Random Recipes You Need

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I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

This is the final installment of my draft folder clean out.  These are recipes I’ve made and hope to make again.  But like the random bits of life that accumulate at the back of the junk drawer….fuzz, dental floss, gift cards, subway tokens, and floppy disks….it is all getting cleaned up in one fell swoop.

 Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake via bonappetit.com

Quick Pickled Cucumbers from foodinjars.com

Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup by alexandracooks.com

Salt and Pepper Roasted Chicken Breast a la taylortakesataste.com

Short Rib Ragu from the pages of finecooking.com

Dorie’s Cardamom Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles as seen on doriegreenspan.com

 

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Blackberry Syrup

Expectations.  There’s a loaded gun just waiting for someone to pull the trigger and spray a barrage of emotionally painful bullets.  How often do our expectations trip us up?

There’s the expectations we have of ourselves. The idea that we should be able to get it all done – family, work, outside interests…the things we have to do and the things we want to do.  Yeah, I can see that leading to a case of poor self esteem when I find myself exhausted at 11pm, baking cupcakes for tomorrow’s office birthday celebration, because I just had to { fill in the blank } before I could get to it.  Our to-do lists are never ending and yet we still trick ourselves into believing that somehow we should be the exception to the rule.  We SHOULD be able to perfectly balance all of the demands for our time and attention.  It looks effortless in the magazines that sell us on the idea that if we only do ‘x’ we can lose 10 pounds overnight, plan the perfect wedding, be the ideal spouse or parent, and our life will be perfect.  I have yet to meet the person who has managed that feat.

Then there’s the expectations we have of others.  Like my expectations that people I hardly know will not ask me questions about things that are clearly none of their business.  Things like my bank statement and my feelings about whether parenthood is right for me are completely inappropriate topics of conversation unless you also happen to be intimately involved in that part of my life.  Or are my therapist.  And yet those wildly inappropriate questions still come my way without a second thought.

To go back to the gun metaphor here, I think the 50 caliber ammunition shell of expectations has to be the ones we have of the members of our families.  For instance, I expect The Mistah to somehow intuit what I’m thinking or feeling without me having to say a word.  We’ve been together for nine years.  Shouldn’t he have developed that sixth sense by now?  We expect the people closest to us to act and react the way we think we would in any given situation, to have the exact same values we do, and to somehow “know” the right thing to say to us at all times.  Talk about a powerful weapon capable of inflicting pain and suffering.

But my friends, there is a solution.  It is as simple as taking the bullets out of the guns we carry daily in our emotional holsters and replacing them with something else.  It is as simple as changing our expectations.  By reframing how we see something, and what we expect to get out of a situation, we have the power to turn that rifle shooting 50 cal bullets into a toy gun that blows bubbles.

So when I’m feeling especially prickly and cranky…which really could be any given day…instead of assuming The Mistah’s spidey senses are on full alert and getting frustrated with him because he didn’t unload the dishwasher or he left his stinky Army gear in the middle of the floor, I can remind myself that despite his many wonderful skills, mindreading is not one of them.  If I want the dishes put away or the gear moved elsewhere I should either ask him to do it or do it myself.  Regardless of which choice I choose, I have no reason to be disappointed by The Mistah.  I’ve taken a deadly 50 caliber bullet and turned it into a harmless emulsion of soap and water.

What’s my point here?  The next time you reach into your emotional holster for whatever you load your expectations into, ask yourself this question…”am I shooting bullets or blowing bubbles”.

Blackberry Syrup

Adapted from Food In Jars

BAH Note:  I set out to make blackberry jam.  Despite following Marisa’s directions to the letter, my jam never set up.  I felt defeated.  I felt disappointed.  I felt like a loser.  And then it occurred to me that while I failed at making jam, I had succeeded in making syrup.  I let my expectations cut me down initially, but once I reframed them, they took on a delicious new flavor.

  • 8 to 9 cups of blackberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon

Working in batches, blitz your blackberries in the food processor until they are good and pureed.  Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer, working the juice through with a spoon.

Bring the blackberry juice and sugar to a simmer in a large, non-reactive (think enameled cast iron or stainless steel) pot over medium heat.  Stir in the cinnamon, lemon juice, and zest and bring to a low boil, stirring frequently.  Cook until the mixture has thickened to your desired consistency then carefully transfer the syrup to jars for storage in the refrigerator.

For longer storage, ladle the jam into heated jars (with new lids), leaving 1/4 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes.

Let the jars cool for 24 hours before checking the seal and storing the jars. Any jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated or immediately reprocessed using new lids.

It’s A Major Award

kreativblogger

Anyone who has ever been a roommate of mine can attest to the fact that I have an unnatural, almost freakish compulsion to watch A Christmas Story (ACS) anytime it is on television.  The Mistah learned this the hard way one Christmas Eve as I sat glued to TNT during their 24 hour ACS marathon.  That man, he puts up with a lot without so much as a complaint.  He just went down to the basement where he had days worth of European Soccer games waiting for him on Tivo.  Nothing says Happy Holidays like quality time spent in front of the tele. Continue reading “It’s A Major Award”

Q&A

image from iStockphoto.com
image from iStockphoto.com

A great thing about blogging is that it allows conversation between blogger and reader.  Like when I  tried Food In Jar’s Dilly Beans.  After trying the recipe, I commented on the post about the results I got. Continue reading “Q&A”