Welcome back to the kitchen

By Kitsey Burns Harrison
Kitsey and Cullen Harrison. -

You may have noticed the Kitsey’s Kitchen column has been missing from the last several months of The Yadkin Ripple. I have a very good reason for not writing about my food adventures of late. My husband and I have been on an even grander adventure.

On Dec. 17, 2016, we learned we would soon be a party of three. We welcomed our son, Cullen, on Aug. 3. To call parenthood an adventure is almost underselling it. It is the most exciting, amazing, miraculous, and yes, tiring and stressful experience ever.

You may wonder why I didn’t spend the nine months of my pregnancy writing about my crazy food cravings. I am sad to report I actually did not have any weird cravings. It’s one of the first things people ask you when they know you are expecting. “What weird food are you craving? Pickles and ice cream?” I have never in my life not been hungry, but for some odd reason I had very little appetite throughout my pregnancy. Now that my son is here, however, I am hungry all the time! Feeding a tiny human all day is hard work.

In the months before our son’s birth our wonderful friends and family showered us with so many useful and adorable gifts. We also had friends bring us food in the days following our return from the hospital. That’s a gift that’s hard to truly express thanks for. Anyone who has had a baby knows that those first few days, while amazing, leave little time and energy for cooking. Chicken fajitas with all the trimmings, Chinese food, homemade lasagna and a take-and-bake dish from Barking Coyote were some of the items friends brought for us. What a tremendous gift.

Before our son was born I looked at multiple recipes for freezer to slow cooker meals. These meals are meant to be prepared in advance, with all the ingredients combined in a freezer bag, frozen and then they can be thawed in the fridge the night before, dumped into a Crock Pot and ready to eat by dinner time. I had such good intentions of stocking the freezer with such meals, but alas that did not happen. My biggest piece of food-related advice for expecting parents would be to make the time to do this! These meals would also be great for parents with kids of any age as it is a great way to save time in the evenings.

For anyone with a friend or family member soon to be having a baby, I highly recommend bringing them something to eat in the days following the baby’s birth. I’ll tell you from experience, new parents are very likely to tell you they are fine and don’t need anything. Chances are they are just trying to be brave and not ask for help. Rather than ask what they need, ask if they like chicken fajitas (or lasagna, Chinese food, whatever) and bring it by. They will appreciate that more than they will ever be able to say.

For new parents, or anyone looking for a super simple meal, I do have a new favorite recipe to share with you. It’s full of flavor, with very few ingredients and you can prepare in a slow cooker so it’s ready for dinner. If you have any favorite slow cooker meals, I’d love to try them. Feel free to email them to kburns@yadkinripple.com.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

• 3 to 4 pound pork roast

• 1 jar of salsa

• Your favorite seasonings

• Tortillas

Combine your favorite seasonings, I use salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and chili powder and rub on to the pork. Place pork in slow cooker. Dump in jar of salsa. Cook on low for 8 hours or longer. Shred meat with a fork. Serve in flour or corn tortillas. You can really serve this meat however you like. It would be great served in a bun or with nacho chips. You can also top with lettuce or other favorite taco trimmings. We just like ours in a flour tortilla. My husband also adds an extra step to this process. After seasoning the pork, Morgan likes to sear it in a cast-iron skillet before placing in the slow cooker. I’m lazy and skip this step and I think it still tastes as good.

Kitsey Burns Harrison is a staff reporter for The Yadkin Ripple. Here she shares her thoughts on food, love and being a new mom. She can be reached at kburns@yadkinripple or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

Kitsey and Cullen Harrison.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_Cullen-and-Me_formatted.jpgKitsey and Cullen Harrison.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison