Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Smoking A Chicken in a Watermelon - Gluten/Dairy Allergen Friendly

Life is always crazy around our house.  Even during the pandemic, life for me did not slow down.  I just became busy in other ways, new ways that others needed help so I changed my direction and went where I could help.  We are still a homeschooling family, but with a sophomore and an 8th grader...well they are not into the cutesy hands-on projects anymore.  It's sad...I am still grieving as I see all the pictures of projects we have done through the years.  So I have come to the mind set that we will embrace and head in a new direction.  

Cooking like for many others during this time, took a few different directions.  I have severe allergies/sensitivities.  So eating can be a challenge for me.  Lydia has opted to go gluten free because she was having some intestinal issues.  Joey got very sick in April, and it appears he developed a gluten/dairy allergy.  Just to add to the mix, Caty is following a gluten/dairy free diet due to her PCOS.  I am very used to making adjustments to recipes that I do not mind, but for the kids...a whole other story.  So my brain is in overdrive every time they want something, how can I make this differently.

So I'm going to be adding our adventures in re-creating the more typical recipes into allergen friendly for our house.  Today was an adventure in smoking.

I first hollowed out two watermelons.  We use seedless.  Obviously enjoying a few days worth of watermelon in the process.  

Then I rinsed two whole chickens.  I created my own rub for the chicken:

My Chicken Rub:

2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt (we always use pink salt)
2 tsp sage
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary

In the meantime, we started the smoker and set it for 250 degrees.  The recipes we found on the web poured beer inside the chicken.  But that brings up a gluten allergy.  So I chose Angry Orchard since it's considered gluten free.

So pour the alcohol of your choice into the watermelon shell.  Be careful.  You do not want it overflowing.

Then I covered the chicken and alcohol up with the other half of the watermelon.  Put on the smoker for 5 hours, or until it reaches the internal temp of 165 F.  In the last hour I pull the top half off of the watermelon.  This last hour will then allow the chicken skin to brown/crisp up.

This recipe is so moist. The chicken will literally fall off the bone.

Be very careful about rind.  Make sure that you use a spatula to remove the watermelon.  You will also need to pour out the alcohol.  I found that setting the watermelon on the counter inside of a casserole dish is helpful.  Lift the chicken out onto a separate large plate

Everyone loved the flavor!!

Another note.....using a metal pan to hold the watermelon does make it much easier to remove from the smoker when it is done.

Enjoy....happy smoking!  I'll be back next week with more cooking fun.


EdAlive - Words Rock Online Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We recently had the opportunity to review Words Rock Online from EdAlive.  Caty has found the game style approach to vocabulary a definite relief from book work.


EdAlive is an Australian based online learning company that has received many educational awards for their work in creating excellent teaching games for students of all grade levels and ages. 

Words Rock Online (Ages 5 – 15 and beyond) adapts to student’s skills as they really get to dig into vocabulary. As they play these vocabulary-based games, they can earn achievements. It allows students to improve on their vocabulary to express their thoughts with clear and meaningful texts. With Words Rock Online, students are awarded with Agent cards for their achievements. This reward system encourages students to keep playing as the game continues to adjust to each individual student’s learning levels.

Words Rock Online covers:

· Spelling

· Grammar

· Punctuation

· Vocabulary

· Pre-literacy

Words Rock Online also adapts to student’s abilities.  As they play this vocabulary bases game, they also earn achievements.  It allows students to improve on their vocabulary to express their thoughts with clear and meaningful texts.  

Students can play vs. the computer or other students.

With Words Rock Online, students are awarded Agent cards for their achievements.  This reward system encourages students to continue as it continues to adjust to each individual student’s learning levels.

The games were created to help the students to learn through repetition and just being cute with pictures and activities that will draw their attention.

I can see an achievement report for Caty to make sure she is playing and working.
Students can mark questions as being too difficult.  This will allow the game to adjust to their abilities, and as they improve the questions will become more difficult again.

Words Rock Online was not created to be a sole curriculum for students, but to provide them extra practice and allow them "game" time away from textbooks.  So it is definitely meant as supplemental material.

Caty has been using this a few weeks now, and she has made some improvements in her sentence creation.  I am going to keep her "playing" this summer as we continue to work on her language arts delays.


EdAlive has created all of these programs to work through several different web browsers and computer and mobile devices.   Caty is able to play on her tablet through her browser.  No need to worry about downloading separate apps for each system that your child may use.


Click below to read the reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew that had the opportunity to use Words Rock Online and other EdAlive programs in their homes over the past few weeks


Online Math, Reading, and Language Arts with EdAlive


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Winding Down the Year.....

Anyone else feel like this...