In the last…six? months or so, Dan and I have found ourselves more focused on the quality of the food we eat – to the point that before I got sick a few weeks ago, I was making close to 90% of our food from scratch. I even have a meat grinder and have gound beef and chicken!
This is no easy task – and certainly one I’ve been working back up to whilst I’ve been recovering. And let me tell you: what a difference it makes! Once you stop eating so much processed food and give up things like additives and preservatives, it’s amazing the change you’ll feel. And…less than stellar when you slip into old habits, especially after being monstrously ill.
Since my last bout of the flu/creeping crud/whatever the hell that demon cold was, I’ve nearly completely given up soda. I occasionally indulge in a ginger ale or Coke icee (yum!) but I can hardly stand to look at my once-beloved Dr Pepper Cherry. It’s sad, but also good. Hopefully, in spite of my exhaustion and crazy offspring, I’ll be able to keep it cut out. Or at least mostly, since that ish is delish.
I never really expected that I would become such a food purist, but I’ve really come to embrace the “granola” side of life, in this regard. Really, it’s just smart. Yes, healthy food is more expensive; however, you will make that money back in spades later in life from not having consumed gross quantities of horrible things. There’s definitely a balance.
We recently watched Food, Inc. Honestly, as disgusting as some of it was, I have to recommend it. I’ve known for quite some time about the poor feeding and treatment standards of chicken and cattle, but I really didn’t know just how disgusting it all truly is. I’m going through a sort of meat-fast right now, but when we do start buying and eating it again, I will for sure be buying it where I can find out where it’s come from and how it was treated before and during the butchering process. ((Don’t eat snacks whille you watch Food, Inc.!))
Anyway, I know that the clean(er) eating we’ve been doing has assisted Dan in meeting his physical health goals ((he’s lost nearly 30lbs just since December and was recently featured in the Court System’s monthly newsletter as a health inspiration!)) and I know that I feel better when I’m not eating garbage. Thanks to general laziness, female genetics, and full-term breastfeeding, I have unfortunately not made as great of strides as Dan has, but that’s okay. I’m heavy, but really pretty healthy. And making positive food choices can only help, both me directly, and my sons, who see me modeling healthy behaviors every day.
So the other day, I hatched a plan for a dinner that I thought would be delightful: chicken breasts breaded with crushed waffle cones, baked.
And I’m here to tell you: it’s delicious!
I did my meal planning over the weekend, so I’ve been thinking about my waffle cone chicken for a few days. Should I cook it in butter? Add salt? Any seasonings at all?
The answers turned out to be yes, no, yes.
So, for your dining pleasure, my recipe. Feel free to tweak it as you please!
Erin’s Baked Chicken and Waffles
4 Chicken Breasts
1 Stick Unsalted Butter (this is highly subjective)
3 Dashes of Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Milk
3 Waffle Cones, crushed
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
Place butter and cinnamon in a glass 9×13 pan. Put the pan in the oven and preheat to 350*. When the butter is melted, remove the pan and set it near to where you’re preparing your chicken.
Dip each breast in the milk until coated. Then roll them in the waffle cone pieces. Place in the pan, repeat until your chicken is all in the pan. If you have remaining crumbs, sprinkle them over the chicken. Then, drizzle the chicken with your maple syrup.
Bake for 40-45 minutes and enjoy! I scooped some of the butter/syrup out and drizzled it over the breasts before serving.
It’s rich and delicious! I know it all sounds a little crazy, but one of my favorite sayings is: The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Totally true.
Ten days ago, my little baby turned one! I’ve been trying to remember what exactly Danny was like at this age, and can’t…and irritatingly, I didn’t make note of it anywhere, either. SO!
Oliver at Age One:
LOVES food. Fruit, veggies, cheese, burgers, bread. Almost whatever he can get his hands on.
Says: Mama, Daddy, hey (a la the Fonz), yeah
Has taken a few wobbly steps, does a hilarious two-step run/squat thing
Refuses to drink from a bottle; attempts a sippy cup
Very much a booby kid (of course… )
Climbs on/up EVERYTHING
Super happy, quick to laugh
Has about a bajillion teeth…ouch.
Loves to give hugs&kisses from Mom and Dad, and going for walks in the jogger
Finds Maggie utterly hilarious
Hates cuddling in his sleep. :’(
Loves to play with his big brother…and wrestle.
Has blue jean eyes.
My little blue-eyed boy is so fun! And Danny loves him very much. There’s a great deal of mutual adoration between the boys, and it is so, so wonderful to see. Thinking about them together makes my heart swell and feel like it is just about to burst with love and pride. Motherhood suits me.
In other news, I recently decided to change my major. I’m not so good at not internalizing the pain of others, so I have decided to only pursue culinary arts at this time. I’m really excited; I should be able to finish my degree within three years! And Dan will be done with his about that time, so we’ll be moving on and I’ll have a great foundation for an accredited culinary school down in the states. I’m just ecstatic about the whole new plan.
I’ve also decided to write a play based on an obscure psychological condition. It’s going to be hilarious. I was inspired by, of all things, a Dilbert comic strip, and the title of some play that’s running down at (the headline was in the same language as this medical term.)
Things are going pretty well for me and my little family. We play together and go for walks…read books and cook together…it’s a delightful team of which I am a part. <3
It’s funny, how time can fade memories so that they play like an old filmstrip, with scene breaks and pops in the film. The edges are blurred and in sepia tones, but certain words, or smells, or places, or tastes can throw you right back like they’re a time machine. When that happens, you have to shake yourself out of the memory to return to the present or risk reliving what you’ve stumbled upon, good or bad.
I’ve realized lately that a lot of my memories are like this…even just of the last few years. Almost like I didn’t live my life, but I watched it happen. It’s a startling, uncomfortable discovery…and one I’m not sure how to correct.
I think, perhaps, that a lot of it was my mind protecting me from my reality. I had terrible PPD after Danny was born, and then the nightmare that was our life back East. (Have I mentioned how grateful I am to live in Alaska again? Because I.Am.So.Grateful.) I feel robbed of many of Danny’s firsts, because the memories are already so blurred. Living on our own again makes such a stark difference; it’s completely abstract to me how anyone could want to share the early family years so intimately with other adults. I can’t see how it works without at least one person stifling their authentic self, which is horrifying to consider. I’ll never do it again.
This time is such that I’ll never have it again. I must make it count for me and my sweet babies. Living a clouded existence is not an option. And, after all, my favorite quote comes from JM Barrie (author of
- Peter Pan
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
Two finals down, one to go. With any luck, I won’t do too badly and my GPA will not suffer too much. This semester was a lot more difficult than last. I ran out of ambition and doing coursework became an afterthought. Not good. And that really just does not fly with higher education.
I had an epiphany tonight, though. I’m glad for my struggles, particularly at this time, because my kids will be able to see me work my tushy off for my degree. And once I’ve finally earned it, I’ll be able to tell them (and by that time, I’ll probably be done having kids and the youngest will be speaking in full sentences) that while it was definitely not easy, it was totally worth it. As much as I wish I’d started cracking down on school sooner, in glad I have the boys to share my successes with, and for comfort when I don’t do so well. Every hug, sloppy kiss, and joyful giggle makes it all mean so much to me; and I don’t mean just from Dan.
It’s kind of peaceful to realize that as I’m killing myself with finals, I’m setting an important example…I don’t mean that in a self-righteous way, but in an “oh, hey, it’d be pretty cool if my kids copied that thing that I did!”
I started out on this degree for me…but really, it’s all for my babies. <3
This past Sunday, as many of you must know by now, Josh Powell murdered his two boys and took his own life to escape accountability for the evils he has trespassed in this world. Josh Powell was the husband of the missing Susan Cox Powell, and the only person the police had been investigating in her disappearance.
I think the assumption is that his motives in killing his children are two-fold: First, the courts had ordered some evaluations that he knew he would fail in order to regain custody of his boys; second, his older son had started talking about the night Susan disappeared…and implicating Josh. The boys had been removed to their maternal grandparents’ care last fall.
I’ve been following this case since it started two years ago, and I’m just sick for these babies. I can’t bear to write here what all was done to them, but if you’re interested, it’s easy enough to find on any news website.
I know that now they are safe. They are with their mother. The monster who gave them half their DNA and last name can no longer hurt them in any capacity. Their pains and trials are over.
And Josh, that awful, motherless oxygen thief is burning for everything he has done.
I wanted this to end differently. I wanted Susan to be found, alive, and reunited with her parents and sons.
Each new piece of information makes me sicker and sicker.
The last few months have blown by so quickly, I can hardly believe it. I started school again, and I’m doing really well. Right now, I’ve got a solid 3.7 GPA, and if I can swing it, I should end the semester with a perfect 4.0! It’s tough, going to school and having two kids, but it’s so worth it. Online classes make it so much easier to deal with! Next semester, I’m taking an in-person class, but I’m really excited for it – beginning drawing! I know it’s really not nursing related at all, but I think it will be really fun and good for me. Plus, I’m taking two sciences and a math…so I think I deserve a class that will help me blow off some steam.
Oliver is huge. He’s over 20 pounds now, and still exclusively breastfed. I put him in 12mo size pants today, and they fit! He’s such a funny, sweet baby. And he loves his family so clearly. Danny is an excellent brother, and there’s already a deep bond between the boys. I wasn’t prepared for how much my heart would grow, having two kids. When they play together, I feel as though I’m going to explode with love and joy. It’s just amazing. They are so genuine and full of joy. I love listening to them laugh together.
What brings me back to the blog, tonight, is the concept of “surrogate families”. I don’t mean the type of surrogate who carries a baby for an otherwise unable set of parents, but people who come into your life and become family.
In Pennsylvania, at church, Dan and I met an amazing older couple. They were on what our church calls a “senior mission”, which is 18 months of serving somewhere in the world, as a married couple. This couple, who I’ll refer to as the Novas, pretty much became grandparents to us. We’d go to their home for meals and to just hang out, they’d play with Danny, they’d come and visit us. It was wonderful, especially since I was feeling so displaced and alone. They came into our lives exactly when we needed them.
I’ve been foolish and haven’t kept in touch with them as I should. I’m terrible at that. Finding family, of any origin, is so exceptional. Sharing love, laughter, and joy is so important, especially as this world seems to fall apart in front of our eyes.
This holiday season, dear readers, I encourage you to reach out to those you love, and perhaps have lost touch with for a while, and remind them of how special they are to you. I know I’ll be reaching out to the Novas this week. I miss them terribly.