Food + Wine, Fun

Sugar and Spice

They say you tend to mimic your childhood surroundings when you become an adult. Some even say us women marry versions of our fathers. I’m not sure how much of that I believe, because I know I married somewhat of the opposite of my father in a lot of ways. Both my husband and father are amazing men; kind, generous, tough and caring; but they are different in a lot of ways. I do agree that if you were raised in an environment that was happy and with a family unit that was successful, you seek to mimic that dynamic when you begin a family of your own.

I would imagine if you had a tough upbringing, the opposite may occur. But I wouldn’t know anything about that. I was raised in a loving, ‘normal’, happy family unit that consisted of a stay-at-home mom who cooked dinner every night, a full-time, hard-working father, a sports-playing son and a wildly talented, yet often times attitudinal daughter, (that would be me). When I was little I had a vision of myself in a similar situation. When I met my husband, we both agreed that we wanted to live out our hopes and dreams of being in the movie business, then settle down somewhere quaint with 2 kids-a boy and a girl. He shared the vision.

Life happened, more or less, how we predicted it and almost 3 years ago we had our beautiful son. I’ve mentioned before that he had a rough entry into the world and by the time we were able to take him home from the NICU, I never wanted to let him go, for fear someone would take him from my trembling arms again. And he pretty much hasn’t left my sight in 3 years. Up until 7 months ago, life seemed complete, we were happy. Then we remembered our vision. After having a son, all I wanted was another boy. I knew boys. Boys were easy. I had heard horror stories of people raising their difficult daughters (most of them from my mother) and I was perhaps a little scared of going down that road myself. My mother and I have a wonderful relationship, we are very close and I am happy to call her a best friend. But we have had, and still have, our share of fights and struggles. I suppose that’s normal for every mother and daughter, but I look at her and my younger brother’s relationship and I think, ‘that’s what I want with all my kids.’

My husband was also borderline terrified to have a daughter, for fear that she would become a trash-talking street walker, (he reads a lot). We both agreed, having 2 boys should be our new vision. When I first became pregnant my gut feeling was that the baby growing inside of me was a girl. I don’t know where I got it from, but I was spot on with my first pregnancy and tend to have clairvoyant tendencies, so I believed it. I was more tired this time, more nauseous, more restless at night, my headaches were worse, so I still believed it was a girl this time. Then as I got further and further along in my pregnancy, I started to believe it was a boy. I was into my second trimester and no longer extremely tired or nauseous, I was starting to show a bit but still remained fairly small otherwise, all the things that were similar to my pregnancy with my son. I figured I only had a different and more difficult first trimester because I now had a child to take care of full time.

Then it came time to find out which part of me was right. My husband and I sat in the waiting room on the day of the big ultrasound reveal and he asked me what I thought it was and I said,

I would bet you a million dollars that this baby is a boy. I know it.’

He believed me, of course, because he’s been trained to do so. I laid down on the chair in our room and the technician used her magic wand to show us pictures of the baby. She asked us if we wanted to find out the sex and we said we did. She froze the screen on the money shot and began pointing out the toes and the legs and I just stopped listening to her. My breath stopped, I think my heart skipped a couple beats and I focused in on the tiny little detail that seemed to look a heck of a lot different than what we saw at our first rodeo. She finished with counting all 10 toes and said,

‘OK, you two are having a girl!’

And I said,

‘no we’re not.’

And she said,

‘yes you are, this little baby is a girl!’

And I said,

‘no it’s not.’

And she said,

‘yes it is, see this right here? This is her…

(I’ll stop right there, you all know where I’m going with this)

And I said,

‘Oh. My. God. No way. No way. Oh my goodness, are you sure? Of course you’re sure, this is your job. Oh my goodness, I don’t believe it. I was so sure it was a boy, I owe my husband a million dollars! Oh this is crazy, there’s no way you’re wrong? I mean, no offense, but I was pretty sure this was a boy. I don’t know what to do with a girl! I mean, I am one, but I don’t know how to raise one! (I now turn to my husband) Oh honey, how are you? Are you OK? Are you going to pass out? I think I may pass out, I just can’t believe this. (crying now) Oh, our mothers are going to FLIP OUT!!! I’ve been telling everyone this is another boy! I was wrong, I’m never wrong! Holy crap, I don’t know what to say, this is amazing. I can’t believe we’re having a girl! Oh! I get to use my dream-girl name! Oh this is just amazing, this is crazy, this is unbelievable!’

I turned to my husband, he grabbed my hand, and I looked into his eyes and whispered,


‘How are you? Are you OK with this?’

And he had the biggest smile on his face, kissed my forehead and said,


‘Yes, baby. I’m great. This is wonderful.’

And then I was great, and I realized that it was, in fact, wonderful. We were finally getting our vision, the dream we had for ourselves for all these years was actually coming true. We held hands, he got me a tissue, and I cried a lot more. It took me a full day before I had completely processed everything. On the second day, I went out and bought 9 dresses and 2 pairs of shoes. Her nursery is planned, her name has been chosen, and she was always supposed to be a girl.
—–
-This recipe is one of our favorites, I’ve been making it for years. I thought it was perfect for the occasion since, if this girl is anything like her mama, she will have a whole lot of spice under all that sugar. I hope you try it and enjoy it yourself.

*Chipotle-Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Gratin
(*recipe based on a Bobby Flay dish my husband and I had at his restaurant, MESA in Las Vegas, I’ve made several other yummy versions of it that you can view here: Easy Casserole Version , With Cheddar Version.)
-On your mandolin (if you have one), thinly slice 3 sweet potatoes, leaving the skin on, set aside.
-In a mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups heavy cream or half and half* and 1-2 finely minced chipotle peppers in adobo*, (remove the seeds if you like it very mild, or use 2+ if you like it extra spicy).
-In either a greased 9*9in casserole dish or in greased individual ramekins, layer the thinly sliced sweet potatoes along the bottom and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and brown sugar. Spoon or pour some of the milk/pepper puree over the layer to cover. Repeat until your ingredients are used up, I usually end up making 3-4 layers. (You may have leftover cream, just be sure the liquid comes slightly above the top of your final layer of sweet potatoes.
-Top the casserole or ramekins with a heavy layer of more brown sugar and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 45min-1 hour, or until the cream has been absorbed, the potatoes are fully cooked and the top has reached a golden brown.
-Cool a bit before enjoying.
(*half and half is the lowest you can go in dairy fat for this recipe, it will not work with any type of milk.)
(*I store my chipotle in adobo like I do my Tomato Paste, and I usually puree it all before freezing.)

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11 Comments

  • Reply Anonymous November 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I'm so delighted about the Little Miss!

  • Reply Chef E November 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Awww I was so taken in by your story! Girls are not hard, its the puberty hormones that take over, and you have to put your foot down on your house rules. Eventually they glide away from you when they are making their own lives, then they come back- getting through the empty nest and letting them grow is hard, but we have to grow and we do it through all of our experiences and kids are part of that…I wish you much joy in this pregnancy! I am excited for you πŸ™‚

    I want another baby, do you think hubby heard that? LOL

  • Reply Everyday Champagne November 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you!
    and Chef- I appreciate all of what you said. I know there will be hard times and I'm prepared for that now. I'm just thrilled to have one of each kind πŸ™‚
    Take care both of you!

  • Reply My Little Space November 25, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Congrats to you, Abbey! I'm sure you're thrilled to hear about the news. I am so happy for you. I guess this is the best thanksgiving gift ever huh! Hope you're having a fabulous day.
    Blessings, Kristy

  • Reply Tinky November 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I agree that girls are easy–and by having one of each you'll have the best of both worlds! I LOVE chipotles so can't wait to try thereicpe. Happy post-Thanksgiving! (By the way, I've always heard that both girls and boys marry their mothers.)

  • Reply SavoringTime in the Kitchen November 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Congratulations, Abbey!!! My husband was uncertain what kind of father he would be to a girl but he did a great job of raising two of them πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Everyday Champagne November 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you everyone! It's always nice to hear from mothers of daughters…I may be calling upon you all for advice in 12 years!

  • Reply 5 Star Foodie November 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Aw, congratulations! Girls are wonderful πŸ™‚

    This gratin sounds amazing with the brown sugar and chipotle!

  • Reply Everyday Champagne November 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you 5 Star Foodie! There are so many wonderful things I can't wait to do with my little girl!

  • Reply Terrianne, Call me Ree November 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    That's perfect! A boy first, and now your little girl will have a protective big brother. =)

    Congratulations on your beautiful growing family.

    I've always wanted a girl. I must be masochistic. LOL.

    And to your theory, I have to say, growing up in a very tough environment, far from the ideal, I think it's human nature to either seek out things that are familiar to us–good or bad, or to make choices towards the antithesis of what we know/know.

    I know for a long time I sought out or "availed" myself to situations and environments that were a repetition of what I saw and experienced growing up, but as I got closer to my 30's, I summoned the dreams I had for myself as a little girl, and courage I needed, and began to eschew that life and those choices altogether.

    "We don't see things as they are, We see things as we are."–Anais Nin

    The dreams we have for ourselves tend to be based on what we believe we deserve. If you've never been taught your worth and value, that is equal and no less than the worth and value of all human beings, irrespective of the circumstances you were brought into, then it's tough to believe you deserve better than what you've had. Nevertheless, that dream fulfilled awaits all of us.

    To be happy. To know love. To find joy. To seek life. To live life., et al. Or whatever it may be for you.

    Congratulations on your dream fulfilled. May you have and share and know many more! =) <3

  • Reply Everyday Champagne December 2, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Beautifully put, Ree. Thank you, as always, for your inspirational and kind words.

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