DIY Christmas Decor

As far as Christmas decorating goes, that pretty much falls on the man of the house. At least, the outside of the house. He’s very into the lights being just so and all that. Tight and straight, no sagging lights. For a couple years, he even decorated the street light in front of our house. The whole entire thing! Yes, the enormous concrete pole. It took a huge ladder propped against the pole and laying halfway into the street, with our neighbor watching and making sure a car wouldn’t run right into it. Last year I insisted he NOT do that again, since I’m pretty sure I lost a few years of my life watching him do that.

This year, I decided to change things up a little bit from the standard indoor decorations we usually have. But decorations are expensive (unless you get them AFTER Christmas) so I went the semi-homemade route. And I’m very simple about holiday decorating. Kudos to you people out there that switch out everything! The bathroom, the kitchen, EVERY ENTIRE THING IN YOUR HOUSE! I’m not up for that kind of work, nor do I have room to store everything. So simple it is! Here’s some mason jars that I filled with sand (from my very own backyard) and holly that I got on sale at Michaels. The ribbon was leftover from Christmas last year.

decor 3I also saw this Christmas card holder on a boutique website that they were originally selling for $12.99 but was marked down to $5.99, not including shipping. And all you got was twine and clothespins. Well, that stuff was sitting in my garage for $0.00, so it got strung up across the mantle. Now I need some more Christmas cards to hang up there!

decorI got these pinecones at the park on my street a few years ago. I brought them home and Adam spray painted them for me.

decor 2So there you go! Simple, rustic, inexpensive Christmas décor made mostly out of things laying around my house. And I love it all!! But if you don’t happen to have this type of stuff laying around, any kind of dollar store will most likely have some things to get you started. P.S. Dollar Tree is my favorite!

And this Christmas tree is planted in my front yard. We bought it three years ago because we wanted a live, uncut tree that we could plant and watch grow over the years. When we got it, it was only about a foot and a half tall. Now, it stands about 7 feet tall!!! If I had a bigger yard, I’d buy a live tree and plant it every year.

tree

Spice Rubbed Roasted Chicken Legs

spice rubbedSo here’s a new recipe I tried out on my guinea pigs family the other day. I had picked up some chicken quarters at the grocery store for $.99 a pound. What a steal! When I saw that price, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. I mean, that is really freakin cheap inexpensive. And considering that my oldest daughter now eats like a full grown woman, a big chicken leg sounded like a good plan.

In case you’re not familiar with chicken quarters (also known as a whole chicken leg) it’s the thigh and the leg/drumstick together, bone in, still attached, connected, as one….You get it. And it’s dark meat. In case you’re a white meat, chicken breast lover, please don’t automatically dismiss this recipe. The thigh meat (in my opinion) is the best meat on the chicken. Tender, juicy and full of flavor. Also, with this recipe, we’re leaving the skin on. And that skin is going to be crispy! Let the drool commence NOW!

FYI, since the skin does get seared, be prepared for a smoky house. My husband walked in and wanted to know what the hell was going on. But luckily, I didn’t set off any smoke alarms.

Spice Rubbed Roasted Chicken Legs (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 4-6 chicken quarters (also known as whole chicken legs)
  • 4-6 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. each cumin and chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each of paprika, onion powder & garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil

Mix together all of the dried spices in a small bowl. Place 1 tbsp. of butter underneath the skin of each chicken leg (on top of the thigh). Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of the chicken. Then sprinkle the spice rub all over the skin as well as lifting the skin on the thigh up and rubbing the spice mix under the skin too. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for 6 hours (or more).

Take chicken out of the fridge and let come to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Then heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. When nice and hot, add in 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and place chicken skin side down in the skillet. Do not move it, and let it sear for 3-4 minutes. This is when it’s going to get all smoky! With the butter melting under the skin and the hot oil, it’s going to get hot up in your house. So make sure to turn that fan on! Turn over, and let sear for about 2 minutes on the other side. Then place on a foil lined tray (or a dish big enough to hold all these legs). I was able to do 2 chicken legs at a time. So you most likely will have to work in batches too. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan as you want the skin to sear and crisp up, not steam and get rubbery.

When all chicken legs have been seared, place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. When the legs are all done, let rest about 10 minutes and then drizzle with your favorite barbeque sauce.

spice rubbed 7spice rubbed 6spice rubbed 5spice rubbed 4spice rubbed 3spice rubbed 2So I did 6 chicken legs for my family and we had leftovers. And since I’m all about leftovers and re-purposing, I suggest removing the skin and pulling that chicken off to make some chicken salad. Might I suggest my recipe for Almond Chicken Salad? 🙂