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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

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So sorry! I know I said that the post would be up earlier last week, but too much homework got in the way, and by the time everything was said and done, I didn’t want to look at the computer screen any longer than I had to.

But here it is!

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Jalapeno Popper Chicken

  • 2 chicken breast, preferably organic
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese, whole fat
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup of pickled jalapenos, or 1-2 fresh, chopped into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil (for frying)

Start off by cutting your chicken breast almost in half, but stopping so that one side is still attached, essentially butterflying the breast.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeno, and some salt and pepper.

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Season the butterflied breasts with salt and pepper as well, on the outside of the breast. Stuff each breast with half of the mixture and fold over as well as you can to cover the filling.  Crack an egg in another bowl and lightly beat, then, pour out enough panko to cover both breasts on a plate. Use as much or as little panko as you like. I wanted a really nice crust so I used about a cup and half of panko.

Dip each breast in the egg and then, in the panko breadcrumbs. Fry in about 2 tbsp of oil in a nonstick skillet for about 3 minutes a side.  Make sure that it’s really hot, to get a good char on the panko.

Then you can lower the heat, and cover the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes a side longer, turning till it’s reached an internal temp of 180 degrees (according to my meat thermometer), or when you cut into it, it’s not pink on the inside.

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Serve with fries, if necessary. Although, this chicken was very filling, and I barely finished it without the rice side I had attempted to eat for dinner as well.




The Crisis

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Okay, so this was my day.

I got off work and ran some errands (and in the process got a killer new split-end leave-in treatment), then went home and discovered my doctor’s appt was not covered under insurance so I stayed on the phone with Aetna for 35 minutes fixing that mistake. Afterwards, I worked out, and made some nice jalepeno popper chicken (recipe tomorrow), and decided to be really awesome and clean my fish tank. A simple water change. Cause I’m so wonderful.


I’m not wonderful. Somehow in the process of doing a simple 30% water change I introduced a deadly and swift enemy. This enemy is still unknown, and sadly there were four casualties. My lovely and sweet cardinal tetras (photo below is not aquarium… cause sadly I barely have any fish in there) died. Within 30 minutes of the water change. At least the death was quick and painless (I hope).



I digress. Luckily, my ottos survived and the water is more or less clean. I went to my local sea/fresh water pet store and they double checked my water levels… and it was all good. All clear. I just have to say, I’ve never felt so helpless than being away from my ottos in those 45 minutes I was away. Simply awful.

When I got home I had a bunch of solutions to my problem, even one that was on the back burner for a while (my plants), and advice on how to proceed. I decided to share with you all, all those fishie lovers out there, that if this happens to you- don’t panic, and follow these rules, if the following applies to you.

Comments if I’m wrong on anything, etc are welcome. I want to know if I’m wrong so I never kill another fish again. Thanks 🙂

Here are my aquarium specs, before the tragedy happened:

  • 5.5 gal freshwater
  • 3 ottos
  • 4 cardinals
  • live plants
  • gravel, not sand
  • 3 years old
  • heater, filter, and aerator in operation
  1. I cleaned and moved around the gravel and noticed when the fish died that little white worms were in the water- and I thought “on no! they got my fish! Bastaaaards”.
  2. Don’t think #1
  3. The wormy things are planeria, and are harmless. If anything they break down the gravel bacteria. (see, it’s still a mystery of what killed my fish).
  4. Check your water for nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia.
  5. Check the pH level.
  6. Check if your temp is too high or too low (the shock of the change usually kills all fish unless the tank is over 30 gal- then the change is less noticeable and is mildly irritating to fishies).
  7. Add a poly-filter to your filter medium (this will help remove ANY additional toxins, irritants, bacteria that’s not good,etc in ONE week).

Cut this baby to size to fit into your filter.

  1. Toss poly-filter in a week and note it’s color. whatever the color that’s what the problem was.
  2. Add in SeaChem Stability (or similar) every other day in half doses for about 3-4 days for the good bacteria in it.
  3. Feed fish every other day
  4. Don’t MESS with the tank anymore for AT LEAST a week


I have live plans in my aquarium, and for a while they flourished. So did my algae. That’s why I got the ottos. Then, they started to die out, like the leaves would slowly disintegrate, one by one. I used Excel 3 times a week (to regulate the algae problem).

Apparently, my water was too clean (oddly, cause I do water changes about once every 3 months) and therefore the plants were starving. How strange! But basically, I had no nutrients in the water; in order for photosynthesis to occur in a tank, the plants need potassium, iron, and small traces of phosphate and nitrate (according to the aquarium dude- he’s worked there for like 8 years). And I had none!

I quickly picked up SeaChem Flourish which has all the different chemicals in varying levels to support plant growth.


So lessons learned. Several of them. And although I’m going to miss my three year old carindals I’m excited at the prospect of maybe getting some new fish, aside from tetras (should my tank survive this mystery attack).

Thanks for hanging in there in this “lesson of the day” sort of post. But seriously, I was bawling, I take fish seriously. This was traumatic, and now I’ve got a plan. And when there’s a plan there’s bound to be success.

Wish me luck!

Corned Beef to Celebrate March

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I was trying to figure out what to make this weekend, and I couldn’t think of anything better than corned beef. The first time I’ve made corned beef I followed a recipe and roasted it. The end result was dry and chewy. I knew I should have boiled it, but the instructions on the package just said roasting. This time I wouldn’t have any of that nonsense and I decided to do some research.

Apparently, roasting is very popular but timing varies between beef roasts and it’s just a guessing game. That’s not something I’m comfortable with. A few recipes however did mention braising. Braising is boiling but in the oven, basically. That sounded like a melding of the two things that people argued the most about. So I decided to try it.
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Corned Beef with Onion, Carrot, and Cabbage

1 3-lb package of corned beef with spices included
fennel seeds
black peppercorns
coriander seeds
mustard seeds
1 small head of lettuce, cut into half and chopped into strips.
4 cloves garlic
3 carrots, peels and cut into half
1 medium onion, cut into quarters

In a large pot add the corned beef and the packaged ingredients. Fill pot with lukewarm warm 4 inches above the meat. Put on medium high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer while skimming the skum off the top of the water for 15 minutes. When you skim, chances are you’re also going to be scooping the spices as well. Not to worry, you’ll be adding those before you put the pot into the oven.

After 15 minutes preheat oven to 325 degrees F and add carrots, onions, and garlic to the pot. Simmer for 4-6 more minutes. Add in the spices (seeds and peppercorns) according to your tastes, usually 2 tbsp each. Cover the pot with foil, and cover that tightly with the lid.

Place in oven for anywhere between 2 hr 45 min to 3 hrs.

Take out of the oven, and gently peel off the foil (careful not to burn yourself with the steam). Take out the corned beef and place into  foil, wrapping all sides tightly around the meat to keep with warm and tender. Attempt to remove the garlic (it’ll disintegrate, so be gentle with it), and add in the cabbage. Cook for about 8 minutes.

Excuse the spot by the plate. Some Guinness couldn't help but spill.

Excuse the spot by the plate. Some Guinness couldn’t help but spill.