Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pressure Cooker

I love our pressure cooker. I have mainly used it for beans and brown rice, but while my mom was here after the twins were born, she used it to cook some meat I'd had in the freezer for a while. She made some green chili pork burritos to put in the freezer, and they were mucho delicioso. I tried it out on my own a couple nights ago to make shredded pork salads, and it was a huge hit with the hubby. It was a huge hit with me because it was both quick and delicious.

I put a 1-2 lb. pork loin roast (a very lean cut) in the pressure cooker with an onion I diced and maybe a cup of water with some chicken bouillon. I set the timer for about 35 minutes. When the timer beeped, I was nursing the babes, so I had Dave just turn off the heat. The cooker lost pressure on its own while I finished up. When I opened the cooker,the onions were pretty dark on the bottom, and I was afraid they'd burned, but it turned out they were just deliciously caramelized. I shredded the pork rather easily and added a can of salsa verde. That's it. The salsa verde is super low-cal with no added sugar and a reasonable amount of sodium. I'll be trying a larger roast tonight, so I'll cook it for longer and maybe add more than just one can of salsa verde. The longer you cook the meat in the pressure cooker, I think the more tender it is, so I'm learning to be generous with the timer. We had this on lettuce with avocado and tomato. Super simple and super delicious.

As I was considering our pressure cooker and what else I could try with it, I thought about how some days I feel like my life is a pressure cooker. To be honest, there are moments every day when I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker. When both babies are crying, Sam is screaming unintelligibly in 2-year-old English about something he wants, Jeff is yelling that Ethan keeps making the sound that he told him not to make, and Ethan is trying to tell me a joke to which he expects a charmed and hysterical response, I feel a bit of pressure...a lot of pressure. It's uncomfortable. It's hard. It seems like too much. But in my life I think it's also true that with the pressure, I become more tender. Having twins as babies 4 and 5, forced me to limit some of my commitments, to focus more completely on being a mother, wife, and homemaker. What a tremendous blessing it has been! When I was first married, I thought I only wanted three, maybe four, kids. But now that I have five, I see that with each child, I have become more and more my best self. I am a mother. This is who I was always meant to be. And if I learn to perform well under pressure, as time passes, I will become more and more delicious.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Long Time, No Post

Yes, I'm a slacker...kind of. Last year was a WHIRLWIND. Our adoptions for the boys finally went through after months and months of court appearances. The sheer volume of paperwork involved was overwhelming to say the least. Then we fell in love with a house...quite unexpectedly. Then we went to Utah for a month. Then we closed on our new house. Then we worked nonstop on the new house. Then we moved. Then we had birthdays, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. And now you are all up to speed. Crazy, right?

We have been looking for a new house since we've been together, um, about 8 years. Seriously. EIGHT. YEARS. PEOPLE. That is a super long time to go house hunting. We looked at literally hundreds of houses and we were beginning to think we would never find our dream house. We are the kind of people who want our abode to reflect who we are and our lifestyle. We want it to have a certain look and feel, not just fit our budget.

Our house had tiny rooms and TONS of charm...a brick bungalow with a paradise of a backyard and separate art studio in the back. We loved that house. But with the addition of the boys, we officially outgrew it and our desire to find a new house became a NEED to find a new house.

Seriously, is that not THE CUTEST house ever? It is.

We wanted something bigger than the 1,400 sf house we were looking to leave. Bigger, but not too big, just comfortable. I wanted spacious rooms and lots of storage. We wanted a two-car garage and a big backyard. Rit really wanted to live on the water, but we both knew that this was a long shot.

I saw the house in the paper one Sunday. And even though the house was in a neighboring town that Rit DID NOT want to live in, I convinced her to attend the open house with me. She did not want to go. We walked through the front door and that was that. We fell in love with the house and made an offer shortly thereafter. And did I mention that it's on the river? Yep. ON. THE. RIVER. Hello, canoe, our old friend, get used to getting used.

I'm so in love with this house I can hardly stand it. Just to give you a little teaser, here is a picture of the house before we bought it.

Stunning, right? Full of potential, right? Rit and I wanted a project house and that's exactly what we got. This house is 2,400 sf of great bones and several years of neglect. The couple who lived here before us lived in the house 40+ years. They also loved this house and that is evident throughout. However, as their health declined, so did their ability to keep up with the maintenance required. They passed away and the house sat empty for a couple of years. Enter us. The DIYers. I admit, not very humbly, that I rock at plaster repair and texturizing walls. Rit is great with most everything else.

So the day we closed on the house, we came over and started ripping out the carpet to reveal the startling beautiful hardwood floors. YUM.

Welcome to our home. I hope you'll join me as we work our way through the house room by room fixing and updating what we can as we can afford it. Next post: The Sunroom.