Once upon a time and long ago, I used to fantasize about what life would be like if I could work from home. My floors would be immaculate, laundry would be folded, and I’d prepare healthy gourmet meals every night. Yeah…. about that…
“It has good bones…”
There are two types of people in this world. The kind who think “it has good bones” is a polite way of saying your place is a $h!thole, and those who are excited by the potential. We fall into the latter group. Half the fun of moving for me is the creativity that comes when trying to polish that diamond in the rough, and really make a challenging space feel like home.
Holiday Health Trap
The holidays seem to go hand in hand with indulgence. This is, perhaps, the most difficult time of year to stick with a healthy eating plan. For me, the hardest part isn’t the temptation everywhere I look (though that isn’t easy). It is dealing with the traditions of food. So many of my holiday traditions are entwined with what I eat. It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without a few of my favorite treats.
I don’t mind indulging a little, with a bite of peppermint bark here, and sip of eggnog there. The hardest part is dealing with the food items that I CAN’T eat, not that I choose to limit or avoid. Specifically, baked goods. As soon as the holidays roll around I start craving my aunt’s molasses spice cookies, or some Russian tea cakes. Sadly, unless I wanted to spend my holiday in the emergency room, gluten and nuts will always be off the menu for me. So, I get creative. I have to, right?
One tradition I find impossible to give up, is a spicy cinnamon coffee cake on Christmas morning. I love a fluffy cake, and a crumbly and buttery topping to pair with my hot cocoa. Thankfully, I’ve found a great way to recreate my traditional New York Coffee Cake using no grains, nuts, or dairy. Best of all, it is Paleo compliant (though not Whole 30). I wouldn’t say this is a “healthy choice”, but as far as indulgence goes, you will certainly walk away with less guilt after enjoying this coffee cake.
Third Trimester Dinner Rut
Last week I was too tired to make it to the grocery store. I am officially in my third trimester of pregnancy, and noticing that I’m slowing down. All of the energy I had the past few weeks has been spent. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day, is stand in the kitchen. I just want to sit on the couch, and watch Will & Grace reruns. After thawing out a duck to roast one night, and burger meat the next two nights – the freezer was pretty bare. All that was left were the lamb shoulder chops I bought when they were on sale. I had no idea how to cook this cut!
I love lamb, but the shoulder chop is a challenge for me. Lamb is already very fatty, and the shoulder chop seems to be one of the fattier cuts. It needs to be cooked low and slow to get that fat rendered, and the meat tender and flavorful. This is the perfect meat for braising. Braising always seems intimidating to me, but really it is one of the most hands-off methods of cooking. The hardest part is waiting the few hours for your dish to be done.