Saturday, January 29, 2011

Think about life this way....

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's 7:00 somewhere...

It's 7 pm on a Tuesday night and I am sitting in my car waiting for my daughter to finish her CCD class. I got up this morning at 6 am, left at 7:30, and haven't been home since. But I don't mind because I love it all. I truly do. I love my kids, I love my husband, I love my job, and I love my blackberry. I am having a love affair with them all!!!

So I try to do them all well and I can tell you that it is truly possible...well for me anyhow. The happy medium takes work and a kind and understanding boss who will understand if you have to run your kids to the doctors or leave to watch your daughter's class play or your senior boy's first baseball game of the season. But I also understand my duties and flex myself enough to work when the kids are in bed and I need to catch up.

So while I sit here in the parking lot I think about the rapid brain power I had to execute today...end of year appraisals, budget plan, goals worksheets, business plan, conference calls and lunch and an apple somewhere in between. I think about how happy I was to accomplish much at work while running out the door of work thinking about how much I couldn't wait to see my littlest man and princess daughter at the doors of their school. I was happy to then run over to the high school to pick up my son in his last few months of his last year of high school. And somewhere in the middle I met up with my darling husband who relieved me of my load so I could continue on to my daughter's CCD class.

After I leave the parking lot I have one more child to pick basketball loving son who practices harder than anyone I know on his basketball team...through a horrendous cough and stuffy nose and hungry stomach. Note...McDonalds just might cheer him up.....

It seems like a lot and tomorrow I will do it all over again except tomorrow night there is a parent's baseball meeting and a college financial planning workshop. But at the end of the day I feel exhausted but fulfilled because after all of these years I have finally managed to achieve some sort of work-life balance.

Monday, January 10, 2011

PB&J factoid

I was busy last night doing all of my "prep" for the morning which meant a boat load of for dear hubby, two for dear teenage sons, and 2 for the little kidsters. The good news is that they all are ok with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So as I take out the bread and line it all up in an assembly line fashion (because I am an engineer after all) I start counting and realizing that I make on average about 8 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day!!! That's about 3 giant loaves of bread.

Then I started thinking about milk. We go through about 3 gallons a week.

I am starting to think I need to invest in a bread factory and a cow.

I used to think that formula and diapers were expensive. Well they are but so is feeding growing teenage boys! It's a challenge for sure and it's a good thing my boys love PB&J.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How To Make A Rue

Back by popular demand...

Last weekend when I posted my recipe for Mac n Cheese I promised to write a little bit about how to make a rue.

It's a few days late but it's basic recipe on making a rue. A rue is very easy to make and extremely versatile. The most popular things that you can use a rue for is gravy or soup. But in reality a rue is a thickening agent because it's a flour base. What that means is that you can thicken any liquid with it to make the sauce or gravy. For example, if you make a rue and add chicken stock to it and stir until the stock and rue is incorporated and heated through it will turn to a nice gravy. Add some sauteed mushrooms and you have mushroom gravy. Add cheese to it and you have the base sauce for macaroni and cheese. You can also add mustard and it makes a really good mustard spread for sandwiches. You see, it's all about the method. You can get as creative as you want for a variety of dishes.

So without any more hesitation here is the recipe:

olive oil, one turn of the pan
3 pats of butter
3 tbsp flour
1.5 - 2 cups of stock or milk (see HINT below)
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and stir in with a whisk. When butter is melted, add the flour and whisk the flour in with the butter until the flour cooks fully and no longer looks white. The flour might clump up but that is ok. Add the liquid and whisk to incorporate until all the lumps are gone and the sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce is at the desired thickness remove from heat and add to the dish you are making.

***HINT*** If you want to make a milk based rue or gravy (for mac n cheese for example) then use milk as the liquid. If you want to make a stock based rue or gravy (like for chicken or turkey gravy) then use chicken stock as the liquid.

Good Luck!
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