quaking aspen, previously

sometimes a one mile effort is enough…

Posted on: November 7, 2006

Today I have to share an article that is one of the top ten, maybe even top five, best things I have ever found on the internet. It’s called “Motherhood Secrets: Sometimes a One Mile Effort is Enough,” by Emily Watts. It applies to so much more than motherhood, or cooking, though. You should really go read it, but I’ll give you my favorite part out of it here (in this quote she’s talking about collecting easy recipes that are not too intimidating to make, like the one I put in below):

The real virtue in gathering these sorts of ideas is that sometimes we miss out on opportunities to connect with each other because we don’t have time or money to do something “special,” so we’re not comfortable doing anything at all. We lose track of the fact that it’s the people who are important, not the menu. …

… I have distilled a few questions I now ask myself in order to determine if a given situation is a candidate for a second-mile effort. If I can answer yes to all three of these questions, I’ll happily pull out all the stops.

  1. Will it feed me in some way—creatively or emotionally or physically or socially?
  2. Is it important to another person’s well-being?
  3. Can I honestly say that I have the time and money to pursue it?

I love this idea. I don’t know about you, but I get very easily overwhelmed sometimes. (Ha, okay, try many times.) I’m planning a post more explicitly about mothering and such, but I think it can apply to many of us, this tendency. Is it competition, just general overachievement? Sometimes I think it’s perfectionism, or maybe not having a realistic understanding of how long things take, how much effort; or similarly, having unrealistic expectations of ourselves, others, or events.

Cooking is one of the easiest, most concrete applications, but it works for other things too — whether it’s gift giving at holiday time, decorating or family traditions, planning parties or get-togethers, and other such things that require energy and planning and focus: all of them could benefit from that short evaluation, to decide what exactly you should be focusing on for it, how best to do it, and when to say ENOUGH.

I’m not sure I’m making sense here, today. Just go read the article, k?

Oh yeah, and here’s that really easy, fabulous recipe, that I adore:

Lion House Chicken (the fancy name is so impressive)


  • However many boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces you need to feed whoever’s coming. You can leave the halves whole (that sounds weird, I know, but you get what I mean, don’t you?) or cut them into smaller pieces or buy chicken tenders if they’re cheaper
  • Garlic powder [I use garlic salt and some garlic pepper and omit the seasoning salt]
  • Paprika
  • Seasoning salt
  • 1 or 2 cans cream of mushroom soup [or try cream of chicken]
  • Milk


Put the chicken in a baking dish large enough to place the pieces flat in one layer. (I usually use my one all-purpose, 13-by-9-inch glass dish.) Sprinkle each piece quite generously with garlic powder, paprika, and seasoning salt. Mix one can cream of mushroom soup with about half a can of milk and pour it over the top. If you’re making a bigger batch, use two cans of soup and a whole can of milk. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for about an hour.

It’s really tasty, takes only five minutes to put together (not counting defrosting chicken in the microwave, ha ha), and is quite flexible: you can take it out a little early or a little late, it’s all good. It even makes its own gravy for mashed potatoes. Even my 4 – and 2-year-olds will eat it (usually).


2 Responses to "sometimes a one mile effort is enough…"

I worked at the Lion House for years as a teenager. I loved this dish SO much (And their mashed potatos. And their Sting of the Bee cake, and Sarah’s Salad, and…EVERYTHING).


I love the advice here. I am easily felled be the overwhelming suck of everyday life. It is a wise list of questions to ask myself about stuff. Thanks.

Hi! I’m trying to visit all the NaBloPoMo blogs and now I have a recipe to try.. 😉 thanks. Love your blog, I’ll be back.. 😉

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