve ever had. And there was a lot of it, too. I like that in a crab dip.

Then our waiter brought our food – now this is more like it. An enormous piece of flounder with lots of shrimp, oysters, scallops, and french fries. Essentially the same meal we got at Big Daddy’s – but more than enough food, and delicious (the oysters were perfect! and the flounder was incredible.) We brought home enough for Ken’s lunch yesterday… so really, three servings and we were stuffed. At – get this – the same price. So Big Daddy’s can’t do enough food for one person at that price, but Atlantic feeds three? Amazing. ┬áThen Ryan offered us desserts that looked so good I wanted to cry because there was no way I could eat another bite.

So there you go – a tale of two restaurants. Next time we’re in Wilmington, we’ll either take the ferry or drive all the way over to Southport to eat…yes, it’s worth the drive!

And we do hope that Big Daddy’s can recover from whatever has sent them into this tailspin. Ken has googled restaurant reviews for them and it seems their food and service are consistently bad. We’d be willing to try them again if they clean up their act. We’d even be willing to go and do some consulting to help them. Or maybe call Robert Irvine?

hot doggety blog

I used to post a “goals for the day” here just about every day… and post content often… these days I don’t blog much. But that’s about to change.

My goal for the week: Blog! Hot-doggety-blog!

Also this week – I need to duplicate CD’s – do a CD mailing – clean the refrigerator – pay bills – go grocery shopping – deliver Avon orders – make a Thanksgiving menu – get ready for the conference this coming weekend (all systems on “automate”) – get the photocopier fixed – install ink or toner in everything that prints – finish getting the upstairs ready for guests – get heat installed up there – plastic some windows and install weatherstripping – organize the massive pile of papers that is threatening to fall off my desk – and that’s just the beginning of it!