Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day 14....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 14

Today is all about...
the pickle. A long time ago, when I was working full time and prior to having children, I had to go to a Customer Service training day as a mandatory employee training at the hospital I worked at. The day was a presentation all about Robert Farrell (founder of the Farrell Ice Cream Parlours) book and video presentation of "Give 'em the Pickle". The video and book were filled with stories on how to be a leader and how when a customer asks for something reasonable and within your ability to give it to them, give it to them. 

Thinking about today's post had me laughing out loud because....
22 years ago, I started giving 'em a pickle and I'm still giving out pickles :)

The pickle I'm giving is....
The Christmas Pickle. What is a Christmas Pickle you ask? Well supposedly it is an old German tradition, but I think that is all hogwash can read about HERE 

Here is the Pfeiffer Family Pickle....
The one that has been laid beside Santa's Cookies on Christmas Eve night for the last 19 years. I started this tradition when Katie was 1 year old. I bought this pickle when I was a newlywed at a little Christmas Shop in Nashville, Indiana (Brown County). Each Christmas Eve we set out Santa's Cookies and his glass of milk...along with the Christmas Pickle for Santa to hide on the tree.

Christmas Pickle

On Christmas Day....
the first kid to find the pickle (we have to tell them over and over to NOT LOOK at the tree until time to hunt) ~ Santa really makes it hard to find the pickle and with as many ornaments as I have on our is sometimes nearly impossible to find the pickle. The first kid to find the pickle gets to open their present first (we open our gifts one at a time in order from youngest to oldest - if you find the pickle you go first each round) 

My kids....
LOVE the Christmas Pickle. They always make sure it's out for Santa to hide. 

Simple fun....
that we've made into our own tradition...and there will be a Christmas Pickle at each one of their homes when they grow up and have their own family. 

So my suggestion:
Give 'em a Pickle!

I'm going to tell you how I use a pickle in my cooking.
More specific - How I use Pickle JUICE in my cooking.

Do you like Chick-Fil-A chicken?
I do.
And I found out I can replicate it and make it here at home - Cheaper and Better.
It is delicious. Wanna know how I figured out what they do? They always put a dill pickle slice on their chicken sandwiches. So one time I started really thinking about the possible ingredients to the chicken to make it flavorful and juicy and I think I hit it. So here is what I do: 

Vonna's Chicken Nuggets:

Cut your chicken into nugget size (whatever that may be for you).
Place nuggets in a large bowl.
Cover with milk (how ever much that takes)
SAVE all dill pickle juice from your jars when the pickles are gone and pour 1-2 cups into the milk. Mix with your hands and let it marinate at room temp for 30 minutes. OR you can put it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for much longer. The longer you marinate the better it is. 

*did you know that adding vinegar to milk makes buttermilk? Well that is effectively what we are doing here, we are creating our own buttermilk by using the pickle juice (which is essentially vinegar) As the nuggets marinate the milk will get thicker like buttermilk is. 

Breading Mixture:
in a 2 gallon ziplock bag mix together some flour (I never measure but I'd say with the quantity of nuggets I make I use probably: 3-4 cups all purpose flour
1-2 TBS. black pepper (this is to your taste)
1-2 TBS of Salt (you can always add more of this later)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
Mix up well inside the bag. 
Set aside.

Honey Mustard Sauce:
3/4 c. mayo (I make homemade - but you can use store bought)
6 TBS of honey
3 TBS of yellow mustard
6 tsp dijon mustard
6 tsp of lemon juice
MIX well and set aside. (I put mine in a squeeze bottle for easy storing)

Fill skillet or deep fryer with PEANUT OIL.
Layer a cookie sheet with paper towels for draining after frying.
After marinating, pour almost all of the milk/pickle juice off the nuggets, leaving 1/4 the amount that was in the bowl to help make the coating. Crack and beat 2-6 eggs (again this depends on how many nuggets you have - you want the egg to coat all the nuggets). 
Pour beaten eggs over nugget/milk/pickle juice mixture; Mix well.

Dredge the nuggets well in the flour, and immediately put into hot oil. Fry until golden.

Chicken Nuggets

Slap yo' Mama these are so doggone good. Hint I use this flour dredge with all my fried foods pickles, onion rings, okra, minute steak, tenderloins. The egg and the flour mixture makes for the lightest crunchiest coating ever! IT is delicious!

Did you know that I'm a helluva good cook? LOL! Well I am. We rarely eat out and when we do, I always come away disappointed. I can make anything better, healthier and cheaper at home than in a restaurant. When you eat like we do, why would you want to go out? I make 80% of our food myself from scratch, biscuits, dressings, condiments...getting away from processed food has been huge for us as a family. 

HAPPY DAY 14!!!!

Until tomorrow...
Love and Hugs in Stitches....
Vonna xxxx


  1. I'm gonna try me some Vonna Style Chicken Nuggets. My Mom is also a fantastic cook because she grew up on a farm down in Kentucky. We never ate out either because Dad wouldn't and didn't want to. Dad's favorite was Chicken and Dumplings. I rarely see dumplings made her way up north here. She makes the dough from scratch using the broth from the boiled chicken. Rolls it out and cuts it in strips, like big ol' noodles. I worked with a dear friend who was from Arkansas. I invited her over one weekend and she damn near cried because Mom made them like her Mom. She started calling my Mom "Mom" from then on and she called me her "li'l Sis". (We both loved Watermelon-it didn't have a chance with us around!) It was sad because her Mom died from breast cancer when she was a teenager and I could tell she missed her Momma so bad. Sadly my friend passed from breast cancer too. It runs deep and wide in her family and she told me she knew, she just knew, she would get it too. I truly miss her.

  2. Yummy!! I will have to try these for my grandchildren. Who doesn't love a good chicken nugget, this Grandma sure does. Merry Christmas Vonna! Cathy in Webster NY

  3. Love the Christmas pickle story! I need to try Vonna's chicken nugget recipe they look so good.. If Miss Ellie write dibs on them they must be really yummie my Grandkids would love them. Merry Christmas!

  4. Oh Vonna, I loved reading your Pickle story. What memories you have created and continue to create for your family! I remember the Farrell's Ice Cream parlors. It was a treat to go have an ice cream there. Thanks for sharing your chicken nugget recipe.

  5. Oh my goodness! I must try this chicken nugget recipe! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Vonna.

  6. I am so going to make these over Christmas! If I can get them to turn out like yours, these will be a huge hit at my house. :) Thank you, Vonna.

  7. Now I'm hungry! :)

  8. I was in the Dollar Tree a month ago and two ladies in front of me in line excitedly turned to tell me about how the store had GREEN PICKLES ornaments! They then explained the story of how the first child finding it got to open their present first. I, of course, immediately pictured kids ripping the tree apart to find it, lol. Now I realize you set up rules such as no touching, standing two feet back, etc. I love the idea of setting it out for Santa to hang! Thank you Vonna for making this world a better place!

  9. Vonna, Love the pickle and I have the same one on my tree.

  10. I just ate dinner, but I sure could eat one of your chicken nuggets! They sound yummy! I'm like you, I rarely eat out. I love cooking and baking (and eating). I live near Mount Olive, NC. They make pickles. They have a pickle festival every year and on New Year's Eve they drop a huge (fake) pickle at midnight.

  11. We have a pickle on our tree too. Santa used to put it on the tree but the 'kids' are now 31-38 and Santa goes to bed way before the kids these days so it goes on the tree when the rest of the ornaments but it is hidden very well and they can't look for it until after we open gifts. The pickle finder here gets a prize - could be anything from a game to a gift card. This year there are movie gift cards. Baby boy didn't clue his bride in the first year she was here for Christmas but the oldest has already told his girlfriend who will be spending her first Christmas with us this year.

  12. Thanks for sharing your pickle story. Too cute. I know a friend who does this too. Too neat.


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