19 January, 2015  |   1 Comment

Meal Plan Monday

Prediction: This week will overflow with loving words. #mealplan

Last night, you’ll see we had roast chicken. Sunday’s roast spiced chicken was flavored with a mix of 1/4 cup ghee, 1 tablespoon seasoning salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp rubbed sage and garlic rubbed under the skin. Since I am Whole 30-ing it this month, I like to frontload the week with foods I can eat for lunch. Last night’s chicken leftovers will go in Monday’s lunch.

Sunday, January 18
On Sunday, I also made Wednesday’s butternut squash soup. The flavors just get better over time. Sunday night I also cut the beef and carrots for Monday’s pot roast.

Tuesday, January 20
Tuesday is taco night. Due to what’s in the fridge, I’ve already changed the taco meat from pork carnitas to old fashioned ground beef tacos. My picky family goes loco over ground beef tacos. I use Penzey’s Taco Seasoning. Ha! Now you can too! Taco night leftovers also do well in breakfast burritos or taco bowls the next day.

Tuesday night I’ll also make the spaghetti and meat sauce for Thursday’s dinner. I doubled up on meal prep on Sunday and Tuesday — one of those things that don’t take as much effort as it looks in writing — just requires a little preplanning!

Wednesday and Thursday, January 21 and 22
I have late night meetings on both Wednesday and Thursday, so I’ll make sure at least half the meal is pre-made. Poor James has things hard enough, juggling tap and drama and ballet and a full time job and people.

Friday, January 23
We’re extending the fun of James’ birthday for another 40th birthday dinner with our friends. We’re really excited about this one.

Saturday, January 24
Wrap the whole week up with a Helpie Selfie. We’ll have a leftover party just in time for next week’s meal plan.
(You know how that is.)

9 January, 2015  |   4 Comments

Pantry Unmessening

Apartment Therapy is featuring their January Cure. And since the Whole 30 wasn’t enough January obnoxiousness, I’m now dragging my home into it.

Wednesday’s task?
Clean and organize my pantry.

Ready to judge me?
Especially about that jug o’Crisco?

Before:

Judge away! This is my pantry, before.

I found 3 boxes of cake-cup ice cream cones, three (THREE?) bags of oyster crackers and had to come to terms with the fact that I’m a person who has 6 different kinds of salt.
(The judging comes full circle.)

After:

Angels sing after my pantry gets the treatment

Dry food storage in American kitchens can be way too spacious, way too dark and way too sticky. Mine is all three.

Three things I learned from cleaning my pantry this week

1. Wait until I’m in the mood to toss.
If I’m in a mood where I’m feeling scrimpy or under-resourced, I will spend all my time consolidating Turmeric jars. Today I was in the mood to toss and my kitchen thanks me for it.

2. Organize for the person I am, not the person I want to be.
My pantry needs to have snacks at kid level. I need to be able to grab a bay leaf without looking and everything I put in a mason jar just for looks will go bad. I also love Penzeys Spices more than the average bear.

3. Forgive myself and do better
I feel pretty terrible about the entire garbage bag of wasted, expired, stale food I threw out. I can do better. I will do better.

The more I live, the more I know what works for me. I’m thrilled to have a program to follow – just as long as I don’t read the comments.
(Never read the comments.)

Play along! I want to see (judge) your pantry too!

8 January, 2015  |   5 Comments

Things I did right: House Plants

Something The Olds told me when I was growing up is that the biggest lesson I’ll learn is how little I know.

As usual, the Olds were right.

In my head, I consider myself a master gardener.
In my head, I’m green thumbed. wizard.
My soul teacher at Hogwarts (besides Emma Thompson) is Miss Sprout.
I’m green-kneeed overalls and dirty fingernails.

In reality, I’m a plant murderess.
Well, I WAS a plant murderess.
Until 2014.

Last year was the first year I have kept house plants alive for any more than two months. And I couldn’t be prouder.

Let me introduce my toddlers.

This one I call The Countess, she’s been with me the longest (1/2/2014) and holds her own on top of the piano. She always tells me what I need and for that, I love her.
The Countess

These are Fern and Oates. Fern had a rocky start, fpr a while this summer, I’d put her outside in the droughty-burny sun for two weeks and failed to water her. But it turns out, she just wanted to be close to Oates. She’s doing much better now.
Fern and Oates

Meet Lil’ Ivy. She went outside with Fern at the same, dreadful time and survived. This means she gives me strength during my workday.
Lil Ivy

Lady sits in our bedroom, she closes up when the sun goes down, all respectful of sexytimes. Thanks Lady!
Lady

In a quest for her right spot, Lucy has been all over our house. I’d call her a nomadic plant, if such a thing existed. Now, she sits atop her stand in my office.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but she fills me with cheer.
Lucy

The next two plants are still unnamed. I got them in the last month and I don’t know them well yet, but I like them. Justina Blakeney recommended the fishhook succulent here — and she knows of what she speaks. Won’t you help me name her? I think a name probably came right to your mind when you looked at this photo.
Still Unnamed

This guy mans the remote basket and so far has done an exemplary job. He remains unnamed as well and would appreciate your ideas.

plant-unnamed2

Plants! I kept some alive!
Let’s hear it for doing some things right in 2014!

 

6 January, 2015  |   4 Comments

Peak Tipping Point

I’m turning forty this year.
I turn forty this year.
I’m not forty yet, but
I turn forty this year.

Forty.
Lordy. Lordy.

#tbt Favorite vacation bartender.

I’m fully middle-aged. Much to polite conversation’s dismay, I do not want to live past eighty. That means that this year counts as my actual tipping point. From here on out, I’m really headed toward the end.

(And in a weird way, I’m thrilled about it.)

Recently, my favorite radio show, To The Best of our Knowledge, produced a wildly compelling five part series about death. I was thrilled/horrified.

The frank way the experts spoke about the practical [Read: We are ALL going to die and there’s a big industry looking to make it even stranger] was nothing less than a revelation.

I’m unprepared for it and yet totally welcoming of it.
You’re probably unprepared for it as well.
Unless you are, and then I want to hear all about it.

5 January, 2015  |   Comment

Linking Log

Tomorrow, I join the grown-ups.
Today, these captured my fancy:
Wasted – How the craft-beer movement abandoned Jim Koch (and his beloved Sam Adams)
This story about the state of Sam Adams beer has me looking at the changing face of wine trends (from Malbec to Rose, Yellow Tail to Rex Goliath). It makes me think of the changing state of all trends, and how just because we thought of something once, doesn’t mean the public will revere us forever.

112 Lightened Up Meals
Jessica from How Sweet It Is shares 16 weeks of lightened up recipes. These look beautiful and sound delicious. I’m riding that January good habits wave until I drown, I am.

How to use your DSLR Camera
Amanda, from Kevin and Amanda is a natural born teacher. Her tutorial round up is super-useful and her quick DSLR tutorial is everything I ever needed to know in one place.

Probable Oscar Nominations
James and I are trying to get a head start on Oscar season – we want to see as many as possible! This post from IMDB gave us a good head start.

It’s okay if you don’t watch The Interview
A brilliant review. Loved every second of it.

 

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