Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wherein Mama Takes Care of Herself, And Makes Chili

I know it's Christmas time and we're supposed to be thinking about doing things for others, but today I did something for myself.  I got a babysitter.  For "no reason".  Historically, I only get daytime babysitters when I have to do something Ellis un-friendly, something where he absolutely cannot go.  And even then, I've taken him to the doctor before and things like that.  I felt a little weird getting someone to watch him when I technically could be watching him.  It feels like an unnecessary extravagance.  Ah, mama guilt.  Good times.

Frankly, I needed to recharge.  I've been busy lately, especially with the store and the holidays.  I have more tasks than I have time for.  So I hired the world's very best babysitter (my friend Kathleen!!) and had the afternoon to get stuff done.  I also bought myself the new Brene Brown book on kindle.  The Gifts of Imperfection truly changed my life and the way I think of myself.  Recent events (not mentioned on this blog) have put me in a rough place emotionally.  This new book seems like just the right thing at just the right time.

It's often hard to remember to take care of oneself, especially if you're caring for kids who frankly could care less if you need to, say, eat or pee.  It's hard to remember you're a person, not a series of tasks.  So here's to taking care of yourself.

Since that's hard to photograph, here's the stitching I've been up to.

I'm looking for some different ways to make designs.  I'm liking the look this stitch, whatever it is.  Possibly satin stitch?  I don't love doing it, though.  It's slow to produce results.  Still, the ways in which it could work to frame images are tempting me to grow to love it.

Also, during my me-time, I did make dinner for everyone.  I'm historically bad at feeding myself.  That's dumb, right?  I mean eating?  That's a pretty basic skill.  Still, I'm likely to drink coffee all day and eat nothing but leftover goldfish crackers.  I'm a work in progress.  But today I made chili.  I've written about making chili before.  This is a different style, a riff on this Smitten Kitchen recipe.

The recipe is totally worth making as written.  However, I don't always have all the ingredients on hand and I prefer to soak my beans in advance, so I don't make it in the slow-cooker.  So I often make a variation of the recipe.  The secret to getting close to it seems to be using red onion, some peppers, more cumin than seems wise, and the chipotle peppers in adobo.  If you don't have adobo, though, sautee the veggies in bacon grease for a similar flair.  That's what I did today.  I also used some cilantro veggie broth I made awhile back.  It's an amazing base for any south of the border recipes.  And the home-canned tomatoes I added didn't hurt, either.

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