You all know that I got cookbooks for Christmas right? I'm not the kind of gal that lets a good cookbook sit on the shelf as decoration, thus giving the appearance that I am a good cook with a spotless kitchen. OH NO... My cookbooks have sticky notes of various neon colors sticking out of them. They are batter smudged, grease spattered and flour sprinkled, usually spread out across the equally smudged counter or on my night stand (bedtime reading). I love me a good cookbook. My most recent addition to the beloved collection is full of knock off recipes from various restaurants. Some of those secret recipes are not so secret anymore...
I've been busy lately trying out some of these copy cats. I made up a batch of Hooters Wings for our weekly, family American Idol night. Lemme just tell you right now, they were GOOD! I can't say for sure whether they measure up to the real deal or not. I'll let you be the judge of that. Give em a try for yourself or better yet, come on over and let me whip up a batch for you. Then we can decide together whether the scantily clad, overworked girls in orange are necessary.
I know, this is a disgusting picture right? Ick...raw chicken. It's here for a reason. I'm just showing you how the wings should be cut.
Start with about 14 wings cut into sections and throw out the wing tips. Hint: Use a very sharp heavy knife.
Rinse your wing pieces and keep them a bit damp.
Next mix together your batter of about a cup of flour and 2 teaspoons each of cayenne pepper and paprika. More cayenne if you like your wings on the spicy side.
Put your wings in a sealable bowl or zip bag, throw in the flour mixture, seal it up and give it good shake until you wings are well coated. This is where the recipe book says to put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to seal the coating. Ummmm.... who wants to wait 30 more minutes for delicious hot wings? Not me. You can if you want to.
Plunge those little wingdings right down in some hot oil and fry em up until they are golden brown.
While you are waiting on that golden brown color, gather your ingredients for the sauce.
You'll need a stick of butter (8 Tbsp), 1 cup of hot sauce, black pepper to taste and 4 cloves of garlic.
Let your wings drain after frying. Lately I've been using paper grocery sacks for this purpose. The commissary has decided to start sacking groceries in paper instead of plastic. I guess it's cheaper? Or earth friendly? Whatever the reason, I now have plenty of paper sacks to make use of. They are also great for cooling cookies fresh from the oven. Before I know it Gracie will have figured out how to remake one into a Sunday dress or an outfit for Snickers or curtains for her room... With that kid, you just never know.
So anyway, whisk your sauce ingredients together and bring it to a simmer. Be careful not to let it boil or the butter will separate out too much. If that happens just turn the heat down and whisk it back together. I speak from experience.
Pour your sauce over your wings and stir them around to coat them. The next step is the trick. Put the coated wings into an ovenproof dish and slide them into a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes. This sets the sauce into the coating and makes them look less like they are swimming in an orange pond.
Again, I had mixed reviews on this recipe. The over 30 crowd of Aunts, Uncles and my sweetheart said:" They are delicious and perfect, don't change a thing". I even got one "These are the best wings I've ever eaten" comment. Wow!
The under 20 crowd consisting of my children and the cousins said: "They are yummy but they could use a little more heat".
It's retro week over on Facebook. Everyone is posting their throwback pictures from back in the day. The girls and I have had the best fun going through and scanning in a lot of old prints. If nothing else it has caused me to realize how badly I need to do that very thing with ALL of our old printed photos.
So sit back and enjoy out little trip down memory lane. Hang on tight, it might get a little scary.
Oh I so remember the day when Foofy was new, and clean, and hole free. I also remember when floral printed denim was stylish. You go Aunt Pattie!
Back when Lee was in the Army we went through a good deal of butch wax to get that flat top to stand at attention. Caitlin has always had her own unique sense of style.
This is one of my very favorite pictures of them when they were little.
There's that unique Caitlin style again.
Hurricane Holly strikes again. She's sporting raviolis that Jonathan and Tracy gave her the day we brought Abbie home from the hospital.
Speaking of Abbie. Oh My Goodness! This picture makes me laugh and cry all at the same time. Too much cuteness.
Take a look at that skinny girl. I now know why my earlobes are a bit saggy. It's those huge honkin' earrings I wore in the 80's!
It just so happened that Snickers came into our lives about 10 years ago. That's just about the time that the internet was really beginning to change the way people operated every day. It only made sense to me to call myself by my dog's name in cyberspace. I can't imagine being known on the web by anything other than snickerdoodledog.
Unfortunately 1o years is a long time for a dog. We think she was about 2 when she came to us so that would make her about 12 years old. That's 84 in doggie years.
Her age is showing lately. She's slowed down, sleeps alot, has cloudy eyes and she can't hear. Lee says she has selective hearing. I say she's stone deaf. Worst of all she has cancer.
For a while there I could barely budge her long little behind off the couch. I also could not get her to eat. My guess was that the end was near for my sweet Snicky. I took her to the vet who confirmed that she had cancer and also told me her teeth were bad. Because of her age she could not withstand the anesthesia to fix these things. "Let her live her last days happy, feed her some wet food." said the vet.
So off we went to Pet Smart to pick up a box full of Little Champions and Little Csars beef and chicken dinners in gravy. Yum.
Let me just tell you that the day Snickers got her first Little C dinner was the day she decided she had a reason to live again. In the mornings she wakes us up before dawn sometimes bouncing around our feet like a puppy, running to her food bowl and back. My mom and dad recently dog sat for us and she snookered them into as many Little C dinners as she possibly could. They are kind of pushovers for the granddog though.
That vet visit was over a year ago and Snickers seems as happy now as ever. She still sleeps a lot and she would not hear a bomb if it went off in the garage but I guess age has it's entitlements.
This probably won't mean much to most of you but...
I've made some changes here at Lovin' Life At Home. Can you see them? I felt like such a smart geek messing around with HTML yesterday. Let me know if you notice any of the changes. They're small but I think they make a big difference.
On another note:
Look who cooked our pancakes we had for supper last night.
Well I did it. I cooked up an original Paula Deen recipe right straight from her cookbook. I usually tweek recipes just a little to suit us better but this time there was NO tweeking. Lee and the girls liked it in spite of the onions and bell peppers. I did make sure to cut the offenders large enough to be picked out by the picky eaters among us. The dish was called Swiss Steak and I'm still wondering why it's called that and what Paula is doing with a Swiss recipe in Savannah, Georgia. Anyway, I don't think I can share the exact recipe here, I'm thinking there may be rules against such things. The last thing I need is a night in jail and I would not even know how to word an apology letter to Paula. SO generally speaking I'll just say that I took some cubed steak and dusted it in flour and other seasonings like salt and pepper. I browned it in pan of hot oil then put the pieces into my faithful crockpot. I dumped in a can of diced tomatoes, some chopped onion and bell pepper, a little water and a couple cloves of minced garlic. I used the can of tomatoes that was labeled "Marinated in garlic and olive oil". There isn't much that I would not eat that has been marinated in garlic and olive oil! YUM! I turned the crockpot up on high and let it go for about 6 hours. The result was a tender, delicious, aromatic delight served over white rice with crusty french bread. You gotta give it a try.
At our house we have a rating system for new recipes. I take a poll. Would you be willing to eat this weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, yearly or never again? Paula's Swiss Steak got a solid monthly rating with a wavering bi-monthly from at least two family members. Don't let that fool you though, you have to remember the picky no onion and pepper eaters among us.
BTW, I consider a yearly rating to really be a never again rating. A yearly rating in translation means "Mom we don't want to hurt your feelings and we know you went to a lot of effort here but please never make us eat this again".
A. Diamonds B. Emeralds C. Rubies D. Cubic Zirconias
2. We all live in a ___________ submarine.
A. Russian B. Purple C. Yellow D. Navy
3. Help! I need ____________
A. Some assistance B. A Motrin C. Coffee D. Somebody
4. I wanna hold your ___________
A. Money B. Purse while you shop C. Hand D. Chicken
If you answered any of the questions correctly on this quiz, you are probably older than 30. OR.... You (or your cousin) may have received Beatles Rock Band for Christmas. Therefore, every spare minute has been spent perfecting your guitar licks or song lyrics. Rock~N~Roll is here to stay.
I had an interesting thought earlier this week after listening to my children humming Beatles tunes around the house. Generations of children are now being exposed to The Fab Four all thanks to last Christmas's must have gift. My guess is that most of these kiddos could not name those four fellows if they were pressed but they do know "It's Been a Hard Days Night".
The Beatles have been revived and they live on in a new generation.
Look who showed up this morning to help me make my grocery list. These are women I would love to take to Starbucks, treat them to a Latte' and chat the afternoon away. I would not mind a bit if Rachel Ray joined us too. Although I'm not sure who would dominate the conversation more. I think Rachel could give Paula a run for her money in the chattiness category. I've never heard the Pioneer Woman talk but I'm sure that she and I would hit it off just fine. She cooks, she's got kids and dogs and she blogs... What's not to love?
Since none of these gals were available for coffee this afternoon I was forced to settle for their books while I munched my grapes. You cannot possibly browse through these books and not get hungry!
List made, groceries bought, yummy food emerging from my kitchen soon to follow. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime if any of you chat with Paula, Ree or Rachel, let them know about my coffee offer.
Isn't this picture the funniest?! That's Lee and his dad. No, we did not plan their outfits, it just happened that way. No jokes please about their predictable wives. Although we Brown gals do have great tastes, in men at least. We know a good thing when we see it!
The funny thing is that Lee's dad got almost the exact same outfit as a gift. Hey! I hear you out there cracking jokes.
There's my hunky Georgia boy in his red shirt and blue jeans.