Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cooking with Joy!

Every afternoon when I begin to get dinner started, I am overcome with joy at the simplicity of preparing dinner for my family.  Much of this has to do with the fact that for the first one and a half years of my cooking life (when we first were married because let's be honest, I never cooked before that unless you count heating up frozen food or putting together salads and sandwiches...), I would come home from work around 5:30 or 6 PM (and if I made it back earlier, would somehow find myself online working or on the phone working) and after merely changing out of stiff work clothes and heels, not even having the time to take a breather and watch any television, I'd be getting dinner ready.  I never thought much of it, especially considering the 5:30 or 6 PM end of work day was a surprisingly welcome change compared to the unpredictable work schedule I held as an auditor prior to that.  When I was in that role, I never really stopped to think of the co-workers I had who had families who probably wanted very much to leave in time for dinner.  I guess I was in my own little bubble of... go work out, grab a bite to eat from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, or eat something frozen I had at home... or alternatively, work and then eat on the man.  I was okay with the latter most of the time but I tried to dutifully respect others who wanted to leave work to sit in traffic for an hour at 5 PM and wondered if they ever made it home in time for dinner.  *shrug

Because of the gratitude I felt for being off earlier than most of my peers still in audit, I just sucked it up and tried to halt my hunger while I made an effort to do the chore of cooking dinner.  I guess in a way, I dreaded it a bit.. but I couldn't help but think I was still lucky compared to those still working.  I did secretly wonder how any woman could revel in joy of domesticity when it was after a long day of work (and there are women out there who do, but I am not one of them).

I often wondered why people liked cooking at all.  I much preferred buying something and handing it to the professionals to get it right.  I enjoyed savoring the taste so delicate and scrumptious that attempting to imitate it would just result in disappointment and waste of time on my part.  But even at work, there were those who loved coming in with baked goods for all of us.  I wondered often, but then again, eating their delicious product was a much better use of my time than wondering...

Now that I'm working part-time from home and with Jordan for most of the day, I have the luxury of planning out our weekly menus, thinking of recipes I'd like to try from Pinterest and elsewhere, and then cooking it without the time pressure I felt when I was tired, hungry, and trying to get it done asap.  I often fail and some of the stuff I make it quite disgusting, but Andy willingly tries it and I have been encouraged to keep on trucking.  I've had a few successes here and there and I'm learning.. slowly, but surely!  Lately, I've been having so much fun with it.. I even tried baking.  *gasp!  I of course failed in every way possible, but hopefully with my next effort, things will get better.  I still don't know how I can mess up a basic cookie recipe, but it's never consistent and it's really a hit or miss when I do it.

Needless to say, I am finding joy in cooking.  I never thought I would, but I have and it's much better when I enjoy it and do it versus when I don't and do it.  Seems simple enough, but I seem to forget that when I'm wrapped up in errands and tasks and just don't have the energy to be of good cheer.

Side note... I have begun to capitalize on YouTube tutorials.

I had a palette from MAC Cosmetics with only one eyeshadow tin because when I bought it, I assumed I could transfer the other two pots of eye shadow I had easily.  To my dismay, they were glued down and impossible to remove.  Or so they told me (evil conniving make-up people in black).  I used some make-up to distract Jordan while he was on the diaper pad, and then got to thinking if I should just exchange the full eyeshadow pots for a free lipstick (because of MAC's Mac Back program - 6 containers in exchange for lipstick or gloss).  But a quick google search got me a video teaching me to remove part of the pot with a tweezer, and then put the remaining plastic and tin part on a piece of foil, on a flat iron, and then removing the tin pot from the plastic pot with a needle.  I easily removed two of the eyeshadows from the pots I had and plopped 'em into my near empty palette, and now I have 6 used MAC containers to trade in!  I was esctatic to learn this, especially since I rarely use any of the make-up I have but really liked the one MAC lipstick I did have (which after five years.. is all gone!) Who knows how much longer it would have taken me to use all that eye shadow.. it's hardly got a dent in it.  Maybe I will begin putting eye shadow on everyday... err, too much effort, I'll work on showering everyday first.  
I also YouTubed how to wrap wontons.  I had learned from my mother-in-law about a year ago and had instructions from the package, but somehow, they were just so ugly and I couldn't recall how May had done it before.  So after a plate of uglies, I decided to do a quick YouTube search.  I  quickly found instructions, followed them, and got really cute looking wontons with the remainder of my wonton skin and meat.  See... clear winner!

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