Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homemade Chicken Fingers

This is one of my new favorite ways to have chicken.  We very rarely eat meat as a main dish, anymore, so when I have a chunk of meat, I like to make it special.

This is more of a method than a recipe.  We recently got about six pounds of all natural chicken breast tenders on a great clearance deal.  It was such a luxury not to have to cut and trim the chicken breasts myself, I made them all into chicken fingers.

Start with a set up like this (disregard the messes in the background, I'm trying to reorganize the kitchen).  From left to right: flour seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, etc, beaten eggs, crumbs (I made my crumbs with whole wheat ritz crackers and parmasean cheese.  You can use any bread, cracker, cereal crumb you'd like to try.  I absolutely endorse adding the cheese.), and a sheet pan lined with non-stick foil brush with a little oil.  The non-stick foil is essential in my experience to keep the breading from sticking and coming off the chicken.  The oil will promote crunchy browning.

After you set up, you just rinse the chicken, dredge it in the flour, coat it in the egg, and cover it in the crumbs.  Lay it on the foil, and bake for about twenty minutes, flip, and bake for twenty minutes more, or until the centers measure 160 degrees.

 Yummy, crunchy, homemade, realtively healthy chicken fingers!

I bagged these up to store in the freezer for quick meals when I don't feel like cooking or want a treat.  I'm not really sure how they'll thaw or reheat, so I don't have any recommendations about how to do that.  I'll let you know how they turn out when we have the frozen ones later.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finished Socks

I started knitting these oh so long ago.  Here's the proof.

I sort of shuffled them aside and neglected them after I finished turning the heel because I ended up making them about a half an inch too short for my foot.  They fit my mom perfectly though.

I tried to get her to finish knitting them at the point that we discovered they'd fit her so well, but she refused.  Then I debated taking them right off the needle and giving them away to Goodwill.  I also entertained the idea that I might foist them off on some unsuspecting blog reader to finish and keep.

In the end, I girded my knitting loins and finished what I'd started.  I'll send them off to my mom soon, with the bits leftover for darning, if the need arises.  I refuse to do the darning though!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quite Contrary

My garden has been growing, though slowly.  I think the heat has slowed down even the heat-loving plants, like the peppers and tomatoes.

Baby gourds. 
It may be way too late for them, but they're so cute and fuzzy I didn't want to pull up the vines yet.

The pepper patch.
We've gotten a couple of peppers so far, but there are many more in the production phase.
The one in the corner is an eggplant that hasn't done anything yet.

My chickies are starting to look kind of ragged and worn down.  It's molting season, and they're all sort of sad and molty right now.  But they're not as hot as they were, and this earlier molt should be good so they can all re-grow before the cold weather comes.

(We got a new camera, btw.  Could you tell?)

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Monday, August 22, 2011

It turns out.

Even though I was having cramping all across my chest, and up my neck, I was not having a heart attack as the deep parts of my anxious mind feared.  The doctor has assured me that this is a musclular problem.

I never knew it, but cramping, muscle aches, and joint pain and stiffness are some common side effects of my thyroid problem.  I thought I was just getting old.

She's having the bloodwork done, expecting that she'll probably have to adjust my synthroid prescription, especially bearing in mind that I've been super tired and crazy hungry lately.

For now, I'm supposed to be resting and taking a muscle relaxer that makes me into a zombie to keep the cramping from knotting up my neck too badly.  I am allowed to work out gently, like walking, so I'm sure to be doing that.

The new trainer gave me working out assignments for every day this week!  So far, I've kept up, and I definately planning on starting out in the way I intend to go and making sure this first week is completed fully.

So far, just one session in, we're both enjoying the training a lot.  Ben and I both work better with deadlines and assignments, so this is a good motivator for us both.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not a lot to report...

I haven't done anything interesting all week.

Okay, that's not precisely true.  I've been putting together some fliers and booklets for the county extension club, which has kept me busy, but I did get to go to the printer and order them today, and have a nice lunch with a friend from the board.

I also have such a terrible stiff neck again!  I made an appointment to see my doctor about this tomorrow, because it's gotten to be a much more frequent occurance, and seems to last longer as well.  It's such a terribly painful thing, hurting with each breath and step.  I'm not whining, that's just why I'm really starting to feel like it's not just a regular "slept wrong, kink in the neck" kind of pain.

Today's dinner:
Pinto Beans and Brown Rice
served with sour cream, chopped onion, cheddar cheese, green pepper, guacamole, and Rotel tomatoes on the side.

I was going to put the Rotel right in the rice and make Spanish style brown rice, but then I tasted them.  I am a spice wimp, and there's no way I could handle the whole can in there!  I might put a teaspoon or so in my own dish, if I'm feeling very reckless and adventurous.  Ben will certainly enjoy the rest, spice lover that he is.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Tip

I've been frustrated in the past with the fact that garden produce seems to bring so much dirt into the house, not to mention all the leaves and trimmings that belong in the compost and have to be brought back outside.

To help combat that, I picked up a weatherproof cell phone box in the camping section, and hung it from my trellis in the garden beds.  This holds a simple folding knife, making it really easy to clean and trim veggies whenever I'm out there, leaving all the extra organic material in the beds to compost, where it belongs.

You can see my little knife holder on the left side of the picture from a couple weeks ago of the watermelon.  I half expected someone to ask what it was when I posted the pic, but I guess it blended right in to all those watermelon vines!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

On the Health Front

Well, we've signed up with a personal trainer, but have not yet had our first session with her.  I'm really looking forward to being under some guidance and encouragement when it comes to working out.  I've lost a lot of ground, fitness-wise, in the last couple years, and I'm very enthused about gaining some back!

I got three workouts of about twenty minutes each in this past week.  Not ideal, but I'm working my way back up there.  We also walked around for about three hours Saturday morning, shopping in historic St. Charles.  Not precisely a workout, but definately activity, and much more activity than watching movies is!

I've been thinking quite a lot lately about emergency preparedness and how much that ties in with health and wellness.  Its so important to be prepared for big disasters and small emergencies.  But I've been dwelling on the fact that no matter how organized my emergency supplies and plans are, they don't mean much if I can't manage to hike, or haul, or lift, or run.  So, on my list of small motivations for weight loss and health gain, I'm definately adding the fact that it will help become fit enough to be ready for emergencies.  And healthy enough to practice and learn new skills, like hiking and camping.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

School Supplies!

I just could not resist a $.40 pack of crayons the other day. I have a terrible weakness for all school and office supplies.

Am I the only one who absolutely loves the way crayons smell?  Having so many piled in one place in the Back to School displays is like heaven.  Lately, the scent of crayons has been my drug of choice.

I had to bring them home so I could stop embarassing myself by sniffing them in the seasonal aisles.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Don't do like me

Remember the watermelon picture I posted last week?  With the pretty watermelons growing on the trellis?  Well, I'd been meaning for the last month to get some stockings to tie them up to the trellis, or make the little hammocks to rest in.

I shouldn't have procrastinated.

This morning, I found my two biggest melons broken off and cracked on the ground.  They were far from ripe, so the chickens got quite the special treat.

Don't worry, there are plenty more on the vines, and now I know not to put off supporting the growing melons any more!

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I mentioned to Ben yesterday evening that I was planning to make some more power bars and snacks today, and he got very excited with the possibility of my reinstating Baking Day Thursday.

Very long time readers will remember that years ago, when we lived in AZ every Thurday was Baking Day.  I got out of the habit when we moved here.

Ben was so excited by the thought, I officially reinstated Baking Day. So it is written, so it will be done.

Today, I was going to make date larabars, but I broke the food processor grinding dates.  Ben had also requested something pumpkin, so I made these pumpkin whoopie pies. They're way too rich for us to have the whole batch in one weekend, so I'm going to experiment with how well they freeze.

I haven't had one yet, but the crumbs are pretty yummy!

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ashford Knitters Loom

Some dish towels I wove for my grandma's birthday present.

I'll have to post more about the loom next week. It's been a long day. And I almost forgot to do today's post at all!

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Trellised Watermelons

Growing them vertically on the trellis has given me the most success I've had with watermelons up till now.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Getting Serious

Ben and I are looking into personal trainers.  We've talked it over and decided that, if we find one we can afford and we like, working with a trainer for some sort of boot camp/jump start program for a few months (at least) will be a real advantage for us both.

I'm voting for joining the health club with the pool and classes and attached spa, but I think he wants to work with the woman that has her own studio space and gives private training.  I'll admit, that's appealing to me as well, so I'm hoping maybe we could do both.  As in, first a start up program with the private trainer, then maybe get a gym membership later.  The private trainer is also a nutritionist, so I think she might offer a lot of services we can use.

We're going to be meeting with some of our options in the coming week, and hopefully make a decision soon.

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