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June 2009
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August 2009

Good thing I kept that

Matt came home the other day and surprised me with 12 boxes to be unpacked. Yes, we still have stuff in storage (luckily we're not paying for it but it's been 2 years!!!). Some of you might say if I haven't used it in two years I don't need it. But you know what I'd say back to that.

I will admit, though, that some of this stuff I probably could've pitched the first time around instead of carefully packing, moving, storing and then unpacking them. For instance, the box of nylons with runs in them and belts that will never fit again. Or, my wedding planning binder from eight years ago with tabs for everything you can imagine. And receipts. Then there's the memorabilia from our wedding. I kept some of the favors my friends and I made. Unfortunately they were chocolate. That was a fun one to unpack. Also about 2 dozen little envelopes and reply cards printed with an address I haven't lived at in, you guessed it, eight years.

There is, believe it or not, still another entire bin of weddingish things. I'll do that next and let you know what other sticky, very important goodies I find.

Mocking, heavy-sighing and wish-I-was-doing-something-elses aside, it does feel awesome to get rid of some of this stuff. Matt thinks I could be getting rid of even more but he is wrong.


Dusting Pandora's Box

I'm back to shining my sink. Some of you know what that means and you are laughing, perhaps at me. I know house cleaning isn't complicated but I manage to make it stressful and end up doing everything kind of half-assed so I never quite get that satisfaction some people speak of when the "chores are done." I'm starting to realize there is no such thing as having your chores done (unless you're eight). It's more like you have things you do on a regular basis to maintain some kind of order and that's good enough. And good enough is perfect by me.

The problem with the house keeping part of the stay-at-home/try-to-work-at-home mom gig, besides that I couldn't possibly narrow it down to just the one, is that it's one big dusty Pandora's box. Every time I tackle one project, it reveals another one long neglected. The never-ending remodel doesn't help either. Excuses aside, I kind of just suck at cleaning and I pretty much hate it. See how that's stressful since I have to do it throughout the day every day?

In all things in my life I've found that a shift in attitude makes all the difference. I might as well try it with the care and feeding of my family. I am 33 years old and I still act like someone else is going to come along and clean up after me. Unfortunately, everyone who lives here acts like that too.

A few years ago a friend turned me on to this concept of looking at cleaning as more of a blessing for your home and family than drudge work ... the quote "nothing says I love you like a clean toilet to puke in when you're sick" comes to mind. True, I suppose but it's been kind of a stretch for me to get there.

These days, I'm needing a system that works for me so I can work when I need to without feeling I should be doing ten other things instead and waiting until I'm too tired to get anything on the page. I think I've finally found it, but I'll keep you posted.


Meatless Monday: awesome broccoli salad

If it's going to be hot tonight where you are, may I suggest cold sandwiches and salad? I'm thinking something like cream cheese with cucumbers and tomatoes. If you think salad is for rabbits, this broccoli salad is pretty filling and is a good one even for broccoli haters. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law after mowing through a bowl of it for lunch. It was the first time I can think of where I ate the whole salad before starting on my sandwich. It's that good.

Broccoli Salad

4 cups broccoli

1 red onion (Next time I make this I'll use less than 1/2 of one)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup raisins (golden or regular, but golden somehow make the salad)

2 tomatoes

Dressing:

1 cup mayo

2 T white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

Chop broccoli, red onion and tomatoes. Mix with seeds and raisins. Stir mayo, vinegar and sugar and combine with veggies, raisins and seeds.

Another suggestion, double the recipe and keep it around all week since it's supposed to stay pretty hot around here. If you think you might take some of this for lunch, I strongly recommend using less red onion. Just trust me on that.

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, technically this recipe calls for bacon, 6 crisp strips chopped and mixed in with the veggies.


Meatless Monday: Summer Squash Pie

Squash Pie I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and it's one of my favorite things to make in the summer. I suspect I've posted this recipe before but can't find proof so here it is again.

Besides, it's what's for dinner tonight.

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

1 egg – beaten

2.5 cups sliced zucchini (1/4 inch slices) You have a kitchen ruler ,right?

2.5 cups sliced yellow summer squash (1/4 inch slices) Ha!

1 tsp. vegetable oil

½ tsp. salt

¼ - ½ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp paprika

¼ - ½ tsp. pepper

2 large tomatoes – sliced

1 c. shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

¾ c. mayonnaise (use regular mayo not Miracle Whip)

Line un-pricked pastry shell with two pieces (double thickness) heavy duty foil.

Bake at 450˚ for 5 minutes.

Remove foil and brush lightly with some of the egg. Discard remaining

egg. Bake 5 minutes longer and remove to wire rack. Reduce heat to

350˚. In a non-stick skillet sauté zucchini and squash in oil for 10

minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with seasoning, spoon into pastry shell,

top with tomatoes, combine cheese and mayo and spread over top.

Bake at 350˚ for 25 minutes of until golden brown. Refrigerate

leftovers. Makes 6-8 servings.


Uhhh...progress?

 Office papers












I know. It's hard to believe but this really is progress. A lot of it. First of all, it's all contained to one room for the first time in, well, years. Obviously I have a ways to go before this becomes the picture of serenity I hold in my mind! I was doing pretty good staying on task for awhile but then life happened. Sam got a fever and was sick and I'm packing and getting ready for our trip. One fine day though ...


Meatless Monday: 10 minute Avocado Soup & Sandwiches

10 Minute Avocado Soup

from Dr. Jessica Black's "Eating Your Way Back to Health" anti-inflammatory cookbook

Ingredients:

2 medium ripe avocados

2 cups almond milk

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions:

1. Mash avocados in a pan. 2. add spices, milk, and garlic to mashed avocados. Stir well until mixed fully. You may use an electric beater or blender for this step. 3. When you have the soup mixed, heat just enough for serving.

Substitutions: Use any spices you desire to change this soup into your creation. I think I'm going to try it with some minced cilantro tonight. Also, since no one but me around here is cool with just soup for dinner we'll have tomato, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, salted of course.


Still slogging

Still slogging through those piles and piles over here. I can see parts of the top of my desk and I've emptied a few crates and boxes but there is still more to go. Lots more. The cool part is that for once I'm expecting to stay in this space for long enough to make doing it right matter.

I got a little grumpy the other day about how this is really messing up my writing time and I'm getting farther behind on my goals and projects. Then it dawned on me that making space and creating an environment I want to work in rather than run from is going to give my work a tremendous boost. So I keep going.


Meatless Monday

When I decided to go meatless on Mondays back in January, I had no idea there was a movement dedicated to the cause. Turns out, there is an entire organization committed to getting the word out with this simple slogan: "one day a week cut out the meat."

Recently I was contacted by some folks over at Meatless Monday and am honored to be listed as someone going meatless one day a week and writing about it.

Click over to their site for more information on the history, reasons to go meatless, and awesome recipes and ideas for cooking seasonally.

The video I posted, "Sam's salad" featured the black bean salad recipe.

 I still can't figure out how to put a video in the body of my post so here's another link to a video explaining more about the reasoning (and impact) behind Meatless Mondays.


Independence day message

What? No Meatless Monday post? No Friday Favorites? Whoops. Another week over already? This conversation will put this last week in perspective for you.

Me to Matt this morning: I feel kind of lame. I think we're the only people in the country with no plans to celebrate the 4th. Yet, I don't really care. You?

Matt: Not at all. I'm celebrating my independence by getting my house put back together.

Note: Many, many miles to go but we're gaining speed in the right direction.

For the rest of you in the United States celebrating Independence Day, here's a word of advice from a friend of mine who knows: If you truly want to celebrate your independence this weekend, don't drink and drive.