Keeping Your Kitchen Resolutions

Well now look at you, hot pants! 2012 has been treating you just nicely. It must be all those vitamins you’re taking.

Besides the usual New Year banter, this was the first year I saw a lot of ‘I want to cook more’ or ‘I want to make better meals for my family’ type resolutions floating around my social media.

Like any resolution, after a few weeks it can seem really daunting to keep up a new lifestyle or part of your day. Since I have the strong belief that anyone can cook, I thought I’d throw out a few tips and pointers to make meals a little less scary after the shiny new paint of it all has worn off.

Start Simple and with the Basics

I always say that once you know a handful of techniques, you can cook pretty much anything. If you can make one soup, you can make any soup, barring a few complicated ones.

Learn a good dough recipe for pizzas, master a pasta sauce, or make a pot of your own chicken stock and see what happens from there!

Befriend a Slow Cooker

I love cooking when I’m home. It is relaxing for me after a long day at work. Food and cooking is how I think; it’s a part of my heart and obviously my skin. However, there is something really satisfying every once in awhile to come home to a crock pot full of something delicious. You walk in the door to a house full of the most intoxicating food-smells and all is right in the universe.

Next time you’re in a rut, crock pot.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind – So Keep it In Sight

A great way to have more vegetables and fruits involved in meals (and snack time) is to keep them visible. I keep vegetables in pretty bowls on my kitchen counter. In the fridge, things like carrots and celery are visible rather than buried deep in drawers. If it’s in your face it will be much more difficult to ignore.

Meal Plans

We’ve been doing meal plans for a long time now – and even as the time has gone by, we’ve been able to stream line the process it even further. I’m not at the level of color-coding the shopping list by department but we have a system that works pretty well for us. We don’t assign a meal for a specific day – but maybe that would work for your family – we’re just too picky and commitment phobic when it comes to food.

Our newest addition to meal planning is to double check what dry goods we have in the cabinets and base as many meals as possible around them. I’m the Queen of buying dry beans out of habit and coming home to realize we already have 6 other bags waiting for me in the pantry.

Make Your Kitchen Fun

The best meals I’ve ever made have happened to music. I believe in the concept of food being made with joy and love – and what inspires emotions more than music? Keep a radio or a dock for your dearest digital tune player in the kitchen and you’d be surprised how those swinging hips or karaoke session can turn into the most amazing food.

Mundane becomes fundane…nevermind, that didn’t work…but the process will be more enjoyable.

Cook While You Couch Potato

One of our favorite meals is steamed or baked pork dumplings, which the prep work for can be a little tedious, especially when you’re going at it alone. Once in a while though, all three of us set up a table in the living room, put on some Netflix and suddenly all the wrappers are stuffed and ready to cook in no time.

 A lot of prep work for tonight or tomorrow’s dinner can be done just vegging out watching that documentary you’ve been meaning to finish. When it comes to make that next meal, think of all the time you’ve shaved off all that dicing and slicing.

Whatever keeps you cooking!


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Get Your Hands Out of My Pants (I’m Not Dying!)

The fun thing about having a mystery ailment is everyone wants to help diagnose you and subsequently scare the ever loving crap out of you. We’re all doctors when we care!

On Friday, I noticed my right foot was swollen to twice its normal size and found a golf ball sized lump under the skin of my leg. Since this wondrous discovery some suggestions I’ve heard:

  • a spider bite
  • a severe blood clot
  • “Oh my God, go to the Doctor right now”
  • pregnant (babies are so 2002, no way)
  • “You’re dying”

I finally got it checked out yesterday. Procrastination at it’s finest.

They unfairly made me get on a scale  that resembled something cows would be shuffled onto to get their weight. They used words like needles, diabetes and gout. They asked how frequently I use illegal street drugs. Was I 893% sure I wasn’t pregnant?

They took an x-ray and found nothing.

They ran blood work and found nothing besides humor in the fact that I flipped my shiz over needles as I removed my cardigan, revealing multiple tattoos.

They decided it would be best to send me to the Emergency Room for an ultrasound of my leg. I cried.

The Emergency Room patrons frightened me. If I wasn’t sick when I came in, I was for sure going to be when I left.

I tried bribing some of the staff into speeding along the waiting process. They weren’t amused and would not comply. Ethical jerks with good morals. Unacceptable.

In the ultrasound room I had to take off my leggings and I counted my thanks that I had shaved my legs.

“We’re going to scan your whole leg,” translates to “I’m going to suddenly stick my hand up your dress and inside your underwear” in case you were curious. Saying to the tech (who I think was 13) “I wasn’t aware that was part of my leg” did not elicit laughter, a giggle or even a smirk.

They found nothing in the ultra sound. They found nothing anywhere. I stumped them all and there’s no Dr. House roaming the halls of any hospital in this county.

At the end of the day in an effort to get me to shut up and leave they determined those two plane rides and a week on my feet did my foot in for the time being. I paid two co-pays to find out my foot is just fat and ugly.

So, I’m not dying and I got felt up…er, down. Winning!

How was your day?


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Tale of a Tattoo: Allium Sativum Edition

Tattoos are a funny thing, aren’t they? Some love ‘em, some hate ‘em, some appreciate the art but wouldn’t ever get one. The people who have them? Some only get tattoos with a deep personal meaning. Others get things just to get them and some get things because they’re amusing.

My mother keeps reminding me to stop getting more but my take on it is that I have one body – one time to live this kooky life. And yeah, one day the cupcake on my leg will look like a sheet cake or the trail of stars on my back will resemble a planetarium. But at least one day there’s going to be a nurse who’s going to have to sponge bathe me, that is going to have a laugh.

I knew a girl who uses and loves garlic to the end of the Earth and one day she was tossing around tattoo ideas.  Ha! Wouldn’t it be funny to get a garlic tattoo? Most importantly, she wanted the entire garlic (allium sativum) plant, flowers and all. Sure, weirdo.

Garlic is a symbol of strength and of protection against negativity. Ancient lore says Egyptians fed the builders of the pyramids garlic to keep them healthy enough to keep working. The flowers of the plant are a beautiful shade of pinkish purple – the stalk, stronger than expected.

It kind of made sense.

Her tattoo artist didn’t even blink when she told him the idea. He got to work and created artwork for her, ensuring that her idea would be translated properly.

That girl? She’s me – and I rock the outline and need to go back for color. I love what Gswizzle has done but I can’t wait for him to add the pieces of the puzzle. He’s got shades of green and purple that I can’t imagine waiting for me.

Is it silly to have a garlic tattoo; yes. Do I regret it?

Not at all.

And I never will.

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