Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Eat This Sandwich

Holy crap, it's like a god.

Everyone loves a grilled cheese sandwich. Well, everyone who loves cheese loves a grilled cheese sandwich. And if you don't love cheese you can't be American...Or human, so I've got no interest in what you eat, anyway.

But, cheese loving people all over the world need to find a way to make and eat this sandwich. Now, I've made grilled cheese all kinds of ways over the years. I think, though, that I've finally made the best one ever. You will need about four thinly sliced pieces of apple (I used a Pink Lady), three different types of cheese (for me it was fontina, Borden pepper jack and a shredded Italian blend), honey ham, good wheat bread, cracked pepper, Italian seasoning and cooking spray.

Now, lay out your first piece of bread and cover it with a cheese slice, top it with the apple slices, more cheese, cracked pepper, ham, Italian seasoning, cheese, and last piece of bread. Spray both sides with cooking spray and, here's what I think really makes a difference, put the sandwich in a hot panini press or Foreman grill. After a few minutes you can turn the sandwich 45 degrees to get cross-hatched grill marks, but as you can see from the photo it's not a requirement.

Take it off the grill and dig in. Oh. My. Gawwwwwwwd. The best part, the thing I found so amazing, is that it stayed hot the entire time I ate it. I've never made a grilled cheese that didn't get cold two seconds after I took it off the stove. Never.

Ok, finish your sandwich, wipe your mouth and hands and thank me. Aren't you glad you read this blog? I knew you would be...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tuesday Tipday: Christen Your Year!

The TV through my new year's champagne glass. I had 10 sips instead of my usual two, and I'm all the better for it.

Well, happy 2011, all you internet denizens! We're four full days into the new year and I bet a lot of you have made resolutions or set goals for the months ahead. I haven't made a resolution for years now. For me, the idea of New Year's Resolutions had come to mean some activity I'd promised myself I'd do, only to inevitably give up the effort weeks later. And then the next year I'd make the same promises to myself all over again, with the same pitiful results.

I've decided to look at things differently this year. Not writing down concrete goals has gotten me almost nowhere, so last Thursday I took a quiet moment to do two things: list the accomplishments from 2010 and list what I wanted to do in 2011.

If you're like me, and have the tendency to get procrastinatory (New Word Alert) on your dreams out of fear (of change, new things, the unknown, success, failure...I could so totally go on), then I can tell you that starting with my successes really helped. It made me look back over the year thoughtfully, so that I was able to notice even the smallest victories.

Why do the small victories matter? Because the small ones get you to the big ones. I was able to see that I really did get some stuff done last year and that it's completely possible, if I keep going, to get even more done in 2011.

Then, earlier today I was reminded of an idea I'd come across around this time last year. Individual goals are great, but a good way to plan for the completion of those goals is to think about what you want your life ahead to be like in general. You can do this, as I've decided to, by christening your year.

Now, depending on what you've been going through and what you want for 2011, this might be easy or require more pondering. But the basic process is simple, just consider what you need more of to be happier in the coming year. Do you want to be more connected to the world around you? Then connectivity is your word for 2011. Maybe you'd feel better if you slowed down. In that case a word like quiet or relaxation could be for you.

This just helps you crystallize what all your smaller goals should ultimately do for you. Here is what I've decided: I want 2011 to be a year of Expansion. I need to cultivate more of basically everything in my life: connection to others, freelance work, money, fun, adventure, travel, passion, good health, doing for others, love and on and on.

What I realized by looking at the past year (and years before) is that my world, my life, has gotten mighty small. While I'm very, very glad to have HUBS, our cats, this house and a fine collection of photographs taken since I was a little girl, I need a bigger life. Bigger experiences, more adventure and definitely more hard work.

So, today's tip? Christen your year! Sit down and figure out what bullseye you want to hit this year by aiming at those smaller targets. It just might help everything come into view.

I'd love to know: what's your word for 2011?


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