Gah, I hate the sound of my own voice. I read this article a few weeks ago that said if you put your hand over your right ear and talk, what you hear is how others hear your voice. *shudder* I haven’t done it and I don’t think I want to. I heard myself talking on my outgoing voice mail message and promptly decided to go with the default message instead. I only bring that up because I’m transcribing this post from a voice memo I made last week. In the hectic, scary wonderful week that has been leading up to the big reveal of my children’s book, I did manage to eke out a few ideas for my home base here at Hilary with One L. Of course, most of those ideas came when I was either a) driving or b) as far away from my computer or any other means to write as possible. I keep forgetting the iPhone has a voice memo app! When I did remember to use it this week, I felt like a champion. Hands on hips, chest thrust out, I listened to my bright ideas unspooling like ticker tape like, “Look at what I have created! Wait, is that really my voice?”
In any event, here’s what I had recorded. So, you know how I love tumblr. My tumble blog pretty much consists of me reblogging pictures of shoes, the Eiffel Tower, Christian Bale and food. In one of my post-dinner tumblr time sucks, I came across this gorgeous photo.
This picture got my tummy to burbling. Chicken, asparagus, and lemons? All in one pan? Get in my belly! I clicked around a bit more and found the original post on a website called “Pinch of Yum.” Who couldn’t use a pinch of yum in their life, right? I read about the author, Lindsay, and how she became a blogger-foodie-photographer. Then I went back to the recipe to figure out how I could get this photo onto my kitchen table IRL. As luck would have it, the post was entitled “5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken with Asparagus”. Five ingredient?! Surely, you jest, Pinch of Yum. It was too good to be true, but in fact, it was all true! Five ingredients! Ingredients that I have on hand pretty much all the time.
I’m big on proper prior planning, so there are some staples that I will always have for occasions when I have to throw something together. While I don’t keep a weeks worth of recipes at my elbow when I’m making my grocery list, more often than not, I’m making things with what I know I already have. The grocery list may have a few odds and ends that we don’t normally find in our crisper or pantry. Recipes that call for three filaments of saffron or 1/8th of a tsp. or cream of tartar just don’t get made. These five ingredients, though — chicken, lemons, asparagus, flour, butter (and salt and pepper, but that doesn’t count because most folks have that on their table) — I had at the ready. The chicken was even already defrosted *miracle* just waiting to be turned from raw and slippery to golden and crispy.
I know I’m a little overly excited about this, but bear with me. It’s the small things that give you the greatest joys. As we are winding down to the end of the school year, the activities are winding up with end of year parties, swim team, birthday parties, and the like. Transitioning from one type of routine to another, while I’m working on the book, pressed for time and trying to get everything done has been daunting. Being able to take something off my plate, no pun intended, by making a dinner that is relatively health, quick and delicious felt like such a huge victory.
Too often I’m running around like a crazy person. I’ve been told that I make it look easy, and while I appreciate the compliment, there is a lot of lever pulling going on behind the curtain. My recent post entitled Salt Water: 3 ways resonated with a number of people. I can’t pinpoint if it was the working out section, the crying anecdote or the beach paragraph, but I did get a lot of feedback about it. Honesty is important to me. I’m not trying to “Insta-glam” or “Fake-book” my way through life. I’m trying to be as honest as i can about how I’m feeling. Certainly I was hesitant to reveal what prompted my huge cry because I want there to be some privacy in my life and by extension, my husbands’ life. There are some things you don’t want everyone to see and I did wrangle with the potential of The Hubs losing some cool points over it. My honesty helped several people say, “Whew, I thought I was the only one,” or “Amen!” or “I’m glad I’m not the only one.” That meant a lot to me. It’s important to let people know that they aren’t the only ones. While we all lead very fortunate lives, it can be hard at times.
People would comment on how I do everything I do, and I used to say, “Oh, you know, I plan ahead or I do XYZ.” I would be dismissive about it, but now I’m starting to accept the compliment. Admitting that it is hard can give someone else the chance to just relax and feel connected, if only for a moment, and say, “Thank goodness that someone else understands it.” I read an article in Glamour magazine by the actress Zosia Mamet. She was talking about the definition of success and how women look at other women as giving up on their potential if they if they are just feeling good about what they are currently doing. For example, if you’re an executive and not trying to become the CEO, then you aren’t reaching your potential. If you are a mother raising children and you aren’t knocking it out of the park with every birthday party, Arbor Day, Groundhog Day and Winter Solstice party, then you aren’t successful. That really resonated with me. Mom competition (mom-petition) is real. Mamet talked about women not supporting each other. I want to be supportive of other women. Female friendships and relationships are key. You can’t do it by yourself. Your mother isn’t always going to be there or your partner or whomever. It’s essential to have like minded individuals in your corner, in your community, that you can talk to and share with. In order to have that, sometimes you have to pull back the curtain, show the levers being pulled and risk a little bit of loss of face.
And how does this all relate to 5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken with Asparagus? There are so many thoughts and feelings –all the feels– coursing through and around my brain, that when something small as being able to make dinner without having to think about it because you have all the ingredients on hand, ready to go, when everything else seems to be really tough and in need of 25 steps, finding something that is pleasing to all the senses is a huge a win.
Happy Tuesday, y’all!
5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken With Asparagus
recipe courtesy of Pinch of Yum
serves: 3-4 (nutrition is for 4 servings)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour (all purpose will work, too)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 2 lemons, sliced
- Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound until each pieces is about a ¾ of an inch thick. Place the flour and salt in a shallow dish and gently toss each chicken breast in the dish to coat. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat; add the chicken and saute for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown, sprinkling each side with the lemon pepper directly in the pan.
- When the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a plate. Add the lemon slices and chopped asparagus to the pan. Make sure the lemon slices are on the bottom so that they caramelize and pick up the browned bits left in the pan from the chicken and butter.
- When the asparagus is done and the lemons are golden brown, add the chicken back to the pan and rearrange everything (lemons on top) so it looks nice for serving.
Lindsay at Pinch of Yum suggested serving this dish with the following: an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper, fresh herbs, a drizzle of honey, and a slice of whole grain bread. I did not have any bread on hand, sadly, but I did have some brown rice which I jazzed up with some onion powder, salt and pepper.