Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snowmageddon 2014!

As a born and raised Florida girl, my time in the snow has been limited. I saw snow a few times in Colorado when I was little, and again in NYC when I moved there in 2007 (2 days into my February move, I realized that I needed to invest in a pair of waterproof boots ASAP!). Upon moving to Atlanta, I was pretty excited at the chance that we might see snow. Last year, Mother Nature just teased us with really cold weather and a few days of flurries. The last time Atlanta had a real snowfall was in 2011, so the odds weren't too strong of us getting another snow day soon. Every now and then, the 10 day forecast will show a little snow icon, only to disappoint yet again with a couple of flurries (if that) and more cold.

However, that all changed this Tuesday morning when I looked out my window. Holy crap - the meteorologists were right! We had snow! Not just flurries, but actual snow. And it was even sticking to the ground! I swear, I felt like a little kid, just sitting by the window watching the snow fall. I got a text from Mike saying that he'd be home around 2:00, and for me to wait to bring Penny outside until she got back since she'd never seen snow. We were psyched to see her reaction to it. Mike came home and walked in the door with a sled, of course. We put Penny's little pink down coat on her and took her outside. By now, the snow had accumulated quite a bit. He put her down, I had the camera ready to film, and...totally uneventful. We expected her to hop around or act like she didn't know where she was when instead, she walked around sniffing it, eating it, and peeing in it like it was nothing new. Turns out Penny loves the snow. Who knew?! We let her run around in it for awhile and she had a blast. A few minutes later, we were on our way to the park up the street. Seriously, you would have thought this dog had died and gone to heaven. What shocked us even more, was her reaction to the sled. Her reaction to the snow was un-exciting, so we were SURE she would freak out when she saw the sled. Nope. She loved that too. Mike would go to the top of the hill and she would follow him up there, and then run down the hill alongside him as he would go down the hill. It was quite cute, actually! After that, she ran around like the happiest dog on earth. Yesterday, the snow had stopped falling but it had accumulated even more on the ground, so back to the park we went. I tried the sled a little...down the world's smallest hill. I'm so accident prone and now that I'm carrying precious cargo, I didn't want to risk running into a tree.

The snow is starting to melt today, but I'm SO excited that I was actually able to experience some real snow. It's a good thing I still had those boots... As much fun as we had in the snow, unfortunately, not everyone had the same experience. I'm sure you've seen on the news or online that Atlanta was in a crisis the last couple of days. A lot of people think it's because we can't handle the snow, but it's not. Our government officials didn't handle the situation properly, and let all businesses and schools out at the same time, and didn't order the streets to be prepped to handle the snow and black ice. A lot of people were stuck in traffic for hours...some over 24 hours. Some schools stayed open and set up a place for students to sleep in the gyms overnight. Because the roads weren't properly prepped, there were nearly 1,300 accidents due to ice. It was pretty crazy. Mike got home from work in about 1.5-2 hours which is nothing compared to what others dealt with. Fortunately, it's over now, but it was such a mess. I just thank God that Mike made it home safe and that I was home, and that we were able to enjoy the time together. 

Here are some pics from our days in the park with our little ice princess (whose 3rd birthday happens to be today!). Enjoy!

Walking on our frozen fountain.

Is this not the happiest dog you've ever seen??

Our courtyard. 

The park by us, totally covered in snow.

Sledding down the hill with dad! She preferred running alongside it. 

Off they go!

Making sure mama's safe on the sled.

Making new friends in the snow!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pretzel Parmesan Crusted Chicken

A few days ago, I was watching a show where they were making pretzel coated chicken. It looked amazing but it was also fried. Now, even though I'm pregnant and you could probably fry anything and I'd eat it, I wanted something a little healthier (besides, I live in Atlanta and would rather spend my fried food calories on some REAL fried chicken). Last night, I came up with an alternative pretzel crusted chicken that was baked in pretzel crumbs and parmesan cheese and it worked out quite well. I had the parmesan on hand, but I'm sure you could substitute any shredded cheese in your fridge and it would be fine. I may try it with cheddar next...

Pretzel Parmesan Crusted Chicken 

- Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into about 2" cubes
- 1 1/2 cups of crushed pretzel crumbs - the actual amount of pretzels you'll use will vary, depending on the size (I used the small pretzel sticks)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt to taste, if using unsalted pretzels
- 1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 375. Place wire rack on a baking sheet and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. 

Cube chicken and set aside.

In a food processor, crush pretzels and parmesan until you have about a cup and a half. You'll have some fine crushed pieces (like breadcrumbs), and some larger chunks. Toss into a large Ziploc bag and add the garlic powder, paprika, and salt (if using).

Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg and add to the bag, about 1-2 pieces at a time. Make sure each piece is nicely coated in the crumb mixture. 

Place chicken pieces on the wire rack and bake for 30 minutes (the rack will allow them to cook evenly on top and bottom).

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce on the side. I served these with BBQ sauce to dip them in. 

Serve along with your favorite sides and that's it! I made a simple carrot/zucchini dish, marinated in herb infused olive oil and garlic, and roasted for about 25-30 minutes at 375, and rice pilaf (which was Uncle Ben's. I cheated.)

If you reheat these as leftovers, I recommend heating them in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Microwaving them might make them soggy. Enjoy!