Feeding Littles: Nuggets a la Chick-Fil-A

This recipe wouldn't really fit into the category of "healthy" kids food, compared to the rest of the foods in this series - but they are definitely healthier than Chick-fil-A's version: they're baked with coconut oil, rather than fried with peanut oil, and they don't have nearly as much salt. My kids love these nuggets, and they don't upset their stomachs like the nuggets I sometimes get in the freezer section or at the drive-thru. We also like to prepare whole filets using this same recipe, having a knock-off Chick-fil-A sandwich night - always a welcome dinner in our house, since we live over 200 miles from one of the restaurants. They take a bit more time than all the other recipes I've shared, but my family is always glad I put in the extra work.
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Prep time: 2 hrs. 20 min.
Cook time: 40 min.

What you'll need: 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 3 chicken breasts 
  • Brine of one 24 oz. bottle of sweet pickles 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • 2 heaping tbsp powdered sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a tin foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet with coconut oil. 

Butterfly the chicken breasts and lay them flat on a large cutting board. Cover them with a layer of plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, flatten the breasts to about 1/2 inch thickness. Slice the breasts into small (2 inch) pieces, and stack them in a container that has a lid. Cover the chicken with the pickle brine and store it in the fridge for at least two hours.

When you are about ready to remove the chicken from the fridge, set up your dredging line: combine the flour, two dashes of cayenne, and the powdered sugar in one container. Toss to combine, and set it aside. Then beat the eggs and the milk together in a separate container and set that aside as well.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat-dry the pieces with paper towels, discarding the brine. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Dredge four or five pieces of chicken at a time - first in the flour mixture, then in the egg, then in the flour again. Line the pieces on the cookie sheet, leaving a bit of space between each one. Flip the pieces to cover them with the oil, so the outside is nice and crisp, rather than flour-y.

Bake them for about 40 minutes - turning over the nuggets after about 20 - until they are a nice golden brown. This recipe makes 40 nuggets, and any extras can be frozen and reheated at 400° for 15 minutes.

Feeding Littles: Pineapple Coconut Fish Bites

Hey, I'm back! And after no less than one year, I've finally got another Feeding Littles post for you. I thought of these when I first started the series but, for whatever reason, never featured them. I think I was worried about wasting a whole pack of cod if they didn't turn out well. But I'm happy to announce that, this afternoon, I concocted a batch that the kids not only ate, but all asked for seconds of! I actually had to cut them off so there would be enough for a couple more lunch times. So without further ado, I present for your delectation and delight...
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What you'll need:

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 9 oz. coconut flakes (about 2/3rds of a standard-sized bag)
  • 2 cups flour  
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice (from canned pineapple)
  • 16 oz. frozen cod fillets
  • Salt
Preheat the oven to 400°. Coat a tin foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet with coconut oil. 

Prepare the assembly line: beat the eggs and pineapple juice together in a bowl and set them aside. In another bowl, toss the coconut flakes with about three tablespoons of flour and set it aside as well. Set aside the remaining flour in a third container (I find a container with a lid to be ideal, so four or five pieces of fish can be toss-coated in one second).

Leaving the cod in its original packaging, let the fillets thaw in cool water in your sink just long enough that the outsides are no longer rock hard. Remove them from their individual wrappers and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut them into cubes or strips - whatever is preferable for your kids (I cut mine mostly into cubes of about 2 in.). Lightly salt the fish and, if you are using a portable cutting board, move your board closer to the assembly line.

Dredge four or five pieces of the fish in the flour. Then dredge them in the egg mixture. Finish with the coconut flakes. Line the coated pieces of fish on the cookie sheet, leaving a bit of space between each one. Cook for about 40 minutes (turning after about 20), or until the coconut flakes have lightly browned. Depending on how small you cut yours, this will make around 30-40 fish bites.

Store extras in the freezer and reheat them at 400° for 15 minutes for future lunches.

A little announcement

Over the past several months of silence here, I've gotten emails asking if I'm shutting down Of Anselm. Certain word searches and emails/comments from strangers have made me severely regret putting as much of my life - and, more importantly, the lives of my children - out for the consumption of people I mostly don't know. It's very easy to say "there will always be weirdos and perverts" when one hasn't actually encountered any, or when one's living relies on the churning-out of regular, relatable blog content. I'm not willing to take that stand anymore, because I think there are more important things to fight for than online friendships (which have meant a lot to me) or the excitement of landing on one more person's "Daily Reads" list. So I've deleted all posts which are mainly related to my children, and will keep this blog up for the occasional non-personal post. 

I know pics of landscapes and still lives don't incite the passion and empathy that toilet training tales and pregnancy struggles do - and I know that, without those posts, I never would have developed some of the friendships I've made online - but I hope you can appreciate the decision anyway. 

Thanks for reading, guys.

Blush

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Today we're getting back into our routine yet again. We spent a wonderful week with my mom and step-dad - who did our laundry, weeded our garden, loved the babies, and brought us out for dessert pretty much every night. Now that all the excitement has died down, I'm putting away all the laundry my mom folded, eating healthy food, riding my bike again, and finally getting around to potting the succulents my mom and I bought. It was fun mixing and matching all the plants at Lowe's with my mom, trying to find the perfect marriage of color and symmetry. I really love the blushing set we came home with.

What does your monday look like?


Thank Heaven for Little Girls - Guest Post by Lindsay from Hello Hue


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Lindsay is another long-time favorite of mine in the blogging world. She's got the sweetest, most positive attitude about life, and a bold personality that I just love and admire! Lindsay is about to welcome her own little boy into the world this summer - little Silas Kai! I can't wait for you to visit her beautiful blog and experience life through her artistic, colorful eyes.
Hello sweet Of Anselm readers! My name is Lindsay and I write over on the blog Hello Hue. Naomi is taking time to soak in and enjoy their sweet baby girl and I'm so ecstatic for her and her sweet family!

My own baby boy is due in August, but as I sat down to write for this post, I had fun daydreaming about what it might be like to bring a little girl into the world. Oh, the ruffle-butts, the sweet headbands and all that pink!

Besides all the adorable girly things, what would it be like to raise a girl? What would I want her to know?

I'd want her to know that her mom and dad love her dearly, that Jesus does too and that she is absolutely lovely the way she is. There's so much in society telling our beautiful girls to act this way and look like this, but I hope my little girl would be unique and groove to her own beat.

I'd tell her to...

eat ice cream for dinner every now and then

go ahead and wear white before Memorial Day

love people that others choose to scorn

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sure, pair that purple skirt with the green top!

take notes with hot pink ink

try out for the hockey team

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dance to the music, no matter where you are

color outside the lines!

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What would you want your favorite little girl to know?



The banner for the Thank Heaven for Little Girls series was created 
by the talented Oana Befort.

Thank Heaven for Little Girls: Guest Post by Cindy from Hungry Girl por Vida

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I don't remember a time that I didn't read Cindy's blog. She's been a regular source of inspiration to me, with her mouth-watering recipes, amazing food styling, and enviable photography skills. The cherry on top is that she's a genuinely sweet soul who always engages her readers. I'm so happy to call her a blogging friend!
Hello! I’m Cindy and I blog over at Hungry Girl por Vida. I am so excited to share this sweet recipe with you, as Naomi and Co. welcome their new gem of a girl into the world. I have yet to earn the title of Mama, but as a wife, daughter, sister, and aunt, I do know a bit about the joy of growing families (my 2nd niece will be born this September!). There are few things as worthy of celebration as new life and in my opinion—every celebration needs a fitting cake. 

When Naomi asked me to create this post, all she required was something girly…and goodness, can I do girly! I waffled between going crazy with colored frosting and sprinkles or going a more au natural route, but when I visited the farmer’s market the first local berries of the season were making an appearance—fresh, vibrant, and new. So fitting for the task at hand, I think. Delicate, tiny berries always make me swoon, so I changed my plan and reworked it to showcase those late-spring gems. This cake is a simple chocolate pound cake, frosted with whipped, vanilla bean buttercream, and sandwiched with my favorite jam. I opted to sugar some of the berries for a little sparkle…because, really, there’s nothing girlier than a little glitz!

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Chocolate Pound Cake
Adapted from this post

These cakes are little guys, about 2.5 inches in diameter. To get this shape, I baked the cake in an 8x8 baking pan, cooled the cake, and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter. 
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg white, cold-beaten well
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8x8 inch baking pan by buttering and lining bottom with parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6 cup capacity tube pan for a more classic shape. 

In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine.

Add the oil, egg, and white. Mix on medium-high for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl as needed. Combine  buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the batter, mix for 2 minutes, scraping as needed. Scrape the batter into pan.

Bake the cake in the oven for about 25-35 minutes (it may take a little longer in the tube pan). Cool 10 minutes in the pan before unmolding to cool completely on cooling racks.

Once cooled completely, cut out circles of cake, you should have enough cake for 4 mini cakes. Save the cake scraps for snacking or another recipe (cake pops?!)

Vanilla Whipped Buttercream
Adapted from this recipe
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded 
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, off the heat, whisk together ¼ cup of the milk with the flour and salt to create a smooth paste—being sure to whisk out any lumps. Whisk in the remaining milk until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and paste-like but does not take on any color. Remove from heat and scrape into a wide dish to cool, or stir over an ice bath until cooled. Set aside.

Meanwhile, rub vanilla beans into sugar until fragrant. Using a mixer, beat butter until creamy, add vanilla sugar and beat until light, fluffy, and pale in color—4-6 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the flour paste mixture, increase the speed to medium and beat until creamy and fluffy—3-5 minutes. Use immediately. 

To assemble:
  • 4 teaspoons jam (I used Bonne Maman 4 Fruits)
  • 1 batch whipped buttercream
  • 4 mini cakes
  • piping bag and plain round tip (a tip larger than 4 is nice for this task)
Cut each cake in half, horizontally, to create 2 layers. Spread the bottom layer with a thin coating of frosting, using the piping bag, pipe a wall of frosting around the perimeter of the bottom layer to contain the jam filling. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of the bottom layer, top with the top layer and repeat with the remaining cakes. Frost the cakes generously and pipe decorations as desired. Top with sugared berries*.

*To sugar berries, simply brush a bit of beaten egg white onto each berry, roll in sugar, and set aside to dry.
The banner for the Thank Heaven for Little Girls series was created 
by the talented Oana Befort.

Thank Heaven for Little Girls: Guest Post by Jen from JT and the Sea


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Jen of JT and the Sea always has such a chill nautical aesthetic that keeps me coming back for more. I can almost taste the Atlantic breeze when I read her blog - which is overflowing with beautiful, casual photos (some of which you can even purchase from her Etsyof her laid-back Maryland life. She and I have never met in person, but we're united by so many of the same dear friends and family back home, it feels like we already know each other in real life. Jen just had her first child (a beautiful little boy named Owen!) so be sure to visit her blog to congratulate the new parents!
Hello Of Anselm readers! I am so excited to be guest posting for Naomi while she welcomes her new baby girl. Congrats Naomi!

With the excitement of little girls, pretty bows and ruffled skirts, I just kept thinking about one of the quintessential parts of growing up girly: keeping a journal.

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As I was growing up, I kept a journal on and off again for years. Sometimes I would randomly decide to change books and continue my saga with a shiny new set of pages, one of which even had the "footprints" poem on the cover (I really just liked how the footprints were indented into the binding:).

At one point, I switched from keeping a journal to scrap-booking, but the effort that I put into it was way too great for what I really wanted: a simple place to store knick-knacks and memories. I started using moleskine notebooks as little storage containers for ticket stubs, stickers, photographs, letters from friends and song lyrics.

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I gave one to my husband, then boyfriend, for his birthday and he loved it. Having a little place where you can flip through your memories is so sweet and makes me want to keep every little piece of our vacations and journeys.

While we were engaged, my husband and I would pass a moleskin book back and forth to each other, keeping it for days at a time. We would write little letters to each other or stick a photo on one page and a poem on the next. I loved getting to share this book with him and I still adore looking back through it. 

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I had friends who would fill up journals with thousands upon thousands of words and ramblings and I was always a bit dismayed that I just didn't have it in me to sit and write night after night about my life. I just don't have the patience to do that, which is one of the reason I think blogging is so nice, because it's a great little journal of sorts that takes half the time of writing by hand:) But, there is something so special about taking the time to write and really think about what you want to remember. I definitely have a grumpy teenage journal and that one really isn't very fun to look back on. So the journals that I adore are the ones that remind me of my sweet college friends in Idaho, my adoring grandmother and sun-soaked summers spent with my husband. These are the memories that I want to keep and remind myself of.

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I can't stand hoarding things that I am not going to use, so these books give me a way to keep things organized in a place that I know I can find them and really treasure them. My journals are my junk box: bits and pieces of my life and history that I can keep and love and share.
The banner for the Thank Heaven for Little Girls series was created 
by the talented Oana Befort.