Friday, January 13, 2017

Healthy Chicken Fingers

We made this recently and all loved it!  I've tried to revisit the site several times since (called and have not been able to, otherwise I would have included a link.  To stay on my diet, I usually skip the honey mustard dip, but it complements the chicken REALLY well.  My boys LOVE it!  The only downside to this recipe is that the chicken isn't nearly as good the next day.  My boys will still eat it, but the dip really helps at that point.

To make a super easy meal, I served it with a frozen side from the oven: Amy's Broccoli and Pasta Cheese Casserole.  I also made some frozen corn in the micro.

Almond Chicken Fingers
4 med. chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 eggs
1 tsp. water

2 cups almond flour/meal
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Olive oil

Beat eggs with water in medium bowl.

In another bowl, mix almond flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat.  (The original recipe used enough oil to submerge the chicken.  We just used enough to cover the bottom of the pan.)

Once oil is hot, coat chicken in egg mixture, then dredge in almond flour mixture, and place in pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and keep in oven to keep warm while additional batches are cooking.  (We just piled them up on a plate lined with paper towels next to the stove.  We also had two large skillets going at the same time.)

Once all are cooked through, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper (optional) and serve with honey mustard sauce.

Honey Mustard Sauce
½ cup mayo
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients with a whisk until smooth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Favorite Smells

Totally random post, but I made a salad with fresh lime juice today, and it got me thinking about my favorite smells.  I decided to record some!

Vanilla extract
Freshly cut limes
Fresh ginger
Raw cacao butter

Homemade bread baking
Unrefined cacao butter

Bacon (who doesn't??)
Beef cooking in the crock pot or oven
Diced onions and peppers being sauteed
Minced garlic after about 30 seconds of cooking
Curry powder

Sunday, January 1, 2017

December 2016

December was BUSY!  I was behind the whole month, and I'm not sure why.  Normally, we would have had someone over at least once, but I never got caught up enough to make it happen!  I was running right up to Christmas Day, but I'm thankful there was lots of fun sprinkled in with the multitude of tasks.  :)

December started off festively with a Christmas party hosted by friends.  We arrived in time for a parade on their street, where they handed out fun glasses.  The glasses add a picture to the lights when you look through.  This one was Rudolf.

"Baby it's cold outside" was running through my mind a lot this month.  It was COLD!

Afterwards, we enjoyed food, games, and great company!

Next came our co-op's Christmas party.  They did a fabulous job!  There was a skit, potluck, games, drawings, and cookie decorating.

That night, we enjoyed watching a friend's basketball game!

Then, we had a wonderful Christmas outing I blogged about.

Something you may not know about me: I can't stand clutter.  I literally CANNOT stand it.  The longer my living area is a mess, the more mentally unstable I become.  And because we were so behind, I didn't finish ordering gifts until late in the month.  Because I started wrapping before I was done ordering, they arrived gradually over a couple weeks.  My living area was a mess that entire time, and it DROVE. ME. CRAZY.  Too much work to put away and get back out.  Every available surface was covered:

Cluttered dining table?  Check.

Desk?  Check.

Sofa?  Check.

Love seat?  Check.

Floor?  Check.  Not to mention chairs.  (I clearly need to downsize my supplies.)  Once I finished the last gift, my boys helped me put it all away just in time for Christmas.

Kylen went to a dance for young people.  They are held weekly at a church, and once a month there is a themed dance.  The themed dance for December was Masquerade Ball.  It included a competition for best mask.  I was surprised at the large turnout!

If you spotted Kylen, you have a good eye.  He's left of center at back in a white shirt.

A few days later, Greg and I needed to kill some time while Kylen saw Star Wars with friends.  We went on a lunch date!  I enjoy trying new places, so we checked out Cafe Carambola.  See reviews.

Greg said it was one of the best lunches he's ever had.  I liked it a lot, though not as much as he did.  I think it was a style that suits his taste extremely well.  I'd describe it as fresh, clean, colorful . . . He loved that the food wasn't greasy but still tasty.  There were unusual flavors, but they complimented each other.  The owners are a husband and wife team.  Greg found out the wife went to culinary school in California.  We were treated to some of the best customer service we've ever seen.  The husband came and sat next to us.  Then, he took us over to the case with salads and described each one in detail.  They seemed to know everyone who came through the door by name.  It's not a large place, but it is warm and friendly.

My corn soup was excellent, though a tad more spicy than I'm used to.  They like a little heat there!  The quesadillas were supposed to have minced jalapenos, but I asked they be omitted.

We'd like to return!  You can see the owner on the right though the window.  :)

That night, we had dessert at Freezia's.  They make rolled ice cream, a novelty that's been on my to-try list for awhile.

Cute wintry decor.

We all liked mine best, which was a vanilla base flavored with strawberries and oreos with caramel and chocolate.  The strawberries added a really nice fresh fruit taste.  I probably wouldn't go there again  in the winter.  There is something about the process that makes the ice cream stay cold longer.  Up to the last bite, there was no sign of melting.  Unbeknownst to me, my tongue got freeze burned!  I didn't realize until the next day when everything I ate felt like it was burning.

We like to devote one evening in December to lights, usually the 23rd.  We leave around 6, pick up coffee drinks, and drive around for a couple hours.  One of my favorite December outings.

On Christmas Eve, we joined Greg's parents for dessert and gifts.  :)  We contributed homemade orange rolls that turned out amazing.

I blogged about Christmas day here.  :)

We were invited to a day-after-Christmas party!  They had a "best sock" contest and white elephant gift exchange.  Some of us got creative with the socks!

Kylen decided to try the annual "Play in a Day" youth theater event.  They fully produce and perform a play in just over 24 hours.  Pretty neat concept!  Kylen had one line and sang in at least three songs.  We were fortunate to find two open seats in the second row.  At one point, he was sitting practically right in front of us!

Originally, we were planning to attend a New Year's Eve party, but it got cancelled, which was fine!  Gave us a chance to play our new games!  I made crock pot spaghetti and meatballs, and we enjoyed spirited competition right up until we heard people shouting and gunshots being fired.  We even contributed an air horn blast!  It was a great conclusion to a great year.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole

We enjoyed this casserole on Christmas morning.  Easy, delicious, and can be made the night before.

Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole
1 ½ lb. breakfast sausage
6 strips crumbled bacon (optional, can reserve some for top)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (can reserve half cup for top)

4-6 eggs, beaten (we did 6)
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1-2 cups milk (we did one)
2 lb. Tater Tots
Optional topping: half cup cheese, crumbled bacon
Optional garnish: 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Cook sausage on med.-high heat, breaking up and browning it.  Drain and layer on bottom of 9x13.  Sprinkle with bacon, if desired.  Evenly sprinkle cheese over sausage.

In large bowl, whisk together all other ingredients except tater tots.  Pour evenly over cheese.  Layer with frozen tater tots.  If not baking right away, cover and chill overnight in fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in middle position.  Heat uncovered 35 min. (45 if no toppings being added).  Add topping if desired and bake another 5-10 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Garnish with parsley, let rest 10 minutes, and serve.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

On my favorite day of the year, we stay home and relax while enjoying our favorite traditions.  The morning is a little hectic, because I like to start with a clean house and nice breakfast, but after that it's all fun.

One of our past neighbors who didn't move too far away still leaves homemade jam on our doorstep every 23rd or so.  There have been lots of yummy flavors, but peach is one of the best.  We had it on toast alongside the breakfast casserole prepared the night before. 

I forgot to get pics until we were almost done!

We read about Jesus' birth as always, but this time I looked up commentary for a couple of scriptures that spurred a great discussion!  Afterwards, we picked out gifts for the needy.

I read the latest installment in the "If You Give A Mouse" series, in memory of Kylen's childhood.  One year, our Christmas letter was a spin-off of one of those stories,  I think it started "If you give a Kylen a candy cane . . ." and included details and events from the year.

Next, the gifts . . .

The big one from Greg was Spyder Pong.  I've never heard of it, but I like it!  It's a slow version of ping pong.

This was a weird one!

Kylen fiddled with it quite a bit trying to ascertain it's purpose, much to Greg's delight.

Turns out, it was a huge net to hang in our basement to keep stray tennis balls inside the playing area.

We got lots of lovely things but just a few more highlights.  From Hubby, an item off my wishlist:

From an old friend, who was probably thinking of our Hawaii trip.  Despite the challenges we faced, we have so many wonderful and incredible memories, reminders are always welcome.

Continuing the tradition of new comment t-shirts.  I LOVE this one for Kylen, "God is greater than."

Ain't this the truth:

Although Greg took his new desk calendar to work, he's actually bringing the puzzles home and doing them with Kylen.  Even better, Kylen is enjoying them!

Friends served pepper jelly at a recent gathering.  I bought a jar for Christmas, and Greg has eaten most of it himself.  He has it directly on Ritz crackers, but I prefer mine with cheese or cream cheese.

It was a white Christmas!

Kylen FINALLY got his own phone, and let me tell ya, he was WAY overdue!  Driver's licenses should come with a cell phone.  It has been extremely annoying sharing mine, even though I rarely use it.  Here he is probably downloading his favorite apps and games.

Even though the phone knew Kylen's age, the parental controls had messages for a 5-year old.

We've now adjusted it, but seeing this pic still makes me laugh!  Lol!!!

The day wouldn't be complete without new games!  We played Dominion Empires first (from Kylen's and Greg's wishlists), which was a lot of fun.  7 Wonders was on my wishlist, and we've played it several times.  We love that it's relatively short and easy but still requires some strategy.  We've enjoyed the Terra Mystica expansion as well.  Hoping to try Pandemic Legacy soon!

Happy birthday, Jesus!  Thank you for your blessings!!!  It was a wonderful day!!!