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Buttermilk oven “fried” chicken

February 3, 2011

Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken Wings

My boy is a carnivore.  A major meat-eater.  For his birthday last year, he wanted to celebrate at a restaurant that had “a lot of meat.”  Really.  And since I love him, it’s hard to ignore the constant nagging… I mean requesting… for me to make him fried chicken.  Fried chicken has just never been on my radar.  Growing up, the good Colonel supplied our fried chicken occasionally, but I don’t ever remember eating homemade fried chicken.

All that being said, and even though I totally love the boy, I didn’t want to make actual fried chicken cause it would really mess up the top of my stove.  I know, I’m a great mom, right?  hehe  Instead, I did the next best thing.  I made him a bunch of oven “fried” chicken wings instead.  And guess what?  He didn’t like them!  Ha!  Luckily, Jim and Sam’s best friend did, and they ended up eating all of them.  My kids are so weird.

Recipe:  Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken

(slightly adapted from Dinner: A Love Story)

4-6 drumsticks  (I had wings and used them instead, though I probably wouldn’t choose those again.  It’s a lot of breading for such a small bit of meat, and something more substantial would be better.)

4 garlic cloves, halved

buttermilk to cover chicken (one carton is more than enough)

1 1/2 c. corn flake crumbs  (I used panko bread crumbs.)

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken pieces in a large ziploc bag, add buttermilk to cover, and garlic.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 400°F.  Line large shallow baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil.  In large bowl, combine corn flake crumbs, herbs, salt, and pepper.

Drain chicken and discard buttermilk.  Dredge chicken in bread crumbs until well coated, then place, skin side up, on baking sheet.  Spray pieces lightly with cooking oil.  Bake until golden and cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.

My shopping bags

February 2, 2011

I haven’t done a whole lot around here lately to share any of my “going green” efforts, but one of the things I’m adamant about is using reusable shopping bags.  I have a bunch and I love them.  They’re good for so much more than grocery shopping.  They lug my books to the library, my projects to school, and are handy for a lot of tasks.

Imagine my dismay when I read an article today saying that many reusable shopping bags contain high levels of lead!  Grrr.  Seriously, we’re trying to do the right thing by buying these bags, so couldn’t the manufacturer put a little effort into making sure they’re safe??

This is definitely a setback in the strides we’ve made to be more environmentally responsible, but it’s not going to change my mind.  I still insist that reusable is far superior to the numbers of plastic bags that are sent home with shoppers every day.  If you have reusable shopping bags, please click here to see if yours is on the list for containing high levels of lead.  And if your bags have those sturdy removable bottoms in them, take them out and get rid of them.  Be green and safe.

Peanut butter blondies

January 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Blondies

{Again, I want to say thank you to all of you who expressed concern and sent out good thoughts and prayers to Bea and her family.  They are taking things one step at a time and are moving forward.  I’m going to do the same and start posting some good eats again.  I’ll update you about the family from time to time, and please continue to keep them in prayer.  The blessings showering down on them has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.  Thank you.}

I have a story.  Picture this:  Claudia and I are curled up in the corner of the couch and she’s reading to me for her homework.  Sam’s in the middle of the living room playing with his yo-yo, which, by the way, he is awesome at.  The scene is so tranquil, it could be a Norman Rockwell painting.

Claudia looks up at me with her big brown eyes and says, “Mama, you know if I cover these two letters, it spells ‘butt’?”  Sam just busts out laughing… Claudia is in a fit of giggles… and there goes the Rockwell moment.  I’m confused.  Should I be proud that my sweet babe has figured that out all by herself?

I thought I responded pretty well.  I didn’t even crack a smile, but said in my best mom voice, “Gee, Claude, did you share that with Mrs. E. during reading group?”  (See, we’re what one might call a little sarcastic.)  All the while, Sam is still hooting with laughter and repeating what Claudia said, which is starting to grate on my nerves, so I kindly said, “Sam, we’ve got to finish this homework.  Would you please butt out?”  OH BROTHER!  Well, they lost it.  Both kids were practically rolling on the floor with laughter.  It was ridiculous.

And if you’re curious, they did get me laughing, because how can you not when you’re up against that?  So let me share a really delicious recipe with you in honor of my wonderful little dears… peanut butt-er blondies.

Recipe:  Peanut Butter Blondies

(adapted slightly from Redbook)

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. peanut butter, smooth or crunchy

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. light brown sugar

1/3 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 c. mini peanut butter chips

1/2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 9″ square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth.  Add sugars and beat until well blended.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix.  Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just blended.  Stir in chips.  Spread dough evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Wish I’d thought of that…

January 28, 2011

Another great idea!  How much fun would a kid have leaving dinosaur or monster footprints in the snow?  Check out Slow Mo Mama to see her directions.  Not only is this a cute and crafty activity, but it’s “green” too!

And because snowy days and hot chocolate go together, here are some favorites to warm you up:
salted peanut butter hot chocolate
nutella mocha hot chocolate
peppermint white chocolate mocha



Thank you

January 27, 2011

I want to thank you for all the kindness and support and prayers you’ve been sending Bea and Jim’s way.  This blogging community is so full of heart.  It makes me proud to be part of it.

The paypal donation site is up and running, but its taking a couple days for their bank to confirm the account.  I know some folks have gotten emails from paypal that the donation hasn’t been accepted yet.  Trust me, it has.  Bea is in awe of the response from people she’s never even met.  The donations are sitting safely in a paypal account, and will be confirmed within 2 or 3 days.

Everyone is doing pretty well, and getting better every day.  Thank you again, for all the love and prayers.  It means more than you can possibly know.

An update

January 25, 2011

A few days have passed since my sister and her family lost their house, and your kind words and donations have been so sweet and comforting to them.  They are staying with our youngest sister for right now, just a few miles away from their place.  She and her family welcomed them and their pets, plus all the rest of us and all the friends and neighbors who bombarded their home over the weekend.  The outpouring of love for them is staggering.

My brother-in-law suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns that are being treated at a burn center in Pittsburgh, but he is recovering; Evie, Owen, and Ayden started back to school today; and Bea is taking everything one day at a time.  The enormity of their loss hits them in different ways at different times, but they are healing.

The overwhelming response from their community and from people who don’t even know them is astounding.  I can’t say enough about the help they received immediately from the American Red Cross.  You always hear that they are the first to come forward, but until you see it, you just can’t fully appreciate what they do to help.  The family’s pharmacy immediately filled their medical prescriptions at no cost, Walmart’s eye care center got them replacement glasses at no charge, local restaurants sent food or gift cards for meals within hours.  I am just in awe of the generosity and kindness that I saw.

In spite of all they’ve lost, I keep thinking of the lyrics to one of the songs we sing at church.

“God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good
All the time”

So thankful

January 22, 2011

Hey there.  If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I share bits about my life, but I keep it pretty light.  You also must know that no one’s life is carefree all the time.

At 2:10 this morning, my sister’s house burned to the ground.  I’ve talked about Bea on the blog; in fact, she’s the one who originally started this blog with me.  She and her family are all safe, but they’ve lost everything.  Saying that sounds wrong, because they’re here and they’re all safe, thank God.  They haven’t lost everything, and they will be okay.

My brother-in-law was burned, but because my sister thought so quickly and covered his back with snow, his skin will heal very quickly.  Bea is amazing.  She woke up everyone and got all of them out of the house minutes before it was engulfed.  I’ve always said she is the bravest person I know.  I’m in awe of her.  I am looking at the faces of her three sweet kids, and I am just so grateful.

We’ve created a donation badge for her family.  I’m adding it to the sidebar of the blog.  I know you don’t know my sister, and you may never, ever meet me.  But I also know this blogging community is remarkably caring.   More than anything, I’m asking for your prayers and your good thoughts to be sent out into the universe.  For Bea and Jim, for Evie and Owen and Ayden.  Thanks.



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