86,400…that is the number of seconds or moments that we are given each day. No one gets more and no one gets less. What really matters is what we do with those moments. If your anything like me, this is a sober reminder to look at what where we are putting our time and effort, I need to get better at this.
I believe it can start by taking a little time and thinking through some of the goals or aspirations we might have and getting those down on paper, or some sort of digital system (the key is remembering where you put it after you take the time to write it out…this sadly is a reminder to me). If you're married this is a great “date night” activity. In advance plan a date to specifically talk about what your goals are collectively and individually in all of the different areas of life. These can be financial, professional, family, health, vacations, the list can go on and on. Once the goals are in place you have a filter in which decisions on daily activities can go through. This can help with even the smallest decisions, because each day of our lives we are making deposits into something. So when you look at your calendar for the week you can ask yourself “Is what I’m investing in building towards my goals and dreams?”
Recently I had an opportunity to talk to a group of women about this very thing but as it related to the home, specifically meal planning. It was all about taking back the family dinner. It began with making a commitment, getting a strategy, putting it on the calendar, and then executing the plan. It wasn’t about making dinner a command performance, it was about getting dinner on the table with a sustainable routine. Because unless you make a commitment to see some changes in the dinner routine it won’t happen. Once you decide to commit to take family dinner back you will need to take a small chunk of time each week to organize yourself. Make a plan, put it on the calendar, make a shopping list, shop, unpack and prep for the week. One helpful tip is to take a look at the dinner line-up for the week and search for those make-ahead notes at the ends of recipes. Look for highlighted tasks that can be done in advance. Hopefully by organizing, planning and prepping for dinner some of the dread that has been associated with dinner can be alleviated.
The hardest part of dinner is the planning, once that is done the think-work is behind you. And with a few things prepped ahead of time, there isn’t that “what-to-make" frustration that can crush the strongest among us at the end of a long day.
Gathering around the table for family dinner can be a place where the armor of the day can come off. When those who are most precious to you can be nourished both physically as well as emotionally. This small investment of time will reap a harvest of blessing. I think that is a goal worth setting.
Below is a Citrus Herb Roast Chicken that I encourage you to try. Basically the method for the chicken is what you really need to have. I have made hundreds of roast chickens in my life and after trying many different methods, this I’ve found to be the best bar none. ~Shannon
Delicious on its own, a roast chicken provides an added bonus: wonderful leftovers for preparing quick weeknight meals, including soups, salads and more. You can dice the meat and combine it with carrots, potatoes and other vegetables to create a warming potpie, or stir pieces into a hearty risotto laced with caramelized onions. For a simple yet satisfying supper, tuck leftover chicken between slices of bread, layer with Gruyère cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and spinach and then grill.
Citrus Herb Roast Chicken
One 2-3 pound chicken
2 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small oranges, halved
2 lemons, halved
A few sprigs of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. While the oven is heating put a large cast iron skillet in to heat up with the oven. Place half of the orange, lemons and herbs inside the cavity of the bird. If desired you can truss the chicken, but it’s not necessary. Trussing helps with more even cooking. Rub olive oil over outside of the bird, then season generously with salt and pepper. Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron pan carefully (it will be hot!). Then just as carefully place the chicken in the pan and tuck the remaining citrus and herbs around the pan. Place the pan back into the oven. Roast until thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees F. About 45-55 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest 5 minutes.
At this point you will have some delicious pan juices in the bottom of the cast iron pan. If desired, squeeze the citrus juice from those that were roasting with the chicken into the pan. Put it on the stove and add a little white wine and a knob of butter to make an amazing pan sauce to serve with the chicken. This is especially yummy over roasted baby potatoes.