Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

Food, family and resolutions

Happy new year to you all, and hope you had lovely holidays! My holidays were less frenetic than in the past- learning how to manage my family really helps. 3 hours at grandma’s, 4 hours for dinner and gifts at my house, the miracle that is beef tenderloin roast, and it was all done. No fights, no crappy remarks about the condition of my house, just a nice visit with great food and happy kids.

Black eyed peas on New Year’s Day- tradition at our house. They’re so good, we always wonder why we only have them once a year. I mention them to people at work, and they don’t have a clue. “What’s a ham hock?” they ask. Losers. Then we decided to try out the pressure cooker we’d had sitting in a box for the last 6 weeks.

Of course, we’d lost the instructions to the damn thing- looked everywhere, to no avail. So, we decided to wing it, cross our fingers and hope we didn’t wind up with beef stew on the ceiling! I had the butcher cut up about 3# of chuck roast- super on sale, and less expensive than the pre-cut “stew meat” they had out- and away we went. Got all our stuff in the cooker- onion, carrot, celery all sauteed, beef broth, bay leaves, garlic, red wine, meat- and set the timer for 16 minutes.

Once the pressure came down- less than 5 minutes- I added the potatoes we’d peeled and cooked in the microwave. They thickened up the stew perfectly! Some seasoning adjustment- I love A1 and Worchetshire (sp?) sauce! A little S&P, and we were beef stew happy in 30 minutes flat! Our mamas in the 50’s really had a great secret with this thing…

So last night, I made chili meat in the cooker, and added it to the chili beans, onions and stuff I’d put together in another pot. Great success, kids and husband really liked chili with chunks of meat rather than the usual hamburger. I’m really liking this thing… if only I could find a recipe for chili colorado, chili verde and carne asada.

With all of our food adventures, things are getting out of hand in the weight department. Rather, they’ve been out of hand for some time now. I really just want to be able to move, walk and breathe without all the hassle. DH and I decided to look into exercise equipment, since I have no time to go to a gym with 2 hours of commuting every day. I thought the recumbent bikes would be a good choice, but you can’t have a big belly and be able to make them go fast. On to the treadmills, since the ellipticals looked way too scary.

There are way too many treadmills on the market. And they cost way too much. Wouldn’t it make sense to have your health insurance company cover half the cost of something like this, just as a preventative measure? Anyway, after 2 weeks of agonizing and comparison shopping, we chose a machine and are eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. Even the kids say they’re looking forward to it. I keep thinking we’ve just spent a fortune on something that we’ll use for a month and then it will collect dust, but who knows. Maybe we’ll really take a shine to the thing. I really think it’s my last, best hope of getting healthier.

I’m not making this a resolution, in fact I didn’t make any resolutions this year. It’s just something that has to be done if I want to see my grandchildren some day without the aid of oxygen and a wheelchair.

I’ve also been really enjoying my kids. I’ve had a couple of really pleasant, thoughtful conversations that engaged them enough to give more than one word answers or grunts- gives me hope that we will indeed survive the teenage years. My oldest has decided to tackle the hardest academic track at her high school- the IB program. I knew it was tough, but it’s so beneficial. If she scores well, she can be guaranteed admission to OSU, and be granted sophomore status- three years instead of four!- and get a minimum of $2000 in annual, renewable scholarships to boot. Sounds great to me, but it is a LOT of work. She wants to keep swimming, wants to try water polo next fall, and wants to volunteer at the hospital since I won’t let her have a job.

Girl 1 is worried about Girl 2, still in middle school, who doesn’t seem to have the internal drive she does. I keep telling her everyone comes to these things at different times in their life, just give her a chance and she’ll figure it out. Of course, I keep a close watch on the grades of both of them- thank god our schools use the internet for instant reports- and they know they’ll have to answer for lousy grades. My folks didn’t have the understanding of the education system to really help me at all, back in the day. That was too bad for me- I wonder to this day how differently things could have been had I known more. Now all this information is just out there for anyone, and I’m glad for it.

I feel lucky to have the kids I have- they are smart, caring kids who will be good citizens in the future.