Orange and Maple Glazed Carrots
Tomorrow Octavian starts preschool.
Up until a couple months ago I preached that I would never send my child to school before kindergarten. He would have years and years of school in his future and our time together was limited- he belonged at home with his Mama.
But then, suddenly, he dropped his afternoon nap (or nap time became hell) and our world was flipped upside down. No, I am not being dramatic, you guys, the past month without naptime has been ROUGH for this stay-at-home, work-from-home Mom.
I had to make a decision- work less or send him to preschool. Either way, a decision had to be made. I was killing myself trying to do everything- and as a result I wasn't being the wife and Mom I want to be for my family. After some long talks with my husband, discussions about budget (preschools are EXPENSIVE) and a little heart-to-heart with myself, I decided preschool was best.
The tipping point for this decision came from the fact that my dear, sweet child needs more structure, socialization and guidance beyond what I can give him. I am staunchly against rigid schooling- I am a firm believer of child-led, play-based learning through elementary school (especially for a child like mine who is incapable on sitting for longer than 2.5 seconds), so I was not interested in schools from an "academic" standpoint (I mean, he's 3). That said, Octavian needs a little lesson on respect for himself (and others), he needs to learn how to conduct himself in a way that doesn't make his parents want to run and hide (true story) and, most importantly, he needs to be around his peers.
The biggest challenge was finding a preschool with enough patience to handle a wild spirt like Octavian. My goal isn't to break his spirit (after all, it's one of my favorite things about my child) but rather, channel his energy into a more positive direction. I am super excited by the preschool I found, and after the initial shock that Mama will be gone for a little while, I think he is going to love it, too.
I did have to potty train him (I'll post about that another day) and we are all set to go! Despite my enthusiasm for this opportunity, I do predict tears from both sides tomorrow. This is the really hard part of parenting and I suspect it's just going to get harder.
On a brighter note (I mean do you SEE how orange those carrots are? I swear, that's not thanks to editing), I have the yummiest, easiest Maple and Orange Glazed Carrots for you guys. No really, they are SO easy to make (which is always welcome) and give a sweet contrast to buttery mashed potatoes or gravy come Holiday time.
Two things- these can be made earlier in the day and warmed up just before eating if space in the kitchen is limited or you want to contribute this as your Thanksgiving side. Also, as with most vegetables when they are cooked, they shrink. If you're feeding a large crowd, make extra :)
These carrots will definitely be making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table this year.
Orange and Maple Glazed Carrots
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 20 minutes / Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 (as a side)
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch rounds
3 tablespoons butter
salt, to taste (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter until melted. Add chopped carrots to the skillet and stir until fully coated with butter. Add salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon- you can add more later) to the carrots and stir. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the maple syrup to the skillet and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently as not to burn the sugar in the syrup. Add the orange juice to the skillet, mix and cover with tight fitted lid. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Uncover the skillet and continue to cook the carrots until almost all the liquid has evaporated, making sure to stir frequently. Remove from heat and sprinkle with orange zest or a small pinch of ground cinnamon (if desired).