Chicken Bath Box

The Bath Box

The Bath Box

With winter upon us the ground is frozen and our chickens are suffering with dust bath withdrawal. The poor things are rolling around in the pine shaving litter in the coop and it just isn’t the same (or as healthy) as a good roll in the dust of a shady garden patch. To help them with their bathing I put together dust boxes for them and I put one in the coop so on cold days they can bath until their hearts are content. By being in the coop the bath also stays dry and doesn’t freeze hard like the garden dirt. The bins that I am using are actually my self watering bins, I don’t need them in the winter, the chickens can borrow them.

This is what is in them: 1 part peat moss, 1 part compost, and 1-2 cups of food grade diatomaceous earth.

Shed Update

Attempting to be Green is not as politically correct one might think. In the past month I have been visited by city building officials, attended city council meetings, and the upcycling of our shed has caused excess work for Mr. & Mrs. Nextdoor.
Let’s start with the city building officials. Remember this shed?

Shed on the trailer in the driveway.

Shed on the trailer in the driveway is a big NO-NO.

We brought it home on Saturday, May 11 however, we had received an inch of rain over 24 hours and our lawn was too soggy to drive it into the backyard. Unfortunately, we had to leave it on the trailer until the ground was drier. Lucky for us the rain stopped and over the week our lawn dried out. We scheduled the move for May 18 (the next Saturday). On May 17 two city building officials arrived at our door regarding a complaint about the shed. We explained to them the situation and they were understanding but told us we needed a permit before we placed it. I ran to city hall to get my $35 permit so the shed could be placed the next day. With the help of some of our neighbors the shed was placed in our backyard on schedule.


4 wonderful neighbors helped place the shed.

4 wonderful neighbors helped place the shed.

Luck goes up and luck goes down…on the day we went to pick up our shed there was an article in the local paper that our city manager wanted to be “proactive” on the growing chicken problem in our city and was proposing an ordinance to limit properties to only 6 chickens. It gets worse from there; the proposed ordinance also states properties with chickens must be 1.5 acres and the coop must be placed 100’ from any property line. Off to the City Council Committee meeting. Here is a snippet from the news article:

“Of the 1,500 written complaints filed with the city’s division of animal control over the past 12 months, just seven were in regard to chickens. This fact was among a number of complaints presented by local hen owners who say the need to regulate the number of chickens homeowners can have on their property has been exaggerated.
Resident Steve Girard, who raises chickens in his backyard with his wife, Kristin, told members of City Council’s Building and Building Code Committee June 6 that most homeowners elect to raise chickens as part of an organic lifestyle.
“In reality, we know that we live in a city and we’re not trying to have a farm,” Girard said, noting that experts recommend that hen owners have one to two chickens per family member to provide the amount of eggs they need for weekly consumption. “One omelet alone takes three to four eggs and it takes each hen one week to lay that many eggs. If you legislate the number of chickens to three or four per household, you’re simply going to have a bunch of people who have chickens for pets because it won’t be enough for eggs.”

On May 23 we received another visit from the city official who had received a complaint that the shed was too close to the property line. We used tape measures when we set it down the first time. I guess someone needed to be sure! The city officials let us know we were well within code. We could even move it 5 feet closer.

The next weekend, Mr. Nextdoor worked really hard in the 90 degree heat to create this view from our shed door.
The Fence

Our view of the shed has also changed!

Shed Before

Shed Before

Shed After

Shed After





Cute, Huh? This month it will be leveled out and white lattice will be placed around the foundation. Next month I will post on the entire building project when it is completed.

Coconutty Chicken

This recipe was adapted from a Rachael Ray Magazine Meal Planner pullout.  This was a big hit with all the entire family and a friend one of my sons had over.  My husband thinks some crushed red pepper should be added next time.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
Salt and pepper
1 (13½ ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 small head garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
8 ounces orecchiette or orzo pasta
1 (10-11 ounce) package baby spinach, washed and dried
1. In a large pan, brown the cubed chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and bay leaves.
3. When the chicken is golden brown, add the sauce to the chicken and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions.
5. While the pasta is cooking remove the cover from the chicken, discard the bay leaves; bring the sauce to a boil until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach to wilt. Serve over pasta.

Original Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Thirsty Bird aka Beer Can Chicken

Serves 4
I admit I am no food photographer, however I am posting the pictures to give a visual of the process. I hope they don’t dissuade you from trying this recipe, because it is really good!
1 (4-5 lb.) whole chicken
1 (12-ounce) can beer
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Spice Rub Mix:
¼ cup Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Thoroughly clean and rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Mix Spice Rub Mix in a small bowl. Rub a couple of tablespoons of the mix on the inside cavity of the chicken. Gently peel skin away from chicken and rub 2-3 more tablespoons of the mix into the meat of chicken. Save the leftover Spice Rub mix to use before cooking.

3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Grill Method:

This one is going on the grill.

1. Preheat grill for indirect cooking over medium heat
2. Open beer can pour out and drink ⅓ of beer from the can. Drop the garlic cloves and lime juice into the beer can. Place beer can in the center of a disposable aluminum pan.
3. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can to insert the beer into the cavity. Make sure the legs of the chicken are inside the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the Spice Rub Mix on the chicken.
4. Cook on a covered grill for 1 hour or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165° on a meat thermometer. (Keep the lid closed as much as possible.)
5. Using heavy mitts remove the chicken from the grill.
6. Let chicken rest upright for 10 minutes before lifting from the can.
7. Discard beer.
8. Carve chicken and cut into serving pieces.

Oven Method:

This one is going in the oven.

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Open beer can pour out and drink ⅓ of beer from the can. Drop the garlic cloves and lime juice into the beer can. Place beer can in the center of a chicken baker (for oven use only) or a foil baking pan (for grill or oven use)
3. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can to insert the beer into the cavity. Make sure the legs of the chicken are inside the baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the Spice Rub Mix on the chicken.
4. Place chicken in the oven and after 20 minutes turn heat down to 325°. Next, ‘tent’ the bird with foil to prevent over-browning.  Bake according to the chart below, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165° on a meat thermometer.
2½ – 3 lbs: 1 – 1¾ hrs
3½ – 4 lbs: 1½ – 1¾ hrs
4½ – 5 lbs: 1½ – 2 hrs
5½ – 6 lbs: 1¾ – 2½ hrs
5. Remove from oven.
6. Let chicken rest upright for 10 minutes before lifting from the can.

Resting before the carving.

7. Discard beer.
8. Carve chicken and cut into serving pieces.

Adapted From: “Marlboro Cook Like A Man Cookbook”, In the back of the book, there are names of those who contributed to the cookbook but the names are not directly linked to the recipes. 2004 Philip Morris.

Sherried Chicken Breasts

This recipe came out of a church cookbook my Mom gave me many years ago. I didn’t know what Sherry was and wasn’t even old enough to buy it when I first made it, so I bought cooking Sherry at the grocery store.  BIG MISTAKE! YUCK! Go ahead splurge on a bottle… drink it if you like it, but save a cup for the San Francisco Chops. It is so easy and tastes delicious.
6 servings
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-4 Tablespoons olive oil for frying
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 – 10 ¾ ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ soup can water
4 oz. fresh button mushrooms, sliced
⅓ soup can sherry – NOT USE COOKING SHERRY
1. Heat oven to 350°. In a small bowl mix the soup and water together, set aside.
2. Trim fat from chicken. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet; brown chicken until golden. Remove the chicken and arrange in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with marjoram and thyme.
3. If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms. Add the soup mixture scraping and deglazing the pan.
4. Pour sherry over the chicken. Pour soup mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes.
5. Remove cover. Check to see if there is enough liquid. Bake about 15 minutes longer or until chicken is brown, very tender and sauce is golden.

Serve with wild rice or green noodles and garnish with fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, and star fruit.

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

6 Servings
½ cup diced red onion
4 cups baby spinach
Salt and Pepper
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup corn kernels, defrosted and drained if frozen
1 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno
1 cup Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken
8 taco-size whole wheat tortillas
8 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Cheddar
1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Warm a skillet over medium heat; mist with cooking spray. Sauté onion until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add spinach mixture, corn, jalapeno and chicken. Spread ½ cup filling on half a tortilla, sprinkle with 1 tbsp. Cheddar and fold tortilla over. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
3. Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Cook quesadillas in a single layer until brown and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet in oven to keep warm; cook remaining quesadillas. Cut each into thirds; serve 4 wedges per person

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken

It just doesn’t get any easier than this. Be sure to use the Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla recipe for the leftovers.

8 Servings
Cook chicken breasts in a mixture of bottle barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce for a sweet and tangy barbecue chicken that’s great on a bun over even over a baked potato.

24 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup reduced-fat Italian dressing
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth

1. Put chicken in slow cooker. In a bowl, combine barbecue sauce, dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours.
2. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and chicken broth. Stir into sauce in slow cooker, cover and cook until sauce is thickened and heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to cooker, stir, cover and continue cooking on low for 15 minutes. Serve chicken on whole-grain buns, over brown rice or with baked potatoes if you like.

Nutritional Information per serving Cal: 166, Fat: 3g, Sat. fat: 1g, Pro: 17g, Carb: 15g, Chol: 47mg
Sodium: 463mg

All You JUNE 2011: Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken