Monday, October 14, 2013

Breakfast...It's What's for Dinner

Oh no!! It's Monday night.  I am starving.  I am tired.  I have no meat defrosted.  What are we going to eat? 
When nights like these occur, I sift through my fridge and pantry searching for inspiration.  I found eggs...mmm...bacon...mmm... breakfast!! Where are my grits...what!?! No grits!! (Common problem)  I will just have to improvise.

Rosemary Polenta with Bacon and Eggs

Creamy polenta with crunchy bacon and a fried egg? Can there be anything better?  I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to refrain long enough to take a picture of this last minute meal.

Just  few ingredients this time...because this is practically all I had at my house.  I used yellow cornmeal for my polenta, but feel free to use correctly labeled "Polenta" from the store.  It is a little more coarse, but not as coarse as grits.  All the polenta calls for is cornmeal, parmesan, rosemary, chicken stock, and milk.  

But, this meal starts with bacon.  I cooked my bacon up on the stove-top because later I am going to fry my eggs in the bacon juice.  When ingredients are few, the flavor must be big!!

I used about three sprigs of rosemary.  Strip the rosemary needles from the stem and finely chop them.  By this point, your bacon is sizzling in the pan and popping to grab your attention.

Time to flip!  Once the bacon is nice a crispy brown, remove it from the pan and allow it to drain on a paper towel.

While the bacon grease is still hot, crack two eggs into the skillet until the whites have set and the yolk is still runny.  Now, I made us two eggs a piece.  I won't stop you if you are going to be stingy and only eat one egg, but Matt already gives me a hard time about just letting him eat two pieces of bacon when we have ten more in the fridge.  Like the old saying goes, "Two is better than one."

In a small pot, heat about 1-1 1/2 cups of chicken stock until boiling.

Reduce the heat to simmer and slowly add 1/3 cup of your cornmeal while whisking to prevent the cornmeal from making lumps.

Let there be polenta.  Polenta, my dad always reminds me, means mush in Italian.  So, when that fancy restaurant tries to charge you $30 for Jumbo Shrimp over Polenta with a White Wine Demi-glaze, ask them what polenta means and try to get a discount.  It has never worked for me, but maybe you will have better luck!

Add 1/3 a cup of parmesan, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Mix everything together thoroughly.

My polenta was not as creamy as I envisioned, so I added a splash of milk to give it that silky texture.

Perfect!!  Now to build your dinner.  Dish your polenta into shallow bowls and top it with bacon and eggs.

I hope you enjoy this super comforting, super easy, super pleasing, rib-sticking weeknight dinner.  Brinner is always one of my favorites, but when it turns out this beautiful, it is just a bonus.  

4 pieces of bacon
4 eggs
3 sprigs of Rosemary
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 cup of cornmeal
1-1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
A splash of milk

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook 4 slices of bacon until brown and crunchy.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel for draining.  To the hot skillet, crack your eggs and fry sunny side up.  Cook the eggs in batches if necessary.  Remove the eggs from the skillet when the whites are set and the yolk is still runny.

In a small sauce pan, add your chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add your cornmeal to the chicken stock while whisking to prevent lumps from forming.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Whisk everything until it has come together and is coming away from the edges of the pan.  Sprinkle in your parmesan and rosemary.  Stir to combine.  Add a dash of milk to the polenta immediately prior to serving.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


This is a time of change in my life.  In a few short months, I will be finishing dental school.  I am applying for a residency which may take me anywhere from Naples, Florida to Richmond, Virginia.  I am transitioning from having learned a lot of dentistry to learning how to run a business.  All of these things are new to me, and with new things comes new feelings.  These feelings range from excitement on some days to anxiety and stress on other days.

I have always been somewhat of an anxious person.  I like to think that I hide it well, but my family and my very closest friends know that I struggle with these demons.  Even when I was a little girl, I would lay down for bed at night and my mind would start racing and work me into a panic.  I think back to that time and wonder what I could have possibly had to worry about.  Obviously, I made it to the next day and the day after that and God carried me through every step of the way.

As I am meeting new people through my patient pool, I come to learn very intimate details through taking health histories or our conversations while waiting for the faculty to check my work.  There is a common theme of anxiety, whether it be for the changes that are happening at our nation's capital, financial problems, family issues, or anxiety for the sake of anxiety itself.  I have discovered I am more of "the norm" than I thought I was.

Just like when I was a little girl, I still get nervous and a lot of the time, it is for no reason whatsoever.  I realized through my "Eye episode" as I am beginning to call it, that I am a planner.  I like to know what I am going to do today, tomorrow, and the next five years.  When things do not go according to this plan, this is when the pit in my stomach forms and my heart beats a little faster.  We had a sermon a few weeks ago where our pastor began talking about this exact subject.  He said, "The root of anxiety is our mistrust in God's perfect plan." He also said that we like the idea that we have control over our situation.  I agree with his statements, at least it rings true in my own life.  God has blessed me so richly; how could I not trust Him to do what is best for me and his kingdom?

As I look back through my few years of life, I see anxiety in going to a new school where I knew hardly anyone.  I see anxiety in college about whom I should date and associate myself with.  I see anxiety in attempting to get into dental school my first time around.  I see anxiety with each benchmark I have had to surpass throughout dental school.  And then, I look to God.  Each situation has occurred according to His plan.  Of this I am certain.  Every plan that I have worked up as the best plan for myself has not compared to what God has laid out for my life.

In these times where I get nervous over some insignificant thing, I think back to when I was a little girl lying in bed worrying.  My sweet Daddy would come sit on my bed and sing beautiful old hymns.  I remember drifting asleep to the sounds of "I Love You, Lord" and "It is Well With My Soul."  Whenever my parents catch me worrying, they give me verses that comfort me and submerge me with prayer.  One of my favorite passages to meditate over is Philippians 4:6-7.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Although there are many of things in this life for us to worry and obsess over, I am learning to leave my fate in His hands and being open to the opportunities He places in my path.  I have no idea what I will be doing in the future, but I have faith that it will be wherever God wants me.