Sunday, December 27, 2015

Seven Months


Hudder-Budder,

Merry Christmas sweet baby! This picture was one of the ways we announced that we were expecting you last Christmas to friends and family. It was such a joyful time in anticipation of what Christmas would look like with you this year.

A whole seven months have gone by without you. As Christmas came and went, I couldn't help but imagine what we should have with you. In my mind I could see you - a seven month version of you and in another daydream the five month version of you if you had come when you should have. You were there in each daydream, maybe sitting in a Bumbo or on a play pad, loving the boxes, tissue and wrapping paper. Your little eyes content with only that as we tried to shift your attention to the gifts "Santa" brought you. We've decorated this house for Christmas but never stayed up late to do Santa. We would laugh at ourselves for making this kind of fuss for you at such a young age but it was supposed to be your first Christmas so of course we would! After all the fuss we'd sit there and think, "maybe next year he'll be really into it."

In our actual reality, your Daddy and I did Christmas differently this year. We needed to distract ourselves from what wasn't there. We took a trip to get away and find peace in Montreal and Quebec. It was so beautiful, we were immersed in our own Winter Wonderland especially in Quebec City. Just like when we went to Vancouver and Victoria last summer, pieces of you were evident all around us. It was another "family trip" in a different kind of way.


On Christmas Eve we went to the most beautiful church service, a midnight mass at the Notre Dame Basilica. We were early enough to walk around and see the different saints and found a candle we could light for you. Tearfully, we stood there and prayed for you. A smile appeared on my face as I thought about how Jesus is the Reason for the Season and you were there in Heaven, with the reason for the season.


In the church Mommy grew up in, the church you are laid to rest, I sang in the choir. Every Christmas Eve service at the very end, the choir would line the walls with candles and sing Silent Night to the congregation. It was my favorite and what I looked forward to every year. Your great-grandfather also taught me that song in German when I was little. Hearing it in French consumed me with emotion as I listened to the beautiful choir from above us sing Douce Nuit! Sainte nuit!, while hearing in my mind my grandfather bellowing Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! from my childhood, and remembering the look of the sanctuary at home as I sang Silent Night! Holy Night! by candlelight. As this all spun around in my mind, I saw you.

Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

Tears just kept falling and all I could think about was you in my arms. The anticipation of you for eight and a half months, then finding out you would never experience this life with us. The wait in the hospital before you came, the feeling of seeing you the first time, of holding you and discovering every little thing we could about you. Then finally the hardest of all, saying goodbye to you. In these moments, I played the experience back in my mind and I missed you so much, I wanted you with us so bad. I didn't want to be 1700 miles away from home, I wanted to be at home spending our first Christmas with you.  

I wished you were in my arms, asleep as we sit by the tree as a little family of three with George laying on mine or Daddy's legs. I would hum Christmas carols to you and thank our Father for this blessing of you. But I don't have you and oh how I miss you. Today we are home so I rock in your rocker instead. I hold my special Hudson lamb as tears fall down my face. I think of what used to be my all-time favorite Christmas song and now it is my Christmas lullaby to you instead, my angel baby.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

All my love, forever and for always.

Mommy



Sunday, December 20, 2015

All I Want for Christmas


The Christmas songs, decor and celebrations seem to start earlier and earlier each year. For those experiencing a season of grief during the holidays, it can feel like the most un-wonderful time of the year.

I had started writing this post on December 2. That was a day I felt consumed with his memory, a day all of my thoughts revolved around what we should be doing as a family at the holidays if he were here. How different our life would be. That week I had started receiving Christmas cards of happy families and while I'm very thankful and appreciative to the people who didn't take us off their mailing list or instead of the card they sent out to everyone else, they sent us a special card to let us know we were in their thoughts and prayers this year, I was saddened that we didn't have a picture as a family of three to reciprocate.

We did decorate the house for Christmas. I always feel that my house is most beautiful during this time of year, when it is decked in lights, holly and jolly. We added some new decorative pieces that read JOY so it would lift our spirits as needed. As we were hanging ornaments, we stopped to pause and Max said "our tree is beginning to tell a story." As I gaze at it, it is kind of like a scrapbook. We have ornaments received as wedding gifts from our December wedding three years ago. We have an ornament to represent different adventures we've shared together all over the world. We have ornaments from our respective Universities and things that depict where we came from like sports teams, jobs we've held and sorority symbols. This year we have received some very special ornaments in memory of Hudson. From a framed picture of his sweet face, angels and angel wings, a beautiful silver medallion with a fitting quote, and one monogrammed with his initials. That HJS that will always represent him and whatever future children we will hopefully be blessed with one day. Looking at it tells the story of our past, our present and of a future that we hope to have, and he is part of our story. The ornament with those initials is something that can help give me hope of those future babies when I feel very beat down this holiday season. It is so special to have these dear keepsakes to continue to tell our family's story on our tree.

I had a draft for this post that I wrote, deleted, re-wrote, re-worked, deleted again, etc. about five times. My original premise was my real life Christmas wish list but when I saw this article posted by Angela Miller in one of my favorite grief Facebook Groups, A Bed For My Heart, that I realized it was everything I was feeling and wanting to express.This is exactly what I want to share with those grieving this Christmas and for those looking to understand.

Angela's full article is in the link above. This is a paraphrased excerpt from her full post with some of my own additional commentary and shared feelings that I feel best applies to me and our Hudson. Her original words are in bold.
-----

I had a hard time creating a Christmas list this year. Simply because there just was not much that anyone could give me that would help fill the void for what I truly want. Ever since you were taken from us, certain things in life, like Christmas, just doesn’t have the same excitement and joy as it once did.

No offense to baby Jesus. In fact, I quite love him– a lot– but the sight of Him in the manger makes me ache for you, my own “baby,” beyond any words, in any language. Beyond any ache I ever knew was humanly possible to survive. The birth of Jesus completed the Holy Family. The contrast of that next to mine, a family forever incomplete, is too much for me to handle most Christmases as a bereaved mom. Every time I hear "Mary Did You Know" or "Little Drummer Boy" and even the non-secular favorite "Where Are You Christmas" my eyes swell with tears.

Grief, Christmas and rooms overflowing with predominantly non-grieving people mix about as well as oil and water. I wish more people could really, truly get that.  As in, get it without being bereaved, or grieved, or any of that. Just get it, period.

For every holiday picture taken, meal eaten, carols sung, families gathered, trees  decorated, Christmas morning presents opened, are always those achingly incomplete. The joy of the season and the ache of the ever missing you taunt me like a cruel, unending joke. Our family will be forever incomplete. And there’s nothing that could make that broken circle close the way it should– like a kiss beneath the mistletoe gone horribly wrong, two lips never meeting as one– the edges of our family circle are permanently broken, never again will we be a family complete.

Sigh.

I don't want to have to “celebrate” the season this way, wishing for impossibilities that can never be, longing for what is no longer.

Some moments are surprisingly survivable, sometimes even filled with unexpected moments of laughter and joy. Others are barely bearable– a land mine of grief explosions grinchingly waiting for me around every corner.

Oh. my. heart.  

This is what Christmas without you looks like. Every step holds the very real possibility of getting pulled totally and completely under– of being over my head, gasping for air in a whirlpool of holiday induced grief. Drowning in a thick sea of Eggnog and misjudgments. If I don’t show up, it’s mistaken as, “Oh, she doesn’t care.” If I do show up, with tears and the real sound of my own heart breaking, it’s “Ohhhh, she mustn’t be OVER it yet,” or “Clearly she’s not doing (hush-hush, voice lowered) very well.”

If only it could be understood that it is exactly because of the holidays– the gatherings, the pressure to be merrily on, the exaggerated empty chair that is often unrecognized and not spoken of in a room overflowing with a family otherwise glaringly complete– that leaves a grieving parent spinning in the holy-daze of grief. Just when I think I’m doing ‘ok’, a half cup of tears unexpectedly floods my perfectly measured Christmas cookie batter, and drowns me right along with it– a not so ironic analogy indicative of an entire season filled with far too much salt in a bereaved parent’s wounds. Or, if things have been feeling slightly jolly and even joy-filled, I’ll find myself perpetually holding my breath, shoulders up to my ears, cautiously waiting for the other shoe to drop without even realizing it. Or with the anxiety of a mother scanning the crowd for her lost child, one might find me relentlessly surveying every holiday gathering for mine, while also making note of every blessed Kleenex box, bathroom location, the quickest escape routes and nearest exists that will lead to a corner where I can safely let my tears for you endlessly fall.

If one were to ask me what I really want, I’d sob that all I really want for Christmas is this:
(edited and adapted from the writer's list, some are her shared words, others reflect my own wishes)

1)  A normal life, one with you in it, growing bigger and older every day instead of this tidal wave of grief washing over me at times I want more than anything to be happy and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. To feel truly alive again, instead of trying to survive underneath the weight of life and death I feel in every single breath.

2)  A Christmas card with all three of us and Georgie pup. One complete with your cheeky and gummy grin, maybe snapped as we turn toward you and smile brighter or laugh. A family that is knowing of true joy, not this pain and emptiness.

3) To celebrate a Christmas with all of our family this year with you. A holiday that started with you last Christmas, as we shared the news you were coming with our loved ones. With my side of the family, you would be the only grandbaby and it would have been an exciting first for us all. On your daddy's side of the family, you would be joining Brooks as the second boy cousin with Olivia and now Kiley as the two girls. You and Kiley would be having your first Christmases together, cousins around the same age. How fun it would have been to watch you grow together.

4)  The untainted joy of Christmas, the birth of possibility, of dreams untainted by the broken, jagged, shattered pieces of our missing puzzle piece, our missing you.

5)  To be expecting new life again, carrying your little brother or sister. How badly we want to fill our home with little ones, as Mommy and Daddy to you in Heaven and to children on this Earth.

6)  The space at our table, full with a high chair, that would later become a booster seat, and then a chair once you are big enough to sit in one. You would be there, full of life, full of laughter, full of every amazing part of you.

7)  A circle of loving hearts who could understand that although I carry both the ache and the joy of the season in me all at once, the ache often times feels stronger and more overwhelming, because the joy of the season is jollying everywhere, greeting my broken places with a slap in the face, and a swift punch to the gut with every photo of a child on Santa's lap, every pregnancy announcement, gender reveal and baby born. If only the world could understand that for me, the holidays feel more like an emotional war zone, than an exciting season of Yuletide cheer.

There you have it. One wish for every month you have been gone and should have been with us instead.

The thing is, I don’t care about what kind of tree we have– real or fake, sparkly ornaments or dull. I don’t care about what kind of food we eat, or if we decide to put lights on the outside of the house or nowhere at all. I don’t care if anyone gets me a present. I don’t care about holiday fruitcake, or gingerbread houses or where so-and-so gets to vacation for Christmas this year.

All I care about is that we’re together as a family, creating priceless memories that money can’t buy and death can’t steal.

Oh yes, and one last thing. I hope to figure out how to keep your light on inside my heart bright enough to make my pores glow with the light of you all year long. That’s my Christmas wish.

If it happens, I figure that’s the closest I’ll ever get to having all I really want for Christmas–
 
Our precious, perfect, wonderful You.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ten Seconds



The other night I had some quiet time to myself. I needed something mindless so I took to Netflix and found myself watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This is not at all a terrible show, in case you were wondering but then again, how can something by Tina Fey be terrible? I kind of love it. 

As I sat there watching the first episode, the affable Ellie Kemper (Kimmie Schmidt) gives brilliant and beautiful advice. “Do you think you can handle this for 10 more seconds?” she asks at one point. “You can handle anything for 10 seconds. Then, you just start a new 10 seconds.”

I sat there and was almost put out that this silly show caused me to stop and think. It made me reflect on the way I've tried to manage my triggers by avoiding them as much as possible. The way I can feel the pain coming on sometimes without cause and then I'm flooded in it.

That night in particular, I was exhausted from the day but other than that, I had been in relatively high spirits. In the past couples weeks, I felt I had hit a break through in my grief, having learned to start channeling it ways that brought me comfort and peace, but also made me feel constructive and productive - that is a post for another time. Max and I had a plan for the holidays so my anxiety had been lifted but there was still a looming sadness that would hit with certain Christmas songs or store window displays around town reminding me what Christmas with a child should be like. 

Though I had been experiencing some very good days (consecutively, which is a big deal) today however, I spiraled down again after receiving some tough news from my doctor. As I had shared with you at the end of November, without any difficulties in conceiving Hudson, trying to get pregnant again has proved to be challenging. After the last 5 months of trying, I finally asked my doctor what we could do because I needed hope. I was ready to do anything to be that much closer to having a baby in our arms. Though I did have a pregnancy and made it into my eighth month, my child is gone. It feels as though we've been trying all this time, essentially for 14 months. This month I went on Clomid. I went in for blood work this week to check my progesterone levels. Though I've had positive ovulation tests since I started charting in September, that doesn't necessarily mean I am releasing an egg. The blood screening would check my progesterone levels which would be high if I had released an egg or if I had conceived. After 9 days of positive ovulation tests - which is not normal but they said Clomid could cause that - I had positive thoughts. My body was definitely releasing the surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which precedes an egg release. However, my blood work showed a low progesterone level of a 2, meaning I had not ovulated meaning I had not conceived.

I feel consumed with anger, frustration, sadness, and confusion. I lack understanding and the ability to stay graceful towards others. After hearing from my doctor, I didn't want to go to work, I didn't want to function, I didn't want to do all the things I needed to do, the things people were counting on me to do. I wanted to allow myself to dwell in all those emotions because sometimes, you just want to. Then I remember the many other people in my life that are coming to terms with their own grief for one reason or another or those having fertility issues as well. I'm not the only one, so today I counted to ten. I can do anything for ten seconds, even if it is painful and hard. Even if it is the last thing I want to do because I'd rather surrender to my grief. I count to ten, then if my heart and head are still screaming, I'll count to ten again, and again, and again until the inner turmoil ceases or can at least chill for a little while.

For those battling grief or a difficult season of life, let's just take it ten seconds at a time. As Christmas draws closer, and all the ugly feelings start to stir, I'll be counting to ten with you.

We can do this.
Ten seconds at a time.

Thanks Kimmy Schmidt.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad


My friend Casey brought this salad over for dinner recently and I had to have the recipe. This type of salad is my absolute favorite and I was thrilled to find an easy enough copycat recipe that is just as good as the restaurant versions I crave. She found it on the Pinch of Yum blog and shared it with me, so I must share it with you.

We added it to dinner as a side but it can easily be a full meal for either dinner or lunch.

Ingredients:
Yields 4 servings for a side

For Salad:
  • 20-25 brussels sprouts (makes about 3 cups shredded)
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
For Dressing:
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. honey (I added an additional tbsp to thicken)
  • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (I added this ingredient because after tasting it the first time without, I felt it needed something. This gave it another savory flavor and another dimension.)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Start by frying the bacon over low heat until crispy. Remove and set aside to dry on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.

The shredding of the brussels sprouts is probably the most time consuming part of this, but using a box cheese greater makes it go by quickly. I always chop off the end of the sprout, then peel back the top layer leaves that are often discolored. Using the slicing blade on the cheese grater (located on the side), shred the sprout. You can gently massage them to help separate the sprouts from one another and fluff a bit.

Toss the shaved sprouts, bacon crumbles, pomegranate arils, almonds and the grated cheese together.

Place all the dressing ingredients in the food processor and pulse until creamy. This made a lot of dressing, I used about 1/4 cup of it and kept the rest for salad use later this week. 

Toss the salad with dressing and serve.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jalapeno Bearnaise Sauce

 

A few weeks before Christmas, Max and I tried to get into a cooking class. We had not done one together in a while and thought it would be a fun thing to do! The menu of this particular class had a Southwest flair and looked amazing but we didn't get into it. Years ago, when he was preparing for the CFA and would need quiet nights at home before a long day of studying on the weekends, we would look up different menus and come up with fun things to create at home for our date-nights-in. We decided to do "vintage us" and create that cooking school menu at home instead.

The menu consisted of a pecan-crusted crab cake salad, beef tenderloin with a jalapeno bearnaise, a creamed corn souffle and a bread pudding. After looking at it, we ended up choosing the crab cake salad, the beef tenderloin and supplementing with our own vegetables and didn't even get to making a dessert.

Let me tell you that I typically do not like bearnaise sauce - like, at all. Anytime I'm at a steakhouse and that is the sauce that is served, I ask if they other options. I prefer a wine reduction, a madeira or a chimichurri. I've always felt those to be more savory and complimentary of dark meat. However, we were intrigued by a jalepeno bearnaise so I decided why not give it a try?

I searched around for some recipes and came across this one. I followed it step by step so I am simply sharing this person's recipe with you and a testimony that it was fabulous. It is not something I came up with or altered in any way to make it my own, except I did omit the optional nutmeg. If you want to jazz up your New Year's Eve steak, this is a very delicious way to do it! The flavor was wonderful and not at all too spicy despite using the jalapeno and cayenne. It had the perfect amount of kick to make it more savory that usual.

Once I started it, I became concerned because it seemed really hands on and like I could ruin it very easily if I wasn't paying attention. So, I will give you that warning - this is one you will need to pay attention to as you make it. I would wait until the rest of the meal is about 15 minutes away from being done so you can serve this promptly for best results.

For the meat, Max got a seasoned beef tenderloin from Central Market and smoked it on the Green Egg following instructions based on the desired doneness and size of meat cooking. 

One thing you should know before you start making it is that you need a double boiler.

Ingredients:
Makes about 4-6 servings
  • 2 tbsp. jarred pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper    
To begin, combine the jalapeno, cilantro, vinegar and wine in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. You will allow the heat to reduce the liquid to about 1/3 cup, then let it cool. 

Fill the bottom pot with water. Place the egg yolks into the top pot of a double boiler, then set that pot on top of the bottom pot. 

Strain the cooked liquid reduction into a bowl. Reserve the strained peppers and cilantro, setting aside. Take the liquid reduction and pour it into the pot with the egg yolk. Make sure the liquid reduction is completely cool before adding it to the egg so that it does not cook the egg at all once combined. Whisk together well.  

Bring the water to a simmer but do not boil. Begin to continuously whip the egg and reduction together quickly as the water from the bottom pot heats the top pot. Slowly add the melted butter, whisking well before adding more. Continue this until all butter has been used. The sauce should continue to thicken as it heats, but if it starts to curdle, remove from heat and keep whisking to get it back to a sauce-like consistency, then add back to the heat.

Once butter has been added, take a tablespoon or more (to your discretion) of the reserved peppers and herbs, then whisk into the sauce along with the cayenne. 

Serve sauce immediately and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

For Better or For Worse


December 8, 2012 
I, Katie, take you Max.
To be my lawfully, wedded husband.
To have and to hold, from this day forward.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'till death do us part.
This is to be my solemn vow.

Three years ago, I said these words with a shaky voice and tear-filled eyes. Looking at him, I pictured our life together. Buying our first house, traveling the world, having babies, raising a family, retiring, growing old together and all the wonderful moments in between. 


You don't stand there picturing the pain and heartache that life can bring.

When I stood at that alter as his bride, I never thought that the for worse part of our vows would be put to the test so early into our forever after. I didn't envision that we'd gather at the same church, just two and a half years later, with at least a third of that sanctuary who watched as we exchanged our wedding vows now joining to mourn with us after the death of our first baby. Music speaks to me and for our wedding ceremony, we used a family favorite hymn Be Thou My Vision during the seating of the families. That hymn was chosen because of the way our parents and grandparents shaped us to be who we have become, they had been our vision when we couldn't always see. It was the first song played in the wedding ceremony procession and chosen as the first song we sung at Hudson's funeral.


While I couldn't ever imagine this type of pain, I did anticipate sorrow at some point because that is life. I will tell you that everything does not happen for a reason until I am blue in the face, but I do believe that every good and perfect thing comes from Him (James 1:17) and my husband is at the very top of that list. Therefore, I knew that under any circumstance, this is the man chosen for me to go through life with. I've spent some time this week looking at our wedding pictures. I see the look of sheer joy and happiness. I see the love between us, the love that is somehow even stronger in my heart today than it was three years ago. It is that love that sustains us, an unconditional love to carry us through both the for better and the for worse. 
 

Last year we clinked glasses of ice water as we toasted to our 8 week sonogram and two years of wedded bliss, anticipating the joy of starting our family with our first little one on the way. Our third year of marriage did not turn out the way we had planned for it to, a year later, it is still just the two of us with a lot of heartache and sorrow. However, the love has grown exponentially. This year I toast my husband, a man who has the integrity and fortitude of my father, as well as the compassion and resilience of my grandfather. I am thankful to have him as my partner and best friend, that this is the man I get to celebrate the for better with and battle the for worse alongside of. This year as we celebrate, we are both a little broken, but together we are whole. He has carried me through the last six months during times I could not stand. Then there are times I've stood a bit taller when he's needed to lean on me to get by. Our life looks different than we thought it would, but as long as I have him by my side, it's the life I want to have. Together, we can weather any storm.

To have and to hold.
Forever and always.





Monday, December 7, 2015

Short Rib Pot Pie






Next time you find yourself making this Butternut Short Rib Ragu, this too can be yours. After making the ragu for a girls holiday dinner, I found myself with leftovers and wanting to reinvent it for a new meal. I had been playing with another idea for a Cajun Chicken Pot Pie - I'll get to that, maybe around Mardi Gras - and that's when it occured to me that this little hybrid could be prettay, prettay good. 

All you need is the recipe for the short rib, some crescent rolls, a muffin pan and then you are set.

Each crescent roll tube will make 4 servings, so plan accordingly. Instead of ripping them apart in the triangles, leave them as one big rectangle. Set that into a large muffin slot on the tin, pressing down to create a small pie-like base. Fill with 1 large or 2 small scoops, then fold the sides over top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chicken Curry and Veggies


 Going on the ninth consecutive night of cooking dinner at home, we were a little bored and having a hard time coming up with something inspiring. We sat there at lunch asking, "so what do you want for dinner?" "I don't know, what do you want for dinner?" Over and over...and over. We sounded like the vultures from the Jungle Book (please tell me you know what I'm talking about). Max finally had an a-ha moment and remembered one of the first dishes we made together, one of his favorites that we used to make a lot, then kind of forgot about as we continued to try new recipes.

This is a great low calorie, low fat, high protein dinner solution that takes all of 30 minutes to make if you grab pre-chopped veggies at your local grocery store. Both Whole Foods and Central Market have pre-chopped onions and sweet potatoes, as well as cubed chicken, so all you'd have to chop is the bell pepper.

Ingredients:
Yields 4-5 servings

  • 1 lb. chicken, cubed
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. Soy-Ginger Sauce, divided (I have the 365 brand)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 3 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • 3/4 cup low fat, unsweetened coconut milk 
  • Base of choice (rice, quinoa)
Boil the cubed sweet potatoes until, softened and you are able to pierce with a fork. Drain and set aside. While those are cooking, marinate the cubed chicken in the soy-ginger sauce.

In a wok, add the chicken and cook on medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the wok, allowing them to soften. Once the onion is translucent, add the sweet potato to the wok and turn up the heat. Cook the vegetables until lightly browned, then return the chicken to the wok to join the veggies.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. of the Soy-Ginger sauce and the coconut milk.

Sprinkle the spices over top the veggies and chicken, coating well, then pour in the coconut milk mixture. Take a taste and then add your desired amount of cayenne pepper to give it the right amount of kick for your taste. 

I used a brown rice/quinoa blend as a base and ladeled the curry over top.