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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lemon and Honey Chicken

It's been just over a month with my shiny new braces and I thought I would update you on how it's going!  Here are some answers to the most popular questions that I have been getting...

Shiny braces?  First, I should say that they aren't shiny at all.  My braces are clear.  They aren't the invisalign, retainer-style braces.  The brackets are actually made of a dense, clear ceramic.  It takes people a few minutes to realize that I actually have a full set of braces on my teeth.  From a few feet away they are completely unnoticeable, it isn't until you are talking face-to-face that you finally see them.  The only bit of metal that you see is the arch wire that connects the brackets together.  I'm very happy with the look of them, I actually kind of like them! 

How does it feel?  Like I told you before, the first few days that the braces were on I was acutely aware of each and every one of my teeth.  It was a strange feeling, but that eventually subsided.  I was really concerned about the pain that the braces would inflict, mostly because of all of the stories my coworkers were telling me.  It seems that 80% of the people that I work with had orthodontia work in the past.  From their tales of pain and woe I was bracing myself (ha!) for the pain and stocking up on Tylenol  It really hasn't been that bad.

The first few days, my mouth was tender and I ate a lot of soup and sipped many smoothies (and lost a few pounds).  Now I feel a whole lot better and even ate those tasty chicken wings last week.  I generally steer away from foods that I consider "hard to eat" (such as sandwiches) or "hard to clean-up" (like anything with seeds!).  Occasionally I'll have one tooth or another that is sore, but I know that means something is working and it's worth it.

What about the dreaded monthly tightening?  I was really concerned about the tightening.  I was picturing the orthodontist with pliers, wrenches and other medieval torture devices, tightening the wires and brackets in my mouth.  Let me tell you that I was nothing like that.  In fact I was in and out of the office in five minutes.  After a quick check of my progress, the orthodontist removed the old bands (the ones that hold the arch wire to the bracket) and replaced them with new ones.  Done, braces tightened.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Have I noticed a difference yet?  Yes!  I have been told that as an adult with braces, I'll be much more aware of the changes happening in my mouth.  This must be because I am used to my teeth and bite, any change will be obvious to me.  It's so true!  Each day my bite feels a little different or I can notice that a tooth isn't in the same place it was before.  Even my crazy tooth (some call it a snaggle tooth!) has begun to line up with the rest of my teeth.  I can see my new smile taking shape, only 17 more months to go!

If you are an adult considering getting braces, you should totally do it!  Join me in my adventure, it will be worth it!  Just buy yourself a good blender first.  Not only because you'll want the occasional easy to eat breakfast, but because smoothies are delicious!

One Year Ago: Cornbread Pancakes

Lemon and Honey Chicken
Adapted From La Tartine Gourmande

This was a nice change from the usual chicken breast that I cook with. The chicken thigh is rich and juicy and who doesn't like a little chicken skin now and then? The original recipe called for green zebra tomatoes, which I couldn't locate at my store. If you happen to be heading to a farmers market this weekend, check out their heirloom varieties. This dish would be amazing with a fancy tomato!

Juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 pint medium red tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup water
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Combine lemon juice, honey, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a mini food processor. Whir to combine (alternatively, mince the solid ingredients and whisk them in with the liquid ones). Place chicken in a large zip-top bag and add lemon marinate. Place bag in the fridge and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place halved tomatoes in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Add chicken, nudging tomatoes around so the chicken rests on the bottom of the dish. Add 1/4 cup water and place in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 50 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Remove beans from boiling water and transfer to a boil of icy water. This will blanche the beans and stop the cooking process.

When the timer goes off, add the green beans to the baking dish and bake for another 5 minutes. The chicken should be golden on the top. Serve with mashed potatoes and some crunchy bread.
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