New Year’s Resolutions & Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs

9 Mar

grandma and pa for new years blog post

2016.  One hundred years ago my grandparents were little kids running around their hometown of Westerville, located in south central Ohio.  My grandfather’s family farm which fed mulitudes of people in the community and raised at least seven children, is now a strip mall.  Today Westerville is essentially a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.  My grandmother, Pauline Steck Norris, told me how they would wait for the mail carrier to arrive in order to receive the weather reports.  Later, as a couple, Fred and Pauline moved to Knoxville, Tennessee with their young child (my mother, Catherine Elizabeth) in tow.  Fred had received a teaching position in the Botany Department at UT.  My uncle, Frank Norris, was born there three or four years later. My grandparents’ families wanted them to have choices beyond the farm and small town.  Their rural upbringing instilled in them not only a strong work ethic but a gratitude ethic as well.  They were also Depression era people.  Raising their own family with the recent memory of those times.  They taught their children and their grandchildren what is ‘just enough’.  As a kid visiting them, I would be frustrated at times that I had to watch so closely, how much butter went on the bread and how much hot water to use in the bathtub.  But I also respected them very much in how they practiced restraint with so much gratitude and still appreciated life in a very rich way.  They were both naturalists, so that might have something to do with it.  Blissing out on the intricacies of flowering plants and fruits is something I know I can spend a lot of time doing!  When we would talk about New Year’s resolutions my grandfather would say “keeping it good and happy and healthy.  Whatever details you need to do to make that happen, do it.”

So, what is happening at The Pepper Forrest, you ask?  In order to “keep it good and happy and healthy”?

We’ve looked deeply at what is really working on our farm to produce and share with the world.

Climate change, the drought and one-hundred years of fire suppression in our mountain range is keeping us on our toes with water management and fire-ready brushing for structure protection.

Our kids are growing quickly and are in school but we still wear all the hats on our farm and for our business.  And it is important for us to be involved in our small community too.

Feedback from customers and friends has let us know that we should be in more stores for easy access and hopefully a wider customer base.  You’d like to see more photos and hear more stories of our farm, how we do it and how we are doing.  You’d like to see more recipes to build upon the recipe library.  We are excited about creating a recipe series on different cultural foods using our spices.

Well!  So all of this means changes and letting go of a few things that we make.  As of now we will be letting go of:  Chipotle, Ginger-Garlic-Nori and the Tea.  So get them now while they are still in stock!  We are already out of GGN!  This will leave us more time to diversify options for our customers with the remaining blends and powders.  Check our website and blog in the coming weeks and months for a variety of Gift Collections, Sample Collections, Spice Canisters, and Recipes.  Look forward to a series of recipes featuring the various blends!

Here is a recipe inspired by my grandparents, my childhood and winter.  It is super simple and super delicious!  It’s “good and happy and healthy”!



>chicken thighs (boneless or not, skinless or not)

>cooking oil (I prefer sunflower)

>coating ingredients: 1 cup of flour (gluten free works too).  1 TBSP of each; Spicy Garlic Blend, Sweet Paprika, thyme and a pinch of salt.


>Mix coating ingredients in a shallow wide bowl.

>Lightly oil a shallow baking pan or sheet.

>Rinse chicken thighs in cold water and shake off excess water.

>Place chicken thighs in coating mix and turn until well covered and lay on baking pan.

>Bake at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour or more depending on size of chicken thighs.  Turn once or twice.

Variations as desired:

~Add more of any of the spices in the coating mix.   ~Add a tsp. of cayenne for some heat.  ~Substitute Smoked Paprika for Sweet Paprika.  ~Add a tsp. of basic curry powder.  ~Add a tsp. of powdered ginger.

Serve with Cornbread and Green Salad.  Enjoy!


6 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions & Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs”

  1. rivraf March 10, 2016 at 3:10 am #

    I am going to try this recipe tomorrow! I love hearing your stories, keep them coming.

  2. Su March 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    Love you Meui this is interesting to read. ❤️❤️

    • sweetpaprikaflower March 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

      thanks Su! Love you too, you and I have some food stories to tell too my dear!xxoxox

  3. Phyllis Nelson March 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    I think you’ve hit on the format! Lots of us have tossed our ccokbooks & now just tap our iPads! Love the few photos, too! This chicken recipe looks winder Are! I’lllet you know what we think after trying it! I still have the photo of your grandparents on our cork board. Two beautiful people!!

    • sweetpaprikaflower March 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks, yes, please let me know! I love that G&G are still on your board! They are good examples of goodness and beauty!

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