Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mmmm.... Tacos....

My all-time favorite food growing up was Tacos. Not the ones you get at Taco Bell, but the ones you made at home. Whenever my birthday came around, I got to choose what to eat for dinner that night (an awesome thing for a 9-year-old)... I ALWAYS picked Tacos.

Why all this Taco bliss? Because that's what I had for dinner... and, no offense to my parents who started the taco-mania, but I have changed the recipe (mwah-ha-ha-ha)...

I make an "adult" version now, made with pork roast. Basically, I put a pork roast in the crock pot and add whatever the heck I want. I think that the last time I made it, I added finely chopped onion and garlic (but I forgot it while I was making it today... it tasted fine without it). I also add some beer to the crock pot... an entire bottle of Dos Equis Amber beer. Then I season it with salt, pepper, cumin, and New Mexico chili pepper. Cook on low all day... By the time you come home from work, your house smells AMAZING! The meat is so tender from cooking in beer all day long, that it just falls apart. Shred some lettuce, chop up some tomatos, open a bag of shredded cheese, warm up some tortillas, and you have an awesome and easy meal!

Serve with some Spanish rice and a margarita on the rocks and unwind from your day! The best thing about Tacos is that I don't have to put whatever I don't like in them. I think that is why I liked them so much as a child. I was a very picky child and wouldn't eat a lot of items. My picky-eating habits didn't matter on Taco night! Even if I didn't want meat (ground beef), I could make a Taco with just cheese, lettuce, and tomato if I wanted... Or if I wanted more of a breakfast meal, I could scramble some eggs to add to the tortilla. Awesome!

Can you tell that I LOVE Tacos? Tacos Rule!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Time for change...

I am tired of being constantly on edge about certain areas of my life...

I am tired of worrying about everything that I do, for fear that it will be wrong...

I am tired of losing sleep over this particular issue...

I am tired of hating my life in general despite the many things in my life that make me happy...

This particular area used to make me happy... I used to feel fulfilled and I had a sense of accomplishment...

My self confidence has taken a real nose dive because of this issue... I second guess everything and assume that I'm wrong all of the time. The uncertainty is leaching into other areas of my life as well. I wonder if I ever was talented in this area. I wonder if I really DO have a problem that means I suck...

I feel myself going down a dark hole, with no end in sight...

So, I'm taking my shovel and I'm digging myself out. I refuse to feel this way and I am doing something proactive about it. Something positive. It has begun!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happiness is...

As part of my new attitude this year, I will attempt to look on the bright side of things. I have been a pessimist for far too long.

So, despite having to clean up several "accidents", I have thoroughly enjoyed our new puppy. She is getting snugglier (is that even a word?) every day. Today, she gave me lots of puppy kisses on my nose for the first time :)... There is nothing more stress relieving in this world than puppy kisses!

Dinner was a new recipe - French Lentil & Rice soup... The recipe came from a Crock Pot cook book that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. I didn't even think about dinner until after my nap, so it wasn't made in a Crock Pot. But it was good anyway. I'm not a stranger to Lentil Soup (from my detox diet days) and have discovered a liking for it. This recipe is simple and quite tasty :)

French Lentil Rice Soup

6 c. Chicken or Vegetable broth
1 c. Lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 med. Carrots, peeled & finely diced
1 sm. Onion, finely chopped
2 stalks Celery, finely diced
3 Tbsp. uncooked white rice
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. herbes de Provence or 1 tsp. dried Thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 c. heavy cream or 1/4 c. sour cream, divided (optional)
1/4 c. chopped Parsley (optional)

Stir together broth, lentils, carrots, onion, celery, rice, garlic, herbes de Provence, salt, & pepper in Crock Pot. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours.

Remove 1 1/2 cups soup and puree in a food processor or blender. Stir pureed soup back into Crock Pot.

Divide soup evenly among 4 serving bowls, garnishing each with 1 Tbsp Cream and 1 Tbsp Parsley, if desired.

**My Alterations: I rough-chopped all the veggies - I prefer a rustic style soup. I also exchanged brown rice for the white rice. I didn't have herbes de Provence or dried Thyme, so I used Italian Seasoning instead. I heated everything in a pot on the stove and brought it to a boil. Once it reached a boil, I lowered the temperature to simmer and I covered the soup until the rice and lentils were done... It took about 30 -45 minutes. I used an immersion blender and stopped before it got too pureed. I omitted the cream and parsley (didn't have any).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Updates and Outlooks!

So, I've been meaning to update my blog at least once a week. Well, life smacked me upside the head in December, so I didn't have time to write down everything that happened last month... So, bear with me, as this will probably be a rather long post to update everyone on what happened...

In my last post, I commented on the fact that my kitchen took a crap on me... Well, it didn't actually take a crap on me, but the boiler did piss all over everything... It seems like it took FOREVER to get my kitchen back to working order, but it is now back together (for the most part)... I got sick and tired of living in chaos for 2 weeks while they took everything out of my kitchen, let the wall dry, and then to reassemble everything. After much pushing and prodding, they got my kitchen together 3 days before my Christmas company arrived... Aaron came home just before they finished (after being gone for a month) and helped me to put the house to rights. I sincerely hope that our company didn't hold it against us that my usual manically clean house was not up to standards. It was as clean as it could get after being in chaos for weeks and only having 3 days to put it all back. Downside? They didn't finish it completely. I have a working kitchen, but they haven't replaced my flooring yet. Originally, they told Aaron they would come to do it the week after Christmas (but didn't give us a definite date). Then, I called them to find out exactly when they would come to do it... I was told "Monday" - as in January 3... That day has come and gone and I still don't have a floor. Phone calls have so far gone unanswered. I'm just about ready to go get another contractor and replace the floor with what I want (instead of what was there) and still bill the condo association.

Just before Christmas, we heard that a friend had found a puppy along the side of the road... They knew that we wanted a puppy a while back and, since no one came to claim her, they gave her to us. We named her Lijha (pronounced like Elijah, but without the "E"). Aaron picked out the name - after a fixed waypoint on one of the approaches into Bethel. So, we finally got our new addition to the family. Aaron picked her up on his way home last month.Come to find out, she is mostly (if not all) German Shepherd. We estimated her age when we got her around 6 weeks, but we'll find out for sure once her teeth start falling out. She is already just about as tall at the shoulders as Noni.
Puppies! Notice, the gross sub-floor that the contractors left over Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. My biological father, step-mother, and oldest brother descended upon us for the week of Christmas! It was so great to get to spend time with them and share traditions. I haven't spent a Christmas with them since I was about 2, so we were due to celebrate. Aaron surprised me a lot this year with many things that I have been asking for... Like a professional grade Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer (in red, of course), a new guitar (that is ACTUALLY playable), and a new computer bag that I can use for both school and work when I travel. We ate lots of good food and enjoyed each others' company.

My brother stayed for an extra week after the parents had to go back to work. He and Aaron got some good bonding time in and I enjoyed showing Juneau to my brother. He's talking about moving up here in about a year or so (once he gets his ducks in a row)... That would be totally awesome!

So, for the new year, we hope (and pray and make sacrifices to whatever gods will listen) that Aaron will get to come back to Juneau to fly sometime this year. We will be training Lijha for protection, since I tend to be alone with just the dogs a lot. Noni isn't very intimidating and Lijha, if trained properly, can and will protect me. I should finish the Associate portion of my degree towards the end of this summer.

And, since I can't end a New Year post without mentioning it... My resolution for the year is to "Get Organized"... I've outlined tasks that I want to complete each month to pare down and organize my life and my house. Cross your fingers and pray for me! It starts this weekend...