Friday, January 27, 2012

Yummy yummy burgers

This is how good these burgers were: I'm taking time on a Friday night to blog about them.  Yes, because it cuts into my ca-ray-zay Friday night scheme of...going to bed in 20 minutes. Anyway.

Got these in my latest Natural Health: The article has healthy alternatives to fast food favorites.  Some of them looked a bit intense, but I figured I'd go for the burgers. We did not add avocado, but I bet it would add good flavor.


They tasted DELICIOUS. T raved about them as one of his new all-time favorites, beating out the decadent macaroni and cheese makeover from Cooking Light.  


I can't believe I didn't post that one--sure, Martha Stewart makes good mac and cheese, but I felt this one blew all others out of the water.  Definitely time-intensive and requires some slightly expensive cheese, but so worth it. By the way, don't substitute regular macaroni.  The cavatappi works much better.  It's also not super creamy/cheesy, so if you prefer that, you might have to adjust.

The cheeseburgers also take about 20-25 minutes to put together, and you need a food processor.  I used our giant George Forman to cook them, but I think you could cook the burgers perfectly well in a frying pan or however you choose.  I also warn you: the recipe calls for chilis in adobo and even seeded, they packed a bit of a heat wallop for anyone who has trouble with spice.  However, I felt they didn't stretch the budget and had so much flavor packed in--definitely a new Frau Family Favorite.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just a few things

First of all, J is 30 weeks old today.  WHAT?  He'll be seven months before I know it!

I know I haven't blogged a lot...every time I mean to, I feel I should be doing something else, like cleaning, laundry, or job hunting.  But I think a few minutes will be ok.  Still hunting, although we've got our routines down now, and it'll be hard to give that up, I admit, but having another full paycheck will certainly make things easier.

I think I'll just share a few sites I've gotten wind of to help you folks out:

Get Human is one of those lovely little sites that lets you actually speak to a human faster instead of dealing with endless menus and automated voices.  You input the company and it'll give you directions to get you to a human faster.  I used this morning to get to a person at the NY Department of Labor.  It took a wee bit of time, but certainly not as long as last time I tried...and got cut off.

Food Gawker has many recipes and beautiful pictures to boot.  If I had my way, I would have an endless food budget and plenty of time to cook all of these recipes. (another food blog)

This one just has terrific recipes as well, all created by someone who lost tons of weight and is a foodie to boot.  I like the way she writes about food.

Lots and lots of bargains for kids and mom.  Check it regularly to get good deals.
That's about all I've got right now.  J gets closer to crawling every day...fortunately we have a large, six-panel baby gate we got for Penny that we can use to corral him.  I know we'll need it, because this kid wants to cruise.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reflections on a Year

All right, I'll do it: I'll review 2011 for myself.

January started out (no, I am NOT going to through this month by month; January had a lot going on, as you'll read) pretty eventful:  My sister had her beautiful daughter, we found out we were having a boy (on the same day!  Although I'll allow that C's birth trumped J's revealed gender), and my youngest sister got engaged.  Oh, and we got a new-to-us car.

As the year moved on, I became more pregnant and more worried about how the local budget would affect my job.  I home-schooled an amazing boy and got to give him some small semblance of a normal life before he succumbed to cancer just before Christmas.  We repainted the guest room to become the baby's room, got furniture and many lovely gifts from many lovely people, added a few new fixtures and paint colors to other parts of the house, and put car seat bases in.  I fell more in love with my husband and my new niece, gained a new respect for my sister as she tried on motherhood for the first time, and found out my other sister would have a baby in November. I also gained a new appreciation for my own mother and mother-in-law, especially, as they guided me through those first few months with J.  My friend M taught me how to change a boy's diaper without getting peed on...though J still manages to get control of the hose every now and then.

Well, budget came through, J was born and T and I became parents, and five days after that, I lost my job.  This led to scrambling desperately for health insurance, and T took on that burden alone, as I was in no condition to do anything but nurse and not walk up and down stairs.  I looked for jobs every day, went on a few interviews, and came to realize a few things:

1) Once fall hit, I realized that while unemployment was (and is) scary, I would never, ever have had this time otherwise.  I would've gone back to work with J at eight weeks old in day care, and now he's over six months and I have spent almost every day getting to know him and see him grow and change. I've used the word "serendipitous" more than I ever thought I would.  I may never have this chance again to spend time with my child, and I'm grateful for every day of it.

2) Perhaps I need to/want to do something other than teaching.  I love the classroom, but my former place of employment never felt quite right, as I've written about before. The combination of lack of teaching positions available, the knowledge that the 2012-2013 budgets for schools will tighten even more, and the sheer necessity to look at my other skills and talents has led me to believe perhaps I could do something different yet still connected to what I love.  Still waiting to see how that turns out, fingers crossed, and I have a few leads that I will pursue until someone shakes my hand and says, "Welcome aboard".  I have to, financially, and I want to, personally.

3) You can still manage to do a lot with less and remain happy.  Forced perspective is still perspective.

So motherhood has been incredible and stressful and scary and wonderful. I've made new friends, caught up with old ones, and worked hard on keeping those people in my life who enrich it and dropping those who don't.  I've gone through peaks and valleys with my husband and realized even more than before that I'm grateful every day to walk through life side by side.  Friends of mine expanded their own families and allowed me to celebrate other milestones with them.  I'd say I feel fortunate that 2011 has, for me, been the best year of my life so far.  We'll see what 2012 brings.

Resolutions?  Oh, I don't know...I feel sometimes they're these grand ideas that make us feel bad when they don't come to fruition.  But I think it's good to have goals, so I'll make a few:
  • Read as many of the books on my shelf as possible.  I've had unread books there for a year or more.
  • Get a job and do it to my best ability
  • Stay healthy in terms of exercise and eating, but allow myself rest and treats, too
  • Continue making my marriage a partnership with my best friend
  • Be as good a mother to J as possible while accepting the fact that I'll have bad days
  • Do things that honestly enrich my life.  Most of these don't include anything electronic.
I think that's a good start.