Thursday, April 25, 2013

broiler 101

I love the broiler.

It's fast. It makes things crispy. It's the doodad in the oven I didn't even know existed for the longest time.

However, there are many reasons I should not love the broiler.

I burn myself.

I burn the food.

I alternate burning myself and burning the food with such regularity that NOT burning anything ought to warrant a federal holiday.

And sometimes, I do this:

Yah, did you know that the broiler gets hot enough in 10 minutes that it will melt plastic through the oven vent under the burner? 

Me neither. 'Til now.

Monday, April 22, 2013

men and women

I went to the bank today, cashing several checks: a paycheck, a babysitting gig, reimbursement from a church activity, that sort of thing. The ATM couldn't read the information on one of them (ironically, it was my paycheck -- the one that is typed up and tidy!) so I had to go inside, trying to ignore the fact that I was out in public in sweatpants.

The teller quietly helped me with my transaction, because we were all listening to a conversation between a couple of tellers and one of the customers. They were all laughing, loudly, and their comments included any of the following, and more:

"Men are just lazy."

"My son-in-law does that."

"I'd be so happy if my girl wanted to be a sugar-mama!"

"Did you know women are 75% of the workforce?

"I'd love to be a stay-at-home dad."

"Women are the backbone of society."

The entire exchange was amusing, but it wasn't until I got back into my car that it struck me as very, very sad.

Firstly, women are the backbone of society, but I don't think it has much to do with our paid employment. Families are the fundamental unit of society, and mothers are the center of our homes. (Or ought to be.)We have God-given talents meant for nurturing.  One of our greatest challenges as women is being true to those gifts without drowning them out with hyper-management and overly high expectations in our home. (And if that's not you, that is DEFINITELY me.)

Secondly, I wouldn't outright agree that men are lazy. I will say however that just as many women struggle to find purpose and meaning and satisfaction in their roles as homemakers, I know many men who quail at the idea of being financially responsible for a house full of people. And just as we women have special gifts that help us as we care for others, I think men have a special strength and solidarity that helps them to succeed, too.

Why would God ask us to do jobs that come particularly easy to us? I bet Chris would like to have the flexibility in his schedule to peruse the Internet in the name of book research, or experiment in the kitchen for hours at a time, or take a nap so he can be a more cheerful spouse. However, I don't think those are the things that are going to make him grow into a stronger, bolder leader. He'd probably stay very much the same, or worse, start to stagnate his character development. I would love the structure and tangible results of a full-time job, when I could get home and relax guilt-free and know the hardest parts of my work were over. But I don't think that would make me grow either.

I guess what I'm saying is that each gender has specific strengths to use and specific weaknesses to root out through our more traditional gender roles, and I worry what we're losing by inverting them. Character development? A place to use our strengths? A sense of "Thy will, not mine, be done"?

Regardless, I am tremendously grateful for the life that we have, where I can be out of the workforce and instead spend my time developing the skills and character that I need in order to be a truly excellent mother. I'm grateful to have a husband who, although it's a huge challenge, has accepted the task of providing for our family and leading our home in righteousness. I'm an amazingly lucky girl to have someone who will watch Conference talks with me, pray with me multiple times a day, and so readily offer his help and support when I have any sort of quandary.

Today, we're celebrating our own little Valentine's Day. Free of commercialism, outrageous prices, or cultural obligation, we're just celebrating us. That we're in love, that we are working to become better people together, that we are so excited to be a part of this team. Today I'm celebrating the man in my life, for all that he is -- his strengths, and his determination to overcome his weaknesses.

I think that's worth celebrating. Don't you?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

broccoli slaw ala carbonara (aka, deliciousness)

So lately I've been posting Paleo updates...that it's pretty smooth sailing, that I'm starting to lose weight, that Chris misses carb-y snacks, etc. But what I haven't shared is the fun part.


I've really enjoyed trying new foods, new methods, and new combinations. We've had some amazing stuff lately. I'm not a very methodical cook though, so my measurements are always approximate and sometimes require a little more seasoning at the table. Some of them are just a little off even then, but sometimes, oh man. Sometimes, we hit on something AMAZING. Take this one for example...

Broccoli Slaw ala Carbonara (adapted from

I was so disappointed when I discovered it's too late in the season for the grocery store to carry spaghetti squash. Luckily, I'd just read about another Paleo substitute for pasta: broccoli slaw. Chris LOVED this first attempt and I'm already planning to make it again. Don't skimp on the sun-dried tomatoes though; they really make the dish.

1 bag broccoli slaw
1 package of bacon
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 T italian seasoning -- basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 jar sun-dried tomatoes

In a large non-stick skillet, dump in the broccoli slaw. Put it on medium heat and add 1/4 cup of water, then cover and let it steam, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, fry up some bacon until it's crispy. When it's done, set it aside to cool enough to crumble it.
Remember that pan of broccoli slaw? Add the rest of the ingredients and stir 'em in. Continue to cook the broccoli until tender, then stir in the bacon and tomatoes. Serve, maybe with a salad and some fresh fruit.


Friday, April 19, 2013

and dropping

I am pleased to announce that I have started losing weight on our new way of eating...just a little bit, but enough that it's definitely "losing weight" and not just the normal day-to-day fluctuation. I'm highly tempted to keep with this experiment after a month for that fact alone!

It's so interesting to me how specifically I have to target my weight-gain issues in order to actually lose any. When I was a teenager, I lost 50 pounds in 6 months by cutting out second helpings and most sweets. Now, I've cut sweets again but I've also cut out grains, especially snacks between meals. If anyone reading this is trying to lose weight, you may want to seriously consider what you're doing to gain weight to begin with, and then target that specific thing. Cut it out entirely if you struggle with self-control.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013




Two days ago, we received a large shipment (we're talking 1000 pounds!) of food storage from my very generous, very enthusiastic in-laws. FedEx Freight dropped it on its pallet in the parking lot, but it's just not in their job description to bring it upstairs. Rightfully so, of course, so Chris and I and the Spanish branch missionaries took all 1000 pounds upstairs, one box or bucket at a time. And the missionaries even made one extra trip, to grab the wood pallet and lean it against our patio railing.


I am so completely torn. The whole reason we kept the pallet instead of offering it for free to a good home was because Chris was so excited to do something Pinterest-y with it, especially for the container garden I was planning to start this week. ON THE PATIO.


I'm just so flabbergasted that I don't know what to do. I happen to love robins (The Secret Garden was my very first chapter book, and a gift from my big brother, so of course I'm partial.) It seems like such a betrayal of trust to destroy two days of hard work from this little guy. And who knows if he can make another one before the eggs need to be laid. But, I's my patio. The one bit of outdoors I can call my own.

What would you do?  Leave the nest alone? Shove it off the porch before the silly robin decides to lay eggs in it? Try to relocate it a bit so I can still garden, and let the bird decide if it still wants to use it?

I think what I really need right now is a Dickon. Maybe he'd talk some sense into the poor little bird.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

cheese and crackers

Today I had my biggest challenge yet on our Paleo diet. I babysat two little boys this morning, which included feeding them lunch at the end of my stint there. Cheese and crackers and fruit, as their mom requested. I don't know if you know this, but it's hard to make a meal out of a banana and 1/4 of an orange. Amid cries of "more cheese, please!" and "cracker?", it was hard not to join in on the grain-and-dairy crunchy goodness. A half an hour later, I learned how hard it is to entertain children under 5 when your blood sugar is low! So I shamelessly plopped them in front of a movie and that was that. Squash and pulled pork satisfied me almost perfectly when I got home..."almost," because I was so worn out that I took a nap too! Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to handle multiple kids! At least it makes that far off, someday first kid look a little less daunting, right?

Friday, April 12, 2013


What a fun day! Chris and I rode the bus to campus together, and I spent the morning working on my Sunday School lesson (Doctrine & Covenants 25 -- one of my very favorites!) That was followed by another salad for lunch and 5 hours of TEDxPurdueU!

My husband takes me on the funnest dates, seriously. I struggled to sit still for as long as we did, but so many of the talks intrigued me. One of my very favorite things about watching TED stuff with Chris is how often it leads to a conversation about how we're going to educate our children. The plan right now is to homeschool, but there are a MILLION ways to go about doing it, and neither of us have any idea what we're doing. Therefore, we enjoy exploring ideas and methodologies as we come across them. TED makes great fodder for that.

The Paleo diet is going fine so far. We had smoothies for breakfast, which was the first time I've ever gotten Chris to drink a green smoothie! He thinks they're yummy, but can't bear to look at them. Some days I can't say I blame him, but today it was a pretty normal color. And so tasty, too! I love having a way to use the bags of salad greens I buy before they go bad. We also had psuedo pork wraps today, which basically eating pulled pork piled on a lettuce leaf with other things like onions and tomatoes thrown on top. Maybe more of a taco than a wrap? Either way, I thought it was delicious, and kinda fun to eat off of a lettuce leaf. The best part was that we made it in the crock pot, so it was perfectly fine that we were gone all day.

The sad part about the crock pot adventure is that I had to get up early to prep the meat (which included feeling like a butcher, since I had to cut the skin off of the pork shoulder. Freaky!) We got to bed late...add that to getting up early and today has not been a pleasant day to live on the inside of my head. But as I told Chris, I've been working hard to take it with a grain of salt, since any "why doesn't anyone love meeeee????" thoughts are bound to be more sleep-related than anything.

On that note, I am TIRED, so I am going to see if I can drag Awesome Husband off to bed. Ciao.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

8 months

Our apartment still smells amaaaaazing from breakfast. We had Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs, which was delicious, but mine was incredibly ugly. What happens when someone has a fancy kitchen gadget that you don't? You're left peeling a sweet potato to oblivion. If I would have thought about it, I would have taken one of those "nailed it!" pictures. And it would have been hilarious.

Instead, I will just enjoy the sweet, earthy smells pervading the apartment and get out the salmon to defrost. We're going to try skewering them with broccoli for under the broiler. Tasty? I sure hope so.

By the way, for lunch, I had spring greens, broccoli, radishes (first time eating those,) pumpkin seeds, and raisins, all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Easy? Yes. Tasty? YEESSSS. It's nice to remember that I really am a salad kind of girl.


Last night as we were drifting off to sleep, I murmured to Chris, "Hey, guess what?"

"You love me?" That's usually his answer.

"Yes!" That's always mine. "Guess what else?"


"Tomorrow is 8 months."

"You're right." He paused, held me a little tighter. "It's been a great 8 months."

There is no price too high for moments like that. I'm so glad I make him so happy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

boo hoo

I just finished making my grocery list for Paleo, Week One. Boy, it's depressing! All of the most expensive stuff and none of the cheap stuff. Nuts, dried fruit, grass-fed meats, and organic produce. LOTS of organic produce. Makes me glad I'm starting my garden next week.

This week Chris and I have had a mega carb purge, just trying to polish off everything in the house so that we don't have any fluffy, easy food that will tempt us away from our 30 day initiative.

I used to think I liked pasta, bread, oatmeal, stuff like that. Now I'm kinda sick of it. I guess that's as good a reason as any to be excited to start eating Paleo!

I think I'm going to call this my 8th mensiversary present to Chris. Maybe his 9th mensiversary present to me can be taking me out to cheesecake. ;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

paleo with the husband

Food is just interesting. That's the conclusion I've come to.

I couldn't tell you how much time I spend in a day researching new meals and making my kitchen a mess. I love knowing that our grocery budget is smaller than it might be because I find ways to be resourceful by using the ingredients we already have on hand and using them in several different ways.

Then again, that's why this month's project is a little bit of a stretch for me. But you never learn if you don't get out of your comfort zone, right?

Chris and I found a tiny little grocery store that sells what I tend to think of as yuppie food. Grass-fed meat, organic produce, sauces and spices I've never heard of. It's not cheap, but browsing the store made for a great date. I mean, they sell rabbit there, people. Crawfish. And alligator.

Our project isn't to try bizarre meats, though. We went to the temple last weekend, and Chris came out of it with the idea that we needed to implement some changes we've been casually talking about lately. So we're "going paleo" for a month, to see how it effects our weight, concentration, skin, moods, etc. You can read about it most anywhere on the web, but this one has particularly hilarious Lego illustrations to go with it. Word.

Anyway, I'll be blogging our adventure for the next month, including recipes, health updates, and probably some whining about how expensive grass-fed meat is. But hey, I think it's going to be a fun ride.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

change, but not really

It's funny how much things can change, from one day to the next, huh?

Don't get me wrong; I still love my life. This is the only one I have, and the only one I could have had with Chris in it. That makes it the best, ever.

But there are hard days, too. Days when everything that comes out of my mouth roughly translates to "whining! drama! angst!" Days when Chris just doesn't think he can do grad school, and I feel like I've run out of helpful things to say or do. Days when the kitchen is completely nuts, there's a pile of stuff on the living room floor, and no, no I definitely did not make the bed.

I wish I could remember something when I was in the middle of those moments, though. These kind of days still have their wonderful moments. Simple, honest prayer. Sweet little kisses. Bright spring sunshine coming through the blinds. The anticipation of General Conference this weekend.

So maybe things haven't changed so much at all. It's all in how you look at it.