19 August 2009

Chicken MarNuggets

Don't drop over dead. I'm still alive. I just require more blog breaks than I used to. Today I invented a recipe and out of unprecedented randomness, I'm posting* it. I'm pretty sure I'm the first one to do this and now I'm sharing it with you, the internets. If I'm not the first, please don't tell me. I want to think I am special.

Its origin has a few roots which I shall explain: recently The Bean proved that she can pound chicken nuggets like nobody's business. So rather than give Costco all my money, I have decided to get a little crazy in my kitchen and make my own homemade chicken nuggets.

The other root of this recipe stems from a "fried" chicken recipe I found in The Biggest Loser Cookbook. The chicken is neither fried nor breaded but it is coated and baked in such a way that it's healthy and still quite delectable. A piece of this leftover chicken once got chopped into smaller pieces and dipped in BBQ sauce, thus giving me an idea.

The final root here is that I don't think the Dino Nuggets from Costco are the best source of nutrition for my Bean so I put all these roots together and the following Chicken MarNuggets recipe was born:

1-2 thawed chicken breasts, patted dry
1 packet Hidden Valley Dips Mix, The Original Ranch (prepared according to the package with 16 oz. light sour cream)
3-4 C. corn flakes, finely crushed

Pound chicken breasts with meat pounder until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, depending on your preference in thickness. Slice into one-inch square pieces. Place about half of the prepared dip in a shallow bowl and coat the chicken pieces with it. Then place the crushed corn flakes in another shallow bowl and coat the dip-covered pieces of chicken with the corn flakes.

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the coated chicken pieces on it. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip the pieces over and bake for another 8-10 minutes. One large chicken breast makes about 8-10 nuggets.

You will love them and if you have a Bean, she will love them too! Dipping ideas include the leftover Ranch dip mix (the stuff that hasn't had the raw chicken in it, of course), BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and plain old ketchup. Other ways I've used this recipe is to skip the meat pounding and slicing and just bake the whole coated breast for an entree with rice or whatever. Also, you can pound the breast out, slice it in half, bake it, and use it to make ranch chicken sandwiches. Or put the nuggets on top of a large salad with some ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. I've done it and it rivals the $12.99 chain restaurant salads any day.

I will toot my horn and say they are wicked tasty and a lot more nutritious than any other nuggets I can think of.

*I think it's weird that I just posted a recipe with a lot of ideas for its use. It's very unlike me.

16 July 2009

I Need a Kitty Flap and a Nap

People who equate raising kids to having a dog ought to be slapped. More than once. While chatting once with a childless friend, the conversation went as follows:

Me: We love our baby. She's hilarious. But life's not the same. We can't pick up and just go out of town for the weekend anymore.

Childless friend: Yeah I know how it is. Now that we have a dog, we can't just go out of town anymore either. I mean we have to find somebody to feed her and take her outside and play with her.

Wow. Looks like you should have seriously considered the life-changing event that is having a dog. Hiring a 10-year-old neighbor kid to come over once a day to feed the dog, take it outside, and generally make sure it's still breathing must be rough!

I can only imagine the heyday that social services would have with me if I decided to go only as far as the mall while I left my kid in a doggy bed with a squeaker toy and the automatic feeder set to shoot food out of itself three times a day. Hell, maybe I'll get Ben to cut a kitty flap into our front door so The Bean can crawl in an out at will while I take a nap. If I could just leave her home during church to run around in the yard and catch gnats in her teeth, that would really bring some solitude back to my Sabbath worship. Next time I want to go out for a walk, I'll save myself the hassle of the stroller, the sippy cup, the toys, the toddler sunscreen, and the obnoxious hat and just put her on a leash and let her drag ME around the block.

01 July 2009

Can't Touch This

As previously stated, I like graffiti on street signs. I don't support it but it seems harmless and the immature person in me laughs every time I pass it, even if I've already seen it 100 times. A stop sign directly across the street from us faces away and since I never take that road home, I have never seen the front of it.

Fortunately for the kid in me, while out on a walk with The Bean, I decided to take the road less traveled and was greeted by this:

And I laughed and laughed. Thank you, hooligans of Holladay!

23 June 2009

Getting a Birdie Means Something Else

I don't know these guys but my Google search for "frolf" returned this photo, further validating my white trash/frolf theory.

In the past month we have frequented a nearby park for family frolic and leisure. Said park boasts a disc golf course. Based on my brief observations at the park, frisbee golf (we mistakenly* like to call it "frolf") appears to be the white trash version of real golf. Well that's the case in my neck of the woods. And when I say "neck of the woods" I mean "what I see and how I decide to pass judgment."

It requires minimal clothing, a nappy dog, and a fanny pack for a lighter, cigarettes, and other herbal remedies. A long sleeve plaid shirt tied around the waist is optional.

From where I was sitting, frolf is an intensely big deal. It made me wonder if one day frolf courses will become like country club property? But instead of condos and million dollar homes cropping up on the outskirts of the course, it will be trailer parks and mobile homes. Residents will swirl light beer instead of red wine, and converse about NASCAR instead of polo matches. They'll discuss cigarette prices instead of the Dow and they'll have pot luck family reunions booked on the course instead of upscale weddings. Business meetings on the golf course will be replaced by frolf course sexual promiscuity and a pickup elevated on cement blocks will mark the 9th hole. The course will have 18 holes, to which everybody will commit to complete, but they'll never achieve anything past the tenth hole. And instead of that little ball cleaner thing, there will be a spitoon and an ash tray.

I'm just saying, dirty white tank tops could be the golf shirt of the future.

*My brief internet research has taught me that disc golf and frolf, or "freeform golf" are different. One website states: Frolf, unlike Disc Golf, is a freeform amorphous game, played among friends in a social setting without the confines of a course laid out by professionals attempting to force conformity. "Amorphous? Conformity?" It appears that some free-thinking non-professional learned to use the MS Word thesaurus and gets freaked out by any form of disc despotism. It's so passionate that I almost respect it.

16 June 2009

Ode to Stupid

Whilst my parents lounge on the beach this week, we have been tasked with taking care of their dog. Not because we are particularly good at it but because we happen to live a mile away from them. We are dog lovers so that helps. Sadie is an overweight miniature Dachshund with a limp.

Physical ailments aside, I still feel sorry for her. She's kind of stupid. My mom even calls her stupid to her face. Sadie lets the Bean fish hook her upper lip and drag her face across the floor without putting up a fight. She chases the tennis ball but only has about a 50% return rate. And she sat idly by and peed on the floor from the excitement of an unexpected visitor while my parents' house was robbed. But inasmuch as she's a dog, I love her.

Yesterday evening I dropped by to visit, provide love, and throw the tennis ball around for her. Her whines from inside the kitchen are audible on the front porch. Poor kid. We hung out on the lawn, chased the tennis ball, and enjoyed the silence together.

When I decided to jump on the trampoline, which I haven't done for about 15 years, she looked nervous for me and refused to walk under the tramp like she does when the 60 pound nieces and nephews jump on it. Maybe she's not as stupid as I thought.

The best thing about her is if you give her food, she'll be your best friend. Since she has to be home alone for a whole week, I console her loneliness like I would my own loneliness--with food. And it's the only way I could get her to stand still for this picture.

I guess it's easy to take pictures of her while she is scrounging underneath the dishwasher for a lost piece of cheese.
God bless the dog!

13 June 2009

The First Thing We'd Do is Take Out the Manatee

Selling a house sucks. About three to four times a week my phone rings and the caller ID informs me that it's our real estate agent. I groan, turn the ringer off so it doesn't wake the Bean, and then make a game day decision on whether or not I want to answer the phone. Answering this call means cleaning, making the bed, stashing the unfolded laundry somewhere, wiping down the bathroom, replacing the non-childproof decor, and then wrangling the Bean until the potential buyers parade through our condo, ask lame questions, and then depart--leaving me wondering if they are going to offer or not. It's honestly all done in vain. Yesterday when we decided to have our agent show the condo because we conveniently would be "out," I said to Ben, "Let's just leave the place a total mess with a sign on the fridge that says, 'We know you jackers aren't going to buy it so we didn't clean it.'"

Searching for a house also sucks. At first it's exciting--especially when it means ditching condo living. You begin to imagine the cute neighborhood, the yard, a potential puppy, the solitude of your own home, block parties, avoiding getting called to the Primary as a new ward member, etc. Then it turns out that Small Town, USA is geographically and monetarily out of reach. And that the neighborhood might be cute but the neighbors could potentially be weird. Or that they might have...oh I don't know...a MANATEE for a mailbox!

Honestly, what the hell? Why must people white-trashify fairly decent neighborhoods? I don't care if this is a relic from an ancient art collection. It is inappropriate for any neighborhood with homes on a permanent foundation.

After looking at the home for sale next to the Manatee Home (the one with the nice brick mail box to the left of the eyesore), we made a pact to execute a drive by rubbing out of the manatee about two weeks prior to moving in. Manatee be warned!

16 January 2009

It's Must Be a Sign

In efforts to upgrade our living status, Ben has been searching online for the last six months or so for a potential home to purchase. About every three weeks we package the baby up in her carseat and head out for a few hours of house hunting based on his internet research.

As an aside, but necessary part of this story, we have always relished in a childish chuckle or two at the street signs in our neighborhood that have fallen prey to teenagers with spray paint and nothing better to do. Two of our favorites are the signs directly in front of the stake center that warn for speed bumps. The first sign says "Bump." The second sign along the way also says "Bump" but a clever minor has spray painted the words "it again" on the sign. So the succession of signs while driving says, "Bump" and then "Bump it again." I laugh every time I pass it. Other winners are "Stop Bush," "Stop eating animals" and you get the picture.

While looking for a house a few weeks back in Utah County (yes, it's taking some getting used to) we stumbled upon this sign.
And it's official. I'll move to Cougarland if I can live on this street.