Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lazy Thanksgiving Anyone?

The key to a Lazy Thanksgiving is eating the elephant one bite at a time.  In other words, if you are hosting Thanksgiving, you don't want to get overwhelmed by the three tasks at hand:

1.  Cooking
2.  Table Setting
3.  Cleaning/Last Minute Getting the House Ready to Receive Guests

I heard someone talking about doing a 200 mile bike ride.  He said "If every mile you ride you are thinking of the next hundred plus, you'll have a terrible ride."    Good advice for Thanksgiving prep: take it one mile at a time, one task at a time.

I just took a few bites off today because I want to be spending a good deal of the next few days writing.  So, I decided to do a few things every day.  Yesterday I got flowers.  Today I set the Thanksgiving table.  I will probably tweak it a little the day of, but setting the Thanksgiving table is one of my greatest joys.  One of the things I also did today (one of my vacation projects) was clean out and rearrange my garage.  While in there, I found a super cool piece of upholstery material that I hadn't used for a project that I realized would make a perfect tablecloth.  That inspiration lead to other inspirations...and before I knew it, the table was done.  


Then I realized I could definitely make cranberry sauce today as well as a nice squash soup that I may or may not serve on Thanksgiving but that will make the few visitors I'm expecting over the next few days happy.  The recipes were perfect to cook at the same time because they both have some common ingredients, and because both require chopping and cooking on the stove.  They were fun to cook at the same time.

Cranberry sauce is not one of my favorite things....or should I say wasn't until this recipe. I found it in the People Magazine I was reading while getting a pedicure yesterday. Nice synchronicity.  It is super easy and wildly delicious!

Ginger Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cu pecans roughly chopped (Lazy Solution -- Trader Joe's has pre-roasted chopped pecans)
12 oz cranberries
3/4 cu sugar 
3/4 cu fresh orange juice
1 t fresh ginger -- grated
1.5 t orange zest

Toast pecans in pan four to five minutes to golden brown -- OR do it the Lazy Way and buy them 
pre-roasted and chopped. 

Cook berries, sugar and orange juice for 4 to 6 minutes, or until berries start popping.

Add ginger and zest and cook 2-3 minutes minutes more. Remove from heat.Add pecans,
cover and cool. Chill. 
The soup, if you are interested is AMAZING and super easy too: 
I had a bit of a boundless energy day so I did the garden clean-up and refreshening AND because of the muddy paw prints after a few rainy days, I ended up starting a cleaning spree.  Now, I will just have to do the last minute touch-ups on Wednesday, post-cooking clean-up. 

Schedule for the rest of the week:

Monday        -- Pie Crusts
Tuesday       --  Shop for final ingredients
                   --  Prep ingredients for Stuffing
Wednesday   -- Mashed Potatoes -- Yes, they are even fluffier and more amazing when you do them the day ahead and put them in the oven. 
                    -- Make Pies
Thursday       -- Prep turkey and veggies, etc.

One bite a time.  One mile at a time.  One task at a time.  

I have to say I had the most fun today in getting all the house and food ducks in a row.   

... which leads me to my final Lazy Woman tip.  If there are things that you hate to do, DELEGATE.  Ask nicely and play nice, but ask for help with the things that drive you nuts or that you simply don't like to doThe name of the game is LESS STRESS and MORE JOY.  And, around the holidays, that will probably mean asking for help.

And, then in the spirit of the holiday, don't forget to say "thank you" for the help!

Buon Grateful Appetito to All! 




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Calling All Kick Ass Chicks

I had the exquisite pleasure of attending the Sister Giant Conference this weekend.  (  Marianne Williamson invited a most divine bouquet of talent to help shed light on one of America's biggest problems right now:  We simply do not have enough women in politics.

We have all been celebrating our newfound 20 percentedness in Congress.  But, damn, it's a far cry from the 50% it should be -- that we NEED it to be.

Most of us have an enormous deep-seated distrust and dislike of the political machine.  My mantra has always been:  Mothers, teachers, nurses, politicians -- I don't know how they do service at that level. 

I don't think anyone throws their hat into the political arena without being slightly insane because we all know the level of self-protection and preservation required to even withstand a campaign, let alone actively serve angry constituents.

Women especially always say "I could never do that."   Marianne understood.  We all feel too vulnerable to put ourselves in such a position.  She said we have a cellular memory of being burned at the stake for our beliefs.  No matter what your belief system, though, you can very likely relate to the profound fear of the political engine running you over alive.

Yet, Marianne inspired us all for two solid days with endless brilliant women who have ventured into politics, or support those who have.  She made it seem shockingly do-able, but more important, she stripped it to its core:  we NEED women.

We need women to fight for our hungry children.  Millions of children go to bed hungry, go to school hungry, and rely on having one meal a day at school.

We need women to fight against one of the largest profit-making centers in America: prisons.  People:  they are now building prisons based on third grade test scores. 

We need women to fight for our environment.

Marianne told the story about how female hyenas protect their young.  When the babies are eating, the females circle them, protecting them from the adult males who try to take their food away.

Her call to action:  Can we not at least be as powerful as hyenas in protecting our young?

Therefore, my request:  If you know of a woman who should run for office, tell me, so I can spread the word.  Let all your women friends know that that woman needs their support.  Ask people for money, time and effort on that woman's behalf.

We can change this broken world -- one woman at a time.

If you need inspiration, pick up Marianne's book, "Healing the Soul of America."

Friday, November 02, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy: Delete Walmart + Add Google + World Market

My most exciting purchases this week:  shoes, soap and soap dispensers!

First most exciting purchase is hot pink tennis shoes.   I jate shopping so I buy a lot of shoes online.  I've never ventured into buying workout shoes, but after having been fitted in a store for top of the line tennis shoes that caused me to lose my big toe nails, I decided it was worth a shot.  I found the cutest of hot pink and black tennis shoes and they fit perfectly.  Why?  Because I googled "ASICS tennis shoe fit" and figured out I needed to buy a half size up.  

Next Google project was in my effort to find another place to buy replacement dish washing liquid for my Dawn pump. I adore this stuff but I hate Walmart, which appears to be the only to buy the darned stuff, so I was scouring for an alternative.  What to my wondering eyes appeared in the Google results?  A RECIPE!  Yes, that's right on even! And it absolutely works!

Check it out.  Save time, save money and stay out of Walmart, by following this unbelievably easy recipe:

And, finally, notice in the photo above, my very favorite purchase of the week: a hand soap dispenser than matches my Deruta pottery plate where I keep my soaps!  And, it's even plastic so I don't have to worry about dropping it, since I seem to be having "dropsy" lately!   I got it at World Market/Cost Plus.

It's the little things that bring me such joy.   Less stress and more joy....and a whole lot of beauty!