Monday, September 29, 2014

honey chipotle asian chicken

I've been on a quest to find a delicious Chinese chicken to make at home without frying it.  So I first tried a recipe I found online called baked honey garlic chicken.  It used a method of oven-frying so to speak that required cutting up the chicken, then dipping it in egg and then breadcrumbs (I used Panko).  That's always an assembly line setup:


Out of the oven the chicken was nice and crispy and had good flavor, and while it had been baking I made the thick sauce:


We served it over rice drizzled instead of tossing the chicken in it because I wasn't sure I had enough sauce:


So the verdict was we really liked the way the chicken was done, but we didn't love the sauce.  So I found another recipe online that I wanted to try called honey chipotle chicken crispers.  I used the same method of baking the chicken but tried the new sauce, and we liked it much better.  I completely forgot to take a picture, but it looks about the same but a brighter orange more than a brown.  There's your mental picture.  HA.  So that recipe became a keeper:
I would recommend it as a nice spicy Chinese food-like dish.  Warning: it does not taste like the deep fried chicken you get at a restaurant, but that's okay...we weren't looking for an imitation dish per se, just a dish to enjoy with sauce and rice over chicken!

Friday, September 26, 2014

turkey bingo in september??

I know it's nowhere near Christmas or Thanksgiving...but I just found these pictures on my computer from Thanksgiving 2013, so I thought I would post them!!

Here is Andy helping his brother Tim work on his truck (he's a driver for FedEx):



Then this is our Thanksgiving group after we have eaten:


And it's time for singing....


Then it's time for turkey bingo!!  Everyone brings multiple small gifts, usually a dollar or less, and wraps them for the big pile on the floor:


Then after many rounds of bingo and stealing, people open away:



So there is lots of paper littering the floor, but it is much fun!  There is usually always one or two presents that get constantly stole, and lots of people guess what they are.  Last year we took a lot of the Russel Stover chocolate....not sure what we are taking this year!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

baked chicken legs

We eat a lot of chicken, and although it was well after Andy's birthday, I made him his favorite chicken leg recipe (fried and in hot sauce).  I didn't want fried chicken so I decided to try a recipe that my niece Nikki made and she raved about.  So I took the link she posted to the recipe and made two legs for me that way!

Don't they look tasty?


I love sauces, and I thought this sauce was very tasty.  My only problem was once you got past the skin, there wasn't much flavor on the leg itself.  I mean don't get me wrong, I kept dipping it in the sauce, but I was hoping somehow the flavor would be inside too.  So I'm not sure I would make this again, or maybe I should find another way to use the sauce to make sure it's all up in that chicken!?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

the fate of print journals in libraries

There are frequent debates about electronic vs. print resources in libraries, and this is especially a hot topic in academic libraries (i.e. universities and colleges) when it comes to journals.  Many people don't want to use a print journal because you can't keyword search the text inside, not to mention most journals cannot be checked out (ours can't), which means someone has to use it in the library or copy/scan it page by page. 

So when we had to clear out a wing of the library, it was time to take on a weeding project of print journals.  Since we have access to interlibrary loan (borrowing from other libraries) and Get It Now (a way to pay for our grad students and faculty to get articles on demand), we need to rely on those more and print less.  So the librarians went through a 150+ page spreadsheet and chose what we should keep and what we should withdraw.  Those decisions were compiled and unanimous withdraw decisions were processed.  The good news is that many of our print journals were no longer current, so they were an older collection of years like 1982-1993.  For journals that had a small collection of years like that, and weren't integral to a major, were a prime candidate for withdrawal. 

So all in all, we were able to withdraw to clear the room plus make enough room for plenty of seating in our quiet study area.  The complicated part is now all the journals have to be processed for withdrawal and come out of the catalog.  Since there wasn't enough time to do that before the start of school, the journals need to await processing somewhere....so this is what that looks like:



Careful stacking and leaning them against the wall helps keep them stable until it's time to process them.  Of course I'm sure we accidentally kept something we didn't need to and will withdraw something we didn't need to, but we'll deal with that as it comes up.  We'll subscribe to something online to replace the accident, which ultimately will hopefully be easier and more user-friendly than the print journal to begin with.

But that was our huge summer project, in addition to other projects, which made for a very labor-intensive summer but a super productive one!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

frozen yogurt granola bars

As promised in my previous blog about homemade granola, I was making another new recipe: frozen yogurt granola bars!  I love granola, I love frozen yogurt, so it's win-win, right?  And for those of you who are thinking ice cream, it's literally yogurt that you freeze, not ice cream. 

So first you make a granola bottom, packed with butter, and bake:


Then you put yogurt on top and freeze it.  Here it is post-freezer:


So although it looks all good, here is what happened to a piece I cut out:


You'll notice the granola is on the top, and that is because the granola bottom did NOT hold together in any way.  The only part that stayed together was the very thin layer that stuck to the yogurt.  Everything else crumbled - didn't stick to the yogurt layer or itself...it was as loose as the granola that I made originally.

So although the recipe I found online looked great, this was a bust in terms of logistics and presentation.  I obviously did not use blueberries and just used vanilla yogurt, but I don't think that is what made it fall apart.  The flavor of this was good, and don't get me wrong...I ate the whole thing just as a piled mess.  But I wouldn't make this again because instead I would just eat the granola by itself or with yogurt!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ahhhh...my back is happy

We have been considering buying a new bed for months, but have been putting it off until we were budget-ready.  In the meantime, my back hurts every morning when I get up because our bed has a dip in the center and it is not good for my back apparently.  So we finally bit the bullet and bought a new bed, taking advantage of the labor day sales.  Isn't she pretty?


It's a Tempurpedic, and it is heavenly.  My back no longer hurts when I wake up, which is nice.  I think what was making it hurt was because I often sleep on my stomach, and the dip in the bed made my back arch too much.  So we moved our mattress to the guest room so now our guests have a queen-sized bed instead of the full-size that was in there. 

Ahhhh....relief....memory foam is thy name.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

homemade granola

I realized it has been a long time since I tried a new recipe.  In fact, it's been since July.  Shame on me :)  But August got crazy busy with work and I wasn't putting a whole lot of time into meals, so I was making the oldies but goodies like sloppy joe casserole, burgers, chicken on the grill, etc. 

So I decided this week to make some new recipes...so they are coming back!  I have a lot of new recipes to try - they are waiting for me in my Pinterest account.  One was a homemade granola recipe.  I had everything on hand except some nuts and dried fruits.  When I went to the store, I found a mixture of nuts and dried fruits in the deli section that allowed me to get it all in one container:


So I used this online recipe for homemade granola I found, which was very easy, very few ingredients, and very natural.  I accidentally put the fruit in before baking it, which I realized was wrong after it came out of the oven :)  But here it is after baking:


So here is what is interesting about this granola.  It is very tasty, and I like the flavor, but it's not crunchy.  I was expecting crunchy, like the kind you buy, and it's not.  But I'm not sure that's bad.  Next time I think I will try baking it on a cookie sheet so it's spread out and might crunch up a bit.  But I have enough leftover nut/fruit mix to make another batch, so we'll see which way I like it better...but this is definitely a keeper.  I also get to explore how I want to eat it (as a snack, in a bowl with milk, etc.).  In fact, I specifically made this granola to use it as part of another new recipe...so we'll see how that goes!

Monday, September 8, 2014

i'm so fancy

Recently my mom received some of her mom's things since she had passed away.  I had asked for a few pieces of jewelry because I remember my grandma for a few things: always wearing jewelry, loving the color red, and wearing heels all her life (and she died at 96). 

So I was at my mom's and going through some of the things she got to pick out what I might like and then my sister gets some things as well.  There was a lot of jewelry but there was also a fur wrap, which was in pristine condition. 

So me being me, I was trying it all one at once:

You can't tell what all I'm wearing, but I have on the wrap, multiple necklaces, multiple bracelets, and a pin.  None of which match each other - there was a mix of colors and gold/silver. 

I ended up taking some of the jewelry and the fur wrap!  I plan on wearing it, because I would like to wear it and think of my grandma while I do.  That's better than sitting in my closet.  And I'm pretty sure it's a real fur, and animals were probably harmed, but that was long ago and I'm not hurting anymore.  I promise!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

everything's worth a little money!

It just goes to show you...you'll never know who needs what you have. Awhile ago we got a new stove because our old stove, pictured below, had a short in the right, front burner. We got it fixed once, just after the warranty expired, and then it started snapping and clicking again. I never loved that stove, and it came with the house from the builder. So we just put this in the garage when we got the new stove.


And there it sat while we tried to figure out what to do. We checked with some used appliance stores, but that didn't pan out. Then we thought about donating it, but it wasn't fully functional. So finally this past weekend, we decided it was time to reclaim our garage space. So I posted it on craigslist and golsn for $40. I was very up front about the burner, and about how it's just gray, not stainless steel, etc. I figured I would take any offer. 

In less than 24 hours I had about eight people who wanted it and it ended up going to a woman who drove down from Kentucky and paid the whole $40. We were prepared to give it away, so we thought $40 was awesome. The funny part is that she was so grateful to buy it because her stove just broke and she wasn't ready to buy brand new. 

So we cleaned a space out in our garage, got $40, and helped someone. That's a win, win, win!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

first week of school

I have survived the first week of classes here, and I think overall it went great.  It is a tiring time because there is just a ton to do and a ton of students.  Thursday night I slept from 9:00pm until 6:30am.  That was nice :)

I should be more in the blogging land in the coming weeks because hopefully things will calm down.  I say that now, but so far next week we only have a four-day week and I have 20 meetings and counting.  How did that happen????