Lazy Cookies and the Best Dang Chicken I Ever Made

I used to enjoy cooking a lot more.  I’d find exotic recipes that sounded interesting & delicious, and maybe have a few oddball ingredients, like coconut milk or something, but that didn’t deter me.  Sometimes these dishes would take a couple hours to prepare. In a way, it was fun to make a mess of the kitchen, all for the sake of trying something new.

Then I had kids.

For obvious reasons, I don’t quite have the time that I did in the past to devote to culinary exploration.  That, and there’s usually at least one little person hanging on an extremity while trying to cook over a hot stove.  Not to mention, they just don’t care that freshly shaved ginger root adds a much better flavor than the powdered alternative.  It’s just yucky.

So began my quest for quick and easy, stripped of all flavor, get it on the table before someone has a meltdown, meals.  Usually our repertoire consists of spaghetti, breakfast for dinner (brinner if you watch SCRUBS), fish sticks, and fries.  Anything else at this point is a crapshoot.

Most nights I don’t plan ahead, and last week I had some chicken that I was clueless as to what to do with it.  Something made me look on the back of my box of cornstarch, and I saw a recipe for “Crispy Fried Chicken”.  Now, usually I steer away from any recipe that has more than, say, five ingredients, because nowadays our pantry is usually pretty bare, and I just can’t be bothered (yes, I am lazy like that).  While this recipe breaks my 5 ingredient rule, I think I was intrigued by the claims of “crispy”, since I’ve never really mastered the breaded chicken thang.  I scanned the recipe, and thought, “This is never going to work, how do you get crispy fried chicken from a mushy mess of glop?”  But, do you know what?  It worked, and it was awesome!  Even the kidlets ate it, and they are chicken nugget elitists.  So here, friends, is the recipe, from my box of corn starch:

12 precut chicken pieces                1/4 tsp black pepper

1 egg                                               1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp vegetable oil                           1/4 c water

2 tsp soy sauce                                1/2 c all purpose flour

1 tsp salt                                          1/4 c corn starch

1 tsp sugar                                       1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning                vegetable oil

Wash & cut chicken.  Mix together egg, 2 tsp veg oil, soy sauce, salt, sugar, seasoning (I used fajita seasoning), pepper & garlic powder in a large plastic freezer bag.  Put chicken in the bag & shake, coating each piece. Place bag in fridge for 1 hour.  Add water to chicken.  Mix flour, corn starch, and baking soda together and then place the mixture into the bag with the chicken.  Shake the bag, again coating each piece (this is the globby mess I was referring to).  Heat oil in skillet & fry pieces until light golden brown, turning occasionally.  Drain on paper towels.  Enjoy the awesomeness

 

 

Another favorite of mine I have come to refer to as “Lazy Cookies”.  We just made these yesterday, and I have to say, this recipe even surpasses my 5 ingredient rule by only having 3 ingredients.  And clean-up couldn’t be easier.  As long as you like/can eat peanut butter, this one is a no-brainer:

1 egg

1 c sugar

1 c peanut butter

Beat egg & sugar together until smooth, add peanut butter & mix.  Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet about 2″ apart, and flatten with a fork.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes until golden brown.  Makes about 2 dozen.  Yummy!

 

We just happened to have white chocolate chips on hand, so we threw them in, too.  Talk about instant gratification- these were so easy & delicious, and were done fast enough that I was able to keep the wee ones distracted while they baked. 

Cookies + super easy = WIN/WIN

 

 

Subtle I’m not…

Let me first start off by saying this is somewhat of a joke between me & my husband.

So, I’m not going to pretend that I don’t know Mother’s Day is coming up, and, lo and behold, I just happen to be a mother (no, this is NOT only half a word).  I’m also not going to pretend I don’t know that being that my kids are too young to have jobs and earn their own money, their dad will be taking them out shopping for a gift for me.  I’m not saying they should buy me a gift, I’m just saying I know it’s going to happen anyway.  Third, I’m also not going to pretend that my sweet and dutiful husband does not read this.  So, I just thought I’d help things along & provide a short list of ideas (no hints here).  Aren’t I nice?  Plus, this is all stuff I will just eventually end up buying anyway.

I guess one of the things at the top of my list would be this book:

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.  The buzz about this book is all over the place, and you can get a signed copy from the author here.  With summer coming, and Max being done school for a while, we’ll need some extra ideas for activities to keep us busy. 

 

Next, I’ve had my eye on this:

 

Can be purchased here.   Since I’m a self-taught sewer ( I don’t dare call myself a seamstress), I would like to be able to design stuff without relying on store-bought patterns all the time.  I do tend to alter almost every pattern I use, but I would still like to have a little more creative freedom.   Again, this book seems to have gotten pretty good reviews.

 

Next, I spotted something like this at Joann’s recently:

Or, this would do, too:

 

Since organization is not my strong point, I can use all the help I can get.  Actually, I could stand to use the services of a full-on professional organizer, both for my studio and the rest of the house, but hey, I could also use a million bucks, too. 

And finally, since we can’t have all work and no fun:

I think these are so cute!  And since there’s a BOGO sale right now, why not add these, as well:

 Since I shudder every time I look at my exposed feet, I guess a pedicure would also be in order…

 

Seriously, I don’t expect to get all this stuff- that would just be ridiculous! 🙂  I mean, Mother’s Day isn’t really about the gifts, it’s about worshipping the ground on which all the hardworking, tireless mothers of the world walk.  Just kidding!  (not really, but you know what I mean).  And if that comes in the form of a homemade card & macaroni necklace, consider my day made. 

Lunch box fillin’s

Here are the contents of the lunchbag I’m mailing today for the swap:

A mini salt shaker, felt fortune cookies, the matching placemat, and a little tin with some gummy cherries.  The fortune cookies were so fun & easy to make, I used this pattern from CraftSanity.  Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, you could easily hand stitch them very quickly.  I got a little take out box to package them, and they all have little fabric messages inside which say stuff like,  “Lunch is in your future”. 

Fun! Off to the post office I go.  Have a great weekend everybody.

Lunch, anyone?

Finally, my lunchbox is completed for the swap I’m participating in.  I have to say, I followed Oh, Fransson’s! pattern fairly closely, and it came together pretty quickly (except for the hand-stitching of the lining…. painful!).  I’ve been saving this cherry blossom fabric for a long time, waiting for the perfect project to come along, and, well, I guess you don’t get much more perfect than a lunchbox, do ya?  My only regret is that I did not plan ahead enough as to where the best parts of the print would fall on the bag once it was completely assembled.  For that reason, almost all of the sweet little cherries are on the bottom!  Oh well, now I know for next time.

Anyway, I liked it so much, I already started one for my sister’s birthday (I don’t think she reads this, and, if I’m wrong, um… SURPRISE!).  I also think these would make perfect end-of-year gifts for Max’s pre-school teacher & assistant.  Actually, I can think of a lot of people I can make them for…hmm…. Bill, you take a lunch to work, right?  😉

I still have to make the placemat & a few little “goodies” to put inside, but I have until tomorrow to mail it & I don’t foresee any reason that it shouldn’t go out on time (knocking on wood!).  I’ll try to put up some pics of that stuff tomorrow before we go to post.  Here it is:

 

The top has a drawstring closure, which, fully extended, looks like this:

 

 

And the inside:

 

 

I didn’t use the iron-on vinyl that the pattern calls for, so it’s a softer bag & could probably use some scotch guard…  I hope my recipient likes it!!

 

Personality Traits- Part Two

Wyatt, #2, is pure mama’s boy.  Sometimes he hugs me so hard, I think I might pass out.  He usually likes to be held in the morning for at least 10 minutes or so, sometimes longer. He’s a cuddler, all right, but he’s also a ball full of energy, & usually prefers jumping to walking.  He’s been able to jump up & land on both feet pretty much since he’s been walking. 

We’re still working on his grasp of language- right now instead of hearing, “Wyatt, it’s time to get dressed” he hears, “Turn around and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction… GO!….GO!….GO!”

I used to think we lost so many of his toothbrushes because his natural curiosity prompted him to stick them in remote places just to see what would happen.  Now I know better- this kid is smart.  When my back is turned, he’s learned to “hide” them in obscure locations to stave off the actual brushing itself… gotta give him points for trying.

Wyatt has always loved books, even from a very young age– something Max didn’t get into until much later.  His favorite right now is “Fiddle-I-Fee” (or fee-fee if you’re Wyatt).  I have to read it before every bed & nap time, first in the rocker, and then again after he’s in his crib.  It’s all about the routines & rituals right now.

It wasn’t until we played with a couple of much more timid types that I realized what a daredevil he is.  I guess I just thought all toddlers this age took their parents to the brink of dementia on a regular basis.  Tell him not to go near the street?  You just invented a fun game of “give mommy a heart attack”.   I admire his spunk, and it’s hard to be mad when he finds so much joy in the act of outright disobedience, but man, this kid is going to give me gray hairs well before my due time.

I read somewhere that first-borns are usually the more assertive ones, while the babies are the charmers.  I think that definitely describes our family so far.  Wyatt, although he’s developed a little “tude” lately, is almost always smiling & playing the little flirt.  One quick bat of those mile-long lashes and a dimpley grin & you don’t stand a chance….. you’re his.

 

Personality Traits- Part One

It was a great weekend- perfect weather coupled with a visit from an old friend of mine, who just happens to have two boys near the same age as Max & Wyatt.  Everyone got along swimmingly, and we were even able to have some adult conversation on Saturday night while the boys played.

It’s funny- ever since Max was born, I always wondered, what kind of kid is he?  With so many toddlers & preschoolers having characteristic personality traits due to their “stage”, it’s been difficult to tell what is personality, and what is just on the timeline.  I think now, however, as we get together with more and more kids on playdates, I’m beginning to see my own children’s uniqueness. 

It’s easier to see it in Max, because he’s a lot more verbal than Wyatt, and often, Wyatt just does or says things to copy his older brother (his stage).  But I’ve been noticing how outgoing Max can be– he’s by no means a shy kid, which warms my heart, because I was always so painfully shy at his age.   He’s comfortable walking into a new house & checking out the toys, etc. without any parental coaxing.  He’s extremely creative with his pretend play, and has a really good imagination.  This serves him well when there are no playmates around.  He’s assertive, but can be redirected when he gets too bossy.  He likes to make a lot of noise, and he likes to make people laugh, which I think is one of my favorite things about him. 

I’ve also noticed he’s very emotional.  Of course all kids this age are, but I think he’s a little more so.   Right now, it drives me crazy at times, but I think over time, it won’t be such a bad thing.  While he does have a hard time shaking certain things off, I think his sensitivity emotionally will make him a more compassionate person. 

Max has always been extremely independent and stubborn- I’ve learned the hard way that NOBODY is going to make him do something he doesn’t want to do. This drives me crazy now, but not such a bad thing for later in life.  I wish I had his self confidence at this age.  At times he does seem to have borderline OCD, like at school, when he goes into a tizzy if he doesn’t get the carpet square that matches the color of his shirt that day- what can I say, we A types like things a certain way- LOL!  But he’s also curious, always taking things apart to try & see how they work.  He’s excited to share his knowledge:  “Mommy, peanut butter is berry, berry, sticky!”  or,  “Daddy, you always have to drive with two hands on the wheel”. 

 While he’s never been much of a cuddler, and many times throughout the day I’ll try to hug him he’ll say, “Mommy, I just need some space!”,  he definitely is starting to show signs that he does like and want my affection.  He is very attached to his dad, which at times makes me feel left out, but I like that they have a special bond (superheroes, maybe?). 

One of my biggest challenges as a parent has been to let things be.  To allow my kids to have the temperaments they have been naturally given.  I recently read on someone’s blog (sorry, I can’t remember who’s!)  that children are, on average, redirected by their parents every 6 seconds.  I don’t know if this statistic is true, but I can see it being close.  I think sometimes its ok to allow them a little bit more “space” to figure out who they are.  I also have to remind myself that their agenda is not my agenda, and to let them be silly sometimes, even if it means it might take 10 minutes to put on their pants. 

As a parent, it’s difficult sometimes to see the forest through the trees-  you just don’t know what you do or say on any given day that’s going to stick with them, either positive or negative.  I make a lot of mistakes, and I’m certainly not the most patient person in the world, but I try hard to make sure that Max and Wyatt know, even at their young ages, that they couldn’t be more valued and loved.  Let’s hope it sticks! 🙂

 

Could’ve been worse…

I feel like I haven’t posted any projects in a while…. although I’ve been really busy, I’ve been making a few repeats & a couple of things that I forgot to photograph,  including a really cute baby blanket- oops!  The weather has been absolutely perfect here the past few days, so we’ve been trying to get out as much as possible.  Plus, I try not to work while I have the boys at home…. for obvious reasons, but also because if I leave them to their own devices for too long, stuff like this happens: 

It could’ve been worse… 

Have a great day everyone.