Friday, March 25, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Potatoes

This recipe may be a little bit time consuming, but if you follow it step-by-step, it is very easy and makes the perfect 'Sunday Family Dinner' and is great for company.

1 whole chicken*
1 medium bunch fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
5 T softened (not melted) unsalted butter
2 lemons, zested (1 reserved)
5 garlic cloves, pressed or very thinly sliced
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 3/4 lbs medium fingerling potatoes*
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

1) Preheat oven to 450 with rack set in middle. Remove any excess fat around chicken cavities and discard. Rinse chicken and pat dry, inside and out. Make sure to remove liver and gizzards if it's packaged inside (some are and some not).
2) In a small bowl, combine basil, butter, lemon zest, garlic, and scallions.
3) Starting at chicken's neck, slide hands under skin, carefully loosening skin on breasts and thighs. Spread butter mixture between loosened skin and meat; be careful not to tear skin. Rub hands over skin to spread mixture into crevices.
4) Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, 1/2 t salt, and enough pepper to coat well. Cut reserved lemon into quarters and set aside.
5) Heat roasting pan in oven for 10 minutes. Remove; then put potatoes and any oil left in bowl into pan, keeping potatoes pushed to edges to make room for chicken. Place chicken in pan, breast-side up.
6) Roast chicken for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven and turn bird breast-side down. Continue to roast for 20 more minutes, then removed from oven and turn bird breast-side up again. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes, then stir to coat with pan drippings. Squeeze reserved lemon over chicken and put rinds into pan. Continue to roast until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a fork, or an instant-read thermometer inserted in breast reached 160...20-30 minutes.
7) Remove pan from oven; let chicken rest for 15 minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 more minutes, then carve. Spoon pan juices over chicken; serve with potatoes and roasted lemon.

*I like to buy my chicken from Homeland-they have a whole chicken in a brand called Smart Chicken. It's a little pricier than a whole chicken from Walmart, but it's nice because it's not packaged in slimy water and they trim off most fat.
*Fingerling potatoes I also buy at Homeland. They come in a package in the produce section and I use the whole package.

Baked French Toast

I got this recipe from Metro Family Magazine last December. I made it for Christmas morning and our lives haven't been the same since. Try it and I promise your family will love it. If they don't...find a new family.

1/2 loaf of day old french bread
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c softened (not melted) butter
1 T light corn syrup
1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)

The night before: cut bread into 1" thick slices and place in a buttered 9x13 baking pan. Don't use soft bread, the crustier, the better. Arrange slices in a single layer, over lapping as needed. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning: turn all bread slices over to make sure the egg mixture is thoroughly soaked into bread. Preheat oven to 350. Combine butter, brown sugar, nuts (optional), and syrup, then spread over tops of bread slices. Bake 40 minutes and serve warm. Top with a sprinkling of powered sugar, fresh berries and whipped cream.
Go ahead...slap yo' momma!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Monday we went to the doctor for our first ultrasound. As I looked at the picture of this tiny baby, perfectly healthy looking, there was no heartbeat. At almost 11 weeks, the doctor said the baby only survived til 9 weeks before it slipped away. Call it mother's intuition or just plain worry, but from the beginning of this pregnancy I've been very anxious. I blamed it on not feeling the same as I felt with the boys or the fact that this baby was a surprise, but in a way, I knew something wasn't right. Although I know I didn't do anything to cause this, I've been struggling with guilt and racking my brain with what could have gone wrong. Why do these things happen? Why does God give us a blessing only to take it away a couple months later?
The doctor scheduled surgery for Monday evening since I hadn't miscarried the baby on my own yet. In a strange way, I didn't want to go through with it. I just felt like the baby was safe inside me where it needed to be and I wanted to keep him there as long as I could. I think waiting for it to happen on it's own was just postponing the inevitable and would probably be harder emotionally, so we opted for the surgery. As I woke up from anesthesia, I looked at Jon and very groggily said, "My baby is gone, isn't it?" With his eyes filled with tears, he could only whisper, "Yes."
I'm in mourning right now and I imagine that I will be for some time. I can tell that I am moving through the grieving process because I've passed unbelief to sadness and now the sadness is beginning to turn into anger. I'm angry with God. I'm angry with God for giving me this baby as a surprise if he knew what the outcome would be. I could've done without the whole thing. I'm angry that I had to tell my kids that our baby won't be coming home. I'm angry that my plans for the next six months have completely changed. I'm angry that my body failed me and my child. I'm angry that I did 11 weeks worth of "work" for nothing.
Through all this anger, I still see how God has protected me and blessed me. We surprised Jackson Monday morning by telling him he could go to the ultrasound with us and miss the first hour of school. For some strange reason, he said he didn't want to miss playtime and he'd rather go to the ultrasound when we were going to find out the sex of the baby. For anyone who knows Jack and how excited he has been about this baby, you know that is totally out of character. All I can say is that it was God protecting his little heart and his innocence. I'm thankful that in all my years of being a mother, that this is the first time this has happened. I have a new sense of compassion for women who have endured miscarriages over and over in hopes of just getting ONE baby. I'm thankful that I will be able to get pregnant again. I'm blessed to be in good company of many friends who have walked this path before and understand how lonely it feels. I'm thankful for so many friends and family who have shown their love for my family though meals, cards, flowers, caring for my children and praying for us. I'm grateful for my husband who has everyday sat down and listened to me talk about the same thing over and over because he knows it's crucial to me healing.
As with any tragedy, the world doesn't stop. All around is evidence that life goes on. I still have two children who need me and want my attention. The laundry needs to be done. I can button my pants again. Babies are conceived and babies are born. Bills have to be paid. We're out of milk, and...God is still on the throne...still in control...still faithful.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Cups Runneth Over

One way you know you're's time to go bra shopping because these girls are out of control. That, and the fact that I ate so many pickles today that I almost made myself sick. That's all I'm going to say about that.