Hot wangz

It feels so good to say that we have been cutting down on our fast food intake! Let me tell you, with life, jobs, kids, etc. it’s so easy to get defeated and pick-up/order something to eat. Some days after work I literally just want to crawl into bed (oh, and I have actually done that a few days last year, but thank God for summer vacation). When we do get take out I try not to go to chain restaurants because I know they are focused more on quantity than quality. So to fill this void, we’ve been trying to make our own versions of our favorite fast food dishes at home! It’s ironic because these dishes aren’t the fastest meals to make, but they are delicious and by making them at home I know that we are cutting soooo many calories. 

Below I am going to share one recipe we have been tweaking at, hot wangz aka wing dings with hot sauce. It’s such a favorite all around for us because I FINALLY realized that I live in a house full of car-ni-vores: bacon, chicken, even turkey does not stand a chance! I can eat my own small share of meat, but honestly I can also be okay without it.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the most delicious hot wangz: 

  • Bag of wing dings
  • Vegetable oil (or the variety you prefer)
  • Hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • One stick of butter 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Onion powder 

Once you gather all your ingredients, you’ll just need to grab your oven…oh, wait that’s there already. Well get a frying pan, baking pan, mixing bowl, tongs, and paper towels (an essential). 

                             Directions: 

  1. Make sure your wing dings are already thawed out. If not, soak them in cold water or defrost them in the microwave. 
  2. Season your wings with spices: salt, pepper, and onion powder. Completely cover chicken with paprika so that it gets a nice brown color once you fry it. Depending on the level of heat you want, add 1-2 teaspoons of hot pepper seeds and 1/2- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. (If you desire, marinate the chicken in the seasoning for 30 minutes in refrigerator or until ready to cook.)
  3. Once you have seasoned the chicken to your liking, get your frying pan and turn the heat to medium high heat. It is crucial that you allow the pan to warm evenly before adding the oil or your chicken will cook unevenly (nobody go time for that!). Once the pan has warmed for a minute or two, add your oil to the pan. There should be about 1/2 inch of oil in the pan (a little more than enough to cover the bottom of the pan). 
  4. Allow the oil to heat for a few minutes. Test to see if it is warm enough by flicking a tiny amount of water onto the oil. If it bubbles you’re good to go! If not, wait another minute and then test again. 
  5. Carefully add your chicken to the pan, being sure to give piece enough room to “breathe“. (You may have to cook them in batches depending on how filled your pan gets). The chicken should cook on each side about 7-10 minutes/until it’s nice and crispy (the crispier the better for us). While your chicken is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  6. Layer and lay your paper towel on your baking sheet and place cooked chicken on top to drain some of the oil off. While the chicken is draining you can make your sauce. In your mixing bowl combine the stick of butter with 2 cups of the hot sauce and put in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is completely melted into the sauce. Be sure to mix tother the butter and hot sauce for a even coating for your chicken. 
  7. Place your chicken wings into your mixing bowl and toss them around in the sauce. When the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce it’s time to bake in the goodness! Lay the wings evenly on your baking pan and bake them for 5-7 minutes. 
  8. At last, eat and enjoy your “homemade fast food”!!

Variations:

  • I make some barbecue hot wings for the kids and myself if I’m not feeling like all the spociness of the wings. Just use little to none of you hot sauce mixture and/or smother with Sweet Baby’s sauce instead. 
  • You could also bread your chicken by coating it with egg and then flour after seasoning. 
  • Use a different parts of the chicken, such as breasts or thighs if you don’t feel like dealing with bones. It will be much easier to quickly eat them this way (warning)!
  • Instead of baking in the flavor from the sauce, you could take those wonderful pieces straight to your plate or belly. I’ve done this plentttyy of times. 

🔥 Fire 🔥 

The thought of missing something.

Now it’s all clear. 

The time we spent wasn’t real. 

Figments. 

Apparitions. 

Hallucinations. 

You must be lost, guided by Osiris.  

Maybe your heart is made of fire: 

White as falling snowflakes on that neglected mustang. 

Yellow as an egg yolk split and fried.  

Orange as used and abused construction cones. 

Red as an unwanted apple, macintosh. 

That’s some fire.  

Let me avoid you. 

That flame is insane. 

Dim down, slow up

Nobody else needs to get hurt. 

I say this is a form of forgiveness.

Especially since you came from dirt.  

Twigs, moss, lint- God only knows

Go ahead and repent. 

Time is of the essence. 

We’ll never more forward. 

You can be you. 

I’ll be me. 

The day I’m dead is when you’ll see. 

I choose to play the game. 

You chose to walk away. 

But they were your rules. 

So how, exactly, did you lose?

You weren’t invested. 

Just like anyone else, your life was tested. 

You flunked. 

Now it’s time to repeat this course. 

The material is the same. 

Which professor did you choose? 

Poop science

Did you ever have one of those days where you just didn’t feel right? Your stomach was tight, queasy, or you felt a lot of pain? A lot of times problems in this area can be directed at one culprit: poop- or the lack their of

Poop is created by what you eat. Therefore, if you don’t eat right it will definitely come back to haunt you. Even the “right” things will haunt you if they’re no goood for your diet. Yes, you probably know that you’re lactose intolerant and still have that occasional cheese or suffer slightly from acid reflux, but you can’t let go of “Spaghetti Thursdays”. (I can’t just be preaching to myself people!)

Those things that are bad for us, we have to let go! Now maybe you don’t have any of the above issues. Maybe your problem is that you have too much salt in your diet. Did you know that salt is used as a preservative because it dries things out? So what do you think it’s doing to your insides?? Or maybe your system can’t handle gluten and you’re plagued with epic stomach pains and weight loss. You probably have a sense that something is off, but scared to address it. 

May I recommend a food journal? You don’t have to go out and buy a fancy book or invest in some crazy new lifestyle. Get whatever paper you have: lined, a marble notebook, scrap paper, etc. The goal of a food journal is to keep track of exactly what you are putting into your body and how it effects you. 

A few things you want to include in your journal:

  1. Date. Building a timeline helps to pinpoint what certain foods are doing to you. 
  2. Meals. What exactly did you eat or drink? (Down to the condiments you added.)
  3. Tummy. Note how your body reacts to what you ate. 

In the past, I diligently wrote in a food journal to determine my own issues. I’ve discovered that I have a sensitive stomach and I don’t do well with the “normal” food that most people eat. I must stay away from all things dairy, limit fried and spicy foods, and I can only deal with fruits and beef in moderation. My go to foods are poultry, fish, green vegetables, and baked foods. Oh, let’s not forget beverages! I can say yes to water and coffee, but I definitely have to watch soda/juice intake. 

It may also help to track where you are purchasing your food. I’ve been trying to have the family eat things with less ingredients (think Aldi) and few/no preservatives (think Trader Joe’s). This, this right here…my gut feels like I’ve been born again!

So take baby steps towards tracking and possibly changing your diet. You know what they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. So why would you expect your poop to change overnight (or in a few days)? 


Happy pooping, 

Jay 💩

Cat food

When we moved in, our first order of business was to find a kitten. Not because we feared a rodent infestation, but because we had wanted one for sometime. With two kids and full-time jobs, we knew that we wanted a pet that was pretty low maintenance and something that the children would enjoy. 

When our kitten first came to play she was super tiny. I was so afraid to hold her (as if she was a newborn baby) and she was scared to be in my arms (she probably thought I was a predator). As soon as I put her down she ran to the closet/smallest/darkest place she could find like it was a zombie apocalypse. It didn’t help that she was super sensitive to (literally) every sound she heard in the house. Someone could cross their leg or walk across the floor and she would dart. 

What seemed like forever for her to adjust to our home, was actually only a few months before she showed her true colors! In typical cat fashion she began to roam the house and find things that I did not notice during my “move-in cleaning frenzy”. When I would return from work she would be covered in dust, long hairs, and strange fabric. 

“So…Biscuit. I see you’ve had a pretty busy day,” I would say to her and her rebuttals were always the same tired, “meow” as if someone forced her to explore and get into things. Some nerve she had, if only I could get out of sticky situations with the same tired excuse…

To this day she still gets into things like clawing on the shower curtain or scratching up the side of the couch. We’re used to it, but try to make more of a conscious effort to close doors and deter her from destroying furniture. “Get down, Biscuit!” my daughter constantly shouts. Biscuit likes to play and get her attention, but she gets to focused on her tablet to have time for her. Biscuit’s largest crime to date is poaching food from a certain little person during meal time. 

My son will sit in his high chair minding his business and enjoying his meal when all of a sudden Biscuit jumps onto his head and starts taking the food he is eating right of his hand. GOT YA! This crazy scenario is only half true. She will usually go under his high chair in the hopes of getting any food that doesn’t make it to the promise land or sit and wait for him to feed her!

Yes. You read that completely right. My son, who is 17 months, feeds the cat. I wish I could stop giving him food that I know will end up in Biscuit’s mouth, unfortunately that would mean that he will never see a single vegetable on his tray and eat the same two meals for the rest of his life. What type of mother would I be to condemn him to chicken nuggets with french fries or spaghetti for the rest of his life?

So I continue to put stuff that he does not like onto his tray and hope that one day he will humor me and eat half of the items on his tray that he dislikes. If not, don’t be surprise if you read a post titled “How to put your cat on a diet by stopping your son from ‘sharing’ his food”. 

Love your kitty, 

-Jay 🖖🏾

…I cried

That time I cried. So many times I wiped my eyes. 

The warm moisture felt like good news. 
A Sunday morning, a drive in the warm rain. 

Things that feel good cause so much pain. 
That time I cried. 

I don’t want to look in your eyes. 

You didn’t even tell me goodbye. 
A Wednesday afternoon, going through the drive through. 

I wanted to pop a pill, but it was too real. 
That time I cried. 

It was only on the inside.

I couldn’t let them fall down cuz I would die. 
A Friday night, I didn’t really want to fight. 

I walked away so afraid. 

I knew it was over so I finally let go. 

#focus

Have you been in a situation recently that had you struggling to focus? I’m talking about those moments where your attention span grows smaller and smaller when the conversation/presentation seems to get longer and longer. Here’s some things I do to give myself a little mental break without being rude.  

1. “Keep a song in your heart”, as my mother says. I usually keep a good gospel or catchy song in my head. Something like “This Little Light of Mine” or “Push It” (don’t judge me) will usually do the trick.  

2. Writing on something unrelated helps me refocus. I’ll usually write ideas for the blog or a few lines of poetry to give my brain a break. On an average day my attention span is great, but if the environment is too bright, too noisy, or chaotic, my mind seems to drift away easily. 

3. Try to build a connection with the topic presented to something else. I’ve been known to make random food connections to topics in education. For some reason the classroom environment directly correlates to pizza and I’ve even used my favorite chip flavors as names for my small groups. Whatever floats your boat!

4. What if there’s a pop quiz? I don’t think this actually happens in adult world, but I’m sure someone will ask for your input, challenge you to a rebuttal, of simply ask, “What do you think?”. Stay on your p’s and q’s so you don’t have to ask them to repeat what they said because nobody likes repeating themselves if it’s something important and they’ll be able to tell you checked out. 

6. Relax. If somehow the above statements did not work for you or do not apply, take the situation as some down time in your day. Maybe you’re meeting about something you have already heard or maybe there’s a video that you must see. Enjoy the time while you can. 
Stay focused, 

Jay 🖖🏾

Snow Day Survival

I know what you’re thinking. It’s February in the Philadelphia area and we’ve barely seen snow. Well folks, the way they talked about the last appearance of snow, I thought we would have a nice 4 day weekend. So is it my fault or mother nature’s? Let’s blame the middle man instead and move into this non-exhaustive list. In the event of a true snow day or a really messy ice storm, I wanted to share some tips to make sure you and your family are covered. Keep on reading: 
1. The first time you hear the weather forecast hint at snow get those essentials. Like mama says: eggs, milk, and butter/bread because you can’t go wrong with those ingredients. I would also like to add flour, oil, and sugar. Sorry it’s the baker in me. 

2. Fuel up your transportation on your way home from work. However you like to get around will be crucial if their is an emergency like power loss or a deep freeze. You don’t want to be stranded on your own in the elements. 

3. Electronic components are a good idea to have, especially with the babes. (I must note, ours have been doing a good job of entertaining themselves lately without.) With the gadgets out today, be sure to charge your back up your portable chargers, flashlights, solar panels, etc. 

4. Keep layers of clothing at hand if there is a heating problem. This happened to us last year and was very scary with a newborn. Thank God for fleece jammies and extra thick comforters. Body warmth will also help if you get together with the family in one bed under the comforter, you won’t even know the difference. (Our kids try to practice this on a weekly basis, until the cat tries to join and then the fun is over!)

5. Shovel a few times throughout the day. It’s a necessity that you don’t blow your back out shoveling too much at once. Look for a lull in the snowfall and dash for your chance to clear a path for yourself of neighbors, but DON’T overdue it. The last thing you want is a visit to the emergency room on a snow day. I actually heard they’re usually filled with people for this very reason. 
Cheers, 

Jay 🖖🏾

#goodbye

I don’t sleep any more, barely even eat. This pain inside me is so deep. 
I try to silence them and they’re louder. 

Try to muffle them and they’re sour. 
Once we even ran away.

They wanted to take me to another place. 

Of course I disobeyed. 
I saw your face and I knew you were mine. 

Those almond cut eyes and v-cut chin. 

You even had that rounded mouth with those tight corners on the end. 
Something just wasn’t right, 

I tried to breathe back in. 
You pulled away and told me you must go. 

I didn’t even get your name. 

Guess I’ll never know. 
Now all I can do is wonder. 

no7 (Number 7) make-up

It was a casual shopping day-not a baby crying or preoccupied husband in sight. So of course one must treat themselves to a “little” trip to Ulta! I had my shadow with me and for the price of an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, I knew I would have at least an hour to do what I like to do. 

As we approached the entry way to the door, I did my quick mental checklist of what I absolutely needed and what would be a good addition to my makeup collection. At the top of the shopping list was setting powder, blush, and mascara. Okay, I thought, actually I don’t need any of these things, buttttt I’m tired of what I have so what harm could it do? As I walked over to my usual corner to check out the Revlon section, I was approached by a friendly person. 

Wow was all I could think at first because it is rare to find a person that goes out of their way to speak to you. Then I quickly realized that the person was an Ulta employee. Double WOW because they’re usually pretty preoccupied with other customers. Let’s see what the pitch of the day is

Something about “new makeup company,” she says. Something about, buildable coverage,”she says. “Affordable price…special gift.” Hold up, up! You had me at the last points of your pitch. “Okay,” I decide, “I’ll give it a try”. I guess in that spiel I missed the part that she said she would need to take a picture of my face to match with foundation. (Have to make sure I check my Auntie Anne’s timer…We’re still good!) 

As she applies the first shade of Number 7 foundation, I’m not sure what to expect. It’s a new company so I can’t really ask about other customer reviews. When she gives me the mirror it looks decent. Nice even coverage, no oily spots, blends well with the rest of my skin, but it just seems a little off. “Umm, this shade is okay, but it doesn’t really look like what I’m used to.”

“That’s okay,” she says and goes to retrieve another color that may be a possible match. She does a side by side comparison and also fixes up my eyebrows just a tad. BABY! I wish I had a pic to show you the awesomeness. If I didn’t already know love at first sight, this might be close. It was magic on my face, it felt almost velvety and on the side that matched-I just didn’t want to take it off. 

So…scratch all that from the previously mentioned mental checklist. I had to grab that foundation, lipstick (free gift), and I think I got my hands on some mascara at the last minute. Here are some looks achieved using the foundation:  

           

Keep the faith

A few years ago I got a tattoo on my wrist that simply says faith. This particular tattoo is a constant reminder of what I need to focus on. A minister once said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Let that sink in.)

I’ve been going through a lot in terms of work and all that good stuff, but I received a comforting message from an angel in disguise. As I stood hearing the message I almost cried.

There I was standing in front of my car trying to clean my windshield and a man standing in front of a large truck called out to me. “Hey! When you’re done over there can you come do all of this?” All I could do was chuckle. In my head I was thinking: 1. Why is someone trying to have a conversation with me this early in the morning. 2. Do I know you? 3. He can’t be serious, but I’ll play along. 

Me: Uh, no thanks. Not unless you’re hiring full-time. No part-time, on-call, or as needed. I have this one to worry about and another one.

Guy: I’m sure what you’re looking for is out there. Be patient, it will happen. 

Me: (jaw drops) Huh?

Guy: It will happen. You’re doing everything you need to do. 

Me: Yeah…I know. 

Guy: With the new government, you never know the opportunities that will be available either. 

Me: I don’t know if I have faith in the government, but we’ll see. (Finished cleaning windshields.)

Guy: Take care of yourself. 

Me: Thank you, you too. 

This man came from out the blue and he spoke to my soul and told me exactly what I needed to hear! If you’re going through anything KEEP THE FAITH! God always comes through.