Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Chicken Soup" for a rough day

Stick with me to the end on this one and you will be greatly rewarded. Trust me on this - it's worth it to scroll allllll the way down. You can do it now if you want - head down to the end and back up. We'll all wait here for you.

On December 2, Thatbaby turned 2 months old. And anyone with a young child knows what that means - the dreaded 2 month shots!

Thatbaby was a trooper. I mean, obviously he cried - even I cried when I have to get a shot, and I'm older than 2 months. But about 2.5 seconds after we got home, he was back to his normal self.

When I get a shot I wallow in the pain and misery. I don't get shots very often for this reason. And even though Thatbaby appears to have not inherited this delightful trait, I still felt like some comfort food should follow up this harrowing ordeal. Enter Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Can you think of anything more comforting than melted cheese? Cutting into a chicken breast and watching it just ooze out? And while most ooze verges on disgusting, oozing cheese is downright amazing. And topping it with an alfredo-like sauce sends it over the edge from ordinary to extraordinary.

The comfort-fest continues with our side dishes. Granted, I'm the weirdo that thinks pretty much any vegetable is comforting, but it's even more appealing when baked with cheese. I'm going through a fennel phase right now (you'll see more later this week). Raw fennel has a delightful black licorice scent, but when you cook it, it doesn't have that flavor. To me, it tastes like winter - warm and earthy. Like a sweater. And what could be more comforting than that?

Braised Fennel Au Gratin
1 head of fennel
2 Tbsp butter
chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Wash and slice the fennel in 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the fennel slices and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 inch of chicken broth, cover and simmer about 18 minutes.
  4. Remove fennel to a baking dish and boil down the liquid until only a few tablespoons remain.
  5. Pour the reduced liquid over the fennel, sprinkle the parmesean over and broil until the cheese has melted.

And for those of you that have stuck around - we got back our photos from the sketchy santa shoot. We went because I'm a sucker for free professional pictures, but really, are they much use when they turn out like this?

Tell me that santa doesn't give you the willies? And look how comfortable Thatbaby seems...right?

Let's review:

Good Santa

Bad Santa.

I think we've got one more Santa option this weekend. And I'm counting on this one to be the winner!


  1. That is a totally creepy santa! We're taking Ellie this weekend...hopefully to a non-creeper

  2. Agreed...that santa is a total creeper. Gross.

    I remember when my baby sister got her two month shots...she screamed for at least 24 hours afterward...she must have taken after you. :P

  3. poor lil guy! Glad he was a trooper though. That Santa is creepy, hope you find a better Santa!

  4. Santa creeper. Between that and the shots, Thatbaby is a trooper! Too bad he couldn't chomp down on the chicken or fennel. They both look delish!

  5. The chicken looks nice and cheesy. Is it just me or does Thatbaby look so different in the two santa pictures?

  6. Dying! That is a very very bad Santa. Thank goodness thatbaby is so cute. Loving the fennel.

  7. Fennel comforts me. There must be a chemical reason. Melted cheese really comforts me. Your first Santa Photo was a wee bit better than the one posted on another blog where Santa had overalls... no red suit.

    I cried when my children got their shots.

  8. Have I been living under a rock? How did I not know you had a baby?? Congratulations and That Baby is adorable - love the cheeks - so kissable.

  9. haha! The Santa looks a bit disheveled. I always felt bad for the Santas though. I wonder what kind of trouble made them take the Santa job! But then...I guess some Santas really do enjoy it!

  10. I remember like it was yesterday when my little one got the double thigh shot. 2 nurses at the same time. Good grief.

    Love fennel. I have only recently discovered it. I prefer it raw, the mild flavor of anise, is really a nice addition to salads.

    There is a blog called Kitchen Witch. She writes a great blog. SShe manages to mix everyday life and cooking too. Se has a funny story about having young toddler at Christmas time. I think you will laugh out loud. Her blog is at

    Have a great holiday.

  11. Ooops. I have a couple of typos in my comment. Sorry.

  12. Hilarious - and yummy - and adorable! Merry Christmas! There is definitely magic in the air when there is a baby in the house at Christmas! Best wishes for a prosperous and dream filled 2012!

  13. Yes, that is a little bit of a creepy Santa. But that baby is so cute! Happy holidays and wishing you all the best in the new year!

  14. ha! That Santa needs to retire and let the real Santa take care of business. :)

    Thanks for this fennel recipe. I have been craving it and need to use the bulb sitting in my fridge. I could live on fennel! :)

  15. When I said hilarious - I meant the photos - not the experience. It is so difficult - tugs ALL the strings on mommy's heart when it is shot day!

  16. I want to hold that baby! Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year.

  17. Ok. That Santa was seriously scary.