You can’t hear me right now but I’m letting out a huge sigh. A huge sigh because I’m relieved with my realization.
A lot of people in my life tend to think that I have a lot of anxiety and stress. I don’t feel like I do but maybe it’s the way I come off to people. I can’t help it but I have to stay busy. I think that’s the only thing I really know how to be. My life is always a constant movement. In a sense, I need to “stop and smell the roses.” You only get one life, right?
Well, that’s the catch 22 I’m dealing with. Everyone says you have one life so you want to live it to the fullest. So I’m living it to the fullest by doing what I love. And yet, everything that I’m loving is apparently also too “consuming” and I need to “slow down.”
I don’t usually write posts like this but it’s really been weighing on me because recently I’ve come to realize that life is about balance and compromise. You must balance/juggle work all the time and compromise and UNDERSTAND that you can’t always do it all. You just have to LET IT GO sometimes and breathe.
I’m saying all this because last night when I was shooting various dishes, I got really frustrated and annoyed that my pictures weren’t turning out the way I wanted them to. The lighting is starting to get worse in the evening and I’m not used to that yet. Summer is about to come to a close and that means the sun sets earlier and earlier. I found the sweet spot in my house for great natural light in the evenings but lately I’ve noticed it’s really starting to get worse the further into summer we go. Long story short, I stressed out over this. I got all in a bad mood over LIGHTING and the fact that I’m going to have to start doing all my photography on the weekends again (I really hate winter).
This was a moment of, “stop and smell the roses” and be happy with what you have at the moment. No one is perfect, not everything is going to turn out the way you want it to, you just gotta deal. So, I stopped sulking. I just said to myself, there is always tomorrow. Food lasts a while, you can photograph this tomorrow when you’re off work and the lighting is better during the day.
Lesson: don’t stress over what you can’t control. It’ll work out in the end, even if in the moment you think it’s the end of the world.
Now that I got that out of the way..let’s talk chicken fingers!! Chicken tenders are my FAVORITE American restaurant dish. 95% of the time I order the chicken tenders platter off the menu at any given restaurant. It’s become a game to me to compare each restaurant’s chicken tenders and which one has the best batter and best technique. The best I ever had was at Blue Ridge Grill in Leesburg, VA a few weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve ever had such great chicken tenders. They were breaded in a very unique way and flash fried. This gave it the most amazing and crunchy crust. I couldn’t stop thinking about them so I tried to replicate them (the crust at least). I didn’t fry them because I wanted to healthify these as well. I baked them!
Let me tell you – these could be up for a fierce competition with Blue Ridge Grill ;)
Baked chicken fingers with all the crunch of the fried version but a fraction of the fat!
- 10 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, sliced into strips (I bought the individually packaged Purdue chicken tenderloins & each packet comes with 5 each)
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a shallow dish, combine panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to get it all incorporated.
- In another shallow dish, beat the 3 eggs together.
- Take the chicken strips and dip them in the egg mixture then cover the chicken strips with the panko mixture. Gently press the panko mixture on the chicken to make sure it's well coated.
- Lay the strips next to each other on the baking sheets and repeat until all the chicken strips have been coated.
- Bake for 20 minutes then turn on the broiler and broil them for another 5 minutes to get the outside even more crispy & a light brown color.
- Serve immediately with honey mustard or BBQ sauce or ketchup!
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.