Okay, so my second resolution of the year is to Keep a Better Journal. I have always kept a journal for my girls, and I have been an avid chronicler of every phase, quote, and milestone. But 2011 was not a great year for my journal… It was updated carelessly and sporadically, and FB saw the bulk of my interesting posts. Plus, the files for each of the girls are getting so long!! Mostly I just forgot, and when I sat down to write, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of catching up that I had to do that I did nothing. So I googled online journals (sounds scary, but it’s completely safe) and found Penzu.com! Penzi is an online journal that looks and acts like actual paper, but with lots of cool features, like the ability to add pictures to your journal and email reminders to write (an option, but one that appealed to me). So far, I love it! Of course, it’s only January 2… : ) If I update to Penzu pro, it will give the option of emailing in my journal entries as well as other features. This is a great, easy, stress-free way to start a journal if you have never kept one, and as a lifelong journaler, I can go on and on about their benefits. But mostly I keep them because I am a sentimental sap! I love being able to look back and remember everything that was said and everything that happened, even if some of it makes me cringe. So, for those of you who haven’t journaled regularly before, some tips to get the ball rolling:
1. This is not the great American novel. You can be wordy and flowery or quick and concise – just write what you are feeling or what is happening that day.
2. The genius is in the details. The minutiae of daily life might not seem interesting now, but years from now, the fact that your darling 2 year old napped from 1 to 2:30 every day will seem priceless.
3. There is no yesterday. Updating is the journal-keepers biggest enemy. Start with today, and then, if you are feeling ambitious, work backwards. I’ve found I rarely get around to updating.
4. Write anything. Even a quick, funny sentence uttered by a precocious 4-year-old is worth saving. You’ll be glad you did! A single quote with a picture is enough to capture a moment.
5. This is for your eyes only, and possibly your child’s, if you pass it on later as I plan to do. It doesn’t need to be Shakespeare.
Okay, about yesterday. I may have gotten a little carried away. As I was skimming The Kind Diet, which I picked up today on a quick trip to Love’s Whole Foods after a recommendation from my friend Jean (she raved about a tuna salad recipe made with tempeh…), I came across a term that describes what I am doing right now, diet-wise. I am flirting. I am not married or even engaged to the idea of barring animal products from my life, for life. I am just entertaining it for a little while, and I am definitely open to finding new and interesting dishes that don’t incorporate meat. I think going vegetarian is relatively easy and straightforward; it’s the vegan part that gets tricky. For example, I just realized that if you are strictly vegan, you can’t eat honey. Seriously? Anyway, I am definitely happy to be making some substitutions (just discovered that I like the cultured almond milk – aka almond yogurt – that Lola chose at the store and quickly dismissed) and trying to find more ways to eat more plants. But as I skim Rose Elliot’s gorgeous Classic Vegetarian cookbook, which I’ve had for a couple of years and have never actually used, I realize how extremely limiting eliminating dairy and eggs can be. If you say no to dairy, you say no to vegetarian staples like frittattas and quiches and many, many breads, and casseroles with melty cheese on top, and mac and cheese, and blue cheese (my fave!). Sigh. So for now, I will eat less.
Among the items in my cart today, I bought:
Nutritional Yeast (the new Parmesan?)
Organic Acorn Squash (which I will stuff with a quinoa pilaf for tomorrow’s dinner)
Almond Milk (it’s worth a shot – I already know I despise soy and rice milk)
Organic ramen noodles for a quick and easy lunch
Love’s Veggie/Hummus Wraps (the BEST! – I’ve been addicted to them for years)
Frozen So Decadent Coconut Milk Fudge Bars
Organic Dates Rolled in Shredded Coconut: Don’t know why, but the sum of these ingredients is so much greater than the parts. Absolutely addictive!
Braggberry Dressing and Marinade
A couple of the dishes I am looking forward to making this week and next:
Jasmine Rice Cakes with Thai Vegetable Curry
Cheesy Skillet Polenta and Eggplant Bake (Not vegan, of course)
Quick Black Bean Soup with Avocado
Something in the slow cooker to make use of the half-dozen bags of lentils (all kinds) that I found in the pantry