Bacon-Ranch Chicken

Well I got the idea from here…”Ranch Style Chicken”…sounds good, right?  And it probably is, but it really isn’t “Ranch”-y as in Ranch seasoning.  I think the name of the dish just kind of came from the fact that the author lives on a ranch.  This is fine, and I am sure her version is delicious.  However, I decided to make ours Bacon-Ranch Chicken as in Bacon, Ranch seasoning, and chicken!  Of course, I did not come up with the idea on my own either…but I googled “Ranch Chicken,” I believe it was, and this is what I found and came up with!

Cook some bacon.  Coat your chicken breasts with liquid Ranch salad dressing, then in dredge in bread crumbs.  Fry the coated chicken in the grease from the bacon (I know, I know…so unhealthy!)  Then, after a few minutes on both sides, when your chicken has some good color, place in an oven-safe dish and bake for about ten minutes or until cooked through.  Take out of the oven, place two slices of bacon on top of each chicken breast, and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Place the pan back into the oven until the cheese is melted.  (You can turn on the broiler for a few seconds if necessary to melt the cheese more quickly…watch it, though!  It burns food real fast!)  Remove chicken from oven, call your husband, thank God for it, and devour!

If you want to be extra unhealthy, deep fry some thinly sliced onion for Onion Strings!

Book Review: Son of Hamas

I have to say: the title and cover of this book is what caught me.  It was listed as a bestseller on under the “Religion and Spirituality” section; so I clicked on a few reviews, and ended up buying and reading it over the past week.

Son of Hamas is the autobiography of Mosab Hassan Yousef, eldest son of one of the founders of the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas.  Mosab grew up in the organization–steeped in Islam–through all of his childhood years, learning to hate and want to kill Israelis.  One day, while on his way to school, he was captured by one of the Israeli intelligence services, and through many events, became a trusted informant and spy against Hamas, while still acting a terrorist.  In the midst of everything, Mosab is given a Bible in the Arabic tongue, and invited to a Christian Bible study in Jerusalem.  Over time, Mosab accepts Jesus Christ as God and Saviour: rejecting the teachings of Islam, and embracing the love of God.  Mosab, still, continued to be one of the Israeli government’s most valued sources, and through him, dozens of terrorist plots were foiled, perhaps saving multitudes of lives on both sides of the conflict.

As a whole, the plot of Son of Hamas moves extremely fast, almost too fast in my opinion.  The narrative could have been many pages longer.  Nonetheless, the books leaves the reader feeling like he is actually a part of this gripping thriller, almost to the point where it seams like fiction: though most of the story has happened even in my recent memory.  Political and military secrets are revealed, surprisingly, even though the conflict is still very much alive today.  As an Islamic, Arab, Palestinian, Mr. Yousef captures the feeling of his people extremely well–making the reader better understand their culture and traditions, and how they affect the world today.  He also shows true compassion for his people, and the true answer to the conflict in the Middle-East: Jesus Christ.

IKEA What?-Part II

…continued from IKEA What?-Part I

We knew that we wanted to go back to IKEA and look deeper at what we would enjoy having in our home: if we saw something that we liked there, we could get it, and if not, we would at least make a fun day of it.  I was settled on purchasing new bedroom furniture, or possibly new living room furniture; but, we were pretty much open to anything.

We decided that New Year’s Day would be a perfect day to go.  We both had the day off, and they had an annual sale going on that week.  We borrowed a friend’s trusty old Suburban (we weren’t going to try and jam whatever we got into our little Saturn…not that we haven’t done things like that before…), and headed off to the Baltimore suburbs around noon.

During the hour-long drive, we got to talking about what we really wanted.  We began to lean away from the bedroom and living room furniture, and towards a new kitchen table and chairs.  Let’s just say that at the time, our current dining room set had a lot of history behind it; but nothing matched, and it was not the sturdiest thing in the world either.

We arrived at the store, and immediately went to eat at their restaurant.  They had a special where you could get fifteen Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, a cream sauce/gravy, and Lingonberry jam for $3.99, so we both went for that, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we went searching.  We grabbed our pencil, card, and shopping bag, and headed in.  Almost immediately, the first thing that caught our eye was the most interesting and innovative–but simple–tie rack.  My ties usually just end up on very generic tie rack, and overflow onto a bent-out-of-shape hanger.  This one would clean everything up just how we wanted.  One thing about IKEA, which you will find out about more in the next post in this series, is that they are the masters of organization.  We grabbed the information on it and continued on…

My new tie rack

Eventually we came to the kitchen and dining area.  I think that this is one of their most unique and popular parts of the store.  They have a wide selection of kitchen organization solutions, as well as plenty of dining room options.  We looked around–back and forth–for about a half an hour, trying to find something that would fit our needs.  Neither of us had a clue what we wanted exactly in a dining room set.  Their were some very nice sets that were a bit out of our price range, but all together, nothing caught our eye–expensive or inexpensive–like the elegant (did I just write that word?) GRANÅS set of table and chairs.  It gave off a little bit of a modern look, without being way out there where it didn’t feel like home.  It is has a tempered glass tabletop, sitting on a sturdy black steel frame and legs.  One perk is a second lattice style tabletop/shelf underneath the glass that can be used to display decorations without cluttering the eating area (it is kind of difficult to see in the pictures below).  The chairs are made from the same simply constructed black steel, but also have a woven cane seating pad, that promotes comfort and styling–plus made it much easier to match with the rest of our kitchen.  We were extremely happy with our purchase: it is very well built, and looks great in our home.  With the table, we also purchased four place-mats that go well with the set.

We bought a few other things as well, but that will be saved for the last post in the series…

Interior Decorating

I saw this idea and directions to “do it yourself” here, and I couldn’t resist.  It looked so easy, and seemed to be just my style!  I bought all the supplies: foam board (you can purchase at craft stores, or use what comes in the mail for packing), straight pins (about a ga-zillion!), fabric, and something to mount it with (some used double-sided foam tape, or maybe even sticky-tac…read on to see what I did).

Then today I set to work.  I used 1/2″ thick foam board from Joann Fabrics.  I cut it to the size I wanted…four 12×18″ pieces, and three 12×12″ pieces.  Be careful not to cut through your carpet if you try this!  Measure and cut the fabric about two inches larger on all sides than the size of the foam board you wish to wrap.  Then wrap the fabric around, doing the corners like a Christmas gift, or however you like it.  The original sight that posted this idea gives a good way to do corners.  I just advise you do them all uniformly, whichever way you choose to use.  Then you pin the fabric down into the foam with straight pins at an angle so they do not show through the front of your project.  I used plenty of pins to ensure the fabric was secure.

When finished, mount the pieces how and where you like them!  I mounted these three in our master bedroom (pardon the yellow lighting –I could have waited for daylight pictures, but then you might not be reading this right now!)…

…and came back a while later to this:

…every piece of tape, exactly in position, but no fabric boards!  It was then I realized duct tape was not going to work!  So, in addition, I took one more straight pin and carefully inserted it straight in through the top center (front) of each board (just as if you were nailing something to the wall, only with a straight pin, your fingers, and maybe a thimble.  You can hardly even see it.  I may be the only one who does!

So here are the final results…in three different parts of the house.

So wha’ da ya think?