Mrs. Hoose here!
When I first met Jerod, boiling water was a challenge. Over the years, I’ve acquired a few skills. I’ll be sharing some of my tips with you.
Here is one that we will be using over the holidays….
Whole chickens used to be something I shied away from, until I figured out a fool-proof way to make them. Just like turkeys, they should thaw a full day in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds. Once the chicken is thawed enough to take the giblet pack out, I remove it so the bird can thaw faster. My favorite way to bake chickens is like this –
- Put a cast iron skillet in the oven, put a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the skillet, and preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Season bird inside and out and truss the legs.
- If desired, cut up an apple and onion and place inside the bird.
- When the oven comes up to temperature, grab the skillet and swirl around the butter so it covers the entire skillet.
- Place bird in skillet breast side down and turn the oven back to 450, then continue baking. For the last minute of cook time, flip the bird over and bake it for 15 minutes at 500 degrees.
The chicken should bake for 15 minutes per pound, and the last 15 minutes are always done at 500 with the breast up. For example, a 5-pound chicken will bake for an hour at 450, then will bake for 15 minutes at 500. Perfectly brown and crispy chicken every time! No dry bird. No messing around with a meat thermometer. Best of all, no risk of people accidentally eating raw chicken.
Remove from the oven. After cooking, let the bird rest for at least 15 minutes. This works out well, as I can prepare most sides in that time frame. I have found that the Ove-Glove and similar products help a lot with this recipe, as cloth oven mitts don’t provide nearly enough protection.
A Soldier’s Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,Transforming the yard to a winter delight.The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,Secure and surrounded by love I would sleepin perfect contentment, or so it would seem.So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,and I crept to the door just to see who was near.Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years oldPerhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear”Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,to the window that danced with a warm fire’s lightthen he sighed and he said “Its really all right,I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”
“Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,that separates you from the darkest of times.No one had to ask or beg or implore me,I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘NamAnd now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,The red white and blue… an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home,I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,I can carry the weight of killing anotheror lay down my life with my sisters and brotherswho stand at the front against any and all,to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no frightYour family is waiting and I’ll be all right.””But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,”Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,”Just tell us you love us, and never forgetTo fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,to know you remember we fought and we bledis payment enough, and with that we will trust.That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
By Michael Marks, Christmas 2000
Thank the troops!
‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who in this little house lived.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No Stockings by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
The home of a soldier, I could now see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I picture a United States Soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wondering how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to one knee and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, for this life is my choice”.
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my corps.”
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still,
as we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave, on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa…., It’s Christmas Day…., All is secure.
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend…. and to all a Good Night.
— Corporal James M. Schmidt, USMC-Ret Scout-sniper, First published in LEATHERNECK MAGAZINE in December of 1991.