Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wait for it...

Every morning, I am in charge of making the fire in the wood stove. I get up around 7am and stumble downstairs and face off with the coffee maker and the stove. The coffee maker is usually an easy target; seeing my goal and helping me to create fresh brewed coffee. The wood stove, however, is a whole other beast. We often have battles that leave me dirty, ashamed, and beaten up. The other morning, I was having one of our familiar battles. I jammed it full of kindling, threw on some logs, and threw in a match. It took off great, but after 30 minutes, there wasn't anything I could do to make it come back to life. My pink sweatshirt was covered in soot and I was worn out. Instead of the writing I had planned on doing, I was battling the fire. I was pretty discouraged and send my dad an email cry for help. The original subject line was.. "HELP!" Then I thought better of it because I didn't want to freak him out. Next working subject line was, "Please come home.." Then that sounded a little too desperate. So I settle for "L'il Help Here?" I asked him that typically when you do things over and over again aren't you supposed to keep geting better? I confessed that my fire building skills seemed to be at a steady decline. I admitted, that even our one kitty circus, Frankie, had lost faith. Now instead of eagerly meowing my attempts at building us a fire, he ignores me and sometimes glances across the room with discust; knowing it will take me forever to get one going.. Pretty pitiful..

A few moments after I shoot my dad the email, he calls in on Skype. Help is on the way! I answer and he gives me a pep talk about building the fire and my mom comes down hearing his voice. We all talk about this and at for over an hour. We hang up and I go back to getting work done. As I am emailing my 'chicks' I look over and the fire that had been cold, suddenly ignites and flames abound. To me this is a miracle. My boyfriend calls this 'me cramming too much crap in the fire and choking it out'. Whatever. After I had given up the fire miraculously started all on its own teaching me a valuable lesson: Sometimes I have to 'wait for it'.

The same is true with work, relationships, and cooking. It is important to make sure everything is done in perfect harmony. Make sure that everything is in line. I often find myself echoing these words (wait for it)when I am wanting someone to call, money to fall in my lap, or answers to come to me. I always find that when I 'wait for it' the answers do come, money does show up, and my friends do call. It is important not to rush things, allow things to unfold naturally. Stay in the fold, in the moment, and everything always seems to come in perfect timing. My ongoing lesson that I relearn every day is...don't rush it.

My 'operational workaround' for the fire starting is to wait for it. I now load up the fire and wait until I am ready to give it the attention it deserves before I light it. Otherwise, I end up not ready, frustrated, and distracted from my writing, thus feeling resentful of the fire. This new 'surgical swirl' as my mom has renamed it (don't ask), leaves me feeling successful at completing writing and the fire isn't left neglected. We all work in perfect haromy creating successful writing, a roaring fire, and a happy one kitty circus.

The recipes that I have included, take a little time. They might require you to wait, but what I hope you discover is that its well worth it. I also hope that while you are waiting you take the time to stop and look out the window, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment.

Chicken A'more

4-5 chicken breasts cut into 6 oz pieces

8 cloves of garlic chopped
½ cup each chopped black and green olives
¼ olive oil
Bunch of fresh rosemary
½ white onion diced
1 can crushed tomatoes
½ cup shredded mozz or Colby cheese
Dash of dried oregano, basil, sun dried tomato, etc. (for magic olives)

Place a drizzle of olive oil in a hot pan that can be used for the oven and stove top. Place diced onion and garlic in the one pot wonder and sauté for several minutes until the onions become translucent and slightly caramelized and the aromas start making you feel romantic! Next, place the salt and peppered chicken breasts, breast side down, and sauté on that side for 5 minutes and flip each breast in the pan using tongs.

While the first side is cooking, prepare the olives by sprinkling olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, basil, and sun dried tomatoes over them and mixing them together. Once the chicken is flipped in the pan, pour the magical olives over the top of the flipped chicken. Then pour the large can of crushed tomatoes over the entire pan and slow the flame to simmer on the stove top.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and cover the pan and place in oven to cook for 40 minutes.

This can be served with our Rosemary Roasted potatoes and garlic bread.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

White potatoes; diced into small cubes
½ white onion chopped
1 bunch of fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil, diced potatoes, chopped rosemary, garlic, and onion in a baking dish and mix all together with salt and pepper. Place in an oven set for 350 degrees for 1 hour stirring each 15 minutes or so.

It is done when it is bubbly and the potatoes are tender yet slightly crisp. Serve along side Chicken A'more with garlic bread and a fresh salad and you have it LOCKED IN!

This meal is delicious serve along with a salad and some great store bought bread. Everything doesn't have to always be homemade! Oh, and don't forget the bottle of Chianti to go with it! ;) You can also serve alongside your favorite spaghetti for another meal alternative.

Mental Health Benefit: A small reminder... We have time. It might not always feel like it, but we do. We have time to take a walk, take a deep breath, wait to make a phone call until we are ready. Wait to start the project or finish the project until we feel less 'hot mess'. It's okay as long as you do get back to it. I have found when I try to rush things, I screw them up... including relationships and fires in the wood stove... :)
So wait for it... don't rush today.
Wishing you a calm and rush free day from our kitchen to yours!
~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

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