Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Salmon I Make When I'm in a Hurry

Everyone needs a super quick, super easy recipe in their arsenals.  Even if cooking isn't 'your thing', there may come a time in your life when you find yourself in a situation where you're hungry or possibly, someone hanging around with you is hungry.  That's when this recipe will come in handy- it's super de duper easy and it's delicious!  First the ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (if you don't have a clove of garlic, you can use 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound salmon (one of the big filets with the skin still on it is best, but you can use the little packages of frozen salmon if that's all you have)
In a small bowl mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish and pour the maple syrup mixture over the top. Cover and marinate in the fridge 30 minutes, turning once. Then all you do is put the dish in a 400 degree oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the salmon flakes with a fork.  See? Easy cheesy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So You Think You Want to Become a Mother

Remember what I said about parenthood? That it's like riding a roller coaster backwards, in the dark, at 200 miles per hour, without a seatbelt while you're drunk? Motherhood is all that plus the addition of randomly being beaten in the head with a great big book. Because that actually happened to me- the eldest of my Baby C's was frusterated with my dozing off during a reading from 'The Encyclopedia of Parenting' and proceeded to pick up the enormous book and thwack me in the head. Not once, but twice. I honestly thought I had a concussion and if I hadn't been daunted by the prospect of heading to the emergency room and actually explaining what had happened, I totally would have seen a doctor. But I digress- the point here is that mothorhood, no matter how prepared you think you are, is not for the weak.
Before I had children, I had a crystal clear vision of motherhood. I didn't need anyone's advice because I just knew how it was going to be. I envisioned a sleep deprived but happy and serene me trotting off to Mommy and Me Yoga with an adorable cooing baby. I envisioned loosey goosey schedules, with my bundle of joy snoozing at the mall or in the car on the way home from the mall. I envisioned lunches with my friends, nice dinners with Frank at our favorite restaurants, all with happy baby nuzzled on my shoulder.
Cut to a scene, immediately after the birth of the first Baby C, who screamed so loudly and for such a long time that the nurses had to separate him from the other babies. See me staring at him, the night we brought him home from the hospital, wondering how on earth I was going to keep him alive for the next 18 years. See me crying with desperation because for months, he slept for 30 minutes at a time, only to wake up screaming at full volume. See me frusterated beyond all understanding, because I couldn't provide my unusually high strung child with something as basic as comfort. I was failing at this. See me slowly begin to unravel...
During one tearful phone conversation with my sister, I distinctly remember telling her that 'it wasn't supposed to be like this!' I unloaded on her about how angry I was that I just couldn't get the hang of motherhood. The ease that everyone else had with their children was so foreign to me. Sometimes, I actually wanted to chuck the screaming little red monster out the window. What was I doing wrong?!?!
My sister gently informed me that God doesn't give us the children we want- he gives us the children we need. I had an infinite amount of patience and I was known for being rather unflappable with other people's children. It was past time to exercise that patience with my own child and of course, with myself. I realized that I had been approaching motherhood with the same anxiety as if I was taking a pass or fail test on life. Babies cry- that's their job. As a mother, it's your job to RELAX, trust yourself and do the very best you can to take care of your child. That doesn't mean you'll always be able to stop the screaming. In fact, I guarantee that you won't. But it does mean that you'll be able to deal with whatever parenting throws your way, no matter how unprepared you feel.
Turns out, my oldest son responds to my moods more powerfully than I do. If I'm anxious, he's anxious times ten. If I'm upset, he's upset times ten. If I wake up in a bad mood, he's aware of it before I utter a single grumpy word. When I finally relaxed, so did he. Funny how that works.

Up Next on 'The Hellish Life...'

Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on a post titled 'So You Think You Want to Become a Mother'.  I'll also be posting my very first Stupid Assed Craft and another Recipe That Rocks- Maple Glazed Salmon.  Oh, yeah! Almost forgot! This weekend I'll also reveal who I'm taking to Housewife Fantasy Island for the month of June! How lucky can you possibly get?!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Chicken I Made the Time I Almost Burned the House Down

I started to call this recipe 'The Chicken Recipe I Stole From Martha Stewart', but truthfully it's known around my house as 'The Chicken I Made the Time I Almost Burned the House Down.' Because I did.  The butter and olive oil splattered all over the side of my pan, gas heat turned up high...you get the picture, right?? Luckily my quick thinking saved the day and dinner. 
Ok- first the ingredients:  1 tbs Olive Oil, 1 tbs Butter, 4 chicken breasts (Save the boneless, skinless for another night. Tonight we want them with skin on and bone in) Salt and Pepper.  Oh! You'll need a buttload of paper towels, too.  You'll also need a frying pan and a baking sheet. That's almost it!
The secret to getting the skin really crispy, delicious and pretty is to dry the chicken thoroughly first AND to get the olive oil and butter super hot before you put the chicken in the pan.  Really, all you do is dry the chicken, salt and pepper it and then fry it, skin side down, until it's pretty and brown.  Then you transfer it to the baking sheet put it in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes. (when you put it on the baking sheet, it should be skin side up.  I thought you probably knew this already, but just in case...)  After 35 minutes, check the temperature- when it reads 165 degrees, it's done.  How easy is that?! Oh! You can also make a sauce from the pan drippings- you add 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs lemon juice and stir, cooking in the pan for about a minute.  That's all- it's super easy and really, really good.  And also slightly dangerous, which I love of course.