Saturday, January 08, 2011

Easy. Or not?

I was all revved up after posting the first one the other night.  The next day I realized that 365 things were not going to be easy to come up with, and that by putting the pressure of 365 new ideas on myself I was defeating the entire purpose!  So, I've been mulling again.

SO the past few days I have:

  • Spent 15 minutes doing nothing but loving the cat. My parents' cat is living with us while they are on their church mission.  He chose us, and he really is a remarkable cat, almost more dog-like!  I love just loving with him, and we had a blissful & purring, though fur-filled, time together!
  • Ate another clementine, just because it really appealed to me more than anything else that was available!
  • Purchased 2 boxes of my favorite cereal so that, in addition to the clementines, I have a go-to, low calorie, tasty snack instead of the leftover Christmas candy and fried Crispitos at the Short Stop every morning!
  • And as a bonus, I bypassed the brown pop Friday morning. I thought it didn't even sound that good.  However, I did drink a can poured over ice later in the day, and it was just as delicious as I remembered!  LOL

The getting-off-the-brown-pop headaches have begun, and they are absolutely horrendous, as bad as any migraine I've ever had.  But now that I've begun the journey, it is too important to turn back.  I'll suffer through for now, and see where I am in a few weeks.

In conceiving this blog, I wanted it to be a record of my journey, but I also have a hankering to be one of those amazing food bloggers like Vanilla Garlic, Simply Recipes, and Elaine Baker's Pastry Playground.  So I decided that I'd begin posting a recipe here and there, both to save the blog when my simple things are just ho hum, and also to begin building my skills as a food blogger and story teller.  I hope to be able to show some recipes off the beaten path, but also share some old favorites that come to me through my family over the years.

Tonight I've chosen a comfort recipe, slightly modified from the Southern Belle herself, Paula Deen.  I follow what she does pretty closely, partly because my husband is from the South and enjoys the food, but also because she makes it so common-sensical.  This is by no means a low calorie dish, so if you're after that, forget this!  It's straight comfort food.  I've never even made it without real butter and don't know how margarine would affect the flavor or texture.  We actually had this twice in the past couple months in lieu of pumpkin pie; Paula herself says you won't pumpkin pie again after this - you'll have to make it and be the judge!

Pumpkin Pie Gooey Butter Cake

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9 x 13 baking pan.

1 dry cake mix (I usually use spice flavor for this version; white or yellow work as well)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 egg

Mix well, press into baking pan.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
3 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 lb. powdered confectioners sugar

Cream butter & cream cheese together until fluffy, add eggs and beat well.  Add pumpkin puree and spice, incorporate completely.  Add sugar last and scrape down sides of mixer bowl while beating into a fluffy consistency.

Pour filling over crust.  Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until center is set.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A new year, a new blog

I have been mulling the past several days.  First of all, a few weeks ago my mother asked me to join her in a challenge.  It appealed to me immediately, but has been tough to pull off:  stop drinking my chosen brown pop on a daily (well, hourly...) basis.  She wanted me to stop all together, for a year... I compromised by choosing one time per week to enjoy the cold bubbliness.  I will save it for weekends, preferably on a date with my sweet husband, and I will have one 44 oz. drink on ice per week.  So far, so good.

Anyway, back to the mulling.

One of my very favorite blogs, Vanilla Garlic, offered some very reasonable, easily realizable suggestions regarding resolutions (Unfinished Business: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake).  I was so impressed at the simplicity!  Author Garrett McCord offers specific instructions on how to make and KEEP some New Year Resolutions.  His personal list is the same - manageable, possible, and not overwhelming.  I read this and continued to mull.

My mother, whom, you will find by reading this blog, is the main influence in my life, in all ways, gave me a book to read this past Christmas, A Heart Like His: Making Space for God's Love in Your Life by Virginia H. Pearce.  She wrote that it was practical in the front pages to me, and this, ALONE, allowed me to begin to read it immediately.  I have started to take what Pearce has to say personally, and it is making a difference in how I feel, on every level.  I continued to mull...

So here it is, I'll try to keep it short, but one thing you'll learn about me immediately is that I am wordy, verbose, long-winded, long-worded... I try not to be tedious but feel I must explain precisely.

I have been so busy just trying to stay on top of the rolling log in the river that I have forgotten to better myself in any way, shape, form; I have coasted for so long I almost don't remember what it's like to make a goal.  It makes me sad.  But more so, it makes the realization that the time has come for some change very prominent in my heart and in my mind right now.  I cannot, I will not, change everything all at once or immediately.  I won't stick to any of it.

SO my goal is this: do one simple thing, every day, to improve myself.  Oh, the ways I could improve are endless!  This list is so overwhelming that it was difficult to find a place to start.  But Garrett helped me to realize that the changes could be brought about in simple, achievable goals, and author Pearce helped me to realize that they could be brought about without great drama or great burden.

So far, I've done OK for the new year.  I spent the 30th of December through the 2nd of January mulling, so I technically began January 3, 2011, which is fine with me.  I also have found that my tendency is all or nothing - if I can't begin a resolution on January 1st and keep it, then why even try... I want to be done with that behavior too.

  • January 3rd - began my drink no brown soda for 2011. It was most difficult on my break at work, where the cold bubbles called my name very loudly.  I resisted, and have so far.
  • January 4th - I peeled and ate a whole orange all by myself.  Fruit has become nearly non-existent in my life other than for a specific occasion that it was prepared for, this mostly because of prenatal diabetes which taught me that fruit=sugar=high blood sugar.  I need to incorporate a little of nature's bounty back into my diet.
  • January 5th - I saw a dear friend in passing and decided to write a note to her and thank her for her life's work with the disabled.  I will be writing that later tonight after the kids are in bed and I have some quiet time.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Much of my previous failure with resolutions/goals/attempts/etc. has simply been over-planning and over-expecting.  I refuse to do that this time.  Everything will come with simple, healthful (physical, emotional, mental) decisions.  I am TERRIFIED of failure, so I am trying very hard to find things that I can actually do, yet that will challenge me in some way, rather than things that will frighten me into not trying.

I simply hope, by doing it this way, to find joy in my journey, rather than the outcome alone.  I hope to chronicle my ups and downs, my successes and failures, and my overall change.  I hope you'll join me, and share with me as I go.