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Monday, November 28, 2011

Am I lazy because I’m exhausted, or am I exhausted because I’m lazy?


During a conversation that spanned pumpkin cheesecake, hard liquor, and then some non-dessert Thanksgiving leftovers, last night my hubs and I decided we needed to do something to drop some ell beez once all this food is gone. The hubs’ idea was to eliminate beef, pork, and dairy. I initially scoffed at this idea, as visions of lean meat and greek yogurt danced in my head – how could these things possibly be bad for us? And then it hit me. While we do eat some lean meat and greek yogurt, we mostly eat pizzas with bacon and onion, straight up bacon for breakfast on the weekend, cheese steak subs (the hubs favorite), and ice cream (my favorite). Perhaps eliminating beef, pork, and dairy for a short while wouldn’t be such a bad idea…

While reflecting on last night’s conversation today, I immediately started thinking about the other tweaks I’ve been wanting to make to my daily routine and decided to make a list:
  •          Morning meditation
  •          Evenings at the gym
  •          Yoga
  •          A more strict writing schedule
  •          Walking the dog more

While it’s not an extensive list, per se, it got me thinking that what I really want is to be a completely different person. Okay, maybe not completely different, but the question then arises: how many changes constitute my actually wanting to be someone else, and how hard would it be to alter my habits to become the person I want to be?

I’ve always had these ideas in my head about who I want to be and what I want to do someday. Well, when is someday? I guess if I want to do some things differently that I should just start being that person now. If only it were so easy. I feel as if I’m stuck in a pattern of bad habits that arose out of necessity: pizza for those nights I just can’t bear to cook us dinner, couch surfing because it costs less than going out and because it’s less aggravating than going to my overcrowded gym and having to wait to use a machine or sign up for a class an hour before it starts just to get a spot (Lynne Brick’s Belvedere Square can suck it), and not starting to write because I’m not 100% sure it’s what I want to write or what I should write. Sure, this sounds reasonable. You know what else sounds reasonable? I’m lazy.

One step at a time, I suppose. It’s fairly unrealistic to think I will wake up tomorrow and be able to institute all the things I want to do immediately, and even if I did that I could keep it up for more than a week. In the immediate I think I’ll finish the Thanksgiving leftovers and then consider cutting out beef, pork, and dairy. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations

It's hard to believe that this is the 9th year I'm hosting Thanksgiving. It seems like just the other day we were all spending Thanksgiving down at my aunt and uncle's house. It's odd to think that that tiny house on the water which once was so lively with four generations having come together to celebrate is now empty - completely vacant - for the very first time. While I've hosted Thanksgiving here at my house for 9 years, my memories of Thanksgiving will always reside at my Aunt Carole's house. Much like mine, it was a tiny house, but it was filled to the gizzard with love (see what I did there?).

This year I decided to photograph some of my Thanksgiving preparations, which I'll share here!

Wednesday night I made homemade cranberry sauce with dates.


After 9 years I think I've finally learned that doing all the prep work I can the night before makes for a much more relaxing Thanksgiving day. I chopped all the veggies I could and put them in gallon-size bags so all I'd have to do the next day is rinse and cook! I make a bitchin Brussels sprouts side, where they're partially sauteed in bacon fat, and in the end they're topped with crispy crumbled bacon!


We always have more people over for dessert than we do dinner, so this year I decided to try my luck with a bourbon pecan pie. For the bourbon I used something called Sweet Lucy that my southern neighbor gave me last year during one of our epic snow shoveling parties, which are really just an excuse to start drinking with the neighbors at 10am. Sweet Lucy is sweet, so I thought it would be perfect for the pie.


Thanksgiving morning arrived, and my alarm came and went. After spending all day the previous day cleaning and cooking and doing prep work for more cooking, I just didn't want to get up. When I finally did, I ventured out back to my herb garden to pick some sage, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram to use in the bottom of the turkey pan. I love having an herb garden that I can venture out to for fresh herbs, and luckily it's been a mild fall, so everything that's not hardy was still green and growing.


After preparing the turkey and kraut and sausage (it's a German staple at Thanksgiving), I poured myself a cup of coffee with a little somethin-somethin and relaxed on the sofa to watch the parade on television. With my 13-year-old pup curled up beside me on his favorite furry blanket, I decided to give him a reiki treatment. I just got my reiki II certification, and it amazes me how much hotter my hands got after those attunements. My dog, Calvin, LOVED it (as always). I think the warmth feels really good on his arthritis. I'm truly thankful he's still with us. Here he is snoozing deeply after the reiki treatment.


That brings us to now. Here I am Thanksgiving day with time to actually write a blogpost. I must be doing something right - finally! I'm excited to spend the day with family and friends, spoiling them with my home cooking. It's been a bizarre year that's taken many twists and turns for me, but I'm truly thankful for all the unexpected surprises and all that I've learned. I'm thankful to all the teachers I've had this year - those who know they're teachers and those who don't. Here's to another wonderful one.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Split Pea Soup

I made this split pea soup last night to eat for lunch this week, and it turned out MUCH better than I expected. No to toot my own horn or anything, but this 2-point WW soup is fucking delicious! It's taking every ounce of self restraint I have in me not to go back for seconds, since I'm working from home today.



Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:
16 oz dry split peas (with dry beans in bean/rice aisle)
2 carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 yellow cooking onion
7 cloves garlic
8 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp dried thyme
¾ Tbsp dried marjoram
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Rinse and sort peas (make sure no stones are in with them), and set aside.

Chop all vegetables, including onion and garlic. Bring ¼ cup chicken stock to a boil in a large lidded stock pot. Add onion and garlic. Sautee while stirring for 5 minutes.

Add another 1.5 cup stock, remaining vegetables, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper, and cook on high, sautéing vegetables until soft (about another 5-7 minutes).

Add remaining stock and dry peas. Add marjoram and thyme. Bring to a roaring boil, stir, cover pot with lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low with lid on pot (no stirring! No lifting the lid!) for 40 minutes or until peas are tender.

Turn off heat, remove and discard bay leaves, and puree as much of the soup as you’d like (I use a stick blender and puree about ½ to ¾ of the soup, leaving some chunks of vegetables remaining).



Friday, November 11, 2011

Destiny



The destiny of an autumn leaf is to fall, yet some in the midst of their trip are swept up higher than they've ever been before, on the wings of the wind - soaring, sailing, changing direction abruptly, and then floating back down. Indeed, nothing is set in stone - not even the trajectory of an autumn leaf falling from a tree.