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Chicken Nuggets Barbecue Style

Chicken nuggets are delicious treat that kids drool over. They are easy to prepare and work with a wide variety of sauces. For many families, they are perfect snack or a wonderful main dish for a quick dinner. Unfortunately, chicken nuggets as we traditionally know them are not famous for being healthy. And if you take a closer look at their ingredients, it’s debatable whether you’re eating chicken at all. So while picking up a bag of frozen chicken nuggets at your grocery store might be more convenient, it might not be the best choice when you’re looking for something healthy or wholesome.

With a bit of creativity and an eye for fresh ingredients, you can use your outdoor grill to prepare a wonderful alternative. It won’t be as fast or easy to prepare these BBQ chicken nuggets, but the overall taste will more than make up for it. Please enjoy this recipe for chicken nuggets done barbecue style!

The Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp powdered onion

2 tsp chili powder (leave out if you don’t want spicy)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

The Nuggets

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Chicken Breasts (or thighs if you prefer a more tender nugget)

1/4 cup olive oil

1. The first step is to prepare the barbecue glaze or sauce. Of course you can use a standard bottled product if you’re short on time. But if you’ve never made a real sauce before, this is the perfect place to start. The great thing about making your own sauce is being able to control each and every ingredient and adjusting to your personal taste.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together your Apple cider vinegar and then pour in your dried powders all at the same time. Bring to a boil and continue to whisk in the rest of your wet ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, Maple syrup, and ketchup) instead of Maple syrup, you can also use something else sweet like honey, or even molasses. Lower the overall heat to medium allowing to bubble and thicken.

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first barbecue sauce. Remember, this is more of a glaze so be careful not to have your food coated in it in the beginning of the cooking process. Otherwise you might experience a bit of burning.

3. Preheat your barbecue grill to 400-425 degrees F.

4. While your barbecue is reaching optimal oven temperatures, you’re going to shake and bake your chicken together with the flour and spices. You can play around with other dried herbs and seasonings as well, but simple salt-and-pepper works just fine. Remember, you’ll be getting plenty of flavor from the sauce as well.

5. Place your chicken nuggets on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Leave them in your barbecue for about 15 minutes, then coat each piece with your sauce. Continue baking for another 7 minutes.

6. Let your nuggets it for about 3 minutes. You can add another coat of sauce or simply leave it on the side as a dipping sauce.

And there you have it, a much healthier all-natural chicken nugget that isn’t made of mystery parts. Serve alongside a simple garden salad for a great low cholesterol meal the whole family will enjoy.

This recipe comes from Gas Grills and BBQ, a site for barbecue lovers worldwide. You can find more BBQ ideas or reviews on the best products by visiting http://gasgrillsandbbq.com/

 

Pest Control – Are You Having a Problem with Furry Critters and Don’t Want to See Them Killed?

There are times when you won’t want to call in a pest management company because you are dealing with furry critters around the home and don’t want to see them killed. If you are an animal lover yet burdened with mouse droppings or have another type of animal dwelling in your home, being responsible for its death may not be an option for you. The good news is that many pest control companies have a way to deal with small animals without hurting them.

In order to find out what methods are going to be used on these tiny animals you simply need to call up a pest control company and ask. Tell them your concerns and find out if they have a way of trapping the animals and then setting them free. In most cases the answer will be yes and you’ll be able to get rid of your problem without having to feel like a murderer.

While many people feel that mice should be trapped and killed, you may not be of the same mindset. It is important, however, to get these mice out of your home since they can easily bring in diseases that you do not want to expose yourself or your family to.

Mice droppings are actually considered to be dangerous because they can carry the Hantavirus, which can be a serious health threat. It can even be deadly if it’s not attended to properly by a physician. Other small rodents can also be carrying this virus so it is important to deal with them as quickly as possible.

The most common carrier of Hantavirus is the deer mouse. Although not every mouse will be carrying this virus, you cannot tell by the droppings whether they are infected or not. When handling the droppings you should wear rubber gloves and disinfect the area thoroughly afterwards.

Other animals like skunks, raccoons, groundhogs etc. can decide to make a home inside your home or along the outside edges to get warmth. These animals can also be harboring diseases that you’ll want to avoid. That is why it is so important to get these animals away from your home.

When you need to get rid of these furry animals but don’t want to see them killed, look for the best of both worlds. Call up a pest management company and see if they have a more humane way of dealing with these critters. In many cases the company will have something put in place that keeps both you and these animals happy.

Keep Your Bulb Garden from Becoming a Buffet for Wildlife

Sometimes it’s good to provide a wildlife buffet in your yard. I’ve left all my coneflowers in despite the fact that they’ve gone to seed because the birds enjoy the seed heads. Ditto for sunflowers – it is entertaining to watch the goldfinches hanging from them trying to get lunch.

Squirrels and chipmunks are entertaining, too – which is why we have a corn cob feeder and bowls of cracked corn scattered around the garden for them. It’s just one of several strategies we’ve employed in hopes of distracting them from the more delectable fare below the ground.

Squirrels and chipmunks both seem to fancy themselves as garden designers. Plant a carefully designed area with crocuses and come spring you’ll notice that several have been rearranged so that blocks of separate color now mingle, and odd bloom pop up where none were planted. Granted, sometimes the little critters display marvelous taste in their rearrangings – but it’s my garden and I like to make my own mistakes and have my own triumphs. And I truly abhor their other habit – either eating or running off with a good portion of my plantings. That’s why I keep hoping that providing more easily accessible food will keep them away from my bulb buffet.

Wildlife aren’t called wild for nothing, though – they simply refuse to cooperate with your best-laid plans. So we’ve had to develop other strategies to keep our bulbs in place.

The first and ideal way to keep the critters away, (along with their cohorts, the moles, voles, groundhogs and rabbits) is to plant in secret. This is tough, since they seem to have sentinels posted to send out the call as soon as your tasty tidbits go into the ground. But it helps if you don’t help with the advertising campaign. Make sure when you plant to remove any debris from the ground – the packing material, little bags, bits of bulb skin or anything else that might clue the critters in.

And while you’re planting, you may want to incorporate a barrier to prevent them from reaching your bulbs if they do notice you furtively planting. Hardware cloth is a great barrier. Get the one with 3/4″ holes and your bulbs will have no problem sprouting right through it – but the creatures will find that their anticipated treat is out of reach. You can make little cages for each bulb, but a much easier method is to dig out a large area, lay hardware cloth to deter anything tunneling up from below, place your bulbs and lay another layer of hardware cloth on top before replacing the dirt.

Image by mamamusings

If you can’t do that, then try the really simple (although somewhat unsightly) method of putting an old window screen over the planted area. This will allow rain and air and light to get to the ground and to your bulbs, but will make it tough for little critters to burrow into the midst of them.

You can also try some “sensory” deterrents.

I routinely add a tiny scoop of moth flakes with my tulip bulbs, because the aroma appears to be as repellent to small burrowing creatures as it is to me. Another thing that repels burrowers are daffodils – apparently they taste truly dreadful. So I have been known to wind a planting of the tastier bulbs (and tulip bulbs are said to be delicious) with daffs as a sort of natural barrier.

I used to use cayenne pepper, but two things have stopped me. One is my too-soft heart – I saw a little chipmunk get the pepper in its eyes and it was almost as painful to watch the poor thing as I’m sure the whole episode was to him. But worse, it didn’t seem to stop his buddies at all – and the pepper blew around at each gust of wind. When I got it in my own eyes while working in that bed I gave up.

Once the ground is frozen, I mulch. It’s tempting to mulch earlier, when the weather is more pleasant, but early mulching is like sending out formal invitations for critters to burrow. It’s getting cool out, and mulch is fluffy and warm – and deeper is warmer still – and look! Lunch! So I wait.

Planting deep also discourages burrowing – apparently most of the little creatures who threaten your bulbs don’t really tunnel much deeper than 6″ – so bulbs planted at 8″ or more are safer than their shallower-planted counterparts. Don’t worry about this being too deep for the bulb – they’ll come up! In fact, if you live in the south, you’ll get better results with tulips perennializing if you plant them extra deep.

Some people swear that scattering human hair around the area works to scare away small creatures and even deer. But deer, I think, have Ph.D.s – at least it doesn’t take them long to figure out that there is no body attached to the hair. And squirrels and chipmunks that are fed by people may not mind the human scent at all.

Image by shisuka25

Many are scent-sensitive, though

There are many commercial mixtures with which you can spray surrounding foliage to repel deer and rabbits. Or you can use a homemade concoction. Some people beat an egg into water and let it sit until the smell develops, then spray it on plants. Others make teas of crushed garlic and red pepper, strain the tea and spray it. Add a drop of dishwashing liquid to help it stick, or use dormant oil and the evil-smelling brews will have more staying power.

None of these remedies can absolutely guarantee that your bulb planting won’t be at least a minor stop in the wildlife progressive dinner, but they can at least keep the damage to the minimum. And if the squirrels and chipmunks do rearrange a bulb or too, take a good look before you get upset. Sometimes they have excellent taste in bulbs.

Samet Bilir writes about technology trends, digital camera reviews, and photography, such as joby gp3 and SMDV RFN-4. To read more articles from him visit his website at www.chi-photography.com.

Natural Methods to Eradicate Spiders

Like many kinds of arachnids, spiders are found almost everywhere. They can live in places with tough climates, except in sea habitats or in snow-covered Antarctica. There are over 40,000 species today and because spiders ensnare and eat many varieties of more devastating pests, several kinds of arachnids are beneficial to farmers and gardeners. However, these animals are considered by homeowners as pests. As summer approaches and days get warmer, spiders are forced to find shaded areas. This is why people often perceive an increase in spider population during hot months as more of these animals attempt to gain entry into the cooler interior of homes. They usually like kitchens and restrooms or any sheltered area near water sources. Although there are individuals who don’t mind that they are coexisting with arachnids, some do not like these animals outside and most especially inside their homes as spider webs can be a chore to clean up. More importantly, many species are venomous, which make them potentially dangerous. Though spiders rarely attack or bite people, it is still more prudent to get rid of spiders, particularly if these are black widows or other poisonous types, like the brown recluse.

A number of things can deter spiders from entering homes. Here are some easy-to-do ways to discourage spider populations from invading properties.

Cleaning Tips to Prevent Spider Invasions

Spiders like wood and items made from wood. So, they can typically be found in or near cardboard boxes, piles of paper or inside cabinets. Opting for plastic containers is one way of eliminating areas that are attractive to these animals.

Screens and tiny door or window holes should be patched up since these can be used by spiders as entry points. Another way to keep spiders away is by cleaning doors and windows with a blend of ammonia and water. You can also use kerosene. Wipe on the substance and let dry. This leaves minute deposits that spiders don’t like.

Proper garden or landscape maintenance is also a must. Don’t allow plants to grow uncontrollably. Dense vegetations are wonderful hiding places for these animals. A lot of pests that spiders prey upon also live in thick foliage. By trimming vegetation and keeping areas clean, there will be fewer bugs. When only a small number of insects are available, web spinners will also leave and find other areas where they’ll have plenty of food items.

Plants that Keep Away Spiders

A variety of plants can repel bugs. As for spiders, they usually avoid eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and citrus scents. If plants are not available, purchase essential oils. Because these kinds of oils have very strong aroma, only a few drops are often required. Then, mixtures should be sprayed in areas where spiders will most likely enter a home, as well as on corners and other nooks and crannies. Vinegar can also help in stopping spiders. This can be mixed with vanilla to reduce its acidic smell.

Nature-friendly Pesticides

Most bug sprays that work on other insects also destroy spiders. But with increasing concerns regarding the detrimental effects of pesticide use on the environment, people are now turning to natural earth-friendly ways for spider removal. An example of a safe pesticide is diatomaceous earth or DE. Sprinkle this substance on or near areas where spiders are most likely to pass through. DE is quite sticky so spiders, and many other insects like ants, will get attached onto it. When animals can no longer move, they cannot forage for food as well. A reminder – though DE is not a poisonous substance, it readily clings to mucosal membranes, like the covering of the respiratory tract. Hence, users must wear masks for protection.

The author, Claire Wallace, is an expert in pest control in Houston and surrounding areas. Her specialty is in spider control and eradication.

How to Choose and Care for Indoor Plants

Adding indoor plants to your home makes it feel more welcoming and inviting, in addition to improving indoor air quality. Plants with lush foliage bring a feeling of life to your home, and flowering ones add color and a delicate edge. However, for people who are not experienced with growing indoor plants, choosing the right ones and keeping them alive can be a challenge. Follow these tips to select the right plants for your home and give them the care they need to look great.

Indoor plants bring a fresh look to any room in the house, but must be properly cared for.

1. Consider lighting before anything else. Plants need sunlight to thrive, and they are generally categorized as low light, medium light, and high light. If you can place them near a south-facing window, you should be able to get away with growing high-light plants, which often have gorgeous flowers. However, if you will be growing in a dark corner, you need plants that can thrive in low-light conditions. Identify where you will place your plants before you buy them so you can select each plant for the location.


2. Determine how much effort you want to put into caring for your plants and home.
For example, although having an indoor potted tree makes your home look beautiful, it will drop a lot of leaves, which can force you to vacuum your carpet or sweep your hardwood flooring on a regular basis to clean up. Consider how much of a mess each type of plant makes, how regularly it needs to be watered, and how resilient it is if you mess up on its regular care. Waterproof flooring may be a strong option to prevent water damage from any leaky plants or pots.


3. Water your plants as they need it, but be careful to avoid over watering,
which is the main cause of unhealthy indoor plants. When you buy a plant, look up its specific water needs and whether it grows best in moist, average, or dry soil. For example, many types of cactus prefer dry soil that gets a good soak on a periodic basis. For most plants, poking your finger into the first inch of soil to check for moisture is a good method. If it is dry at that depth, you can water the  plant. However, you should water less frequently during the plant’s dormant season, which is usually the fall and winter.


4. Fertilize your plants once each year,
right before the main growing season, which is usually in the spring and summer, to ensure that they have the nutrients they need in the soil. You can use any type of commercial fertilizer advertised as being appropriate for potted plants, and you should follow the directions on the packaging to learn how much to use and how to apply it. Because plants can’t get everything they need from water and air, you need to use fertilizer to provide the nutrients they can use as building blocks to keep growing and looking healthy.


5. Re-pot your plant in a larger pot
if you notice that the roots have grown out to the edge of the pot and are starting to grow along the sides of the pot. This will stunt the overall growth of the plant and cause it to not look its best. To re-pot a plant, choose a pot with a volume that’s about 30 percent larger, fill it with soil on the bottom so the plant will sit at the same level as before, and gently transfer the whole root ball to the new pot. Fill in with soil around the edges and water it thoroughly to complete the process.


6. Prune your plants to remove dead areas and encourage healthy growth.
If you have a flowering plant, cut off dead flowers so the plant focuses its energy on the budding ones or back on the foliage after the flowering season is over. If the tips of leaves have browned, trim them off to keep your plant looking healthy. Leaves that have yellowed will also die, so prune them off as well.


7. If you know that you won’t be able to care for your plants well,
you have a bad history with keeping plants alive, or you want plants in a room that gets absolutely no natural sunlight, artificial plants can be the best way to go. One of the major benefits is that you can choose whatever type of plant you want, and you will be sure that it will always look great, won’t make a mess, and won’t be any bother for you.


Don’t let your lack of experience stop you from getting indoor plants. They really brighten up your home, and you will soon learn how to recognize what they need so you can care for them effectively. Try starting with several plants so even if one doesn’t do well, you still have the others.