Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baked Chicken Fingers

In honor of the Great Vegan Experiment of 2009, I thought I'd pass on a now-banned (or at least greatly modified) recipe. Scarlet Lily is looking for things she can freeze in advance for dinners, now that she's preggers. Here's one that recently got the Husband AND the Mr. Ouiser seal-of-approval (or so they said...)

Baked Chicken Fingers
  • 1/2 c wheat germ
  • 1/2 c unprocessed bran
  • 1/4 c plain, dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (I just used breast halves and cut them to a roughly tender shape)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In food processer, combine first seven ingredients (through garlic), 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Pulse to combine. Add oil; pulse to combine. Transfer to large bowl.
  2. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs. Dip chicken in eggs (allowing excess to drip off), then dredge in crumb mixture, patting to adhere. Place on rack and transfer to oven.
  3. Bake until chicken is opaque throughout, 12-14 min.
393 cal per serving.
Serves 4.

This recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled for freezing. Serve with condiments of choice. We enjoy a sweet chili ginger sauce from The Ginger People.


After reading Ouiser's list of books on her bedside table, I was inspired to start a meme of the same topic. So here's what's on my bedside table, books and otherwise:
  • Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, MD (see previous post)
  • Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters (my current book club read, very good, full of unexpected plot twists)
  • Becoming Vegan, by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (haven't started this yet)
  • The Fiery Cross, by Diana Gabaldon (the fifth book in the Outlander series, historical romance with impressively accurate period details, addictive)
  • How Babies Talk, by Roberta Michnik Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (I first read this in grad school and it was great, very layperson-friendly; rereading it now that I have my own child)
  • Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, by Amy Butler and Colin McGuire (not so much reading this as daydreaming about making all the projects. I am so backed up on my list of projects that I could probably be booked for a year straight. I love Amy Butler, all her designs, fabrics, etc., and pretty much demanded the Husband by this for my birthday back in November. He didn't, but his aunt did. Thanks again, L!)
  • Brsinger, by Christopher Paolini (this is the third book in the Inheritance series. The author was 17 when he wrote the first one. Great for fans of Tolkien and other fantasy epics.)
  • A Greener Christmas, by Sheherazade Goldsmith (a gift from Ouiser, and I'm so excited to read it, but it doesn't feel exactly urgent in January...)
  • a lamp
  • a box of tissues
  • a bottle of linen spray (I'm sure this has chemicals in it that are horrible for me, but I've had the bottle for years and use it every once in a while, and quite enjoy it when I do. I won't buy another, but do intend to use this one up.)
  • baby monitor
  • various hair accessories
  • various parenting and home organization magazines
That's a lot. No wonder the table looks so cluttered. I'll probably soon be adding Eclipse to the pile, too, as I don't think I can hold out any longer. Ouiser and I saw the Twilight movie last Sunday and I haven't stopped thinking about the third book since then.

That's it for me. Die Frau: tag, you're it. What's on your bedside table?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breaking News

I said I was going to update you as I did that Body & Soul Challenge from the Martha Steward people. Obviously, I haven't. The experiment went a little off-track and I didn't want to go public with my plan until I was sure what that would be. I may get a lot of slack for this, because I know many people do, but here it is:

I'm going to try becoming a vegan.

Ish. That is, I'm going to try out a mostly vegan lifestyle, but I'm not going to be super-strict about it. I am doing it for both health and weight-loss reasons. It feels more health-motivated at a gut level, but I also don't think there's much chance I'll stick with it if it doesn't also result in some significant weight loss, so I'm not sure what that says about the impetus.

I don't much like meat. Never have. Sure, I enjoy a good burger once in a while, but not like other people do. I barely like steak at all. I do like turkey at Thanksgiving, but would be fine without it as long as I made an exception for gravy. I'll miss bacon, but I rarely ate that anyway, so maybe I won't miss it much after all. Cheese is a slight issue. If it's in front of me, I'm going to want it. But on a normal, daily basis, no biggie.

What will be a biggie for me has nothing to do with veganism at all. I plan to attempt to severely limit refined carbohydrates.

I've come to the conclusion, after a lifetime of struggling with weight issues and eating problems, that I think I have an honest-to-goodness addiction to sugar. I don't use that word lightly. Addictions are real, nasty things and it's not a term to throw around. Alcohol, drug, gambling...these addictions ruin lives. My life is not in ruin. Nowhere near. But how else do you explain a near pathological (maybe not near, maybe actual) tendency to binge on one kind of food: refined carbs, especially sugars. I can't guess at the number of times I've eaten a whole carton of ice cream, box of cookies, pan of brownies in one sitting. I know, most people have done that at times, and will again. But it's not normal how often I do this. How overwhelming the urge is. I used to think I just had weak will power, but anyone who knew me as an athlete knows that's not it. I crave sugar on a level that seems different from other people's. This was the main reason I did that detox week through the Body & Soul program.

And you know what? I kicked the sugar addiction. And it was easy. I just never knew how to do it before. I just ate a bunch of veggies, oatmeal, fruit, legumes, and brown rice. I was never hungry. Not too bored either.

Now I'm reading Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD. I won't try to review the book here. Head to Amazon if you're interested. The gist of it is nothing new: Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. Limit your animal proteins. Make salads the main meal. Get educated about nutrition.

So tomorrow I start the six-week plan, which is a much stricter version of what the book ultimately advises you to do long-term. I think the point of the initial rigidity is just to jump start the weight loss, keep you motivated, keep things simple while you get the hang of new food prep habits. I'll be attempting to subsist on a ton of veggies, lots of fruit, some beans, legumes, tofu, and limited amounts of grains, starchy veggies, nuts. No animal proteins. No dairy. No juice or dried fruit. Obviously no refined carbs.

Wish me luck! We'll see how it goes. If I hate it, I'll quit. But it's not so different from what I've been doing, with very little effort, so I think I've got a good shot at sucess. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Busy Bee

The Husband has been displaying some mad carpentry skillz of late. Witness:
Our new dining room table. It's very much still in progress, but you get the gist. (And that's our basement, yo, not the dining room. So don't hate on it too much.)And the beginnings of the Papoose's custom play kitchen. I asked the Husband to stand next to it for scale, but I guess kitchen building is exhausting work. Especially when you're on your cell at the same time. This picture is already obsolete as he's been such a busy bee out in the garage working at all hours, but he's got a goal of finishing it this month, so wish him luck!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

You've Got Mail!

The advantage to being late in getting your gifts out to people is that by missing the rush, you just might find that your recipients finally have enough time on their hands to give your gift the attention and blogspace that it deserves.

Two of my dearest Tucson friends (although, one is technically now living in San Fran) sent the Papoose these birthday and Christmas presents that arrived yesterday:
There are very few stuffed animals that the Papoose actually pays attention to so far. One was given to her by these same friends at her birth. Another was given to her by her Nummi and Nona (a blue-footed booby). And this one, an UglyDoll named Moxy.

Inside that cute pink and green box? A hat so awesome I want one for myself!There was also a Rody, for which she's still a little small, but in which she's very interested; and Little Pea, which has been on our wishlist for a while. Little Pea is not yet in the Papoose's favor as we are currently in a phase where only five or so books are tolerated, and these at least a dozen times a day are not so much tolerated as demanded. I often want to shoot myself. If I have to read or watch the DVD of Goodnight, Gorilla one more time, I think I will probably die.

The Papoose received many other awesome gifts this Christmas, so I hope no generous givers out there feel slighted. The holidays were kind of a barage of wrapping paper and cardboard boxes and fun. But it was impossible to keep up. I'm still writing thank you notes. Many more thank you notes. We are more grateful than my meager attempts at expressing it will ever show.

Of course, the box is still the best toy of all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Which I Spout the Most Random Assortment of Complaints Ever

It's too cold to do anything.

That's my excuse anyway, for being stuck on the couch under a quilt, for still being in my pajamas, for having no ambition to get anything accomplished today, for why I seriously considered having donuts for dinner tonight instead of the chicken fingers I had planned (for the Papoosekin and the Husband; I'm still on the semi-vegan week plan).

It's also my excuse for the blogger's block from which I suffer, for the grocery shopping I haven't done, for the nephew's gift I haven't started sewing, for the thank you notes I haven't written.

I did sweep today. And paid my ASHA dues. So that's something.

It's 18 degrees here. I know it's much colder elsewhere. My mom wrote me that it was 16 below zero this morning back home in The Land of Ice and Snow, as I like to refer to it. To myself.

But it's cold enough that I can't take the Papoose outside to play. The Ouiser's pipes froze last night, and, although I can't get in touch with Ouiser herself, the Husband has been in touch with Mr. Ouiser, and I think it's safe to say that they're having a hellish day.

It also doesn't help that the Papoose got up at 4:40 this morning. I don't know what she was thinking. She had the compassion to sit there quietly for about half an hour after the Husband gave her a binky, but, of course, we couldn't get back to sleep. And now her schedule is thrown so far off for the day that by 6 pm tonight, she's going to be in a ferociously exhausted Mood. The kind where all she wants is to be held and will throw a fit all the way until bedtime if we put her down. So, there's great fun to look forward to there.

That is all.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


No Internet yesterday at all! And I didn't even miss it. We finally had a sunny day and played at the park with Ouiser, her brother, and S for an hour and a half. That helped. Then I baked cookies (molasses, not bad, nothing to write home about) and we had dinner at Ouiser's house. That also helped. Then we borrowed the Ouiser's new Wii game, Lego Star Wars, and played until we got stuck on the pod racing and I quit. And I turned to the huge stack of books I've accumulated in the last month, all of which I'm dying to read. And that also helped.

I finished The Other Boleyn Girl and really enjoyed it and recommend it. It made me want to go back and reread all my textbooks from the Queens, Witches, and Courtesans class I took freshman year at college. And I'm still planning to rent the movie, even despite Toddler Tamer's warning against it. I can't help it. I need to see if Natalie Portman can pull off being such a B.

That's all for now, folks. It's a sad blog whose author is trying to stay off the Internet. It won't last, don't worry.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Week 1-ish

The update on the Body & Soul Challenge detox is...that I need to try again next week. I'm just not into the massive overhauls. I don't stick to changes made drastically. In fact, I'm more likely to fight them. So what the Body & Soul people are recommending I do in one week, I'll instead spread over two or three weeks.

I drank a shocking amount of coffee while at Toddler Tamer's house for the holidays. Even though the Papoose was giving us more sleep that week (she slept past seven almost every day! And now we're back to 5:00 am wake-up wails, alas), and even though she and J are entertaining as all get-out to watch and play with, they are EXHAUSTING together, and we were all so busy, I just couldn't get enough caffeine in me.

But the past two days I've had only one cup throughout each entire day and really haven't missed the rest at all. I've been starting each day with a cup of warm water with lemon and I'm learning that a lot of my coffee habit is just the desire to hold and drink something warm. Ouiser and I have discussed before that a lot of coffee-drinking for us revolves more around the ritual than the actual coffee.

But, unsurprisingly, I've also felt really, really lazy this week. All I want to do is curl up and read. Forever (currently, The Other Boleyn Girl, which is great so far and totally making me want to rent the movie). But it's not at all that feeling that smacks of depression. I don't feel apathetic or uninterested or even especially tired, really. I have several theories: (1) lack of caffeine, (2) lack of exercise, (3) winter hibernation mode, (4) it's too darn cold, (5) recovering from holidays, (6) cabin fever (we've been in the house a lot since New Year's as the Papoose had a cold and now may be teething and it's been super-rainy, etc.), (7) some combination of the above.

I have a gazillion craft ideas (as I always do), but zero desire to get off my lazy butt and execute any. I did make it to the gym today, and that felt good. And the Papoose was happy to get out of the house and play with some new-to-her toys, I think.

So, I think through this weekend I will continue with the laying off of the caffeine, the getting of my butt to the gym, the going to bed at 9:00, and the media diet. Next week I will tackle this crazy detox food diet they suggest, whereby I am expected to be vegan for a week. Ugh. We'll see if I still have a husband by the end of that week. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Detox Day 1

I've fallen woefully out of many healthy habits that I'd maintained for years: regular exercise, drinking lots of water, limited tv viewing, little to no caffeine... I'm trying to get back on track and under the premise that trying anything (within reason) is better than nothing, I'm going to have a go at Martha's Body & Soul Challenge. I figure that if I report to you all here on my progress, it gives me some accountability, which may help. If tails of my caffeine addiction and attempts to sneak beans and rice past the Husband bore you, I hope to get back to more interesting fare in the future.

Week 1 is all about detox, so I am scaling back the coffee intake to a strict two-cup limit. This is not much of a decrease from my normal intake, but it's something, and I don't want to launch into caffeine withdrawal on the first day.

Tomorrow I start a bit of media detox, meaning I'll only be responding to urgent emails; otherwise no Internet except to blog and to keep up with previously scheduled events with my mommy group; no tv (thank goodness for Tivo!); no Wii. I'm a little scared about this.

Let you know how it goes!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Starting the new year with some pics from the end of the last...

We had a fabulous Christmas in Texas, where the temps were low 40s when we arrived, but mid- to high 70s for most of our visit. The Papoose had a fabulous time with her cousin, aunt, uncles, and various grandparentals. She magically slept until 7 or later almost every morning (a spell which I hoped would last as she was sleeping til after 6 every morning since we've returned home...until this morning...5:30 again, ugh). She mainly slept through present opening...again, but had lots of fun with her new Tonka truck, and her cousin's new shopping cart, which she hurled across the room at top speeds. She practically lived in the swing in the park across the street from Toddler Tamer's house. She patted the cats, climbed the stairs, and broke into the laundry room every chance she got. She received some great presents, and so did we.

I feel like I have so little to report on despite feeling crazy busy, so I'll sign off for now, and hope to get back soon. Peace, y'all.