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Recipes for the Month of April

Spring treeI’m releasing the monthly recipe blog early because next week I have a new blogging idea to run by you. Something I think everyone will enjoy and will be a lot of fun.

But for now, let’s get to eatin’!

Things are finally warming up here in North Carolina, but I’m still not quite ready for the salads and lighter foods of summer. Instead, I found a fantastic recipe for beef roast that I had to share. The sauce smells amazing even before the roast starts cooking!

From Fix It and Forget It Big Cookbook

Peppery Roast

  • Beef roast3.5 pound Beef roast (2.5 is fine if you’re feeding fewer people)
  • 1 tsp. each garlic powder, dried minced onion, celery seed
  • 2 tsp. gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T liquid smoke
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 T dried mustard (I didn’t have this so I used regular yellow mustard)
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 T each gluten-free soy sauce & lemon juice
  • 3 drops hot sauce (use more or less depending on personal taste)

Place roast in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the roast. Cover and cook on high 6 hours or low 10 hours.

I baked sweet and white potatoes in the oven to accompany this dish. (Some of us like white potatoes and some like sweet, so there you go.) A green salad is also a delicious addition. But if you feel adventurous, try this side dish from simplyrecipes.com.

Baby Bok Choy and Cashew Nuts

  • Bok Choy2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed, larger leaves separated from base, base trimmed but still present, holding the smaller leaves together
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted cashews

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onions, then garlic, then bok choy. Sprinkle with sesame oil and salt. Cover, and let the baby bok choy cook down for approximately 3 minutes. (Like spinach, when cooked, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

Remove cover. Lower heat to low. Stir and let cook for a minute or two longer, until the bok choy is just cooked. Gently mix in cashews.

Yum!Hot coffee

Motherhood…The Truth Revealed

Someone once said that only when we have children do we forgive our parents. With regards to family, that’s the wisest thing I’ve ever heard. (That and “It will either work out, or it won’t,” but that’s a blog for another time.)

Society gleefully vacillates between vilifying mothers and idolizing them. We either blame them for all our neuroses (When I was four she wouldn’t buy me a Joan Jett Barbie when all the other girls had one!) or we think being a mom will solve all our problems.

Our seventeen year old occasionally regales me with stories about the girls at her school and their ambition to get married and have kids, though not necessarily in that order. “Pregnant and Sixteen” happily glorifies that questionable goal. “Teen Mom” picks up the baton and runs with it. I’m not preaching sin and damnation here folks, just a dose of reality. Is motherhood really a woman’s ticket to glory, social approval and undying love?

Don’t get me wrong, as the mother of three, I’m totally on board with being sainted. Mother’s Day is my favorite pseudo holiday and I gleefully claim the entire weekend as “homage to mom” time. At the same time, I very consciously teach my kids that having babies does not have to be their life’s calling.

Why would I break with tradition so drastically? (I do live in the South, after all.) Because not everyone who has a baby should be a mom, for one thing. Conscientious parenting is hard work. It takes a steady supply of money, plus boatloads of energy, determination and vitamins just so you can hold your own. You give up a lot, too, like seeing movies when they’re in the theatre, spontaneous trips out of town for the weekend, and new cars (see comment about money).

Children also aren’t born innocent angels, like everyone pretends they are. Parents quickly discover this at about eighteen months, I promise you. No, my dears, kids come into this world self-centered barbarians and you spend the next twenty years urging them along toward being civilized. Humans are not by nature interested in thinking of others and working cooperatively. Sorry to disappoint.

Parenthood is sleepless nights, catching vomit in your hands (Had to save my own mother’s Persian rug.) and regularly unstopping overflowing toilets. A host of  other bothersome, tiring, and aggravating events assail you from morning until night, and that’s on a good day. Having children is NOT for the faint of heart.

But…it is also cuddling a sleepy little person who smells like baby soap and knows you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s watching your son be an Oompa Loompa in the school play and hearing him proudly sing his one line about Siamese cats. It’s sitting at the dinner table laughing so hard your stomach muscles cramp up because your twelve-year old falls out of her chair laughing over something her sister said, and then your son makes the movie cliche cat sound while the kid on the floor lifts her hand into the air and states “I’m okay!”

All of the above (both good and bad) has happened to us in this adventure my husband and I call parenting. We alternate between wanting to run away and warmly sharing stories about how proud we are of the kids as we settle down for the night.

The good, the bad and the ugly, that’s motherhood. Hell, folks, that’s family. And family is everything.

Never doubt it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you — moms, dads and kids. We’re in this together, my friends. Always remember that. This weekend, remind yourself that all of us are doing the best we can. Forgive your parents, forgive yourself, and treasure what you have.