Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Good to be Needed

     This past week I started another semester at WCU, but this one is a bit different that any other before.  I'm finally moving into the Nursing program, and we have hit the ground running.  It's an adjustment to say the least, but it's one I'm enjoying.  I've never been one to study much, I was blessed with the ability to excel academically with minimal effort, but it seems those days are behind me.  Every morning I wake up two hours before my family to get in a few chapter's worth of studying.  When Monkey wakes up I fix breakfast for all of us and play catch up on housework.  I spend what time I can with my family before I cook dinner.  After dinner I lock myself back in my study to finish up what I can while J bathes Monkey and gets her ready for bed.  We do bedtime stories as a family and then J and I go to sleep.  It's been a huge reversal from my normal schedule of doing whatever I want with my daughter whenever I wanted.  My time with her is limited lately, and I know once clinicals start that time will shrink again, so I've been stressed out about the idea that she'll learn to do without me or won't want me around as much.  Even when J tried to sooth my fears and explain that they were unwarranted, I still was brought to tears last night when she seemed completely uninterested in my presence at bedtime, but was all about her daddy.  I knew that was a good thing, but I couldn't help but feel replaced.

    Thankfully it didn't take long to be reminded that she still needs me.  In the middle of the night she came into our room, and I thought she must of had an accident, so I started to wake J to take care of it (it was his turn), but then I heard, "Mommy, I had a nightmare", and I knew couldn't pass this off, nor did I want to.  I enjoyed walking her back to her bed, tucking her back in, praying with her for better dreams, and soothing her back to sleep.  It was definitely the reminder I needed to let me know that no matter how much other stuff comes into my life, my daughter is my priority, and even if I'm busier than usual, as long as I make sure to remind her daily of her importance to me, she'll understand why I can't be there 24/7.

  Now you must be wondering why I'm on here if I'm worried that I'm not spending enough time with my baby girl, and the answer is simple: my child would rather watch the Justice League than play with me.  She doesn't mind if I sit next to her, though, so here I am.  And while I'm here I might as well share a recipe, so here you go:

Mediterranean Baked Chicken
from The Clever Carrot

For the marinade you'll need:
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2-3 TBS marinade from artichokes
4 springs fresh oregano, leaves stripped

For the bake you'll need:
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, left whole
1 (14 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 (14 oz) can northern white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Kalamata olives, pitted
1 small tub marinated bocconcini (I just learn these are tiny mozzarella balls, and they're yummy!)
olive oil
salt and pepper
Garnish with fresh basil and parsley to taste

Drain artichoke hearts, reserving its juice in a small bowl.  Pat artichokes dry with a paper towel; set aside.  In another bowl or in a gallon-sized bag, add 2-3 TBS reserved artichoke marinade, oregano, and garlic.  (If you still have extra artichoke juice, save it to drizzle over the dish when finished baking.)  Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch strips; add to bowl/bag.  Drizzle with olive oil, and mix well to coat.  Marinate 1-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large roasting pan, place onions and tomatoes.  Toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and tomatoes begin to burst (about 15-20 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a large skillet warm 1 tsp oil over moderate hear.  Brown the chicken on both sides, working in batches.  The chicken will be slightly undercooked.

Remove roasting pan from oven.  The onions should be soft and sticky.  If not, cook another 5 minutes.  Add chicken, artichoke hearts, beans, and olives to the pan.  Roast 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile chop bail and parsley if using.  Remove chicken from oven.  Add bocconcini and herbs; toss gently to combine.  Drizzle with olive oil and extra artichoke juice if desired.


   This was so good.  It was easy to throw together, but was "fancy" enough for company.

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