Category Archives: cooking

Pondering New Years’ Resolutions

I feel like pointing out before I start writing this blog that I am using some orajel to clear up a sore I have on my gum (from a rogue pretzel stick on Christmas day) and the numbing agent seems to be going everywhere in my mouth except for on the sore. Go figure.

Anyway, that’s not what I was going to write about. What I’m writing about today is New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them, don’t we? Either directly or indirectly, serious or not serious. We all think about the new year being the time to let go of the old and usher in the new.

And so of course I’m pondering what I shall make my new year’s resolution. I always think of new year’s resolutions as a way to set a goal for myself to achieve throughout the year. And I usually try to keep it specific–“being fit and healthy” is way too broad and personally I think that’s why a lot of people give that goal up within the first few weeks of the year. Keep it specific! To brag a little, I’m 2 for 2 as far as making resolutions and keeping them goes. In 2011, I resolved that by the end of the year, my novel would be completed and ready to start sending to agents. Check. In 2012, I resolved that I would find an agent by the end of the year. And that I did too! Now, obviously the next logical step would be to resolve in 2013 that by the end of the year my book would be on its way to publication or already published, but unfortunately that notion is somewhat out of my hands. If my experience with the effects of Hurricane Sandy on my agents has been any indication, there are a lot of factors that are completely out of my hands in the world of publishing. The revision process could be slowed by any and all factors and who knows how long it will take to get a publisher interested. So obviously I want to see it in publication by the end of the year, but realistically I know that’s probably not possible. But as long as I’m working towards it, I’m a happy camper.

(Thought break here–I forgot to post about the fact that I finally got in contact with my agent and we are having a meeting at the end of January when I come back from Hawaii to discuss starting revisions.)

So, where do I go from there? If having my book published by the end of the year is not a realistic or possible goal, what other goals for 2013 should I have? Continuing to write, obviously, is one of them. But that’s kind of a yearly (i.e. for the rest of my life) kind of goal and it’s too broad. Read more. Yes, that’s something I should always be doing. It’s been hard for me to decide on something I want to work on during the year! Here’s a few I’ve thought about:

  • Improve my French
  • Start sommelier classes (fancy word for wine snob)
  • Take a few culinary classes or find a way to go back to school
  • Complete a new novel (again, something that’s sort of out of my hands if the agents want me to pursue one thing or another)
  • Finish the Song of Ice and Fire series (I’m still in book 2)
  • Finish some serious home renovations (i.e. painting the rest of the house)

I’ve got a lot of interests! It’s going to be tough for me to decide. I get thinking about the things I want to do and then I come back to the fact that I really can’t plan for much because life changes so drastically sometimes. Obviously if I get pregnant this year, I’m not going to be starting sommelier classes. Life is always changing like that. You have to roll with the punches but still find goals that you can fit inside the ebb and flow of every day life.

Well, good thing I still have a couple days to think about it. Sometimes making resolutions is hard!

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Adventures in Domesticity; i.e. My First Thanksgiving

There’s a lot of firsts happening this Thanksgiving. Believe it or not it’s the first time I’ve mounted an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself. Or at all, really. My first Thanksgiving as a married lady too! I cooked a turkey for Christmas dinner last year, but this will be the first time I’ve paired it up with the whole meal including the 100-year-old family recipe for meat stuffing (well sort of, I made that for Christmas last year too). The last two years Cameron and I have been together, we’ve had Thanksgiving at my parents’ house because we didn’t have the space to have people over. So what are we doing this year? Going all out of course. My parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and a friend I used to work with at the restaurant. Yeesh! Of course it isn’t without a ton of calls to my parents. “When should I take the turkey out of the freezer?” “How many pounds of potatoes should I do for 7 people?” “How long should this take to cook?” Just all those things you don’t learn till you do them I guess.

I’m excited though. I love to cook and I love to cook for my family and friends. I’m attempting to salt the turkey (dry-brine) because I’ve heard it’s just beyond fabulous. This takes 48 hours to do, according to Cook’s Illustrated, so I’m preparing to salt the bird tomorrow before I go to work. (Did I mention we have a 22-pound turkey? We’re going to be buried in leftovers.) I’ve had it out of the freezer thawing since Saturday.

Thawing the Bird (and protecting it from cats)

This was the only way I could get it to thaw that wouldn’t sacrifice our tub for a day and a half and also keep the cats from having a party with it. It’s back in the fridge now for it’s last few hours of thawing and I reeeeally hope it is thawed by tomorrow morning. Because it’s so big I’m looking at having to get it into the oven by like, 7 in the morning on Thursday. It’s going to be a long day with lots of cooking!

I don’t have much of a “Thanksgiving holiday.” On Friday the bank is open till 3 and I work till noon on Saturday, and I volunteered to work Friday and Saturday evenings at the restaurant which is a-okay with me because it’s extra cash. Guess I will have to take advantage of those online Black Friday sales! (I am looking into buying a new laptop this weekend, for which I won’t feel too bad if I make it all back at the restaurant.) On Sunday evening we are attending a friend’s wedding, so I guess Sunday during the day will be my time to get the Christmas decorations up. (I refuse to put them up before Thanksgiving.) I’m hoping my dad will let us borrow his ladder so we can get the lights up. It’s going to be interesting figuring out how to hang the lights on a curved barrel roof with no gutters….staple gun here I come?