Did you ever wonder when you were little what it would be like if you had a twin? I didn’t. I was too busy being an attention demanding, question asking, fort building terror. I saw high ledges as challenges. It’s a wonder I didn’t crack my skull open falling from the top of a grocery store shelf. I still don’t know how I never slipped off the support beams under the bleachers at my sister’s basketball games.
Once I was old enough to take tests, I thought it might be nice to have a smart twin to take them for me. My dad always says, “I’m the best little girl in the whole wide world.” I am sure he’s not biased.
I didn’t think much about having babies either. I thought about having kids, who could talk and walk. The really cool kind, who play with you and then magically disappear. The reality that I would be the one playing with them; that they start out crying through the night; that they need their diaper changed and I would be the one changing it; that too came a little later. It came right around the time I realized you get big with a baby. Not happy, squishy big. Hard big. Round big. Big so you run into things and can’t see your shoes big. BIG. Not to mention the fact, it eats your food! I did use “it” because when I realized someone else would be eating my food, to me it was an “it.”
When my sister got pregnant, I sounded really excited about “it.” She told me I’d been the most excited in the family. What I really was thinking about was a watermelon. Sure, I like watermelon. It’s tasty and refreshing. No one in their right mind though wants to push out a watermelon. I kept sounding excited and listening to the “joys of pregnancy.” Anyone looking for a good form of birth control?
After Meghan Rae was born, I flew to St. Louis. She was a week old. Her little baby body was soft. She had tiny hands and feet. Holding her was like laying next to a soothing hot water bottle that drooled on you. Laying her on my chest, her breath matched mine. Her fine hair tickled my face.
She’s three now and she dances to Disney songs. My sister says she calls me a “princess.” I’m pretty sure she has the Cowles nose and she’s the cutest little girl in the whole wide world. I’m not biased either.
My sister is pregnant again with twins. I can’t help but imagine what it will feel like to lay with two little bodies against my chest. I don’t have to wonder about how money is going to be tight. It is. There’s no debate over how precious and strained my sister’s time will be. Getting two babies and one three-year-old fed, while not pulling her hair out, is going to be interesting. I don’t doubt she can handle it. She was born a Cowles after all. Born to work until her knuckles calloused, her back ached, and then to keep going without complaint. Still, she and her husband are going to be stretched to their wits end and everyone needs a moment to themselves.
A warm meal in the oven, filling the house with rich aromas, is the perfect remedy for a parental deep breath. Keeping it inexpensive and low maintenance, means down time can truly be down time. My Baked Chicken and Vegetables, is healthy comfort in an affordable package. Chopping the chicken and upping the veggies, stretches an inexpensive protein. If you’re looking to stretch this meal a little further, serve it over greens, lightly tossed in a simple lemon juice vinaigrette.
Baked Chicken and Vegetables
Feeds 2 Adults (and one little person)
1 chicken breasts
½ TBS dried basil
½ TBS dried rosemary, crushed between your palms
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 TBS lemon juice
1½ TBS olive oil
6 red potatoes, cubed
1 red onion, cubed
1½ cups carrots, cubed
Line a large casserole dish with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Combine basil, rosemary, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, lemon juice, and ½ TBS olive oil. Rub chicken thoroughly with spices and set in casserole dish to marinate.
Note: Leave your chicken on the counter. You don’t want to put it into the refrigerator, because you want to cook meat at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add vegetables to the casserole dish. Drizzle them with 1 TBS olive oil. Sprinkle them ¾ tsp salt and ¾ tsp pepper.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until juice from the chicken run clear. Remove chicken breast from casserole dish onto a plate. Cover with tin foil and set in microwave.
Increase oven temp to 425 degrees. Toss vegetables, and return casserole dish to the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove casserole dish. Slice chicken and serve.
Note: Waiting to slice your chicken allows it to rest while giving your vegetables
extra time to crisp.Recipe in print-friendly format