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27 March 2008

soon, please

pink petals on pavement

Spring in Seattle? You are so fickle.

Please stop.

This morning, when we woke up, the green lawn was covered in grey-white frost. This made the walk to grab the paper an unpleasant experience in pajamas. The Chef found photos of snow-covered roads from the previous night, online, taken about twelve miles from our home. And this afternoon, when I was speaking with my parents on the phone, they told me that cold rain and heavy snow had just passed over their home. They live 45 minutes away from us, and we had much to say to each other. Just before we hung up, I looked outside the window and saw thick sheets of white snow slanting down onto the green outside.

Ten minutes later, bright sunshine poked through the clouds and made every blade of grass glisten.

I don’t understand. Didn’t we already pass daylight savings time? Why, when it is light until almost 8 pm now, do I still have to shiver while I type this with cold fingers? Why is the dazzling display of pink azaleas on the bush outside our door wilting brown on the edges from freezing several days in a row?


No wonder our landlord, who is a master gardener, suggested that we wait to plant our vegetable garden until Memorial Day weekend.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain. I’ve seen the photographs on friends’ blogs — there are vast parts of this country still covered in snow, with no sign of thaw. The Chef laughs at me when I wish for warmth. “Yeah, spring in Breckenridge starts in June.” Even in New York, all the years I lived there, I don’t remember seeing the trees sprout green in Central Park until the middle of May.

Still, the first week of March here was lovely and warm, blue-skied and expansive. Could I have that back please?

Late this morning, I was kind of moaning about this in the car while I drove the Chef to the restaurant. And then I shut up. Because, while we were stopped at a red light, I saw a homeless man huddled into himself in a doorway. The only things keeping him warm were his mangy beard and the cigarette dangling between skinny fingers.

I’m doing just fine.

Mostly, though, I know what this is. I’m growing antsy. Tomorrow, I start my sixth month of pregnancy. Six months pregnant! It sounds significant, doesn’t it? It feels that way, to be sure. My belly has grown outward, like a plump tomato at the height of the season. Every morning, the Chef and I look down at my belly, and he says, “Good lord, your belly has grown, again!” People have started smiling at me as I walk down the street. At first, I thought that they recognized me from all the publicity we’ve been receiving around here for the book. (That’s a funny state of being, when I expect people to say, “Hey, are you the Gluten-Free Girl?” Believe it or not, it happens often.) But when I see their beneficent and genial smiles, I realize, “Oh, it’s just because I’m pregnant.”

I love being pregnant. I adore it. My changing body amazes me. My food cravings crack me up. My slower pace feels right to me now. And the Chef? He’s so deeply involved, already in love with his child. Every night, and most mornings, he leans down into my belly and says, “Hi Little Bean!” in his excited, child-like voice. He has entire conversations with the little one, and I stand above him, my hand on his hair, loving him more.

I know that I will always love this time, and it will disappear far too fast. I should stop wishing for it to go faster.

It’s just this — we can’t wait to meet Little Bean.

LB started moving about five weeks ago. These little fluttery bubbles along the bottom of my belly, which make me grin every time they appear. But in the last couple of days, they have started to feel like real kicks. In several places along my belly, I felt this little thrumming, a quick pulse, a movement clearly from within my body, not on the skin. This evening, as I lay down to watch a little tv (a break from writing, much enjoyed), I felt these little pushes in my belly, and shouted out, “Hi Little Bean!” And then I watched as the left side of my belly wobbled a little, moving outward, and settled back to its place.

Oh my god.

These are, bar none, the most beautiful days of my life. I want to swim in them, and stay here, enjoying.

But if only it were a little warmer, and I could take walks without three layers, and see plants sprouting up from the ground and not worry that they will be frozen soon. I want to see the spring in full bloom. New life. All that hope.

I suppose this must be what it’s like for Little Bean, too. It’s dark in there (but probably pretty toasty warm). Little Bean doesn’t know what this world looks like, just the one inside my body. We all go into our cocoons in winter. I can’t wait for the sun to shine warmth onto my skin. That means we’ll be that much closer to meeting our child.

(And of course, I reserve the right to laugh at myself in July, when I’ll be nine months pregnant, and wishing for cooler weather again.)

This is the world, Little Bean. Sometimes it’s dark and cold. Usually, there’s sunlight, at least sometimes.

We can’t wait to show it to you.

chicken with citrus glaze and parsley pesto


Even in food, we’re in between seasons. The spring vegetables have not arrived in the farmers’ markets (soon, soon) and we’re all starting to tire of the winter vegetables. (Parsnips, I promise I will be excited by you again next January.) Really, the idea of four seasons is absurd. It’s more like twelve. And right now, we are in winter-spring.

For the middle of winter-spring, this chicken dish might just hit the spot. With a lavish glaze of reduced citrus juice, and a splash of green parsley pesto to presage the warm days that surely will arrive, eventually, this dinner helps stave off the rains outside. At least your belly will be warm after you eat it.

(By the way, the mystery ingredient in the photo above is a pile of balsamic pickled red onions. They are tangy and slightly sweet, a decadent surprise for the end of winter. I’d give you the recipe, but we’re saving it for a special occasion. Sorry!)

1 bunch fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup high-quality olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon kosher salt and cracked black pepper

5 oranges, juiced and strained
1 lime, juiced and strained
1 lemon, juiced and strained

2 chicken breasts (the one photographed above is a breast with half a wing attached)
½ teaspoon kosher salt and cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons high-quality olive oil

Making the parsley pesto. Put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a food processor. Whirl them up. Slowly, drizzle in the oil until the bright-green mixture coheres. If the pesto feels too thick to you, add a touch of water to thin it out.

Making the citrus glaze. Put all the citrus juices into a saucepan. Bring the juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow the juice to bubble away, slowly, until the juice mixture has been reduced to ¼ cup.

Roasting the chicken breasts
. Preheat the oven to 500°. Season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. Put the olive oil in a large skillet, brought to heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken breasts. Sear them until they are golden. Flip them. Toss the skillet into the hot oven. Roast the chicken breasts until the internal temperature has reached 150° (this should take about 20 minutes).

Assembling the dish. When the chicken has fully roasted, coat the entire breast with the citrus glaze, using a pastry brush to spread it on. Spoon a few tablespoons of parsley pesto on each plate. Nuzzle the chicken breasts on top. Serve immediately.

Feeds 2.


At 11:08 AM, Blogger Helen said...

Hi Shauna,

You know what -- Little Bean was probably conceived exactly a year after my daughter, Sammy :) What is your due date? Sammy was born on July 7th.

Sometimes I so wish I could live in Seattle so that I could have a chance to meet you. It's not because you are now famous (though I think it's awesome that people recognize you in the street!). It's because you are just such an incredible person. You are the kind of woman I wish I could get to know better. The kind of friend I could really talk to and count on. Maybe some day when Sammy is a little bigger, we can come visit you guys in Seattle. And if a book tour ever takes you to Boston, please let me know. We are well equipped for hosting people with babies :)

I hope you are feeling well and the rest of the pregnancy goes smoothly. I know how anxious you must be to meet Little Bean! Soon. Very soon.

Big hug,

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous GFN Richard said...

The weather around the world is just getting stranger and stranger. There is some days when it is suppose to be winter here (Canada) and it feels like summer. It goes from plus 10 degrees celcius, to minus 30 overnight.... It really messes with your head!

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you on the Winter Wall (what I like to call the state I find myself in every year at this time). I've definitely hit it, but we have another month (or two) in Boston before any hope of consistently warm weather.

I can only imagine how impatient I would be waiting for a new little one. Not there yet, but hoping : )

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Wheatless Foodie said...

"Winter-spring" is a perfect description of our weather here in Medford too. It's currently raining-tryng-to-snow here today, sort of "slushing". And you're right, as fortunate as we all are, we have been whining about the lingering winter as much as we'll be whining about the heat in July.

We usually plant our spring vegies about now, and our summer vegies around Mother's Day, but I don't know how our Medford climate compares to Seattle. It looks like I won't be doing the spring planting this year, but I hope to be able to get in some vegies for summer.

I love hearing about these pre-birth wonder days. It brings back such vivid memories of those precious experiences for me nineteen years ago (my daughter will be 19 in July).

Thank you for sharing them so beautifully with all of us.


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Ana said...

If you're itching to start that garden, and you want to start form seed, you coud try for ideas.
Enjoy these days with the belly - one day you'll have no more belly and you will miss it! As much as I enjoy my 3 yr old daughter I do miss her in my belly (feels so long ago!)

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Tanya said...

Over here in Coeur d'Alene, ID we are awaiting a winter storm. It is so cold outside. It gives me the perfect excuse to fire up my Viking and bake my second gluten-free cake. The first, chocolate, exceeded my expectations.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Cynna66 said...

It is important to remember that DST has been adjusted this year to extend daylight from March to November rather than April to October, so the daylight until 8 PM is deceiving. We're programmed to associate balmy weather with the light, but now we have to re-adjust. I have just recently started reading your blog and must say how enjoyable I find your writing style and recipes. I will have to invest in a copy of your book.

At 2:00 PM, Anonymous EB said...

After a few weeks of warm sun and cool breeze, it's cold, windy and grey here too. You sound like such a fabulously happy pregnant woman. I couldn't wish more for you. And this special occasion? The one you are saving a pickled veg recipe for? May I inquire???

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Brj said...

For a second there I thought I was reading my own, unwritten blog! I've spent the entire morning and afternoon cursing the weather. Sounds like the capitol city of Oregon holds the same forecast as Seattle. :(

Take comfort in knowing there's an office full of folks here with their fingers crossed and their swimsuits ready for when the sun decides to show it's beautiful face.

My seedlings are eagerly trying to push their way up and out of the germinator and into what little sun does peek through these grey clouds and into my living room.

A lot of love, smiles, hugs and kisses to you and your's. I can't wait to see more pictures of your morphing belly and eventually Little Bean. Congratulations Shauna and Chef.

Warm thoughts,


At 2:32 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I would trade for your weather, any time of the year. Here in Texas, we've already had a few days that have been in the 80s! Luckily, it hasn't stayed that warm and we might have something resembling spring ... at least for a few weeks.

I remember being so impatient for my little sisters to be born. I waited 9 and 12 years for them to come along, and I was eager to meet my little playmates. But I can't imagine what it's like being parents waiting for a child -- I'm sure it doesn't compare!

Your recipe couldn't have been better timed. I've been wanting to try a new chicken recipe; I'm so tired of having the same thing. I look forward to having this one some time soon!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Tea said...

Just read this after our snowy lunch. Um, yeah, ditto (except the pregnant part). But now the snow has stopped, and all the leaves in the Arboretum are beginning to unfurl in the palest green. It's beautiful. Thanks for lunch!

At 5:44 PM, Blogger chris said...

It's such a universal experience of pregnant women, being impatient for that baby to arrive. The last few weeks are really the worst and then all of the sudden, you're someone's mom. I was watching my five-year old tonight and remembering how the day before he was born I had no idea really what it meant to be a mother and then 24hours later, there he was and well, it was amazing.

Enjoy the wait (even though it's hard). It will be here soon and it's wonderful. Good for you.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Katie - a.k.a. Mommy said...

I just read your book and have been very excited that you are local to where I live. You have helped me gain hope for my son and helped me with a diet that I am trying even though I am not allergic to wheat like my son.

The snow has been weird. I am in Pierce county and we had snow Wednesday night and Thursday morning. We had snow today for 4 hours but it is all gone. Very weird.

It is wonderful to read about your Little Bean. It is such an exciting time. I currently am at the end of my time being pregnant, just waiting for the little one to arrive. Good luck with your waiting and Little Bean will come before you know it.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Shauna, I need to come and see you and Chef in the place he chefs at. I can't wait to read your posts each day. I hover over my google reader just watching for a new post from you. You're my single most favorite blogger. Not because of the great recipes, or that you're an author with a chef husband... but that you're an awesome writer with great stuff to share!

Thank you for your talent.


At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Sho said...

My birthday is July 3, and almost five years ago I had the best birthday present ever. My daughter was born on my 42nd birthday!

Enjoy your pregnancy!

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Catherine said...

You make being pregnant sound so lovely! Congrats again.


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Mama EZ said...

Oh I feel your eagerness for those warmer days we had back in February! I had absurdly gone ahead and planted chard and pea starts with Quin (2) and they are reaching capacity now, and somehow I don't think they are going out in that snow covered ground anytime too soon. Arrgghh! I hear you though, it's easy to feel great now (I'm nearly 6 months preggers too!), but in July, oofta that will be tough if it's toasty out! We'll just get to enjoy all the more seasons with these little ones though. Oooh, I look forward to trying out this recipe tomorrow night, thanks!

At 11:03 PM, Blogger momcan'tdance said... offense intended to the Texan, but shut up. I tell this to my two sister's still living in Southern California, when they complain about the Santa Ana winds and it being like 80 and 90 in January, when it's sub-zero here in Bend. today it was relatively "balmy" (30)compared to January, but really, give me some of that Texas sun, and Southern California warmth - Santa Ana's and all!

I'll never complain about the heat...but I always complain about the cold!!

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Feeds 2"? I bet LB enjoyed this great dinner as well! Have to try it this weekend, love the combination of poultry and citrus. Guess the weather is weird everywhere, here in Berlin it snowed 2 days ago and tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 60's. Enjoy your pregnancy, it's a truly miraculous time.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger GreedyLittleCaterpillar said...

You know what kills me? I live in Dubai and for some reason the government has decided that any content from flickr (is it?) should be blocked. So all your photo's come up as the little square with the red cross in the middle and quite a number of links are blocked too. (Today I was trying to check out the chick pea flour pancakes but was blocked) I would so love to see all of them.

But then again, your writing is so very evocative, I can try to imagine it. Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and buy your book so I can see at least some of the photo's.

I think the last time I read your blog, it was just after your wedding and now you are super pregnant! Congratulations.(My reading your blog tends to coincide with my commitment to eating healthily) I am looking forward to all the catch up reading. And you make being pregnant sound wonderful (and not daunting at all).

All the best,

PS it's about 36 deg celcius (I'm not sure the farenheit equivalent) here and this is only the first month of Spring.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Shauna -- The chicken looks simply fabulous. I love fresh parsley and have been having it chopped up in our salads as we eagerly wait for warmer days. I'll need to try out the parsley pesto, my husband and I would love this variation.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Shauna -- The chicken looks simply fabulous. I love fresh parsley and have been having it chopped up in our salads as we eagerly wait for warmer days. I'll need to try out the parsley pesto, my husband and I would love this variation.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Making this tonight for our weekly dinner party. Yum!

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Hi, Shauna

I know exactly what you mean about the weather! We are in NE Ohio and it's still cold & breezy. The sun was out yesterday and even though it was cold, it gave me hope that Spring was around the corner!! I'm tired of jeans & sweatshirts, I want shorts & flip-flops!!

I loved feeling my babies move, kick and nudge me when they were in my tummy! It made me so anxious to meet them! It so cool to hear about Little Bean, continue to keep us updated!

Stop by and say hi on my blog sometime!

Lisa :)

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Lynn Barry said...

We are wondering about spring too. We got dumped on with the cold white stuff.
It is fun to read about how excited you are about your baby...I gave birth to three and adopted one, and what joy is in store for you and the chef. ENJOY!

At 10:58 AM, Blogger rebelgirl7 said...

Lovely photo Shauna, it speaks of all the elements of spring, blossoms, wind, change, hope.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Greetings Shauna,

I do not know you, nor the chef, and shall never met you guys or LB. However, tonight finds me wanting to communicate to you in some fashion. I've lurked here since you became a "Blog Of Note," and am intrigued on many levels. Pregnancy shall never be my experience, nor shall love on your level, but I do admire it all and wish things had been different for me and mine. That's really it. Thank you for sharing yourself so completely, and thank you for allowing me to read and wonder what it might be like, if only...

Best wishes to you and yours...

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Connecticut I found crocuses blooming in my yard this weekend ... purple ones poking up through the dead leaves as it is too early to even consider the spring clean-up yet. Tomorrow it's supposed to snow, Tuesday it's supposed to be 63 degrees. We ride a crazy cycle here as we're near the ocean. I'm a Midwestern girl who lived in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. So this feels like bliss ... winter in Minneapolis seems to last until June! Have faith. As Victor Hugo once wrote: "Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart."

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Spring seems a long time coming. I was in Manhattan the past 2 weeks and it was only 40-50 degrees. At least back here in California it is working it's way nicely to a warm and sunny 65-70.

The chicken looks great, although balsamic pickled red onions sound even better! I simply chop red onions and other veggies, toss them in balsamic, sprinkle some Italian seasoning on them and toss them in the oven for some fabulous roasted veggies.

- The Peanut Butter Boy

At 10:27 AM, Blogger jill said...

Lovely writing as always...
I love to check in and see what another preggo woman has to say.. I can't wait to feel my baby move.. soon I am 17 1/2 weeks now!
I am loving this time also :)

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Cove Girl said...

I just found you blog the other day! Thank you for sharing your experiences and recipes! I'm trying to learn how to eat again, with my celiacs disease and all the infor I can get helps.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Kathy Casey said...

We're excited to meet little bean too!

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Darby said...

Love your blog! That's the perfect dinner for the weather we've been having. I'm so ready to get on with the spring around here. Parsley pesto is a great idea.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Debbie said...

You mention the little flutters that change to real kicks as Little Bean grows. If those make your heart grow warmer, wait until she gets the hiccups! It is a riot.

Hang in there. Spring is fickle. Here in upstate NY we will have 60 degree weather tomorrow and then the April Fool will begin with 30 degree weather and wind on Wednesday (my birthday no less).


At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Sophie said...

Your site is beautiful, and I must say your recipes are quite innovative! I would really love to feature some of your recipes in a cookbook I'm putting together for Key Ingredient. Please email me back if you're interested! Hope to hear from you soon :).

Blogger In Chief
Key Ingredient

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Yep, it certainly was a crowd pleaser! Made it for Sunday night dinner party... everyone raved. So simple, so delish. Thanks, Shauna! I'm adding this to my list of dinner party go-to dishes.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

How I envy you this time in your life. There is nothing as special as carrying life inside you (I know that sounds corny!). You can sit in a plump ball in your easy chair and still be productive. Enjoy- spring, and your baby, will be here in nature's own time!

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Adam875 said...

How long is the glaze supposed to take? After about 30 minutes I still had hot juice. The chicken was done, so I went with it, and it was still tasty, but I was wondering how it's supposed to work.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Squirrely said...

This is the best pesto I have ever tasted and the citrus glaze is heavenly. Thanks!!!


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