Last week I went out to Los Angeles to visit my friend who I grew up across the street from. By myself! It was an amazing visit that consisted of lots of wine, a day at a Korean Spa, a visit to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market (can I just say how jealous I am that they get a year-round farmer’s market with an abundance of beautiful food?), a night at a Karaoke bar, an In and Out Burger, and a cooking class focused on making tamales. Plus, I took 2 naps! Yes folks, it was this mother’s dream vacation.
Best thing about the trip was that I got to see one of my best friends. We met at 7 years old when I moved into her neighborhood. It was an immediate friendship. We both wanted to be actresses. We would practice the craft by going door to door singing and dancing for people in our neighborhood. She Shirley Temple, Me Little Orphan Annie. It was like caroling, but we could do it in the summer. We would hold talent shows and invite the other neighborhood kids to participate. We would put on plays. It was a good time in life.
Yes, we would fight too. We had metal lunchboxes that we would swing at each other in the heat of an argument. Can you only imagine two small divas having a cat fight? It was ugly. But we always made up. And now I am so lucky that 25 years later I can still call her my friend.
While I was away the wonderful husband stayed home with Quinn and got a small dose of full-time parenting. His theory is to keep her constantly on the go so she won’t get bored and crabby. Oh, boy did he keep her busy. They went on walks, to the museum, they drove down to Indianapolis to meet his mom for a day and swim in the hotel pool. He also took her to a pub where they were showing the University of Cincinnati basketball game. Apparently the alumni association had flown in Skyline Chili, so he gave her her very first Cheese Coney. Like the rest of us, she is hooked.
It was good to get home and see my two loves, hear about their weekend, and see what kind of damage was done. A temporary UC tattoo (although it was my college’s biggest rival!) and a botched attempt at cutting bangs was all. I can’t complain. I should go away more often!
While in CA we ate our fair share of Mexican. I could eat it every day if I had to, it would still be my favorite. I have been craving it ever since my return home so I knew I had to take the bull by the horns and cook some up. In our tamales class we braised some chicken that turned out to be absolutely fabulous. I wanted to try making my own recipe for braised chicken. I took only what we had in the house, and it turned out pretty good. I served it up on a tortilla with some refried beans, and sides of guacamole and fried plantains. Yum!
Mexican Braised Chicken
1 lb chicken breast
2 Tb oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 can cola
4 Tb Taco Seasoning
1/4 c jarred jalapenos with the juice
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 340F. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a braising pot, heat oil over medium high heat until lightly smoking. Brown chicken well on all sides and set aside. Saute onions in remaining oil until soft. Add tomatoes, cola, jalapenos and seasoning. Stir well. Add chicken breast. Place lid on pot and set in oven for 2 hours.
When done, shred chicken with forks. Should come apart very easily. Stir well and serve.