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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cheesy Polenta with Sausage

I can't believe that it has been over ten months since I had my braces put on!  And it's been far too long since I've updated all of you on the progress/process.  For those of you who are less interested in my orthodontia experience and more here for the food, don't worry, I made you a delicious dinner.  (That is also braces friendly!)

For those of you just tuning in, as a thirty-year old woman, I decided it was about time I got braces.  Well, my dentist "strongly suggested" me having a consultation with an orthodontist.  I was mad at my new dentist (seriously, it was the first time I had an appointment there!), but I was also mad at my old dentist (the one I had since I first got teeth.  The guy who told me I didn't need braces.).  Eventually I decided that it was a great time in my life to get my bite adjusted.

Invisalign was not an option, the corrections required real braces and *gasp* rubber bands!  I was okay with the braces, but he wanted me to wear rubber bands?  Like the ones that looped from top brace to the bottom?  I didn't know if I was okay with that.  I just kept thinking, *It's only 18-21 months, I can handle it.*

In February of this year, I had these fancy ceramic braces affixed to my teeth.  Until the metal archwire was attached, the brackets themselves were almost invisible.  Even with the wire in place, it's the only thing you can see when I smile.  It took some people at my office months to realize I had the braces put on.  My mom and brother had to be reminded that I had them, as they didn't notice them either.  My close coworkers made fun of me for about a week, but I just made fun of them for a wide variety of reasons and we all got used to my braces.  Recently, my orthodontist got new bands (the little rubber bands that attach the wire to the bracket) that are completely clear.  I'm in love with them.

I've had some questions from people along the lines of "I want to get braces, but I'm afraid they will hurt!"  I'm not going to lie, they were uncomfortable the first two weeks.  I was aware of every last tooth in my mouth.  After the initial adjustment period (and loss of a few pounds), it really hasn't been that bad.  After my monthly adjustment, one tooth or another might hurt for a few days, but it quickly goes away.  Also, as your teeth start to line up properly it becomes much easier to speak normally.  I've finally learned to say M words properly, I'm sure I'll have to get used to speaking again once the braces are removed.

So yes, I'm about halfway through my term in braces.  I just have three things to say...

1. I think my old dentist was in cahoots with my dad.  He totally saved him a bundle of cash by not pushing braces on either my brother or I.  And Wilde brother would do well to get himself some grills.  Dudes got crazy teeth!

2. I would totally get them again.  I'm really looking forward to having all my pearly whites lined up and biting down in the proper fashion!  I can see the progress they've made already and I can't wait to see the final result!

3. If you are thinking about getting braces, don't worry about the pain, your ability to eat, what other people will think.  The pain isn't crippling, you'll just decide which foods are too much work to eat and you're doing this for yourself, ignore those haters!

Get braces and make this dinner - very braces friendly!

One Year Ago: Povitica
Two Years Ago: Yeast Donuts & Butternut Squash Soup

Cheesy Polenta with Sausage
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Since I made pizza with sausage earlier in the week, I already had sausage cooked and ready to go for this meal.  With this precooked sausage, I was able to get the meal on the table in under thirty minutes!  It was cheesy, delicious and so easy on the teeth!
2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup skim milk
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 pork sausages, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup dried cranberries

In a medium pot, bring chicken broth, water and salt to a boil.  Gradually whisk in cornmeal.  Reduce heat to low and partially cover with a lid.  Let polenta cook and thicken for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As polenta cooks, allow milk, butter and Parmesan cheese to come to room temperature.

Also, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add pork sausage and cook until browned and cooked through.  Transfer from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate and let oil drain off.

In a small bowl, stir together mascarpone cheese with honey and set aside.

Once the polenta is tender, stir in milk, cornmeal and Parmesan cheese.   Spoon out polenta into bowls, top with a portion of sausage (about 1/2 a sausage link), a dollop of mascarpone cheese and 1 tbsp dried cranberries.  Enjoy the creaminess!
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