Well, it’s been a while since I last posted, but that just gives us more to talk about. I had a busy last week, but I got to spend a lot of time with my family and my girl friends.
First, the food. I had the waffles two more times, and they were just as fabulous as the first time. I did learn that if you get the bacon a little darker than normal, the flavor comes through better. I’ve had them with pancake syrup, corn syrup, and maple syrup; they taste great with everything. Also, my husband and I made one of our favorite chicken recipes. Actually, my husband is the one that found this sometime early last year. We really enjoy it, so I make it several times a year. We’ve never actually made the zucchini fries, so I halve the sauce recipe.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken (Adapted from the Rachael Ray show)
1 bag salted pretzels (If you’re making this for 2, you can definitely get away with using the bottom of a bag of pretzels. Nobody wants to eat all the broken pieces, but they work great for this.)
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed (If we remember, we’ll sprinkle in dried thyme. It’s great with or without it.)
2 eggs (I would say you should use this whether you’re making the whole recipe or just half.)
2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 in. thick strips
2 zucchinis cut into 3-4 in. long, 1/2 in. thick strips (Like I said we’ve never managed to do this with zucchini, but I’m sure it’s delicious.)
2 tbsp. butter (Though I halve the sauce recipe, I use these amounts of butter and flour, but halve the milk, cheddar, and mustard.)
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
2 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put a cooling rack on a rimmed sheet tray and place that in the oven also. Place the pretzels in a food processor and grind them til fine. (Hmm. Ours are about half fine and half chunkier.) Transfer the pretzel crumbs to a shallow dish, add the thyme and black pepper (to taste), and mix to combine. In a separate shallow dish, crack the eggs and beat them with a splash of water.
2. Coat the chicken and zucchini strips in pretzel, egg, and pretzel again. Preheat a large skillet with enough extra virgin olive oil to 1/4 in. up the sides. Add the chicken and cook it in a single layer for 3-4 min. per side, til the juices run clear and the breading is evenly browned. Transfer the chicken to the oven to stay warm. Repeat the process with the zucchini.
3. To make the sauce, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the saucepan, and add the flour. Cook the flour and butter for 1 min., then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. (Don’t add to much salt; the pretzels will make the chicken and zucchini a little extra salty.)
I also got the chance to watch several movies with my friends. I re-watched Despicable Me with a friend who hadn’t seen it yet. That is such a cute funny movie. Agnes is my favorite character; she’s so adorable and funny. That same night, we watched Nanny McPhee Returns. I wasn’t sure that it could be as good as the first movie, but it was. It was a little more serious, but they did a great job. One of my friends also had me watch The Holiday with her. I’d heard about that movie when it first came out, but, for some reason, I just never got around to watching it. Well, I’m glad I finally did. Though there are a few adult situations and too much language, the story line was so cute and it was very well-acted. If you’re like me and just never got around to it, I would suggest catching up to it when you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy. I also just finished watching the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. I actually just turned it on for background noise while I was doing some paperwork, but I really enjoyed it. I’d never seen anything by Tim Burton before, but I’d heard that he was really weird. Still, I liked the colors and cinematography of the movie and once I kind of figured out what was going on, I really got into the movie. (For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s Alice’s return to Wonderland. You see the familiar characters, but it’s a new story line.) The costumes and scenery were colorful and whimsical, and the acting was first class.
I’ve mentioned before that in my devotions this year, I’m studying the names of God. While I’m focusing on that specifically, other things, of course, pop out at me. As someone who enjoys writing, I am often struck by the beauty of language used in the Bible. God could have made it read like a manual, a biography, or a history text; but, he instead chose to make it a beautiful book that covers so many styles of writing, all of them written expertly. The story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28 illustrates this well. In verse 15, the Lord says, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest,…for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Although, God was speaking to Jacob, what he says is true for us also. The words are not only written beautifully, but they are such an amazing promise. In verse 16, Jacob says: “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” Our pastor was discussing God’s omnipresence this past Sunday and mentioned this verse. Unfortunately, this is the case for so many people. God is in this place (wherever they are), but they don’t know it. Usually when I need comfort or assurance, I turn to the well-loved Psalms or Proverbs, but as God proves to me again and again, he is always with me and the comfort is woven into the very fiber of His Word.
Hope you’ve had a good start to your week. If you have any movie recommendations or favorite passages to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts.