Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lions and Zebras and Trains, Oh My!: Easiest Crispiest Chicken

We arrived at night, in the dark.  So I was pleasantly surprised in the morning when Thatbaby announced there were duckies right outside.

It was our first animal sighting of the day.  But it wouldn't be our last!  We were spending the day at The Living Desert.  Based on how much Thatbaby enjoyed it the last time we were out there, we figured it would be a hit.  It was.  But really, with trains, animals, and a carousel, what's not to love?

Our first stop of the morning were the trains.  Thatbaby didn't want to leave.  Even with the promise of animals.  When we finally managed to drag him away, he made us promise to bring him back before we left.

He did love the animals though.  The giraffes, the antelope, the zebras.

Although he claimed his favorite was the wolf.  I think a combination of the fact that we've been working on wolf howls from his Halloween books, and the wolf he met over the summer in Yosemite. 

And of course, there were nice goats to brush and pet.

And there were loads of statues and activities to climb on and play in.

To get to see the wolf, we got to experience the gardens - which we haven't gotten the opportunity to do for years.  Thatbaby was especially impressed with the giant cacti.  He let out a big gasp, pointed, and then said "OH MY!"  When we asked where he picked up this phrase, he informed us that BA says Oh My.  So now I'm a little concerned that BA lied about being 2.  He is quite obviously 62.

We also stopped in the butterfly garden on the way home.  It was neat to see so many butterflies flying all around us.

Following the cardinal rule of "never wake a sleeping toddler" we all ended up taking a nap in the car when Thatbaby fell asleep on the way back to the hotel.  When he awoke, we headed to the pool.

Thatbaby loved the big pool, but the highlight was probably the slide.  I thought he would get scared going down, but he didn't.  As soon as they hit the bottom, he was screaming "MORE!"

He also loved the baby pool.  This was his first experience with a pool his size, where he didn't need us to support him.  And he was in heaven.  Thatboy kept trying to get him to go back in the bigger, warmer pool, but Thatbaby kept insisting he wanted to stay in the "little pool."

I'll cover the food we ate later, but tonight I share with you one of my all time easiest, so-you-just-got-back-from-vacation meals.  The secret?  Chicken thighs.  Chicken thighs with skin.  Something that I rarely make.  I'm a white meat kind of girl.  But chicken thighs, with their darker meat, maintain moisture in a way chicken breasts don't.  And although we usually go skinless for health reasons, if you want something easy, leaving the skin on provides all the flavor you need.  Crank up the oven, season with salt and pepper, and you've got yourself a crispy skinned, moist and easy dinner.

Easiest Crispiest Chicken
4 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes.


  1. Looks like a fun time was had by all!! I loved the "oh, my!" bit.

  2. This post made me think of my son when he was younger. He was absolutely fascinated with giraffes (memories).
    You can see thatbaby's excitement coming down the slide. The little pool was a perfect place for the little guy. I can see why he did not want to get out.

    I have over the years moved to chicken thighs over breasts. They do have more calories/fat but their flavor holds and it is worth it.

  3. I grew up in the south and eating chicken but my FAV is crispy skin on the chicken! Well Done! :)

  4. Looks like a fun day! My grandmother is going to Palm Springs again this winter and is asking if we're going to come for a week. We're still undecided, but this looks like something fun for E if we do go.

  5. Oh my goodness! How much fun! Seriously couldn't contain all the joy here. And thank you for sharing yet another delicious recipe with us! I hope you have a good end to your week!