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Spicy Baked Corn Dogs

When I was a kid, my Mom would occasionally fry up some corn dogs made completely from scratch.  Now that I'm a Mom I thought I'd do the same thing for my little one.  That being said, I'm not fond of frying since I manage to burn myself or ruin an article of clothing every time.  Plus baking is a far more healthy method of cooking.

Preheat oven to  425˚

2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix, 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 stick melted butter, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, paprika, 1 package of 8 hot dogs, 16 popsicle sticks

In a shallow mixing bowl mix together Jiffy mix, flour, eggs milk and melted butter.  The batter will be sticky.  At this point I typically set aside about 1/2 cup to make 2 corn dogs for Ava, this recipe is too spicy for her little taste buds.  Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic.  Mix until the spices are thoroughly blended into the batter.

Cut the corn dogs in half and stick the popsicle stick in half way.  They are much easier to work with half sized.

Spread the batter evenly over each dog.  Don't make them too thick, about a 1/2 inch thick will do nicely.  Try not to leave any of the dog exposed and seal the bottom by the stick.  This will keep the dogs from drying out while they bake.  Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 12 - 15 minutes on the middle rack.

Now you are ready to serve.  You can serve alone or with a dipping sauce of your choice (honey mustard?).  My neighbor, a major meat eater, eyed one cautiously before taking a bite.  On his way out the door, he grabbed a second for his 50 yard walk home.  Don't be discouraged if they crumble a little, the batter is very muffin-like.  You can cover the popsicle sticks with foil if you don't want them to brown.  I don't usually have that kind of time, and I have yet to start a fire... expect that one time at Thanksgiving... story for another time!

Curl Potential

Living in the south, most of my clients tend to have some kind of issue with frizz. I, myself,  have always attributed this to the weather and humidity. However, recently I was introduced to a way of thinking that changed that. "Frizz is just a curl waiting to happen," I heard a curly beauty say from the DevaCurl class. She caught my interest.  For the next hour and a half, she had my undivided attention. I walked away from her class with not only  knowledge but also feeling brave and inspired to find my, and my clients, curl potential.

For more than a month and a half I've embraced my curls. I've shared the freedom and empowered  my clients, combating frizz and unruly curls in a whole new way.

It seems that after more than a decade of straight hair being king of the industry, curly hair has made a come back of sorts. No, it's not the perm of the 80's. It's the natural bounce that you were created with that seems to be rocking the salons and the big screen.

Everyday woman and Hollywood "A-listers" alike are flocking to salons to find the magic that is DevaCurl.

With products like "nopoo", the suds-less cleanser, and "mister right" lavender spray to reinvigorate curls, it's no surprise that it's taking off.

"I never knew my hair was this curly," or "all my life I never thought I had curly hair," are just a few of the responses I love getting from my clients after the Deva three step. The simple cleanse, condition, and gel, bring your own curl to the surface, allowing them to shine like never before.

So if your fighting frizz and don't think straightening is the way for you, or if you just want to love the curl you know is there, take a peek at the new products that started this curly revolution. Discover your curl potential.

Cheddar Chicken

This is a great child friendly recipe that is also sure to impress the adults at the table.  Seriously who doesn't love cheese & crackers?  

Prep Time is about 30 minutes so it's great for busy Moms, cook time is 35 minutes and it serves 3 adults comfortably.  I recommend serving with your favorite vegetables and cous cous.

Ingredients:

1 package of chicken (3 breasts)

2 gallon sized freezer bags

1 1/2 teaspoons Braggs Amino Acids OR 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pinot Grigio Vinegar

1 egg

30 Ritz crackers

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons butter

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Trim your chicken and cuts the breasts in half (not filleted) and put them in a gallon sized freezer bag.

3. Add Braggs, vinegar and egg.  Seal the bag and make sure you've squeezed the air out.

4. Squish the marinade thoroughly in the bag.  Using a kitchen mallet, flatten the breasts so that they are about 3/4 of an inch thick and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

5. While the chicken marinades, fill the other plastic zippered bag with Ritz crackers.  Use a rolling pin to turn the crackers into crumbs.  Pour onto a plate, add cheese and toss with fork.

6. Dip each chicken breast into the cracker and cheese mixture and place onto a lightly sprayed pan.  The bottom doesn't need to be thickly coated, just the top.  Sprinkle remaining mixture onto the breasts.

7. Sprinkle minced garlic and pour melted butter across the breasts.

8. Bake for 35 minutes.

Serves 3

On a side note, I usually skip the butter and just spray with a little olive oil to make the crust stick but last night I treated the family to a little extra fat and boy did it go over well.  I believe my husbands response was, "Dang Baby, this is awesome!  What did you do different?"  While there are ways to "health" this recipe up, it sure is fun AS IS!

Negativity & The Water Cooler

Is the water cooler half empty or half full?  What are you doing standing there? God delivered the Israelites from slavery & Pharaoh’s rule; His commitment to them was taking them to the Promise Land.  By day he guided them by a cloud, at night with fire.  He provided manna from heaven and water from rocks.  When they arrived at the border, Moses sent 12 spies to scout out the land; upon their return 10 had reports with a negative spin.  The land flowed with milk and honey, but it was ruled by powerful men in large fortified cities!

“And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored… the land devours those living in it.  All the people we saw there are of great size… we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.” Numbers: 13:32-33

Have you noticed that once one person has started complaining about work or the boss it's only a matter or minutes before everyone within earshot has put in their two cents.  Negativity spreads like an infectious disease. And while some, most or all of the statements may be true (I’ve been there!) they are far from necessary.  The most common response after a whining session is “well it makes me feel better”, but I have a hard believing that’s true.

Coughing up phlegm when you have a cough might provide some relief for an hour or so, but the reality is there is plenty more where that came from.  Yes, I’m comparing negativity to phlegm, because while you may have a few moments of gratification after sharing your negative thoughts with the office, complaining will not heal you.  In fact, the more you cough, the higher the risk of infecting the whole office.  And while misery may love company, it sure makes for a long day and a miserable work environment.

When you feel a coughing spell coming on, take a sip from the water cooler and ask yourself what seas God has parted for you.  Are you are dwelling solely on the negative instead of remembering all the positive things God has done for you?

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for providing me with the opportunities I have at work.  Please help me set my mind on things above and not on earthly things.

Still Hungry?  Nehemiah faced overwhelming negativity when he was tasked with rebuilding the wall aroundJerusalemin Nehemiah 1 – 6.

Connect to the Future

Whether consciously or subconsciously,women imitate other women. We draw from those we admire and those who take time to teach us . The best way to  "become who we are created to be" is to be led by our mothers and sisters. We might be biologically connected to these women or they might be people whose paths have crossed with ours  any place in the world. As a woman with a gift or talent (we all have them), we can then teach and lead others.  In our family, cooking and eating are  times to link generations and we begin to teach the culinary arts early in a child's life.  

 

 

Today is no exception as my daughter Kala and granddaughter Ava prepared a quick and easy summer appetizer.

 

 

Fresh Fig Appetizer

Ingredients

8 fresh figs

1/4c. honey or blue agave sweetener

1 fresh lime

cracked pepper corns

goat cheese

 

First, mix  the juice of one lime with the honey or blue agave.

 

 

Next, slice the figs in half (Ava is given a spreader and a couple of figs). Fill each fig-half with  1t. of goat cheese. Arrange figs on serving plate and drizzle the sweetener over them. Finish off with fresh cracked pepper.

 

While it takes a little time and patience to include a little one in food preparations, gardening or whatever it is that you do well, the payoff is great. Legacy is established, mentorship is birthed and trust binds lives together.

Time and love connect us to the future.

Simple Accomplishments

By now, our New Year goals for 2011, for many of us busy women, may seem a little too unrealistic.  I have been guilty of making my  “to do” list so long that I became overwhelmed and accomplished nothing.   I have recently discovered a simple way to organize all of my family photos and kid’s events.  I have been haunted over the past few years trying to keep them all together with a system that works.  Simplicity is my new favorite friend.  I have a few steps that work and make me feel good about myself and well organized. SIMPLICITY is also the key to eating healthier and can make a difference in managing your weight.  See if any of these can work for you.

1. Switch from Regular Soda to diet.

Think about it, a 12 oz can of coke is 140 calories.  Do you really want your calories going to drinks that have no nutritional value?  If you take out 2 cokes a day or an equivalent of 300 calories in drinks and walk 2 miles which burns approximately 200 calories, you have decreased your calories by 500 a day, which leads to weight loss of 1 lb a week. If you can’t stand the thought of a diet drink, get a fountain drink and have half real and half diet until you gradually acquire the taste of a diet soda.

2. Never skip breakfast.

Eating breakfast kick starts our metabolism and gives energy for the activities that face us throughout the day.  You may think you are saving calories by skipping breakfast, but we tend to overeat in our other meals.  Choose a breakfast that is full of protein and fiber that will assist to control your appetite for the day.  One of my new favorites is Nature’s Grain Bagel at only 150 calories and a whopping 19 grams of fiber (75% of recommended daily fiber allowance). Pair this with 1 TBS of peanut butter and a banana and you have a great tasting nutritional breakfast for 320 calories, 5 grams of Protein and 21 grams of fiber.  That is a deal. Not only is it delicious; but because it is loaded with fiber and nutrients, you will notice how satisfied you are with less cravings for sugary foods.

3. Chew your food slowly and always sit down when you eat.

We can be in such a hurry while we eat, we do not even realize how much we are consuming.  Enjoy every bite of your food along with the company and conversation.  Make sure you are sitting down and looking at your food before you get started instead of running around doing multiple projects.  Pay attention to your food and get to know it before getting started

4. Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes.

A sweet potato contains twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, almost half of the recommend daily amount of vitamin C, and, if you eat the skin, even more fiber than oatmeal. Make a habit of replacing a sweet potato for white potatoes and white rice. It gives you more bang for your buck and can fill a sweet tooth.

5. Ask for salad dressing on the side and choose lower cal dressing.

Never allow someone else to be in charge of your salad dressing.  Unforeseen calories can easily add up.

Make your healthy plan simple for you in 2011.  Simplicity can get things accomplished.