I’ve been learning a lot of life lessons from my dog lately.
It’s Wednesday, the middle of a busy week, and I woke up tired. I did not want to get out of bed. The usual morning chores however – walking the dog, tidying up the kitchen, making coffee and preparing lunch – pulled me begrudgingly downstairs. I turned on the lights and sat down in a chair at the table, wishing to give myself just a few more minutes of rest. I didn’t want to do Wednesday morning.
My dog came prancing in and positioned herself with her butt closest to me, scratches in this area being something we humans apparently are really missing out on. Reflexively, I ran my fingers through her fur and gave her the pets she desired. Her tail was wagging jubilantly in a circle and she looked back at me, tongue hanging sideways out of her mouth, with this look of absolutely exuberance. I laughed out loud and hugged her tight, a big smile on my face and all the weight of the morning diminished.
Yesterday on NPR I heard this segment called Been There. It’s a show for people to connect with others who have shared experiences. On the show was a woman in her early thirties with two young children who had lost her husband suddenly to cancer. NPR had found a man who had experienced a similar situation, losing his wife in his thirties with an infant son to care for. Their conversation was heart breaking. It got me thinking – Karma has it right. Each morning I get up and get to live another day in my wonderful life with my family, friends, and soul mate. Each morning is one I should celebrate. I should greet each touch, each hug, each laugh, each car ride, each meal I have with my people (dogs included) with a tongue out, crazy-eyed grin. Because, in the end, what else is more important?
Kenny and I love chicken wings, but the fried ones covered in a thick sugary sauce are an occasional indulgence only. If you like to enjoy wings a little more often, I’d suggest trying this recipe out. Marinating the wings overnight infuses a great flavor – especially if you follow my trusted marinade recipe – and roasting crisps up the skin similar to frying. It’s not quite the same as deep fried, but still very very good. I also tinkered with the traditional ranch by adding fresh avocado for more nutrition and flavor, as well as a recipe for homemade ranch seasoning. Prepare the seasoning on the side, and slowly add to the avocado cream. You’ll find you don’t need too much!
Roasted Chili Chicken Wings & Avocado RanchPrint Recipe
- 20 - 25 chicken wings
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp salt + more to taste
- 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper + more to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 8 - 10 sprigs of oregano
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 limes
- 1/4 cup dry buttermilk
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried chives
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Carrots as desired
- Celery as desired
- Cilantro sprigs as desired
In a large plastic bag, combine salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic cloves, vinegar, oregano, honey, olive oil and cayenne. Add chicken wings and massage bag to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for 12 - 24 hours.
When ready to eat, Preheat the oven to 425F. Lay wings flat on a well greased baking sheet. Bake in center rack for 20 minutes, flip to the other side and bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until desired crispiness is achieved. Keep an eye - some ovens might need an additional 10 minutes.
While chicken is baking, prepare the avocado ranch. Scoop out avocado flesh into a small bowl. Squeeze lime juice on top of the avocado flesh. Mash the avocado, then mix in the sour cream, dry buttermilk, Italian seasoning, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve wings with celery, carrots, cilantro and avocado ranch.