Looking forward to many more grandparent appreciation nights (and days) in the future, and thanking God for Charbel and Paul’s two wonderful sets of grandparents…
Charbel and Paul have the best grandparents little boys could ask for on both sides of the family. My parents, though, live a little bit closer than Eddy’s (i.e. 5 minutes by car vs. 1 ½ hours by plane!), so the boys get to see them all the time, and my parents turn into superhero grandparents whenever Eddy and I are sick and overwhelmed, or just need a break for a little while to catch up on errands or on sleep. They are the best babysitters one could ask for – the kids always come back happy and exhausted, and tell us in their baby babble (which, for Charbel, is now quite understandable!) about what they did – usually flying kites, playing in the park, going to the playground, accompanying my parents on a shopping trip or playing in the kiddie pool in my parent’s front yard. Christmas and birthdays are twice as fun because Charbel and Paul usually go with my parents when they pick out their gifts, and come home with gifts much more elaborate than mommy and daddy expected, like a rocking horse or outdoor slide! They are happiest, though, because of all the extra laughs and cuddles they get when they’re with grandma and grandpa.
With Charbel already 2 and Paul over a year, it was high time to have a grandparent appreciation activity. Next year we’ll probably have a grandparents’ day, with Charbel old enough to get excited about it and help plan something. This year, Eddy and I decided to have my parents over play virtual sports with us on the X-Box Kinect, and have a special dinner. Paul was already in bed, but Charbel was allowed to stay up later than usual to partake in the fun – he got quite a kick out of watching us playing with the X-Box, and even joined in!
After Charbel went to bed, we relaxed with an “adult” dinner – a meal that the four of us could enjoy together, without any of us needing to feed the kids at the same time or jump up to take care of them… The setting was informal, but I’d chosen some special recipes for the occasion – lemon-basil-garlic marinate chicken, seasoned baked potatoes, and apple crisp!
There are plenty of lemon-garlic chicken recipes and baked potato recipes, but I’ve come up with my own proportions/ingredients that we like best.
For the chicken: 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and olive oil (1/2 cup of each is enough for about 4 large or 6 medium chicken breasts) mixed with minced garlic (I use about 1 clove per breast), with about ¼ cup fresh minced basil or a few sprinkles of dried basil. I like to marinate the chicken the night before so the flavor soaks in more, but the recipe works well even if you just rub the marinade into the chicken shortly before cooking. Baste chicken two or three times as it bakes; if the pan gets too dry, I add a little chicken bouillon just to cover the bottom. This keeps the chicken juicier, enhances the flavor, and makes it easier to clean the pan afterwards!
For the baked potatoes: Boil the potatoes, skin on, until soft. Cut in half or large slices and place in an 8 ½ X 11” pan, covered in foil. Slightly mash potatoes, still in skin. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1 tsp of sweet paprika over the potatoes. An additional tsp of onion powder also works well. For a tangier flavor, drizzle a little steak sauce on as well. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy on top.
For the apple crisp: I didn’t have my own apple crisp recipe, so I found one over at TasteofHome that was both easy and delicious – definitely a keeper! I added one final step not mentioned in the directions: I drizzled the crisp with homemade caramel sauce right as it came out of the oven – the perfect complement for an apple dessert!
Looking forward to many more grandparent appreciation nights (and days) in the future, and thanking God for Charbel and Paul’s two wonderful sets of grandparents!