‘Just Chattin’’ Archive
Me in a past life
I had exactly one hour of “me” time today and while it was like salve for the soul, it left me feeling a bit lonely and morose. It was a beautiful day, I was on my porch, enjoying the wind in the trees, the sun, some great tunes and a little knitting…but there was just too much quiet. Now I have alone time every day during L’s nap time, but I usually fill it up with laundry, housework, maybe a movie while knitting or more recently, exercise *gasp*. It’s been ages since I’ve taken the time to just SIT and BE and listen to music that doesn’t have anything in the lyrics about frogs or dragons or ladybugs or bumblebees. (Not that those things are bad…just sayin’).
I guess it just got me thinking about the “me” I used to be. Back when I was childless and had all the time I could spare to think, to create, to be in my own headspace. To think of myself before anyone else. To be selfish. So it wasn’t that being alone for a few hours was lonely, I was lonely for that girl I once was. The highschool girl, the college girl, even the newly married girl. I miss her sometimes. I miss having time to think of things beyond housework and laundry and meals and potty training and sleep schedules and to send to preschool or not to send to preschool…and all that jazz. I’ve been in Wife mode or Mama mode for a long time now. Wife mode offered me a lot more room to be just me, Mama leaves much less time for that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER want to leave my boys… B and L make my life worth living. I love my hubby and baby more than anything in this world. It’s not even a question…I would NEVER trade the life I have now for the life I had then. It just amazed me how the grief of mourning that past life never quite goes away. It hit hard and fast today on what should have been a spectacularly peaceful afternoon. Which it was…with just a hint of sadness in it.
Apparently it’s just too dangerous to let me have too much time to think.
So on another note…this is my new favorite band. I luve them so…
Rise to me
Here at Chez Knitwit, we tend to be people of the carnivore variety. (I suppose we could technically be classified as omnivores, since we do in fact eat fruits and veggies, but meat is a huge staple round these parts). Especially during the long (seemingly never-ending) winters. All winter I crave comfort foods like roasts with potatoes and gravy, and my waistline is proof of this! But as the weather improves and the temperatures rise, a girls fancy turns to lighter fare. And I actually find myself craving veggies…all the time…I just have very little experience in creating meals based around veggies rather than meat. As I said, we’re carnivores!
In fact, I was just talking to my oldest and dearest school friend the other day about this very matter. She lives in the DC area now and her epicurean experiences have been colored by a boat ton of opportunities that she and I didn’t have access to growing up, as well as a lot of world travel which has brought new culinary experiences into her repertoire. So when we were chatting, she was telling me about some Midwestern house guests who will be staying with her andher husband for the foreseeable future. “Emma,” she wails, “they eat MEAT with every meal!” My reply, “Um…and..??” I could literally hear her rolling her eyes over the phone!
So this weekend I decided I would take a page out of my veggie friends cookbook and cook an all veggie meal. We’d just see if it really was better than eating meat! Cruising the blogosphere, I came across these amazing looking recipes, for black bean burgers and spicy sweet potatoes. Black beans are a well, loved staple food in our house and sweet potatoes are typically on hand here as well, so I thought, why not!
Warning!: if you attempt these recipes, be prepared for a fair amount of prep time. It took me 2 hours start to finish, though I do blame some of that on lack of proper equipment and the fact that I’d never made either recipe before. Secondly: if you do not have a food processor or a very good blender, DO NOT attempt the black bean burgers! I do not have a food processor, but this has never been a problem as I have always been able to accomplish what I needed to with my mixer or blender. This weekend, however, my blender decided to give up the ghost…while fully loaded with black bean burger mixture. *sigh*Talk about aggrivating! But I pressed on…all the while cursing the stupidity of not owning proper kitchen appliances as well as my own stupidity for trying something new and NOT doing my prepwork in the morning but saving it for 5pm when we needed to have dinner on the table at 6:30! Let’s just say the manta being uttered in my kitchen was “This crap better be good!”
And…late as dinner was…it was a HUGE succes! O.M.G.!!!
black bean burgers and spicy sweet potatoes
The hubby and I both agreed that the burgers, were awesome! The clencher being the lime and cilantro mayo. These suckers were to die for! And it’s absolutely essential to have all the toppings: avocado, tomato and the mayo as well as the cotijacheese. The flavors all blend so perfectly, it was like heaven…in a fat free, low cal, meatless burger! The potatoes got …meh…maybe 3 stars from Mr. Knitwit, but they were 5 star in my book! The perfect combo of sweet and spicy and as I like any fried potato crunchy, these delivered…crispy on the outside, andsoft on the inside. Yummy!!! One note: The recipe for the burgers says it yeilds 4 burgers. I don’t know if I added too much rice or what, but those 4 burgers: ENORMOUS! One must remember that they don’t contain the fat and water that beef does and thus do not cook down! The patties were the size of my palm and at least an inch thick. I was so stuffed after eating one that I was wishing I’d stopped at half! Very filling! But so good!
So, has this recipe brought me over to the Veggie Side? I would have to say no. I know that this is a FAR healthier alternative to standard beef burgers, and it was delicious, but budget wise andtime wise, beef wins hands down. When you figure with regular hamburgers, even using 90% lean ground beef andall the fixings, I can feed my entire family in 15 minutes for around $6.00 (and use only one pan as opposed to the overflowing sinkful of dishes that were the result of this dish)–sorry veggie friends, meat wins. But having said that, this will stay on my list of wonderful treats to have when meat feels too heavy in the summer or when I have veggie friends over who would like the alternative. I did make a double batch of the burgers, and froze half of it, which will of course, make cooking the 2ndtime around much faster and easier. Oh–and this meal was NOT kid approved, but my kid is a total oddball when it comes to food, so that means very little! Your kids may love it. Especially the potatoes.
Modifications: I made very few mods to these recipes, except to eliminate the jalepenos from the burgers and the chipotle seasoning from the potatoes. We are not huge fans of either so just didn’t include them. Otherwise, I followed the recipes exactly.
Ease of burger prep: one star
Ease of potato prep: 3 stars
Quality of recipes: 4 stars each
Quality of final products: 5 stars each!
So try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!!
Sidebar as to how I found these recipes. I originally found both on this blog, which is one of 4 blogs kept by Stephanie Nielson, a wife and mother of 4 who is recovering from severe burns to her entire body which she obtained in a plane crash she was in with her husband. Her main blog is found here. If you missed her story on 20/20 last Friday, watch it here.
So I just received my copy of this FABULOUS book today! I had already perused the e-book which I received when I pre-ordered my copy of the printed version, so I knew what to expect, but there’s something about holding the printed version in my hands that was so much better! It’s a small book, but packed with SO MUCH! Jared Flood’s photography is outstanding, (the gorgeous setting didn’t hurt, I’m sure!), and the models: fantastic, including one of my fave designers, Ysolda.
I love every one of the designs in this book, and would love to make each one, for myself no less! I love that each of the designs is totally knitable even for the average knitter, nothing so overly complex or complicated as to make it intimidating, and yet each with enough interesting stucture or stitches to make it interesting and not just dull, mindless, “TV” knitting (not that there’s anything wrong with that…we all need mindless knitting from time to time!). What I love most about Ms. Johnston’s designs is that they are nearly all knitted in the round. A girl after my own heart! I go out of my way to knit almost exclusively in the round, converting flat knitting patterns into the round no matter how much work and creativity and modifications it may take. I am so terrible at purling, and thus avoid it like the plague, so to have a pattern book where I won’t be having to convert the patterns to fit my style of knitting is so awesome!
And just so you know (if there’s anyone out there reading this), I am in no way affiliated with The Shetland Trader, or any of the other bloggers/designers listed above. I don’t get so much as a pat on the back for my high praise of this book, I just wanted to share my excitement and advise any knitters who may possibly check out this blog to also check out this book. You’ll be glad you did!
All summer long I had been planning on having L’s pictures taken in September when he turned 2 1/2. Unfortunately, August was an incredibly busy month and that carried into a September that was just as busy; and now it looks like there won’t be a week of appointments or visitors or activities until late October.
We get so busy, life marches on with all it’s copius activities, hindrences and toils. We get in a rut where we focus so much on the big tasks, that the little moments of every day go by unnoticed.
We grumble and gripe at each other, we get frustrated by work, bills, home improvements and repairs (a big one for us!). All of life’s burdens weigh on us.
And in the meantime…our children are growing and changing, sometimes before our very eyes.
I have a million things on my to do list this week, some projects more necessary than others, but all taking precidence over one thing:
spending time with my child.
And that truly pains me.
So this morning, I ignored the “to do” list. I fought off that nagging feeling that I needed to “do” something and chose instead, to document some of the moments that would otherwise, so easily, slip away.
I have a son who is funny and smart and silly. He’s a tornado and a volcano wrapped into one. You never have to worry about what he’s feeling or thinking because he lets you know…in all certainty.
I love him more than anything in the world.
And yet when life gets busy, his pleas for Mama to play are often met with a tense “Not now, Mama’s busy!” How could I ever be too busy for this sweet face?
I can’t let these moments go by unrecorded. L will only be 2.5 once.
Life is so precious and so fleeting. I just wanted to take a moment and play when I should have been working, to roll in the grass and not care about my clothes getting dirty,
to stop and smell the flowers,
to be silly,
To revel in warm Autumn days that will soon be gone.
Who needs professional pictures when I can capture the essence of a little heart all on my own.
I hope you take the time today to find joy in the simple things and reconnect with the loves of your life. I wish L’s daddy could have been here to enjoy it with us, but we’ll be sure to share it with him when he gets home.
*The title refers to a song by Simon and Garfunkel “The Leaves That Are Green“. Lyrics of the first verse:
‘I was 21 years when I wrote this song
I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long.
Time hurries on,
And the leave that are green turn to brown.’