Quiche, the Death Penalty and Sugar Addiction- teetering on the verge of change.

Look what I did in 2014!

2 quiche

I know, I know. It’s still 2013. But, hey, I’m already there in my head. And my first creative act of  2014 (think cerebral time travel) was to make a quiche. (Isn’t that what real men eat?)

Oh, and for all you purists out there, the crust you see in the pic came with the pie plate I bought at IGA. Yes, store bought. I said this was my first creative act not my first step in self torture.

You see, I am not a cooking fiend like my husband. He eats a savory entrée at a restaurant and  he has to conquer it. The very next day, he

  • stirs,
  • blanches,
  • froths,
  • braises,
  • cures,
  • and marinades

all kinds of weird but edible ingredients until they form a staggering dish of culinary genius.

My strategy, when presented with a new food, is to eat the dang  thing and move on. Oh, and move is a very good idea if all you do is eat but that is another blog.

Back to the quiche. It all came about when  I decided to take a page from the fabulous and very colorful Pioneer Woman Cooks Food cook book.

Note to reader – I got this amazing cook book for Christmas from my son and Tulsa-raised daughter in law. Yes, they absolutely, totally surprised me when they showed up at my doorstep in in Canada. Brought me to tears and made my holiday definitely merry and bright. But, that is another story for another day.

cookbook

Confession- I tried to fancy up the pic so it would scream “I can cook all kinds of stuff”. Instead, it whines “we are running out of food and will have to sell the book to make ends meet.” Not the effect I wanted. That’s what I get for trying to give a book just a bit of personality.

Back to the subject at hand.

I am a processed foods junkie. And, although it is a euphoric rush to down a bag of sour cream and onion chips or a fistful of Lindt truffles, it becomes a downer in the long run. Just ask my doctor. She is waiting to see changes when I come in for my next check-up.

So, the recently made quiche (this morning) is a symbol of my quest for fresh foods, meals made from scratch. Not that we don’t have that kind of thing in our house. My husband is the king of gourmet foods made from the best of whole foods. It’s just that I do the Monday through Friday cooking and I need easy to make stuff that is not full of enough preservatives so that I can literally pass the leftovers on to my great-great grandkids.

But, I need a healthy way of eating that does not consume the entire day. I do have a life, you know.

In the spirit of full disclosure, my mom does most of the cooking during the week while Dennis and I work. Due to a  strange and disturbing  twist of fate, she is going away for a month. No more phone calls for mom to juice up a healthy drink  or drive to Wendy’s for a salad.  I don’t understand why she wants to take a vacation -visit my siblings instead of waiting on my hand and foot.  Yes, life is full of mysteries.

Bottom line –the weekday cooking is going to be up to me.

So, starting January 10th I am going to actually plan ahead fresh foods meals and snacks the night before each day. Each. Night. Before. Each. Day.

Yikes, that sounds dreadfully dull and tedious.

Opps, sorry for the discouraging word. That is just crazy self talk from my sugar-crazed, inner impulsive eater.

But, hey, lifestyle changes are NOT easy. Just blogging this is causing my  my blood pressure to skyrocket.

But, it’s time to be healthy. I’m not talking a weird living-from-celery-stick-to-celery-stick existence. I enjoy food. No, I love food. It speaks to me when I’m lonely. It joins me when I celebrate and it sadates me when I’m out of control.

Serious stuff.

So I got to make changes that are doable for the long haul. No fad diets. No crash eating plans of 500 calories or less a day. Is that even possible?  My pet worm eats more than that. Just kidding. I don’t have a pet worm, just a really weird dog or two. And, they only sat still for the pic in hopes that

  1. my camera was made out of raw meat
  2. and I just might drop it at any moment.

wierd dogs

So, here goes- in about 10 days I will not only change my diet but my way of executing meal planning. Execute is an interesting word choice. What comes to mind? The Green Mile. Law and Order. The ultimate punishment for heinous crimes.

Do you sense a bit of apprehension here or is it just a commentary on my cooking?

But, hey, who said that positive change is easy? I’m addicted to all kinds of sugar and greasy salts. THAT is the very reason I need the change.

Anyway, here’s to a happy New Year’s day and a blessed and challenging 364 more days!

Don’t Let Great Expectations Mess with Your Christmas–relax, seriously!

 

rotting wedding cake

I’ll never forget reading Great Expectations in high school. What was Charles Dickens thinking anyway? Maybe some people liked it.

Not me.

I guess I had too many great expectations of my own, like a happy ending for one. But, hey, for some people there’s nothing more delightful than a controlling an old woman in a decaying wedding dress sitting at a table across from a with rotting wedding cake.

Have fun, whoever you are.

I was disappointed.

I guess I was hoping for an exciting surprise, a turn of good fortune that would dazzle me for days. Expectations. That’s me to a T. I suffer from living in imagined futures that never come to  be, anticipating perfect endings that end up any way but perfect.

I confess that I often decide that something should be a certain way and stick to it even if I’m devastated in the end. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. It’s been only the last few years that I’ve managed to even see this about myself.

Take Christmas, for example. I’ve always had great expectations for Christmas eve – glittering gifts from Tiffany’s, magical moments of bliss and non-stop feelings of good cheer.

I didn’t give the season a chance to be, didn’t allow myself to see the imperfections and the upsets as normal part of life.

I expected perfection. And that was a big mistake.

As long as imperfect people gather together, there will be no perfect Christmas memories.

  • Uncle Harold will get drunk and shame qll the pious folk.
  • Stuck-up Aunt Bethany will skip the family dinner to dine with  rich friends.
  • The oven will go out when the turkey’s half done.
  • Grandma announce her engagement to a guy half her age.

(And you thought her big fling was the time she served lasagna for Christmas dinner.)

Don’t get your self all worked up. Too many expectations can make the warmest gathering feel like a dismal room with rotting curtains and a decaying wedding cake on the table.

So why not just let Christmas happen this year? 

Over look the the nose hairs of that huggy- kissy relative. Lighten up on the impeccable manner- thing you got going on for the kids. Smile at strangers and grab yourself a candycane mocha. 

It’s Christmas, not a race to see who qualifies for the third level of heaven .

So, relax already. Kick those expectations clean outside and let them sit in the snow.

For once just enjoy every very imperfect and very precious moment of the season.   

Life lessons from Planet Preschool: Grab a mike and rejoice. Christ is born.

microphone2

This last Sunday I barely made it to church on time. Most seats were taken. Duh, it was the Sunday of the Christmas play put on by the Kingsway kids. Who wouldn’t be on time?

Um..me.

So, I snagged what was left- a side seat. Not the best view, but hey, it was a cushy seat in a warm place. No complaining.

That all changed when the play began. Hard to see the action from the sidelines. But, it was still doable. 

Then, the preschoolers stumbled out onto stage.

Best part, always. I mean, who can resist the cutest stage of human growth? 

I thought I was doomed to view shadows and profiles until a kid the size of a loaf of bread broke ranks. He left the other mini-humans and scrambled to my side of the platform. He stopped in front of a mike stored at the end of the stage. Facing away from the entire production, he stood on his tiptoes and sang.   

Not sure if he had the words right, not even sure if he knew what the getting-on-the-stage thing was all about. But, his joy was spot on.

Take a page from a preschooler. Find your own mike. Anywhere. Even if it faces the side wall of a dead end.

Stand on your tippy-toes and let the joy begin.

Rejoice. Christ is born.

Good Tidings of Great Parking Spots–a shoppers guide to everything meaningful at Christmas.

seattle premium outlet

Last weekend I headed across the border to celebrate Thanksgiving with my youngest son.

Well, that was the plan.

I anticipated long walks through the woods with the dogs and time to read a few good books.

So, how did I end up driving like a crazed woman down to the Premium Factory Outlet in Marysville, Washington?

I guess the part about the United States being the home of the free and the  brave finally got to me. On the biggest shopping weekend  of the year, I figured it was time to fight for my right to save money even if I had to spend my last dime to do it.

After over an hour of driving on back roads and another 15 minutes on interstate 5, I eagerly joined about another forty million, billion people looking for a parking space at the mall.

Obviously, the odds were against me. But, I kept on cruising the crowded parking lot.

Then, it happened.

A young couple pushing a baby stroller returned to their car. Right. In. Front. Of. Me.

I put on my signal and waited.

Just when the other car was ready to pull out, one of those big, shiny don’t-mess-with-me  pickup trucks stopped and put on it’s blinker. I waved to get the driver’s attention.

He ignored me.

That’s when I knew it was a stand off. To the death. I didn’t have a chance.  So, instead of dying a noble death or at the very least surviving a horrific crash, I drove away.

Disappointed?

Well, guess what, I did find another parking space a few minutes later and farther away from the beckoning land of wonderful bargains.

Well, maybe not so wonderful.  The rain pelted me as I jostled my way through the outdoor walkways between stores. My head ached as I pawed through clothing items on racks and strewn on floors by other frenzied shoppers. After picking out a few items that matched my Christmas list, I just wanted to leave.

By the time I found my car and maneuvered my way out of the parking lot, I felt like muddy a  sales flyer stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. Perhaps,  I would have lost every last bit of Christmas joy if it had not been for the phrase that popped into my head.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”

The words seemed odd at first, out of place with the harried world of retail shopping. But it’s cadence soothed me in a way that I had never experienced before.

Even though these words had been penned centuries ago to exiles returning from captivity in Babylon, they were also prophetic, foretelling of salvation to come.

That’s the real truth of Christmas- the coming of the Messiah, not just to Bethlehem but to crowded malls and parking lots filled with frenzied shoppers.

Good tidings of great joy.

Healing.

Liberty.

Freedom.

Good Tidings of Great Parking Places–a shoppers guide to everything meaningful at Christmas.

seattle premium outlet

Last weekend I headed across the border to celebrate Thanksgiving with my youngest son.

Well, that was the plan.

I anticipated long walks through the woods with the dogs and time to read a few good books.

So, how did I end up driving like a crazed woman down to the Premium Factory Outlet in Marysville, Washington?

I guess the part about the United States being the home of the free and the home of the brave finally got to me.On the biggest shopping weekend  of the year, I figured it was time to fight for my right to save money even if I had to spend my last dime to do it.

After over an hour of driving on back roads and another 15 minutes on interstate 5, I eagerly joined about another forty million, billion people looking for a parking space at the mall. 

Obviously, the odds were against me. But, I kept on cruising down the endless rows of parked cars. 

Then, it happened.

A young couple pushing a baby stroller returned to their car. Right. In. Front. Of. Me.

I put on my signal and waited. 

Just when the other car was ready to pull out, one of those big, shiny don’t-mess-with-me  pickup trucks stopped on the other side of the departing car and put on it’s blinker. I waved to get the driver’s attention.

He ignored me. 

That’s when I knew it was a stand off. To the death. I didn’t have a chance.  So, instead of dying a noble death or at the very least surviving a horrific crash, I drove away.

Disappointed?

Well, guess what, I did find another parking space a few minutes later and farther away from the beckoning land of wonderful bargains.

Well, maybe not so wonderful.  The rain pelted me as I jostled my way through the outdoor walkways between stores. My head ached as I pawed through clothing items on racks and strewn on floors by other frenzied shoppers. After picking out a few items that matched my Christmas list, I just wanted to leave.  

By the time I found my car and maneuvered my way out of the parking lot, I felt like muddy sales flyer stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. Perhaps,  I would have lost every last bit of Christmas joy if it had not been for the phrase that popped into my head. 

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”

The words seemed odd at first, out of place with the harried world of retail shopping. But it’s cadence soothed me in a way that I had never experienced before.

Even though these words had been penned centuries ago to exiles returning from captivity in Babylon, they were also prophetic, foretelling of salvation to come.

That’s the real truth of Christmas- the coming of the Messiah, not just to Bethlehem but to crowded malls and parking lots filled with frenzied shoppers. 

Good tidings of great joy.

Healing.

Liberty.

Freedom.