Tuesday, May 12, 2009


A few weeks ago, I was cooking dinner with our toddler on my hip. As I was prepping our food, I realized that I can do a lot more things one handed than I ever expected possible. I also had a mental flash to a story that my sister told me months ago.... when her girls were little (they're now teens), my sister watched the two older ones (then 2 and 4 years old) "read" books to each other and play while cooking dinner and nursing her 3rd daughter. Talk about multi-tasking!!

I had an epiphany. A book. Yes, a book from the woman who is famous for starting, yet rarely finishing, projects. (If you were to look in my craft room, you'd see yarn galore, often half knit into something brilliant, fabric diligently waiting to become a quilt, half made cross stitching projects, and a children's book just waiting for my return.)

Oh, where was I? OH YES.... my book. No, not the children's book (fear not, that project isn’t dead). This book is for moms (and any interested dads) who have become the jugglers they never thought possible. No, not with balls, but with cooking while having a child (or children) right there. I'm going to create a collection of recipes that parents can actually prepare with a child in hand ... or stuck to leg, which is often the case in our home. It isn't only a recipe book, it is also a collection of short parenting-related antic dotes and stories.... hopefully to amuse, inspire, and encourage. Introducing.... One Hand Recipes!!

To get us started.... (drum roll please)

When I was pregnant with our now 21-month old daughter, I was a staunch vegetarian and had been for 20 years. Not a vegan, but a vegetarian nonetheless. I even sought out prenatal vitamins that were gelatin free... which is harder to do than it may sound. Halfway through my pregnancy, I found myself sitting at work and instead of thinking about the document I was writing, I discovered my mind was in a very different place. It was telling me that I wanted chicken.

“But I don't know what chicken tastes like," I told myself.
Myself responded, "It doesn't matter. You want it."
"You sure?"
"Yup. Chicken."
"Huh. Chicken."

I wrestled with the decision for a few weeks and consulted with my OB about it. She informed me that my body was telling me it needed more protein. I further wrestled and then bit the bullet.... actually, bit the slow cooker turkey breast that I'd made for dinner for my husband and our co-workers who were visiting from Mexico City. (Turkey is not a common food down there. Bet you didn't know that!) Dang -that stuff was good!! I was hooked. It was flavorful and juicy. It made my taste buds ecstatic. I still felt guilty, but that wasn't going to hold me back!
Pregnant women aren't supposed to eat deli meats because of potential bacterial ickies that can do bad things. (I'm not a medical professional. My sister, the nurse, could give a much more scientific explanation, but that would require me to call her at work and that could be considered rude and self centered. Not qualities I want to encourage.) Instead of making sandwiches out of deli meat, I cooked a turkey breast each week and we munched on it until the next time I pulled out our slow cooker. The following recipe got me through my pregnancy and became a life saver when I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was basically taken off of carbs. (That would have been UGLY had I remained a vegetarian!)

This recipe is ideal for working parents. Plop the turkey in the slow cooker before you leave in the morning and when you return that evening, your house will smell divine and dinner will be waiting for you.

1 frozen turkey breast (about 6 pounds) - thawed and washed
1 stick butter - melted
Poultry seasoning

Put the turkey breast in the slow cooker. Pour the melted butter over the turkey. Generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

If you want to make gravy, mix 2T cold water and 2T cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix until all of the lumps are gone. Transfer the turkey juices (leaving as much of the fat behind as possible) to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling turkey juices. Turn heat to medium low and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens. Enjoy!!

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