-Megan Pikula guest post
It seems I have put the blog on a backburner to focus on another passion; my little online store on Etsy. The shop is http://www.etsy.com/shop/MuckaDuck; we sell handmade, repurposed do dads.Welcome to “Muck a Duck” our online store for jewelry, pillows, and art. Everything is handmade using repurposed materials in addition to new elements. We met at the age of sixteen and realized we were kindred spirits. Partially due the fact we know too much about one another we have remained loyal compadres.
At various times in our lives we married, had careers as an attorney and a social worker, had some savage beasts we love as children and then returned to our roots-soul surfing. We create tid bits and throw it into the world and hope someone appreciates it. Thanks for following our misguided adventures. This started as a happy accident that became a little business. Feel free to send us a shout out and check in with us as we add new b’s to our baubles.
Check out the shop and give me your feedback!
I believe I am innately bored by many things. Although I appreciate silliness, I tend to find most things wry and just okay. People will criticize this but it’s honest which tends to be the point of everything. Further I would like to add I have read a million self help books and embrace therapy to find the ‘art of happiness and fulfillment.’ I believe in the value of living in the moment. I just require more practice.
This leads me to my next thought; the laws of attraction. My husband is my polar opposite in regards to outlook. Obviously environmental factors have shaped our fundamental differences. My childhood was steeped in dysfunction and the gravity of shitty choices. While Mike’s childhood was perhaps not idyllic for all, it provided him a sense of security and happiness. Mike remarks after most encounters “that was fun.” The other night when he said this I thought to myself ‘that’s overkill, it was a movie.’
I write this post with admiration for the people around me who share this optimistic vantage point. I am in unbelievable envy of merriment and giddiness. Although due to me being myself, I rarely think people’s gaiety matches the life event taking place. Most people who exude abundant happiness seem to approach every day with the same flavor. Of course it’s unseemly to tell people to tone it down when they express happiness from working out or eating at a restaurant.
Today was one of those days where I felt perhaps my true family is with the curmudgeon down the street who waits for the mail-person to deliver in order to rant about his misfortunes. I may not share his negativity but I do get him.
Today my six-year-old and my husband waited roughly three hours outside for dirt to be delivered. My husband was convinced the truck was right around the corner at 2pm. By 4:30 I crossed my arms and stepped outside. I looked at Mike and said “really, you have nothing better to do.” I felt like I was running a group home with my family waiting outside for something, anything to take place. I say this with tenderness because I worked in group homes for years while in college. The residents rarely have an agenda except to wait.
I asked my daughter “what are you doing outside?” She replied with a wide grin “counting red leaves!” To this, I had nothing to add except , “alrighty then.” I did wonder how both father and child found their current activities so amusing. Mike looked over at Anni and smiled “great pile.”
My other daughter is far more like myself. She always seems to have intent and purpose. Mike asked if she wanted to come outside and she asked “why.” When she heard the answer was waiting for dirt, she said “no, I will take a bath.” She’s three.
I am bemused by my in home residents; daughters that differ so completely and love me entirely. And I feel so lucky in love with the goofiest time jack that is Mike.
Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken
by Meseidy on March 19, 2010
Yesterday as I stood in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner I wondered to myself, how do those people do it on those shows where they are given random ingredients and are suppose come up with something genius. I think I stood there for a solid 20 minutes looking in the cupboards and staring into the freezer hoping that I would be struck by some ingenious idea. Then I saw the oranges and it hit me “O-raang Shh-ikun”….that is orange chicken if you can’t understand the accent.
I love orange chicken and I almost always order # 14 Orange Chicken when we order Chinese take out and I wondered to myself if I could make it better at home. This recipe most definitely delivered! Ha ha chinese food…delivered….get it? Am I a dork?
The sauce is sweet, tangy, there is no lack in orange flavor and the red pepper flakes give it just a touch of heat. I thought I would dredge the chicken in corn starch instead of flour to keep it light and also in panko breadcrumbs to give it a little crunch. It was the right call, the chicken came out lightly breaded and still held up a bit of a crunch when tossed in the sauce. Delicious!
Combine corn starch, salt, and pepper. Prepare a bowl with beaten eggs, panko bread crumbs and another with corn starch. Dip chicken in egg mixture, dredge in cornstarch, then again in the eggs and finally in the panko bread crumbs, set aside. Heat pan with vegetable oil to 375 degrees, fry chicken in batches until completely cooked.
As you finish each batch drain cooked chicken in a paper towel lined plate.
In a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens.
Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired garnish with green onions, which I would have used but I didn’t have any.
We loved, loved, loved this and I had to refrain totally gorging myself. At first I wasn’t even trying to make something with posting it in mind, I was just trying to make “something” for dinner, but it was so good I had to share it. I have to say that this is definitely better then takeout. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-1/2” cubes
- 1 ½ cups corn starch
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Oil (for frying)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ginger root, minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
Combine corn starch, salt, and pepper. Prepare a bowl with beaten eggs, another with panko bread crumbs and another with corn starch. Dip chicken in egg mixture, dredge in cornstarch, then again in the eggs and finally in the panko bread crumbs, set aside. Heat pan with vegetable oil to 375 degrees, fry chicken in batches until completely cooked.
In a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired garnish with green onions.