Seeing Clearly (Recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes)

Last night, I returned from a long weekend in San Francisco where I had attended the BlogHer 2010 Food Conference. I was overly exhausted, but perked up the second I saw my husband and four kids peeking through the airport gate, waving enthusiastically at me. I walked closer and when I was close enough I brought each of my kids in for a tight squeeze.

As I stepped away from them, I looked at their faces and noticed that things had changed. They each had grown…looked bigger and more mature, all in the matter of the 4 days while I was gone. Was that possible? Could my kids really had changed that much in the short amount of time I was away?

As I was collapsing into bed last night, I reflected on how crazy the past few weeks had been. On top of work and deadlines, I was helping to coordinate a lovely party I co-hosted at BlogHer Food and prepared to speak on the value of a blogging community at the conference. School was in full swing and life was back to its crazy nuttiness. It was then that it hit me. My kids hadn’t changed while I was away, I just hadn’t been clearly seeing them for the past several weeks. I was too caught up in the noise and the fog of everything else that I hadn’t been focused on what I should really be, which was my family. Sometimes, it takes stepping away for a bit to be able to see clearly again.

This is the same with anything you do…blogging, crafts, photography, painting, writing…it is easy to get caught up in all the noise, but to really see clearly when things get foggy, you sometimes need to step away for a bit. When you return, you’ll have a new perspective and will be able to see clearly again.

This is another post where the recipe has nothing to do with what I am writing about, and if I would listen to some of the talk I heard at the conference, it is perfectly unacceptable to have such disconnect. But, you know what? This is my blog, my space and I want to share this recipe for cast iron skillet potatoes with you because its a good one. So here you go!

Herbed Potatoes Recipe (From the September 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine)

  • 1 1/2  pounds  Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  butter
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  small basil leaves
  • 2  tablespoons  coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Heat a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of potatoes; sauté 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and potatoes. Add butter and garlic to pan. Stir in reserved potato mixture, salt, and pepper; sauté 1 minute or until mixture is thoroughly heated and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; sprinkle with herbs.

Want more recipes for your Cast Iron Skillet? These bloggers have some great recipes for you to try:

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  1. says

    Wonderful post. Although I don’t have kids of my own, I understand the disconnect. This weekend prompted a lot of thoughts for me…
    It was great FINALLY meeting you. Can’t wait until our paths cross again!

  2. says

    Kristen, I just can’t get over your daughter’s picture. Wow, she is adorable! Your recipe looks amazing too (of course!). I have the ingredients on hand, so it will be a perfect side dish w dinner tomorrow. Might add some red onions. :)

  3. says

    So true! I always love coming back to something after a break, feeling completely refreshed and reinvigorated, and being able to see the clearer picture!

    Question though: how do you approach this taking-a-break concept with a blog, where you have scheduled posting times each week that you have to meet? What’s the best way or strategy to take a break when you get tired and don’t see things clearly anymore?

    Also, I love that your recipes aren’t always related to the story in the post. It feels real, like we get invited in for good conversation and whatever you happen to be having for dinner that day. :-)

  4. says

    Oh that face! What a gorgeous girl. Sometimes I feel like my kids change in an afternoon and I know it is because I am distracted. I constantly remind myself to slow down but I don’t take my advice that well. I am so sorry to have missed you and your lovely party in SF! Hopefully I’ll get to see you before too long.

  5. says

    who made up the rule a post has to relate to a recipe? i’m a total rule-breaker so that one just won’t fly w/me; i just don’t give one whit about whether or not the recipe ties w/the post. what i DO care about is the fact that YOU care enough to sit down and share a piece of your life with us. that baby AND those potatoes are both delicious enough to eat. there. how’s that for a connection?

  6. says

    I totally hear you. On the weekends that I don’t have the kids, when they come home Sunday night, it is exactly like I’m seeing them with completely new eyes. We all need to step away sometimes, get a little recharge in our system, and come back stronger and better than ever.

  7. says

    Hey, I am always disconnected! That is how my brain works. 😉 Glad you had a great time and are home safely. It is good for the soul to get away and gain a different perspective when you come home again.

  8. says

    Look at that precious picture! I could just hug her! I know all of your kiddos loved seeing you, too. It is pretty amazing how the noise can have us all in a fog sometimes.

    Love skillet potatoes and yours are looking mighty delicious. And ya know what, I love that you included them in this post. Works for me!

  9. says

    What a beautiful reminder on what is important. I know exactly what you mean, Kristen. When I got home yesterday morning, my husband looked so different! It was wonderful to look into his blue eyes and see home – but the rest of him has really been hitting the gym hard the last month, and it’s kinda like having a new guy around. It’s so wonderful to be home, I gotta say.

    And who gives a wit if the recipe goes with the post? They look delicious, and I much preferred reading about your revelation.

  10. says

    I like the fact that your post and recipe are totally unrelated. A few weeks ago I took my son to the park and before me stood a little BOY…where did my baby go? Did he disappear before my very own eyes? It kinda made me sad…

  11. says

    Every year I attend a weeklong adult event where I stay in a college dorm and take classes. I’ve been doing this for decades now. Whenever I come home I notice the same thing — particularly with my younger kids. (I have six.) They change markedly in a week.

    Or, maybe it’s just that my husband isn’t so worried about combing their hair. 😉

  12. says

    i so want a cast iron skillet. but we have a glass top stove, and i don’t think they’re a good match. would only be able to use it on the grill. which isn’t all that bad, now that i think about it. cheers!

  13. says

    So very true isn’t it? Several years ago, before my blog, when I still had my site and was working a side business that kept me on the phone A LOT, I found myself getting angry with my kids interrupting me on the phone. One day I realized how wrong that was for me and for my family. I quit working that job and moved on to things that didn’t require quiet for a phone call. Family is the most important, and so many of us do get caught up in the craziness of everything. Good for you for stepping back and seeing those beautiful faces. What a sweety pie :)


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