a tale of two chickens

Recently, I did a group project in my Applied Food Chemistry class about fat-modified food products. My group decided to do a “Southern” theme and made comfort-food favorites, like macaroni and cheese, greens, a breakfast frittata, peach cobbler and fried chicken.

Fried Chicken.

I was in charge of the chicken, so I decided to treat Andrew to a “two-for” in one week–fried chicken twice!

My group pitted Paula Deen’s Southern Fried Chicken against Ellie Krieger’s Honey-Crisp Oven Fried Chicken (from her cookbook in my collection, no less).

I started by making the traditional deep-fried version.

I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. The chicken turned out just like you would get at Popeye’s–crispy, light brown skin and perfectly moist.

A few nights later, I tackled Ellie’s oven-fried version. It relied on a buttermilk soak for tenderness, bone-in, skinless thighs for moisture and a bit of sweetness from honey. The “breading” was a heavily seasoned cornflake cereal mixture.

I served it with two cold salads: a potato salad and an apple, fennel and golden raisin salad similar to one I get at Wegmans a lot.

Our verdict: Ellie’s won! The healthier version was more flavorful and the crispy crust was just as pleasing. That, and no giant oil mess or quart of oil to dispose of. I would definitely make this again.

Here are a couple photos from the actual group project, which was about two weeks ago now.

Our class chose Ellie’s version too, by 57% percent. What can I say, she’s good.

food = reward

I’ve been learning a lot doing the Made to Crave Bible Study with Emily.

I’ve definitely had eating issues my whole life.  No, I was never bulimic or anorexic or over-exercised or anything; I just started out as kind of a “chubby” kid and learned to find comfort in food.  Despite losing the extra pounds as I progressed into puberty and became more active, I always saw that ‘big kid’ in the mirror.  Even now, as a phenomenally healthy and active (if I do say so myself) woman pushing 30 (gasp!), I still struggle–so much–with food.  After my weight loss last summer, I’ve finally found a peace, if you can call it that, with my body that I’ve never felt before.  As a kid, I always thought to myself, “If I was thinner, I’d be happier.”  Well, we all know that life doesn’t magically become perfect or anything, and it’s ridiculous to think that something like losing a few pounds can change everything.  But, as I tell Andrew, now that I AM thinner, I’m happier, but it isn’t because I weigh less; it’s because I FINALLY met a life-long goal of losing those extra pounds and becoming confident in my body.

Anyway, this isn’t about weight-loss or body issues (but don’t we all have a ton!); this post is about how this Bible study is changing my life, one chapter at a time.

One thing I’ve realized is that I view food as a reward.  All the time.  For everything.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going out for ice cream after your team wins the tournament, or celebrating with a nice dinner, but people, I went out for an ice cream sundae to celebrate my weight-loss!  Is that not insane?  (It WAS good, I can tell you that!)

Anyway, I tend to think of food first when I want to celebrate, or do something fun, or meet up with people, or anything, really.  And it goes past just a ‘reward’ sometimes; it becomes something I ‘deserve.’ And it’s not just me.  Just the other day, I was at Wegmans to grocery shop–my ‘reward’ after my stats test–and I stopped in the cafe for a coffee.  As I deliberated between a regular cup of joe (to which I could add just a bit of cream and sugar and get by with minimal calorie damage), and that “candy bar latte” I’d been eyeing on my past few shopping trips, the lady behind the counter was patient enough to wait for me.  I ordered the regular coffee and mused that ‘it wouldn’t be such a calorie bomb, like the latte I was salivating over,’ when the cashier offered to put fewer pumps of flavor in it for me.  Realizing what I truly wanted was a “fun” coffee drink, I decided to go ahead with that.

Side note: I actually do that ALL. THE. TIME.  So much so, in fact, that Andrew’s sisters think it’s this huge joke and tease me that I always want ” half the pumps” when we go to Starbucks.  I just, for some reason, didn’t feel like it that day.

Anyway, back to the story.  While the barista was making my drink, I mentioned off-hand that I had just come from school, where I aced a test.  She quickly responded, “See? You DESERVE this drink!”

Just hearing those words come out of her mouth gave me a bad taste in mine.  Food–especially decadent food–has become such a comfort to us that we feel like we ‘deserve’ it after some arduous task.  Or triumph.  Or defeat.

Her comment definitely stopped me dead in my tracks and immediately made me think of what I was learning in the study.  I need to think of food LESS and God MORE.  That’s really all it boils down to, people.

I’ve been learning so much about myself, and in different areas of my life, through this study…more revelations to come.


don’t touch my fridge :)

You know how people always talk about how their leftovers get pushed to the very back of the fridge and then, weeks later, they have science projects to dispose of?  (Being in Microbiology right now, I’m getting more than my fair share of disgusting stories and germ information–part fascinating, part gross.)

Anyway, about the fridge.  No, I don’t ‘lose’ things in the fridge.  EVER.  As in, NEVER EVER.  Let’s just say the fridge (as I learned when having to share with Heather when she lived with me for a month–love you, dear!), is one of the things I’m pretty OCD about.

It’s my space, you know?

I know where everything is at any point in time.  And how much is left.  Everything has a spot. There is a spot for everything.  If there isn’t room, I make room in the right area.  Go ahead, ask me exactly what brand of soy sauce/milk/lime juice, where they are in the fridge and exactly how much is left in the container…  I can tell you.  Because I’m that weird.

But, again, it’s my thing.  I like a tidy fridge.  No crumbs, no spills.  Everything organized and easy to find.  I use good Tupperware or glass containers, preferably see-through and stain-resistant.  When we have leftovers, I feel a little “on-edge” until they are gone.  I don’t want to waste them.  I don’t want them to go bad.  Andrew probably wonders why I’m always pushing leftovers on him all the time…  They must disappear from the fridge in a timely manner!  They bother me.  They haunt me until they are gone.

So, no, these ‘science projects’ people speak of?  No clue.