THAT DAMN JELLY BEAN…
Yesterday was one of those strange days where for everything that went perfectly, something was totally off… but in the end it was a really lovely day. We woke up early, a habit picked up when we were all sharing a room in Mexico for vacation last week! Did I mention we were going to Mexico? Well, we did and it was really lovely. My in-laws took us all (our family and Kyle’s brother’s family) to their time-share spot in Cabo. We went once before, when Gigi was only two months old. It sure was nice to get away and we came back to bursting tulips and 70 degree weather!
Lulu has a nasty cold, probably something she picked up by licking the airplane seats on the way home from Mexico, and sounds like a cranky frog. Despite her bug I had big plans for the day to get up to the local nursery and look at some different varieties of “stepables” to plant between our pavers on our patio, and to pick up a local planting guide so we can start planning and planting! So after Lu’s croaky morning nap, we stepped out to run our errands. We headed straight to the garden store, which is bright and open and was full of people buzzing with spring-fever. It felt so wonderful to soak in the late morning sun, smell the lavender, run our fingers over the crawling thyme, and eye the perfect rows and rows of Ranunculus.
Towards the end of our time at the garden store, Gigi was not being a great listener. I should have quit while I was ahead but I needed a few items from the grocery store, so I ignored my mothers’ intuition and we headed in. After all, we only needed six little things!
I was not all that surprised when Gigi had a major meltdown in the middle of the produce department. It all started when she stole a jelly bean from the candy bin. Why, one might ask, is there a big candy bin in the middle of the produce department? Anyway, we had a bit of a showdown that went a little something like this, “G, do not pick up that candy. Do not put that jelly bean in your mouth. Spit that jelly bean out right now! You are not choosing to be a good listener.” She said nothing, but when I finally pried that damn jelly bean out of her mouth she started wailing, “I want GRANDMA!!!!!!”, over and over again. I suspect G was suffering from a case of The Grandparent Withdrawals; I’m sure you know the symptoms. I plunked her in the cart, dashed away from the produce department over to the far end of the store while she cried and kid kicked my leeks, and grabbed the last couple items I needed before fleeing the store. I’m sure I was quite a sight carrying Lulu on my left hip, and Gigi around her middle with my right arm, crying and legs flailing, with the grocery gal following behind with my bag of bruised produce.
Once the girls were buckled in their carseats, I headed to the coffee shop, popped in for a couple of lattes (one for me and one for my sweet friend who just welcomed her third baby!), drove to her house and dropped off her caffeine (while G fumed in the car). I got a quick look at her beautiful new, fresh baby, and despite having a very snotty baby and very frustrated kid in my car, I felt a wave of desire. There’s just something about a teeny tiny newborn, sleeping with their delicate little arms up over their head, that makes me think crazy things. Once we were home, G said, “I need a naaaaaaaaaaaaaap!” Agreed.
I got the girls in bed as quickly as possible and started making dinner even though it was only 1pm. I just felt the desire to cook and prep, and zone out while I peeled garlic for a while. I didn’t even bother using a fast-peeling method, I didn’t even whack the cloves with my knife; I just did it, one clove at a time, tediously removing each little sticky strand of skin from the cloves while the breeze knocked around the curtains and the house was silent. I trimmed my herbs, scrubbed my chicken, juiced my lemons, in complete, blissful silence. By the time my chicken was prepped and in the fridge, I’d found that my heart rate had returned to normal and I was thinking back on how “funny” our little produce-section scene must have been to witness. It was, after all, a classic toddler-mom standoff… over a stupid jelly bean. If there’s one thing you need while raising a toddler, it’s a sense of humor… well, that and a good recipe for Roasted Chicken that takes just long enough to prep that you can regain said sense of humor after a trying morning.
I make my Roasted Chicken with Herbs, Garlic, and Lemon about every other week. It’s best when prepped around 1pm, so the lemon juice has time to tenderize and marinate the meat a bit. Doing the prep earlier in the day also makes dinner time feel like a breeze, and you end up with a crisp-skinned, tender, flavorful, comforting, chicken dinner. I almost always accompany the chicken with a side of crispy oven roasted potatoes (for which I’ll share the recipe next week), and a fresh salad. It’s one of our staple dinners, and it’s a dinner that fuels a few days’ worth of meals. I have stock simmering on the stovetop now to make Posole for dinner tonight, and tomorrow I’ll use a bit of the shredded chicken to make a spinach salad with and bruised veggies and a homemade dressing.
There is something pretty satisfying, and relaxing, about stretching one meal into three or four; about feeding a family of four for a few days from one main source. Plus, the homemade chicken stock should help us fight back against this spring cold (along with the homemade Elderberry Syrup I made last night)! I also made deodorant yesterday (please, please tell me if it’s not working, okay?). We’re talking serious homesteading over here! It just so happens I have some things to tell you about in regards to “homesteading” but it will have to wait for another day… maybe next week when I share the potato recipe with you. Potatoes and pioneering seem like a good match up.
In the meantime, here is my recipe for Roasted Chicken with Herbs, Garlic, and Lemon.
WITH HERBS, GARLIC AND LEMON
1 whole chicken
juice of 3-4 lemons
1 lemon, sliced
large handful of fresh herbs, thyme, rosemary, parsley (whatever you have on hand)
1 head of garlic cloves, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Clean the chicken, inside and out, by scrubbing it with a good amount of kosher salt. Rinse it under cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Using a pair of poultry or kitchen shears, cut out the backbone. Set the backbone aside for making stock, or discard.
In the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish, place a pile of herbs and fan out one lemons’ worth of lemon slices. Place the chicken, breast side up, over the herbs and lemon slices. Toss the peeled garlic cloves into the pan between the drumstick (you want them exposed, not tucked under the bird).
Pour the lemon juice slowly over the chicken, drizzle it with a good amount of olive oil (I use about 1/3 cup). Season the chicken and the garlic cloves generously with salt and pepper.
Cover the chicken tightly with aluminum foil and pop it in the fridge for a few hours… it doesn’t have to sit and marinate but it’s great if possible.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 450˚F. When the oven is heated, place the covered chicken in and roast for 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, remove the foil, baste the chicken with the juices in the pan, and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. Then, baste it one last time and check the temperature. The size of the chicken you have will vary this final cooking time… generally a 5lb. chicken will take another 30 minutes or so.
I pull my chicken from the oven with the breast temperature is 170˚F. Be sure to let the chicken rest for ten minutes or so before carving it up. Serve it along with the roasted garlic cloves, or my crispy oven roasted potatoes (which use the garlic cloves from the chicken)!