Friday, March 16, 2012

Miracle Baby and Anything Tomatoes

Jasper says, "Yay, I'm going to be a big brother! But enough with the shirt, Mom."

If you don't know by now, B and I are expecting a baby in mid-September.  He/She is our miracle baby and certainly a blessing from above.  I won't get into all of the details from the past year when we first decided we were ready to take on the journey of parenthood but I will sum it up by saying that things have not been normal with this ole (young) gal since that time.  We were basically told that our chances of becoming pregnant on our own were slim to none.  I will conclude by telling you that things still weren't normal when our baby was conceived but our loving and gracious God intervened without us having to resort to medications or infertility treatments.  My prayer since February of last year was that God would allow me to one day become a mother and if it wasn't going to happen on my timeline, I asked that he would grant me an understanding and peace.  And most of all I prayed that I would stand strong in my faith, trusting in him always (that's tough sometimes, you know?).  A year later, God graciously fulfilled my desire; however, my prayer has not changed.  I realize now more than ever that all I can do is rely on my faith in our God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and loves me more than anyone. 

And speaking of timing, Baby Berryhill is due two weeks before B and I were to leave for the Cinque Terre, one of Italy's finest treasures.  This twelve-day trip was being planned as B and I decided that if a baby was not in our future then an extravagant trip should be and we had big plans to see the world.  Wow!  We look back and laugh, realizing that traveling would have been fantastic but how much more rewarding the journey of parenthood will be (and saved me from splurging on a Louis Vuitton backpack:) ). 

So what do tomatoes have to do with all of this?  Everything!  They've been the most pronounced craving thus far and I can't seem to eat enough.  I remember a distinct hormonal moment early on--I cried when I finished my Subway sandwich because the tomatoes were gone and I knew I couldn't get another one until the next day.  Pitiful.  I have already consumed enough salsa to fill a gallon jug.  When the tortilla chips are gone, I have been caught eating the remaining salsa by spoonfuls straight from the container.  Any salsa will do but Publix brand is by far the best.

Last night we had our dear friends, the Hayes', over for dinner.  They are expecting their second baby any day now and we really enjoyed a relaxing evening together, sharing a meal and catching up before life gets hectic again.  I prepared a chicken and grits dish, which included tomatoes, of course, and it seemed to be a big hit.  I made it several times last year but remembered how delicious it was as I stumbled upon it this week in my recipe binder.  It's so simple, all ingredients go into a slow-cooker and all you need to add is a green side dish and bread and you have a meal.  The recipe calls for boneless-skinless chicken thighs and although that's all I've ever used, I feel certain that breast meat will work just as well.  For our readers in Jefferson County, watch for sales at Ingles and IGA as they often have boneless/skinless thighs on sale.  They are usually more expensive than breasts if you pay full price.

Southern Slow Cooker Chicken and Grits
Adapted from Weight Watchers

1 3/4 cup chicken broth
6 Tbsp uncooked corn grits
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp jarred minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp jalapeno peppers, canned (can use less or more depending on desired heat)
1 medium sweet red pepper or yellow pepper, chopped
1 - 14.5 oz can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 tsp ground cumin seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

Place broth in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker.  Slowly add grits, stirring constantly, to avoid lumps; set slow cooker aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, jalapeno and red/yellow pepper; saute, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add vegetables to slow cooker. Place tomatoes, cumin, salt and black pepper in slow cooker; stir to mix.  Add chicken thighs; cover and cook at medium setting for 5 to 6 hours. Yields approx. 4 servings.



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