Before I get into this post, I must wish a very heartfelt ‘refuah shleimah’, a renewal of body and spirit to my partner in blog, Jeremy. Jeremy was hit by a car while walking home at night this past weekend. Thank Gd, only suffering a nasty black and blue nose; the worst of it being the fact that the person who hit him drove off without offering apologies and responsibility. If the past week hasn’t shown us enough, it’s a rough world out there folks. Please make sure you look both ways and always remember to stop and say you’re sorry.
It’s become increasingly obvious to me that one of the biggest challenges in parenting (for me at least) thus far, in all of my four and a half months of being a parent, is the number of transitions one goes through. Let me get real on your a** for a moment. I HATE transitions. I mean it. I hate transitions. And I’m a school counselor and I do not like using the word ‘hate’ but I’m gonna use it here because it’s true. The irony is, of course, that since I was 18 years old until we moved to Miami almost two years ago, I have been in a constant state of self-inflicted transition because of my inability to stay in one place. I lived in Chicago for 3.5 years and that was a wonder! I’ve lived for some amount of time in the following cities since I was 18 years old (I consider ‘lived’ being I had my own bed in an apartment, not crashing on a couch): Wooster, OH; Milan, Italy; Washington, DC; Marietta, GA; Asheville, NC; Athens, GA; Jerusalem, Israel; Chicago, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; and Miami, FL. I feel very strongly that I’m forgetting a city so maybe if Mom or Misty reads this they can fill me. Regardless, the point is I should be used to transitions by now but the fact of the matter is that I am not. I don’t like them and I’m terrible at them. So it was a surprise for me when I had a little revelation that much of parenting is deeply imbedded in transitions and I might want to get over myself right quick-like.
I mention this because we are about two and a half weeks away from yet another transition—day care. I spent the first 2.5 months of our baby’s life home with her during maternity leave. If I’m being honest, I have to tell you, I truly struggled during maternity leave. I was often unhappy during the first 2.5 months of my child’s life, not because I wasn’t head-over-heels for my little one but mainly because I couldn’t get to the purity of my love for her because I was dripping with anxiety and depression. I so vividly remember asking my sister-in-law, Caitlin (found at her blog, The Joy of Caitlin), “Why doesn’t anyone tell you how hard this is?” And she so honestly said, “Because we want you to have kids.” So it was difficult. It was difficult but it passed. My husband took over our baby’s care when I went back to work and has been with her for the past 2 months. He’s AMAZING with her and I count my blessings daily that he’s had this incredible opportunity to be with her. I feel much more comfortable sending a 5 month old to day care rather than a 2.5 month old but I am still terrified. I’ve already started telling my co-workers to be prepared to see me in a fit of tears the day we drop her off. I should mention that we are doubly blessed that the day care is across the parking lot of the school I work in and I should feel better (always with the ‘shoulds’. The ‘shoulds’ will drive you crazy) about sending her but I don’t. We’ve got such a nice little routine down and I feel a lot of comfort in the routine but come January 7th, we will become a fulltime working family. A coworker said to me yesterday, “Whitney. I don’t know how you leave her. I couldn’t leave my baby for 2 years.” For which I replied, “Well, my landlord forces us to pay rent and I like eating so that’s how.” Cheeky? Probably, but the point is we don’t have a choice so day care, here we come.
So what in the world does this have to do with today’s recipe? Absolutely nothing. I just needed to get that out so thank you for listening. Incidentally, this post’s recipe is one of my most favorite shabbat chicken recipes and follows in the footsteps of Jeremy’s Ina Garten post. My dear friend, Annie, made this chicken for shabbat dinner on the first shabbat I landed in Ann Arbor (the second time. That’s right, I went back for more) and I fell in love. It’s delicious, juicy and makes your guests think you’re a James Beard award-winning chef. Bon Appetite!
P.S. I’m taking words of advice/encouragement re: the whole day care thing so please feel free to post in the comments section 🙂
Ina’s Lemon Chicken with Croutons (adapted)
- 1 (4 to 5-pound) roasting chicken
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. rounds
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- 4 lemons, quartered
- 6 cups (3/4-inch) bread cubes (I use fresh challah. It’s SO good)
How’s That Now!?
Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion and carrots with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken. Place the lemons inside the chicken and around the outside. Brush outside of chicken with the olive oil, and sprinkle the top with salt, garlic powder and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. The key to the juiciness of this chicken is basting. Baste every 15 – 20 minutes! Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to
10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.