We have a new member added to the family. She’s a blue Great Dane. Her name is Elley. Elley-phant, that is.
This is when the day we brought her home. 4-22-11
We were able to end school earlier than public schools around here this year. The thought was to have a longer amount of decent weather to enjoy. We’ll see how that works. So far our little monkey has enjoyed a week alone with the grandparents, spray parks, and playing basketball. As much as I want to feel like the summer vacation is in full swing, I’m struggling. There is way too many things going on in my life to feel remotely close to a vacation.
We’re in the process of turning our spare bedroom into a classroom which I’m very excited about. I think it will solve quite a few issues we’ve been having. As great as it will be when it’s done, it’s taking me longer than I would’ve wanted to get this thing done. Guess it’s harder than I thought keeping up with 2 dogs (one a Great Dane puppy) and a 9 year old while failing miserably at keeping the house in order, coming up with healthy meals and redoing a bedroom. I’m ready for some order to my chaos. Once the room is done I’m taking a vacation! LOL I’m almost ready to paint the room, so I’ll try and post before and after pictures.
Maybe I’m the only person who has this happening, and that’s quite possible, but does anyone else seem to have one room in particular that is a measurement for your state of wellbeing at that time? My room is the spare bedroom. Also known as, the ‘Throw anything that doesn’t have a home room’. It seems this room will, at times but most certainly not now, be pristine and every inch of it hums order and harmony (and not only when I know visitors are coming). I walk by the open door and sigh happily. Yes, I really do that.
What I have come to realize is that this room is my emotional wellness gauge. When I feel overwhelmed, out of balance (be it either physically or emotionally…or both at the same time as it usually happens) that room becomes a whirlwind of crap. Full of items the family and I have acquired and have no real use for so we stick in there instead of finding a home so that it will be used. If I had to guess at what’s in there now it would be: piles of clothes that my daughter has outgrown and I need to donate, things that were downgraded once the new Christmas presents came in, upcoming special event presents that have yet to be wrapped yet the wrapping paper holder is probably lying on its side in the floor… I’m sure I could go on, but it’s really all just too much. I’m hoping there’s someone out there that can say… “Yep, you just described my (insert your room name here).”
It’s the end of the school year so my daughter and I are both a little frazzled and looking forward to a break. We also have extended family from several directions that are in need of our attention both physically and emotionally. Somewhere in the midst of “life”, we are in the process of trying to start a new business. We over-extend ourselves in certain areas though we insist we make choices to not do so. These are all valid reasons for my spare room to be in shambles, but in the end they are still just excuses. I know this. I always know this, but it takes it getting to a certain point before I say “no more” and get control again.
Step One: Spend several weeks/months (depending on the level of things) walking by the room while being exasperated every time I glance in the direction of the open door that I have repeatedly asked my daughter to keep closed. (Maybe she’s trying tell me something?)
Step Two: Spend another few weeks with it nagging the back of my mind while I work on things that absolutely MUST happen now. Examples would be playing a game of Wii with my daughter before we leave for Vision Therapy or maybe reorganizing my classroom, which really shouldn’t be done until after the school year, because I know what will happen when I clean the spare room and I’m not quite ready for that.
Step Three: Acknowledge that it’s been long enough and vow that THIS weekend it will get done. This usually takes two weeks to accomplish, at least.
Step Four: Break down and clean the (insert your favorite expletive here) spare room.
The task usually ends up not being nearly as harrowing as it seems beforehand, but the real kicker to cleaning this enigmatic alcove isn’t in end result of a clean room. It’s the process of ridding our family of the unnecessary both figuratively and literally. I find that once that room is where it should be then I force myself to get the rest of me back on track. Maybe it’s the irritation if feel at myself for all the excess we acquire and don’t seem to notice or maybe I just understand that purging that room of its chaos allows me to surrender myself to the idea that only I make my life calm and systematic. Again, I know this, but my old friends overdo and laziness seduce me from time to time (and yes, I can overdo and be lazy all at the same time). I know that I will not organize that damn room until I am ready to purge myself of the bad habits I have allowed to creep back in. So, it’s still there…looming. I feel that I am definitely in Step Three so I should be on track very soon. This hopefully will mean I will be more frequent with my posts.
I was really wanting something that resembled comfort food, so I decided to make Chicken Pot Pie. I used the Savory Pie Crust Recipe from my favorite paleo cookbook. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook
Savory Pie Crust (makes 1 crust)
1 1/2 c Blanched Almond Meal Flour.
(See previous posts on my feelings about the importance of brands in this area.)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP minced scallions (green and white parts)
1/4 c grapeseed oil
1 TBSP water
Preheat oven to 350. Combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and scallions. Add the grapeseed oil and water and stir until thoroughly combined. The cookbook says to use separate bowls for wet and dry ingredients. I didn’t. I put in dry then added all the wet before stirring. (Do what makes you happy.) Press the dough into 9 1/2 in pie pan and bake for 12-15 min, until golden brown. Remove and let cool. You won’t be baking it again, so no worries about pulling it out early.
For the filling I used the following (in approximates):
2 cups chopped chicken (I used leftover rotissary chicken so it was a mixture of white and dark meat)
1/2 large onion (more if that’s your taste)
1 stalk celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 small sweet potato, diced
2 TBSP arrowroot powder**
1 cup chicken stock (low sodium)
Pinch of salt/pepper (*the crust will be somewhat salty so if watching salt intake you might hold out until the end and taste)
1 TBSP EVOO
Saute the vegetables in about a TBSP of olive oil until soft (or to the texture of your liking). Next, add the salt* and diced chicken stir until chicken is thoroughly combined. Finally, whisk together the chicken stock and arrowroot powder and pour into vegetable/chicken mixture stirring constantly for about 1 minute, until thick. Pour mixture into the crust, top with pepper and serve hot. I served it with some heated sliced peaches in fruit juice (no syrup).
Turned out really tasty a definite ‘have again’ and made great left overs (for one) the next day. If you have a family of over four I would double this recipe. Might just double it anyway to have again in the next day or so.
In my search for paleo friendly recipes that satisfy my need for grain products, I have discovered a great cookbook. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam. (*Note: Please see previous posts about my feelings toward the brand of almond flour that you use.) I used several of the recipes during the holidays for some “Christmas goodies”. One has been a huge hit. So much so that it has been placed in my ‘what you take with you to a get together’ repertoire. I’m a little late on the add but here it is anyway.
I call them Pecan Sandies but I believe the book refers to them as Pecan Shortbread Cookies.
2 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grape seed oil
5 TBSP agave nectar
1 TBSP vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
In one bowl your combine you almond flour, salt, baking soda, and pecans (it’s crucial that you toast them, makes all the difference). ** I sift in my baking soda (and powder as well if recipe calls for it). It may not make a difference but seems to me you don’t have that nasty little surprise of a bitter bite when you sift them in.
In another bowl you whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined.
Roll the dough into a large log about 2.5 inches in diameter, then wrap it in parchment paper. Place in freezer for 1 hour (although most times I do it the night before so I can just do cut and bake cookies the next day). Remove, unwrap, and cut it into 1/8 inch slices onto your prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes (but watch the first few batches). Let cookies cool on sheet for a bit before transferring to serving plate.
Hope you all enjoy them as much as we have. Definitely check out the above cookbook. Was really well put together!