Sunday, January 23, 2011

#88 - The Joy of Cooking . . . Made Easier

I love to cook. In fact, I like cooking so much that for my birthday one year Teresa gave me a cookbook. I've made some wonderful recipes from it, including chicken marsala and pumpkin cheesecake.

As much as I like to cook, though, there are times when I'm tired or just want to do something fast and easy. In our home, that also usually translated into something just this side of bland and boring. I have a feeling that has changed.

A week ago, we bought an electric pressure cooker from Costco, the Cuisinart CPC-600. Tonight, I had my maiden voyage with this new culinary toy and made barbecue beef.

The Cuisinart comes with a recipe booklet that includes a recipe for barbecue pork. Well, we'd had pork the night before, so no problem, I substituted beef.

The substitution worked so well that we nearly sat there until we had eaten three pounds of barbecue, just the three of us. Even Christopher liked it, and he always says he doesn't like barbecue sauce.

We finally succeeded in pushing ourselves away, but it was not easy. The only thing that made it possible was knowing there was still enough for dinner tomorrow night. It's a recipe I'll be making again, with beef or pork. I may also try making it with chicken. I predict this new kitchen toy will be getting some good use. We might even put it through its paces the next time we take the trailer out. Good stuff.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

#87 - Yet More Random Thoughts

Why is it that I am more tired when I "wake up early" at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday than I am if I "sleep in" until 7:00 a.m. on a weekday?

Why is it that the amount of stuff I have seems to grow proportionately to the amount of stuff I am trying to get rid of?

Can something other than tinted contacts really make my brown eyes blue? (An allusion to an old Crystal Gayle song for those of you under 40 or not into country.) Can Singing in the Rain lead to Walking on Sunshine? If I Had a Hammer, would it turn out to be Maxwell's Silver Hammer? Or would MC Hammer come along to say You Can't Touch This?

If you can save 20% on a purchase of $75 or more, can't you save 100% by not spending anything? And if operators are standing by, why doesn't someone get them chairs?

Why do Deer Crossing signs look as if the deer is performing ballet and should be wearing a tutu? When I pass a Game Crossing sign, why do I never see a Monopoly box or a deck of cards or maybe an Xbox 360?

Can one ever see the end of the tunnel if it's dark? If something is "the gift that keeps on giving," won't everybody eventually have one?

Finally, if you see a fork in the road, pick it up before someone drives over it and gets a flat tire.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

#86 - A Public Proclamation

Today is my wife Teresa's birthday. The cake is baked and frosted, and the presents are ready. Well, almost ready.

There is still one gift I want to give her: public recognition of just how important she is in my life. Even after 17 years, of marriage, I still have trouble saying what I think or how I feel without stumbling over my words or messing it up somehow. So I'll have to say it here.

For 17 years, Teresa has been my rudder, struggling to give me balance and to help me find direction. She has given me support and advice when I needed it and a swift kick in the rear when I deserved it.

I haven't made things easy for her. The way I grew up led me to close off from people around and taught me to fear feeling. I have struggled to overcome and let go of that past and finally feel I am gaining the upper hand in that battle. I am likely not yet where she would like me to be or where she deserves me to be, but I would not have come this far without her.

To Teresa, I say thank you for being behind me and for standing beside me, for pushing me when I've needed it, and for helping get back up whenever I stumble. Our life together has taken some twists and turns along the way, but I am glad we have shared this journey together. I love you. Happy Birthday!