Monday, December 31, 2012

Right Now 12/31/12

Right now, on this last day of 2012:

- I am breathing a little more easily now that the holiday rush is over

- I am contemplating 2013 and the changes I would like to make. I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, but I do like to take time to take stock and make some adjustments. Now, as the light is returning and life is a bit calm, is a good time for that

- I am sitting between joy and grief and trying to reconcile the two

- I am looking at our pretty holiday tree for one of the last mornings and wishing I could have taken it in more. My heart is not as open as I would like it to be just now

- I am grateful for a good night's sleep with my teething daughter

- I am grateful to still be here, growing and learning even though it hurts sometimes

- I am grateful for the small people in my life who keep me grounded in the goodness and sweetness of it all

- I am learning to accept that loss is part of life

- I am imagining the garden that is ready to come to life in a few short months, despite being buried in all of this snow

- I am waiting for what is next and learning not to brace anymore

- I am deeply grateful for the quiet

wishing you rich joy in 2013

Friday, December 7, 2012

Healthy Go to Meals 1, Chicken Tenders & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I love to cook. I really love to cook.  It has become a creative outlet for me.

But our life is full, and cooking with a one year old is haphazard at best. Some days she cruises happily around the kitchen as I prepare the evening's meal. On other days she hangs on me in meltdown mode, and what could be done in a short span of time can push dinner an hour or more later than desired.  Which can equal even more meltdowns, all the way around.

So I have been looking for beauty in simplicity, in the realm of cooking and menu planning. A recent success was this one:

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Both are fast and easy. I get antibiotic free Chicken Breasts at BJs. We try to be mostly local, organic meats, but chicken pieces like this are pricey, and this is a compromise I can live with.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Slice chicken breasts into strips. Dip in milk, then in your favorite breading mix. I used buckwheat flour, salt, garlic powder and paprika. You can also use seasoned bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs.

Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter on a baking sheet in the warming oven. Place the breaded chicken strips onto the pan and bake for about 15 minutes on each side. I test for  temperature with a meat thermometer. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick you slice them. 
If you like them extra crispy, you can broil them for a few minutes on each side before removing from the oven.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts are hands down my favorite way to eat them. Rinse the sprouts and slice in half. Toss in olive oil and your favorite seasonings. I like minced garlic, salt and thyme. Roast for about 10 minute on each side, till they are browning and slightly crisp. Helena, my picky eater loves them this way.

I serve the chicken tenders with our favorite sauces. Barbeque, brown mustard mixed with Mayo, sometimes just ketchup.

I prepped this whole meal in about 30 minutes, including multiple interruptions from tired kids. Uninterrupted it takes about 10. 

What are some of your favorite, healthy go to meals?