So we’re in the thick of it, here. The terrible twos. The tantrum phase. And it’s real. Don’t have kids? Congratulations on feeling well-rested and having unscratched corneas! Let me explain it to you:
Parenting a two year old is like living on top of a dormant volcano. There’s no telling when it’ll go off, my friends, but oh, it will. I’ve become adept at conducting level five hostage negotiations while catching puzzle pieces whipped at my face in fury, all while simultaneously digging in my purse for anything/everything/a hair-covered raisin that might put the fire out. I have hauled a rigid and unwilling-to-leave screaming dead weight all the way across the park, sometimes upside down if I have to, while unwrapping a granola bar with my teeth. I have witnessed melodrama worthy of eight Glenn Close performances when I (god forbid) say it’s bed time, and I’ve been smacked by sticky little hands who five seconds later want me to hold them. These explosions do not have rational cause. They are not predictable. One minute these little cave people will be laughing hysterically at their own farts and the next they are furious because you won’t let them eat toast in the shower. It’s hilarious if you don’t have to deal with it, or if you’re at home with a fridge full of wine and therefor the patience to wait out the storm without succumbing and just giving it what it wants. But if you’re in a public place? A grocery store? An airport? An airPLANE? Oh, heavens open up and swallow you.
Before I had kids and witnessed a stranger’s child having a full-blown meltdown, I would politely avert my eyes and assure myself with all the blind confidence in the world that my future child would never do such a thing (previous Jewel was a real know-it-all. I mean, even more so than this Jewel). But here’s the truth: even the most precious child who looks like they just stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue has the capability and the inevitability of going Chuckie doll on you. It’s just a natural part of their brain development, and all you can really do is learn a few tricks, stay patient, take deep breaths, and perhaps self-medicate.
But the saving grace in these moments, when my own child has gone batshit feral because I won’t let him throw my wallet across the produce section, has been meeting the eyes of a fellow parent who smiles knowingly as if to say, “I get it. I’ve been there. You’re doing great.” Because as parents, we HAVE all been there. And if you’re not a parent, and you’re witnessing an epic kiddie meltdown and silently reminding yourself to renew your birth control prescription, just remember that you, too, were once a shithead toddler embarrassing your parents. So try not to judge us and our silly little babies. Just know that we’re all very tired, and we’re all trying our best.
I want to share one of my favourite weeknight recipes with you, one I’ve done again and again because it’s delicious, easy, and even kid-approved in our house. I love making quick curries because they’re super satisfying and also a great excuse to toast up some naan for dipping. Hope you like this one.
PS. I love you like crazy, Wilder. Please buy us a nice house when we’re old.
Easy Chicken and Mushroom Curry
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bitesized chunks
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp red curry paste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp mango chutney
1/2 cup cashew nuts
Salt and pepper
4 cups of cooked rice
4 pieces of naan bread
In a bowl, toss the chicken with the curry powder and some salt and pepper.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and sauté the chicken until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Toast the mushrooms in the hot pan for a few minutes until they get some color, then add the olive oil and curry paste, stirring to combine. Add the onion and garlic and some more salt and pepper, and saute until the veggies are soft, about five minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring up to a boil, then add the milk and turn down to simmer. Let the sauce thicken for 10-15 minutes, then add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in the mango chutney and the spinach, wilting the spinach in the hot curry sauce. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Place the naan on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toast under the broiler until golden, about two minutes, and flip to toast the other side.
Heat a pan over medium heat and toast the cashews until golden, about five minutes. Roughly chop.
To serve, spoon the curry over rice and top with a handful of toasted chopped cashews.
Serves 4, or 2 tired parents with leftovers to spare and one spirited little boy