Oh hey! Remember me? I’m hoping that at this point we’re kind of like old college buds, and can go with extended periods of silence (eeeeek 8 months!) and then just pick right up where we left off.
You have one of those friends, right? You just slide right back into your old routine, not missing a beat, and it’s all corny jokes and rehashing threadbare stories from the glory days of prehistoric pre-social media times (2001 – gulp). Before you know it, you’ve both had too many glasses of sauvignon blanc (and these days it’s more Kimmy C than Yellow Tail, thank the good Lord above) and it’s waaayyy past your bedtime (so, like, 11pm or so) and for a brief moment in time you almost forget about tomorrow’s realities and responsibilities, and the fact that a chirpy hungry toddler is going to make her presence very much known at precisely 6:05am.
A toddler, as it turns out, is more reliable than a damn alarm clock.
Lest you think I’ve just been loafing around since last November not cooking or doing a dang thing, I’ll give you the Cliff’s notes version of the past winter/spring/early summer, and then just dive right back into being a better blogger, ok? My little baby is not to little anymore, and Miss Beatrix Briar is now a full-fledged walking-talking toddler. Not only is she opinionated (HALP!), but she has mastered the art of saying “NO!” while simultaneously wagging her little finger, and has become so fast on her feet she can easily outrun me when threatened with a diaper change. But that might be because I am waddling along at a tortoise’s pace at nearly 20 weeks pregnant with baby girl number two….!!!!
I figured I’d just sliiiide that right in there! It’s true– number two is currently cooking, and we are so super stoked to be expecting another baby girl. I am just thrilled to bits that Bea is going to have a little sister nipping at her heels come December, and am digging the girl-powered direction that our family is taking. Poor James is totally outnumbered in this girl band! We got the news that we were expecting on the very day that James finished up his classes, and he has officially graduated from the MBA program at The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. I feel honored to have borne witness to such a massive accomplishment (because, seriously, there was endless studying, projects, late night conference calls, and a heckuvalot of old fashioned hard work put into this degree), and am not even one iota embarrassed to brag that I am one very, very #proudwife. And outside of growing a new baby, momming around after a newly minted toddler, and having a new graduate, we’ve up and moved….AGAIN! Although we love and adore the Bay Area and had an amazing 2 years (gosh that went by quickly) living in Mill Valley, we decided to move down the coastline back to Santa Barbara (hooray!) for James to take an exciting position with a company that happens to be located here.
We’ve been back in SoCal for exactly a month now, and with our boxes unpacked and the proverbial dust settled, it feels just so good. I’ve been getting into the swing of things with our new daily routine here, and we’ve been catching up with old friends (and making new ones!) and Bea and I have been spending our days up, out, and about: taking morning hikes on the ranch to pick avocados, smell flowers (her fave), and look at bugs, spending afternoons at the beach exploring the tide pools and hating on the sand (toddlers are so weird), checking out the zoo, the museum of natural history, and the ah-mazing and brand spanking new science museum, diving into workout classes at the gym, and swimming nearly every single day. It’s funny how a place can look so different from the vantage point of Parenthood, but there are so many things to do here with kids, and overall I’ve just been feeling very happy, very at home, and like we are in the “right” spot for our family right now.
It’s a good feeling :)
I’ve also been relishing having an unending stream of avocados at our disposal, and if I didn’t know any better I’d think it quite possible that this bump I’m sporting was a result of midday bowls of guac and eating avocado on ALL THE THINGS.
Around here, guacamole is definitely not extra. (Tee Hee Hee)
This is exactly the kind of supper that’s been on repeat so far this summer: it’s super healthy, super fast, and super tasty. Slicing chicken breasts in half horizontally allows them to cook super quickly, making it a quick dish to whip up while simultaneously eradicating the plight of the thick chicken breast (overcooked outside and a nearly raw middle). The chicken is spiced generously with lots of salt, black pepper, and smokey paprika, and grills up to be tender and flavorful. The avocado “goddess” sauce on top is loosely inspired by one of my favorite sauces – green goddess dressing – and is a combination of ripe avocado, creamy Greek yogurt, garlic, and bright and fresh herbs. The cool sauce is the perfect foil against the warm grilled chicken, and I can attest to the fact that any extra sauce is delicious dolloped on an omelette or elevating an afternoon snack of crudités.
(And yes, you can call carrot sticks crudités if said sticks are dunked in this avocado goddess sauce – your veggie and dip game is instantly elevated!)
Avocado goddess chicken! It’s totally a thing, and you should totally make it. It’s the first of (many!) new recipes I’ve been gearing up for this here little interwebs nook of mine, and I’m hoping you’ll forgive my silence and dive right back in with me. I’m pretty dang excited to be back!
- 2 chicken breasts (organic + humanely raised if available)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil, to drizzle
- 1 ripe avocado
- ⅓ cup full fat Greek yogurt
- large handful fresh basil leaves (12-15 leaves)
- large handful fresh cilantro leaves & tender stems (about 1 cup)
- 1 large (or 2 small) cloves of fresh garlic
- juice & zest of 1 lemon
- kosher salt to taste
- wedges of fresh lemon
- First, prepare your chicken. Slice each breast in half horozontally (aka widthwise), so that you have a total of 4 thin chicken breast pieces. Combine the kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder in a small bowl, mixing well to combine. Liberally sprinkle the mixture over each of the pieces of chicken. You can do this step just before you cook, or anywhere up to 12 hours before you plan to cook, which will allow the flavors of the seasoning to permeate the chicken even more (just keep it in the fridge till you're ready to grill)...for this recipe, I let the spices sit on the chicken for just about 4 hours, and it was lovely.
- Prepare a grill to medium-high. While the grill heats, toss all of the ingredients for your goddess sauce into a food processor or blender, and process till smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the side of the machine as needed. Taste the sauce - it should be bright and fresh with a kick of lemon and garlic. Add more salt as needed. Keep the sauce to the side till you're ready to serve.
- When the grill is hot, lightly drizzle your chicken in olive oil, and place on the very hot grill. Grill for 2-ish minutes on each side, or until the chicken has nice grill marks and is just cooked through (take special care not to overcook, as since the pieces of chicken are quite thin they will cook quickly and dry chicken breasts are a total drag).
- When the chicken is just cooked through, transfer it to a platter, and dollop with the goddess sauce. Serve the chicken with wedges of fresh lemon for squeezing, and pass the extra sauce on the side.
Feel free to play with the sauce recipe - tarragon, fresh mint, chives, and parsley would all be lovely additions to or substitutions for the fresh basil and cilantro.