I’m once again on a mission.
Those of you who know me or read my work know this is not a surprise.
I’m always up to something.
This time my crusade is about you.
The normal people in the world.
Those of us who are doing the best we can to care for our families, our farms and the people and places about which we deeply care.
This time of the year is the worst. It’s six to eight weeks of rushing, pushing and trying to be perfect and super and organized. We run ourselves ragged to cook the meals, decorate the house and wrap the gifts that will make everyone feel welcome, loved and cherished.
Everyone, that is, except us.
By 3 p.m. on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, I need a nap. And not a wimpy nap, either. A hibernating bear-type of nap. New Year’s Day?
By then, I’m so tired I can’t stay awake past six o’clock. Ring in the festivities? No way.
So this year, I’m going on strike. For Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law and I are splitting the duties. She lives next door, so she’s cooking half the meal and I’m cooking half, and we’re having what we hope will be a round-robin style meal.
Want ham or peas?
That’s at Aunt Michele’s house.
Turkey and stuffing?
We’re challenging the family to graze their way through both houses.
Only half the work and twice the fun.
I’m still working on Christmas, but I can tell you we’ve already decided we’ll be using the money we normally spend on Christmas presents for a spring break extravaganza for the family. Dinner will be pared down too. I’ll be using the time I normally spend shopping online or in the mall doing stuff around the house with the kids or enjoying the company of friends.
The best thing I’m doing though is giving myself a break. The pressure I put on myself to cook from scratch and be the picture-perfect “Becky-home-ecy” (as my husband calls this crazed alter ego) is over. I’m giving myself the gift of time.
I’ve pulled out my trusty slow cooker and gave myself the gift of a new-fangled one that bakes, roasts and slow-cooks. (I’m pretty sure this thing will wash your socks if you programmed it correctly.) Yes. Two slow cookers. I’m taking this crusade very seriously. I might even get another one before we’re through.
Breakfast? It’s in the crockpot. I’m sipping my tea and enjoying conversation.
Lunch? Crockpot. I’m having lunch with friends.
Dinner? Leftovers. They’re in the slow cooker.
Snacks? If you are old enough to tie your shoe, you can find a cheese stick and a piece of fruit in the fridge.
Here’s a simple recipe for you to try. Whip out a slow cooker, plug it in and turn it on low. (Follow the instructions to match up with your timing needs, etc.) Find yourself a couple of cans of beans, tomatoes and corn. No, you do not have to go out and raise the tomatoes from heirloom seeds and gently remove the dirt from them with an imported brush made from organic trolls’ hair. Go to the store and buy the stuff in a can. Seriously.
Brown up a pound or so of burger. (OK, the truth is I don’t even brown my burger. I dump it in raw. I can see all the food safety experts out there screaming, with eyes bleeding, so you should probably brown yours. I am willing to risk making my family sick but not yours.) Throw in some taco seasoning, chopped onion and a clove or four of garlic.
Stir it up, put the lid on that bad boy and take a nap. Watch a movie. Maybe two. Enjoy this blessed season. Serve it with your favorite cheese or sour cream or both!
I can assure you that should Jesus, Mary and Joseph show up on your doorstep this winter, they won’t judge you for using canned beans in your soup. I’m betting they’ll snuggle up and watch a Charlie Brown movie marathon with you and be grateful for time spent with the amazing human that is you.
*Queenisms -- From Queen of Your Own Life