Orange Marmalade Chicken
When I began blogging, I was a shy, uncertain writer. I’d press words from my forehead and temples and belly and squeeze them onto the page. Each post was a patient extraction. A painful twist. Fresh squozen with raw, inexperienced hands. So much work for the teensiest, marmalade colored trickle of juice at the bottom of the cup.
Thing is, there was an innocent quality about those first posts. Sometimes, I pretend to be that girl again. I want, in my blogging, to recapture the quaint, bright-eyed wonder of that stay-at-home mom I once was. The girl who sighed over long trips to the library and spent hours shining the edges of the dishwasher because there was little else to do with her afternoons.
It’s sometimes hard to admit that, while I’m still very much a stay-at-home mom (and only just a slightly more saavy writer that I was in those early days) this world of blogging has dramatically changed our daily schedule. Life is a lot more frantic than it was in October 2008, when my first post for the verbosely titled ‘Conversations with a Cupcake’ went live.
Nowadays I calendar long lists of writing assignments and recipe ideas for a multitude of companies–Babble, BettyCrocker.com, ChefMom.com, Smithfield.com, SheKnows.com–alongside weekly piano lessons and dance lessons and basketball games and bedtime stories. Life feels a rush all the time. It’s a big blur of wonder and excitement, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to turn a hobby into a passion that I get to pursue daily. But, will you allow me to admit that I’m a little bit sad, too?
Sad because life isn’t so simple anymore. I sometimes feed the fam Top Ramen for dinner because I’ve made so many recipes for writing assignments that I forgot to defrost chicken from the freezer. And, yes. That is the silliest thing you’ve heard all day. But, it’s straight up true.
When those moments tinged with the bittersweet nostalgia of days gone by arrive, they don’t hang around for long. After all, who has time to weep over the girl one once was when there is laundry to be done, homework to be supervised, recipes to conjure, a whole world of life and motion and experience waiting to be drunk in?
And therein lies the clincher. Quiet, shy, innocent me couldn’t have known that those first, hesistant words would become stronger, and richer, and easier to pen until they poured freely from food-coloring-stained fingers. How could I have guessed that they’d somehow expand to include new understandings, deeper passions, grander hopes, more colorful dreams.
And, sure. There are sometimes growing pains. And busy schedules. An untidy sink and fridge full of butter. Yet, I realize tonight, as I write these very words that, when it comes right down to it, I’m still very much the same girl I was way back then. In love with my husband. Full of adoration for my four fabu kids. Wide-eyed and ready for all the possibilities that wind across our way. Firm in the belief that the glass is half full.
I suppose I now just have a better understanding of exactly how full it is.
Orange Marmalade Chicken
This recipe looks fussy, but it's really quite simple. I served it over bean sprouts because I'm just that virtuous an eater. If you are feel saucy, serve it over white rice. If you're feeling just an eensy bit saucy, pop it over some brown rice and split the difference.
1 pound chicken tenders
1/2 cup orange marmalade
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
In a skillet, brown the chicken in a bit of olive oil over medium high heat. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients to make the glaze. Once the chicken is browned, pour the glaze over the chicken and cook the chicken until cooked through. Serve atop warm bean sprouts or rice garnished with cilantro & green onions.
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