If you’ve read my About page, you’ve gotten a glimpse of my battle with pride over the years. My actions have often been motivated by the desire to impress others or make them think highly of me, and while it’s easy to think that is a past struggle in which I am no longer entangled, I find that there are still areas of my life where it is an issue. Thankfully, God is kind and reveals these spaces one by one, allowing me time to process, repent, and experience greater joy.
At present, my preconceived ideas about what it means to be a good and loving mother are being challenged, and I am becoming the kind of mom that I never thought I’d be, not that it’s a bad thing. Before entering parenthood, I idolized the role and put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to do well and to love my kids perfectly. For me, this season has been replete with difficult pregnancies, demanding births, and dissatisfaction in my vocation as a stay-at-home mom, and I have found it exhausting and impossible to keep up with my own expectations. Not only have I put pressure on myself to be a wonderful parent, but by golly, I was determined to love every minute of it.
As I type these words, I am keenly aware of the ridiculousness of some of the self-talk that has been swirling around in my brain, and I am grateful that I now have eyes to see it. Releasing myself from these pressures has implications that are not yet fully known, but at present, what this means for me is that I can pursue my passion of this blog without feeling guilty for not wanting every waking hour to revolve around serving my family. In the near future, it might mean returning to the work force or even going to culinary school, I’m not sure, but I’ll definitely be posting updates on those things once the decisions have been made.
Shifting gears, I’d like to share with you a recipe that I created recently, born out of a need to use of an abundance of grapefruit. My sweet friend, Angie, was heading out of town for a few days with her family and gave me several grapefruits for us to eat so they wouldn’t rot while they were away. They sat on my counter for several days, their scent wafting throughout the kitchen and begging me to turn them into something scrumptious. I considered the ingredients I had on hand, and it wasn’t long before this Grapefruit Ginger Chicken was underway. The chicken is sautéed simply in a bit of olive oil and then doused in a sweet and tangy glaze that is reminiscent of orange chicken. The grapefruit and and the ginger give the sauce some bite, but the honey provides sweetness to balance it out.
- 3 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (juice from about 6 grapefruits)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the fresh grapefruit juice, honey, scallions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt. In a resealable plastic bag, place the chicken pieces together with one cup of the liquid mixture and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- While the meat is soaking in all those yummy flavors, pour the remaining portion of the grapefruit ginger mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow it to boil until it reduces in volume by at least 75% and has a syrupy consistency (it should coat the back of a spoon). Since stovetop temperatures vary, your sauce may not be fully reduced by the end of 25 minutes. If that’s the case, it’s not a big deal, just keep cooking it until it is syrupy. Once the sauce is reduced, remove it from the heat and add additional salt and honey to taste.
- Remove the marinated meat from the plastic bag and pat it dry with a paper towel (moisture and oil are a dangerous combination!). Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium high heat; once the oil is hot, place half of the chicken pieces in the pan and cook without turning until golden brown on the underside. Use tongs to turn the meat and brown the other side, cooking until the meat is no longer pink in the center. If the chicken is cooking through but you aren’t getting good color on the exterior, you may need to turn up the heat (the idea is to get a little bit of caramelization on the outside of the meat without overcooking the inside). Repeat the process with the remaining chicken, adding additional oil if needed (if you have a very large skillet, you may be able to cook all the meat at once; just make sure the pan is not overcrowded and there is enough room in between the pieces for the moisture to escape).
- Once the meat is cooked and the grapefruit ginger sauce is reduced, toss both components together in the sauté pan until the sauce completely coats the chicken and the dish is heated through. If desired, serve with rice and garnish with additional scallion slices.
Tips and Tidbits
- Recipes are helpful, but always trust your own palate when it comes to seasoning a dish. As I created the marinade/sauce, I included a variety of ingredients, tasting along the way and making adjustments according to my preference. Try sampling the grapefruit ginger mixture prior to marinating the meat – if you think it needs more soy sauce or ginger, go ahead and add it! (Just note that the grapefruit flavor will intensify somewhat as the sauce reduces.)
- I didn’t have any on hand at the time, but sesame oil would be a scrumptious addition to this meal. If you have some in your cupboard, try adding ½ teaspoon to the liquid mixture.
- Grapefruit doesn’t tend to make an appearance in my daily diet, but after learning recently that it is high in vitamins A and C and contains cancer-fighting antioxidants, I might have to try eating it more often!