October 18, 2012
I’m learning that being a perfectionist does not serve me well as a mother. My child is a human being, not a machine, and I do him and myself a disservice when I forget that. As it turns out, I am not a machine, either, and if I go along long enough pretending that I’m one, I might get the wind knocked out of me one Tuesday morning.
I’m learning that I can’t do everything, and it is exhausting to try. Turns out I don’t actually want to have it all; I want to have a few things, fully. I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, because I’m doing this mother job for the first time, and it’s okay that I haven’t figured out exactly how it works yet.
I’m learning that anxiety is not rational and that emotions can hit you like a truck. And sometimes you just have to say “I am having a hard time today,” and let that be what it is. Then maybe call the counselor you saw a while back and make an appointment, because taking care of yourself means giving up the silly notion that you shouldn’t need any help.
I’m learning, newly, how blessed I am to have an incredibly patient partner, a wonderful mother (who just bought a house that’s less than two miles from ours!), and rock-solid friends who stand at the ready with wisdom and love on the days I don’t quite measure up.
I’m learning just how much gratitude I can feel when the next day is better than the last. I’m learning that there’s some merit to being completely disoriented, because it means I can’t get up to my usual tricks. And I’m learning that there is nothing quite so good as coming home to this sweet face.
SPICED NUTS RECIPE
from Bon Appetit
We’re getting close to that parade-of-holidays time of year, where visitors come and go and there are lots of festive occasions that warrant snacks. Here’s one that will work nicely from Halloween through New Year’s, I think.
The original recipe calls for a full pound of pistachios, but since they can be kind of expensive to buy already shelled, I opted to go half-and-half with cashews. I also think this treatment would work well with almonds! The egg whites allow you to get a very crunchy finish on the nuts, as well as distribute the spice mix evenly.
Jill & I have found that the flavor of these nuts goes quite well with the round, deep, malty, pumpkin-y beers of fall; perfect for Sunday football watching, in fact. They’ve kept extremely well in a sealed Mason jar for over two weeks.
1 lb. unsalted mixed nuts (I used a combination of shelled pistachios & cashews)
5 egg whites*
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne
4 dashes Angostura bitters
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, spices, & bitters. Fold in the nuts and stir to coat.
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with a thin layer of vegetable oil, then spread out the nuts on top; sprinkle with salt. Bake, stirring to break up clumps every 10 minutes or so, until golden brown and beginning to crisp, about 30-35 minutes.
Cool the baking sheet on a wire rack before eating/transferring to an airtight container. (The nuts will crisp up further as they cool.)
*If you’re wondering what to do with the resultant 5 egg yolks, you can use 4 of them to make these alfajores or 2 of them to make this almond pudding. I also like adding yolks to a batch of scrambled eggs to make them extra rich!