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4.15.2015

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine and Soy, Is What's Cooking


Got this recipe from my friend Sam. (which she got from Chef Ron Bilaro)

Pan sear 3 lbs beef short ribs seasoned with salt and pepper and then coated in flour
Then transfer the ribs into the crock pot.
Add:
carrots, celery and pearl onions (which are a pain in the butt to peel)
4 tbsp of garlic powder (is that teaspoon or tablespoon? since I did not know I put 3 teaspoons in)
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cups of red wine (once I opened the bottle, I tasted it first. I am happy to report that despite last Sunday's unfortunate "libation and acuity" experience, I am not "off red wine."
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
5 bay leaves
and 1 1/2 cups of beef stock.
Turn cooker on HIGH for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.
(My crockpot teacher-JB's general rule of thumb is not to be tempted to open the crockpot--in this instance you have to in order to stir it)
It is 6:16 now and it is going to be ready by 7 pm.
Updated: I liked it. Who cares what the kids thought.

4.14.2015

A Family Project or Project Family

"A quest can bring greater purpose and meaning to your life. The value of adventure is for everyone, not just world travelers, and if you choose to embrace it, you’ll never be the same."
~Chris Guillebeau (The author of the book, The Happiness of Pursuit)

I am on a serious quest to change the way I have been parenting for the past 16 years.
It is an adventure.
When my children were younger, I thought that I had it all figured out.
Recently I realized that I don't.
(For purposes of privacy and future scholarships/job background checks, I shall not expound)

So after assessing our existing family game plan and all the trials and errors, I have come to the conclusion that love is the answer to parenting, and not fear based parenting.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear..."
~1 John 4:18

Parenting with love means making the effort to build  meaningful relationships through quality time spent, face-to-face meals, bonding activities, consistency, firmness, fun, thoughtful flexibility (not out of convenience or fear),  communication, discipline, mindful parenting and unconditional support.
In short, parenting with love means becoming a conscious human being.
This is all new to me.
I pretty much parented "conveniently"
I think I was mostly checking boxes on parenting tasks.
Let's take meals for example. I used to just "get by."
Didn't really put much thought into any of our meals.
I would make Mac and cheese, Ramen Noodles, PBand J sandwiches, Fried Eggs, Fruit, Yogurt,
Hotdogs, something pan-fried with Rice, etc.
Today I am a new woman.
I approach meals full hog.
I cook out of love and with full intention of making meal time memorable and enjoyable.
Yes. Every meal. (sometimes we fail, but sometimes we succeed--either way I try)

Also, ever since the beginning of 2015 we have resurrected Family Bedtime Prayer for the four of us.
Does eye-rolling and mockery happen during these sessions?
Yes ("Amen, Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol")
But I have faith that this regular practice will help us relate to each other as a family. This is my hope.
Plus I fully believe that
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
~Matthew 18:20
God knows my family project could use some Divine intervention.

Parenting is tiring. Especially parenting teens. But it is most especially exhausting if you make parenting some sort of sport--when you compare your children to other children or worse, you walk around smug about your parenting "victories." 
Been there, been bitten in the a** by that.

While I am well aware that my projects and goals may seem pedestrian to most people-- I am not in a contest with anyone. I am involved in a project to save my family, not to win anything.

So now I make sure that we always find time play together (yes at times I need to coerce them).
On a whim I am more likely to say yes when they ask to go see a movie or a play.
(We all just recently watched Cinderella and Central Catholic's Mary Poppins)
I have also somewhat given up my "I hate shopping persona" and have tried to listen to my teenaged girls needs/wants and have given in to a semblance of consumerism I can somewhat choke down.
(That term "choke down is borrowed from K, who has at times has described meals I have made as being able to choke it down, G is more subtle as she waits until I am not looking to scrape the unwanteds from her plate into the garbage.)
Just this evening I took them to shop at Urban Outfitters and then dinner at Qdoba.
Do you know how that used to be so painful for me?
Do you know how loud the music is in there?

As Socrates said, “The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on changing the old, but on building the new.”

Saw a 005 last Friday and early this morning saw a 06 Arkansas plate number. Now looking for 7.

4.09.2015

Inspiring

I just finished reading this book that was recommended to me by my mother.
Once I started it, I could not put it down.
An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski is about an unusual friendship between a successful woman (with her own demons) and a homeless 11 year old boy.   
Their relationship is still alive today after 30 years.
It is inspiring to know that each interaction we have with others can make a difference!
It is a real reminder that everything counts. 
No kind act is ever a waste.
Even the ones that no one will ever get to read about.

4.08.2015

The Show Must Go On

Steve and I went to see Neil Diamond last night with Simon and Denise.
I was not really interested in seeing this 73 year old guy, since the only song I was familiar with was Sweet Caroline--but in the interest of "date night" which we've been trying to do once a week--I went.
It was actually a fun concert.
And I noted that in the event of a stampede, I could have out sprinted 99% of his fans.
That is of course if I did not trip over any of the walkers and wheelchairs. 

4.01.2015

Meals


Cheese Omelets

Cajun Shrimp served over pasta

Tuna Casserole (not a big hit, but allowed in the rotation during Lent)

Carbonara 

Always a hit

Crab meat and pesto pasta

3.31.2015

Holy Week Run to 10 Churches/Chapels Run


St. Paul's
Greek Orthodox
Heinz Chapel
The Oratory
Maria Goretti
Immaculate Conception (the scene of the "public prayer hand clasping" with DZ. :)
West Penn Chapel
First United Methodist Church
Shadyside Chapel
Sacred Heart

Did not venture into the Mormon Church though.
Maybe next year.