Friday, January 6, 2012

On My Epitaph, and Other Sundries

I don't know about you, but this week was a "get-back-into-the-routine" week at my house after what's seemed like a 3 week long party. I'm apparently taking longer to get back into my routine than anyone else, though. I've got a list upon list in my head of things I should be doing to catch up and get this place back in order, but instead of doing all that basic housekeeping, book-keeping and body-keeping work I promised myself would get back to this week, I've been flitting around doing the stuff I promised myself I'd wait and reward myself with AFTER I got the mandatory stuff done.

Huh? Self-discipline? Whatzat?

Thus my entire house festers on unchecked under a dull, gritty cloak of post-Christmas grime. But hey, I've redecorated my still-filthy mantle.


And the dust-bunny high-rise condo that used to be the family room cupboard.


I always seem to slip into minimalist mode after the comparative opulence of the holiday. It's like my soul-eyes just need white-space for awhile to re-set themselves to "reality" mode. Do y'all do that?

I cooked my traditional New Years Day feast on the day after New Years Day this year and I'm hoping that doesn't mess up all the good for-TUNE it's supposed to bring us. We cooked a big old brunch (Four POUNDS of bacon, y'all, and all that bacon was still swallowed up in a delectable SEA of other brunch goodies. SHEER INSANITY TAKES THE FORM OF BRUNCH.) and watched movies and football all day with some friends on the actual New Years Day this year, so the day after was our only choice.

I love the Southern New Years meal - I swear it's the meal I cook better than any other, and I have no idea why, except that it's one of those meals I cook from very deep in my heart, it being the one that's the most packed with meaning and tradition for my family. We had fried pork chops, and I'll tell y'all that right after I'd taken my first bite of that chop, all crispy and golden on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, I avowed to my husband and children that the ONE thing I want said at my funeral or memorial service or Life Celebration or whatever they want to call it is this:


Simple. Eloquent. To the point.

'Cause I can. I would pit my fried pork chops against any fried pork chop out there, and my fried pork chops would come out the champs. And that's not braggin' friends, that's just fact.

And we had collard greens, cooked using Paula Deen's recipe, because at Paula Deen's Life Celebration?


And we had rice. White rice, which we NEVER eat anymore, but this time we did because we had some left over from the Chinese food Al ordered the night before that I had rolled my eyes about and didn't want and sighed and groaned about until it got here and then I sat down and ate until I was sick. And as if that wasn't enough humble pie to ingest, Al then showed me the gigantic tub of white rice left over and said, "See little Mama, Now you don't have to cook rice tomorrow for New Years dinner!" and I had to admit sheepishly around the shards of fortune cookie still stuck to my lips that he had won The Battle of Mmmmm.... General Tso's Chicken vs. Oh Come On Hon, Can't We Just Eat Peanut Butter and Jelly and Half a Banana and Call It Supper? hands down.

(I hate when that happens. Only I guess I don't, after all.)

And there was this corn bread, of course. (If you only make corn bread once in your life, I beg of you... make it this one.)

And we had black-eyed peas (<---- TOP SECRET! SECRET RECIPE! PLEASE DO NOT CLICK!) Of which I made an almost-literal truck-load. Because Al loves black-eyed peas. And I knew if I wanted leftovers, I needed to make A LOT of peas. So I did. And we have been eating peas all week long. Witness Tuesday's dinner:

Cornmeal-dusted tilapia over collard greens and black-eyed peas with sweet jalapeno jam.

And then Wednesday night we had turkey taco salad and I used MORE peas to make a black-eyed pea and avocado salsa to go with it. All I did for the salsa was adapt the Pioneer Woman's Corn and Avocado Salsa recipe by putting in black-eyed peas in instead of the corn. Oh, and I also added chopped red pepper to it, as well. I ate the last cup of that yesterday straight out of the fridge with a spoon for my afternoon snack. Total yum.

Now, on a related note (because the new habit I'm about to tell you about is what led to me eating half a pound of black-eyed pea salsa as an afternoon snack), a few years ago a good friend of mine ate only soup for lunch during Lent. And besides that making her a good person and a much more dedicated follower of Christ than I am, apparently, it also made her skinny. So I've turned that idea into my New Year's Resolution Diet and it's working so far (three days in, I've lost 2 lbs. even with my black-eyed pea party yesterday.) I've had homemade soup from the Stone Soup party and two cans of Progresso soup. I like homemade soup better. I make good soup.

(I just don't think that communicates as clearly into all of eternity what I was really like in life, though, do y'all?)

And that actually leads me to a dilemma, because as anyone who makes homemade soup knows, you can pretty much technically make anything into soup. And I have this left-over fried pork chop. And some gravy. And some rice. And of course, I've got MORE leftover black-eyed peas.

Y'all? If I played my culinary cards right, it could be a VERY HEARTY soup in about four minutes flat. But you think that's stretching my New Year's Resolution Diet's boundaries too far?

What are y'all up to? Are you in minimalist mode? What did you eat on New Year's Day? What goals or resolutions did you set for yourself, if any? Have you noticed that "resolution" seems to be becoming a dirty word? What does that say about our society? Are your kids back in school? Do you have anyone this cute still at home with you?


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  1. I did not make any resolutions. I just didn't feel like it. I am working on some small things each month, though, hoping to build better habits slowly.

    I do have some cuties still at home. Just my baby (20 months old but whatever) two days a week, which is kind of weird.

    We do not have traditional New Year's meals. I know all about the black-eyed peas but I do not really care for them! I hope we can still be friends.

  2. No cuties at home :(..... and yet my house still isn't tidy yet!

    I have one resolution and that's to start working again in the field I was trained for. Sounds simple but there are many small parts to it.

  3. Man, I thought you were gonna tell me how to fry a pork chop!!!! I keep telling myself I'm gonna do that soup lunch thing, but there are just too many good leftovers in the fridge. Maybe by the time Lent rolls around, I'll be there. We still got our party on here. 8 tween girls sleeping over tonight. I did not heed the advice of the interwebs who said no more than 6. I just could not leave those last 2 cuties out. Lord, have mercy. I resolve to get my big fat butt moving more often.

  4. I got sidetracked by the porkchops. :) I make some mean porkchops ever since I started using a castiron pan. oh man....I NEED some fried porkchops NOW!

  5. OK, I am intrigued! How do you make your pork chops? Mine are almost always tough and dry. Do tell, please.