On Monday evening, my Dad and step-mom Edie, a.k.a. "Oma!", came over for dinner. I was so excited to cook for them as our getting together does not happen often-enough. Busy schedules, busy lives...but we always know that we love each other. Always present are our giggling and laugh-fests, as Oma always has funny new jokes and stories to share.
My Dad has had a lot of health issues so I am often stopped in my tracks just trying to take-in-the-moment, as when he has good days and a long stint of good reports, I just want to hang on to that and have it not change. It goes the same with Oma...she is a breast cancer survivor, and we all are so thankful that that is still the case.
With my children, I am borderline "obsessed" with the "being in the moment"...I just want to freeze time! As I was walking with Giovanni yesterday, hand-in-hand, I got teary eyed knowing that the day will come all too quickly where that hand is enormous and very much belonging to a MAN. Where will my little boy have gone??? He is here right now, but he is ever growing and maturing...as much as that is a blessing, it is so difficult as a Mom to watch it disappear little by little with the passage of time. It's almost as if the memories are being filed in my mind manually...every day I stop and think about what is actually occurring -- "Life" is happening, and what a life God blessed me with. Being the mother to these two angelic individuals...and having a husband that loves me and just "gets" me...he has always given me the freedom to be myself, and we both know that we have what matters: each other and our children and our family.
Never will I take that for granted, and forever I will be trying to do my part in helping others with less than me. It is my duty...I truly feel this in every fabric of my being.
Here is the recipe that I made for my Dad and Oma -- it was delicious and served with pasta, salad and roasted-garlic ciabatta bread:
"Braised Chicken Thighs With Tomatoes and Olives" (Food & Wine magazine):
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds in all)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup halved and pitted black olives
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1.In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Put the chicken in the pan and brown well on both sides, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Reduce the heat to moderately low.
2.Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and wine. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Boil until the wine is reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, 1 to 2 minutes.
3.Add the broth, tomatoes, olives, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the chicken, skin-side up, with any accumulated juices. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just done, 20 to 25 minutes. Push the chicken to the side of the pan and then mash the garlic cloves with a fork. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon pepper and the basil, bring just to a simmer, and serve.