It has been months since I posted, but I needed to step back for a while. My dissertation is in the analyzing stage which means I am writing up all my research into the final drafts. We also just had my husband’s social security disability hearing. After three long years, we are hopeful for some good news in the next month. My leadership class jokes that I don’t sleep and I have to admit they are pretty close to the truth.
How are you hanging is there? Since we are in Maryland, we are currently sheltering in place. I am teleworking which is interesting. I teach virtually, so it is not much of a shift for me. However, with so many others also teleworking, the internet has been pretty unstable. My son is also just starting virtual schooling. We are still waiting to see what that will look like. It just started today and so far none of his teachers are fully ready. It looks like we are not going to have to worry about sticking to someone else’s schedule though. Thankfully, the days are nice, so even though we can’t go anywhere, it is comfortable to just be home. Today we had dinner on the deck and even spent time in the Swim Spa (it’s heated, so perfect all year long!).
There is no normal right now and if you try to fake that everything is normal, you are probably just going to add more stress. Take a moment to just sit and relax. Play music when cooking. Watch movies together with your family. Play a board game. Go for a walk with the dog. Set up a tent in your backyard…or even in the middle of your living room. You do you!
How are you going to remember these days? You can stress about them or you can use it to your advantage. Only you can say what will fuel your fire. If life is burning you out, then give yourself permission to take a break.
Growing up, it was a tradition that St. Patrick’s Day meant corned beef and cabbage. I have been trying for over twenty years to duplicate the texture and flavor of my mom’s traditional dish. I have tried slow cookers, the oven, and the stovetop; but none of it has come out with that falling apart texture or buttery flavorful cabbage. So I did a test run with the Instant Pot.
I have to admit, I did my research beforehand and was shocked to see that people were saying it takes 90 minutes in the IP. However, I saw it in multiple places so there had to be something to it. Worse-case scenario, I was down a couple bucks for the price of the meat. This is a two-part IP recipe since if you put everything in the pot at once, your cabbage will basically be non-existent. When the 90min countdown was done, I was nervous that we would be eating McD’s instead for dinner. However, when step two was complete, I have to admit things were looking good.
Good is an understatement! This was the best corned beef and cabbage that I have ever had (sorry, Mom!). So if you want to duplicate it, here is what I did:
Place corned beef in Instant Pot with chicken broth and seasoning.
Set IP to Manual, high-heat, for 90 minutes. NPR
Add cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Top with butter.
Set IP to Manual, high-heat, for 5 minutes. NPR
Serve and enjoy!
Creativity means not just doing things the way they have always been done. I love updating family favorites using modern techniques or tools. Do you have any family traditions that you have put a new spin on?
Did you know that March 20th is the International Day of Happiness? What makes it even doubly happy for me is that I will be defending my dissertation proposal. So fingers crossed!
Maybe because Happiness Day falls in March, but many refer to the month as Mindful March or Happiness Month. So for this month, I will be talking a lot about happiness. Happiness and creativity often go hand in hand. Last night was my first night without any homework, dissertation work, group work, or class meetings for a couple of weeks now…yes, it has been rough so far which is why this site has been empty of any updates. However, I left work in an awesome mood and I had energy last night, so I decided to put some everyday creativity to work. I baked!
Okay, so it might not look like much, but this Pineapple Upside Down Cake was the first one I ever tried to make and it was so yummy. I brought some with me to work today for lunch and it was even better the next day. I can’t wait until dinner tonight because I can have some more for dessert. Yum!
If you would like to make your own, here is what I did:
Drain your pineapple juice from the can into a measuring cup. You should get about 1 cup, but if not, add enough water to equal 1 cup.
Dump your pineapple juice, oil, and eggs in the mixer. Mix until well combined.
Add your cake mix, mix on medium speed for about 2min. Set Aside.
Take your 13×9 pan and coat the bottom with the melted butter.
Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter evenly over the pan.
Place your pineapple rings evenly over the bottom of the pan, on top of the butter/brown sugar combo.
Place your cherries in any open spaces left on the bottom of your pan.
Next, dump your cake batter evenly on top of the fruit.
Bake for 45-50 min. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. If the toothpick, when poked in the middle, does not come out clean, put your cake in the oven for a few more minutes. Be careful not to burn the cake!
Take out of the oven and let cool.
Take a spatula and loosen the edges of the cake from the pan.
Place parchment paper on top of the cake with a baking sheet on top of that and flip your cake pan so the cake is now upside down on the baking sheet.
Seriously, how can you not be happy when you have such a sweet dessert as a treat?
My son is home sick today, but that is also good news for me because it means I have a moment to actually catch my breath. The past couple of months have been a bit hectic as I prepared and then presented library workshops all over South Florida for our Summer Florida Library Youth Program. I loved the experience and would probably do it again, except this time I will be much better prepared for everything that goes into the presentations. One up side is that I am no longer uncomfortable driving my husband’s van as I logged over 20hrs in less than a week driving it up and down I-95 (Miami’s roadways still terrify me a bit and thank heavens for the one Christmas present I didn’t ask for but love- GPS.)
So somehow March happened without me even realizing it. Nothing that I said I would post after January got posted. I hate to use the excuse of I didn’t have the time, but really I didn’t. So much for writing more book reviews and tips and tricks like stuff on saving money. I have kept up to date through RSS feeds on my phone. I have found some great deals through the different blogs I read. My biggest scores have been on Target and Totsy. I have this real problem where I don’t like spending money on clothes, but I love buying them. Target was running a promotion where not only did I score a 20% discount on everything, but also free shipping. Why is it that online sites charge so much on shipping? I only buy when the shipping is free or a flat low rate because it makes no sense for me to pay just as much in shipping as my purchase. Totsy only charges about $7.95 for shipping though you do have to wait a couple weeks for your order to come in. It is worth it to get such great deals on shoes, clothes, household, and kid’s stuff.
Tomorrow, I hope to have a post recapping some of my favorite blogs to watch for saving advice. 😉