Monday, October 3, 2011

Make Some Stuff, Eat Some Stuff

Today's recipes: Baked Chicken Bites and Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches (mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...)

My burst of energy continues! I have interviewed for a job, have lined up a 'discussion' regarding another position, and have gone in to work at my current (on-call) job all in the last week! I have also made something and purchased (most of) the supplies to make a few more things. Oh, and I've been cooking. WHEW!

Let's talk crafts first. I (finally) finished Lily Ruth's blanket. I bought new needles for my sewing machine, and adjusted the bobbin tension yet again (I had tinkered with it when I was shirring, and hadn't been able to get it back to regular :-/), and now it sews like new again! Here's Lily Ruth's Daddy modeling how the blanket works:

And here is a very subdued Lily Ruth with her Lucy and her 'FOG BANKET!'


Jess at Craftiness Is Not Optional shared a tutorial link that I am soooo excited to try. It's a flower petal pillow that may or may not change my life. Alright, fine. Pillows don't change your life, but wrapping your brain around a tutorial then completing a project sure is good for the soul... if you're me... if you're you, you should probably find your own bliss. Since I happen to be me (and not you), I purchased supplies to make said pillow and change my life refresh my couch. The red and pink are for the flowers (duh). The beige is an indoor-outdoor fabric that I hope will hold up well as a pillow. The circle templates are 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches. Once the circles are cut out, you cut them in half, and voila - petals.

Now I just have to find time to cut out 50 felt circles and start sewing... Wait, I bought enough stuff for TWO pillows. That means 100 felt circles! Gack. I'll pay you ten bucks to come over and cut out circles for me. *edit: I buckled down and started cutting circles. It went super-duper fast!*


While I was waiting in line for the cutting counter at JoAnn, I got sucked into buying more stuff. I'm pretty sure that's their plan. Those ladies move like they're wading through molasses, and if the line starts to move too fast, several of them will stop assisting customers and wander off to restock shelves or bundle up remnants. *sigh* SO, during my 45 minute wait (!!!), I found 2 new pieces of flannel to make into pillow cases for Lily Ruth. I also found coordinating trim and thread.

I love her pillow cases. She seems to, too. I think that having special Just For Lily Ruth pillows helped with the transition from crib to mattress-on-the-floor. I am hoping that their familiarity will also help with the transition from mattress-on-the-floor to Big Girl Bed.


That's kind-of it for the crafting. Let's talk food!

I stumbled across a recipe on the back of a Progresso bread crumbs can, and actually loved it. Since I used all of those crumbs and didn't remember to copy it down, I no longer have the recipe. Sad story, right? Well, don't start crying into your soup just yet. There was a similar recipe on the back of my new can, and I just modified it to suit my needs - big surprise. These little bites are tastier than any chicken nugget I've ever had. My friend June says that they're 'like butter' and she couldn't stop eating them. Our kids thought they were 'o.k.', and will like the next batch better as I will cut back on the amount of seasoning. Crummy kids and their kid palates. :-P

Baked Chicken Bites

2 Lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (use white meat if you prefer)
1 cup bread crumbs (I used garlic and herb - not a hit with the kids)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesean cheese
3 Tbsp melted butter

Remove any excess fat from the chicken, and cut into tiny (1 inch or so) pieces.

Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese in a  shallow bowl or dish. Mix in the butter.

Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb/cheese/butter mixture, then place the coated pieces on a baking sheet. I foil-line my (cheap) baking sheets then spray the foil with cooking spray. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Bites should be golden brown and cooked completely through.


This next recipe is simmering away in my crockpot as we speak. Emily at My Pajama Days was a high school classmate of mine. We weren't close friends, but I always liked her open, adorable smile and all-inclusive nature. She was always sweet to me. Being shy by nature, this was a big deal. I even have a wallet-sized copy of her senior picture in my scrap book - goofy high school inscription from her and all.

When she blogs about mothering a pre-teen and a newly-teen, I hyperventilate. I am 98% certain that I will not handle myself with her wisdom when presented with the same situations. Hopefully, she'll open a Parent of Teen Girls hotline and allow me to call frequently.

At any rate, her version of this sandwich was up on her blog yesterday, and being a lover of Buffalo wing sauce, I decided to try it out. The original is here. My version follows...

Slow Cooker Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my package was 1.75 Lbs)
1 bottle Buffalo wing sauce (my favorite is Frank's) - divided
1 pkg ranch dressing seasonings
sour cream
bleu cheese
whole grain rolls
Muenster cheese

Mix 1/2 of the bottle of wing sauce with 1/2 of the pkg of ranch seasoning. Pour into the bottom of your crockpot. Lay the chicken over the sauce, and pour 1/4 of the bottle of wing sauce over the top (you now have 1/4 of the bottle left... in case you're math challenged...). Cover and cook on 'low' for 6-7 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the crockpot and place it in a shallow dish. Shred the meat, and gradually mix in the remaining wing sauce - tasting as you go - until you have the right amount of 'kick' for you.

Mix the remaining 1/2 packet of ranch seasoning with sour cream. I have approx. 2 Tbsp left, so I'm using 8 oz of sour cream. Use the resulting concoction as a sandwich spread or veggie/chip dip. My plan is to serve raw carrots with dinner and trick Lily Ruth into eating them 'like a bunny'. Maybe the dip will help. *edit: it did not. She ate exactly one bit of 'cway-ot' then pronounced it 'yucky'.*

If you go in for this sort of thing, you can mix bleu cheese into your meat before piling it onto the rolls. My husband adores bleu cheese. I loathe it. Whatever floats your boat. I'm not here to judge... except that I really don't like bleu cheese, so I may judge a little bit...

**By the by, we just finished dinner, and these sammies were WONDERFUL. Definitely part of my rotation from now on!**


That's all for today, folks! Remember - always surround yourself with things that make you smile (like giant flower pillows and soft, cuddly blankets) and eat things that make your tummy smile (like spicy chicken and NOT bleu cheese). Love you!


  1. I LOVE your blanket model! And can I just say that I am blushing now from all of your kind words!? Wow - I always was in awe of your ability to observe the world with such in-tenseness and then hit us with all of your intellectual wisdom. I saw my high school self as flighty and too giggly. I can't wait to see you in a few short weeks finally! BIG HUGS!

  2. He's not all that thrilled that I posted that pic... but I went in there specifically for the blanket picture, and that is what was happening with the blanket at the time! :-P