Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Meatloaf and Resolutions

This morning, while waiting for the local appliance store to install our new washer (which died a horrible grinding-metal death the day after Christmas, thank you very much), I stood at the kitchen counter leafing through the latest edition of Sam's Club Healthy Living. It's not like I have nothing else to read in the house (that's another blog post), but there it was...and there I was.

On my next visit to Sam's, I'll be throwing a bottle of krill oil into my cart, for sure. I'm really thinking about buying a juicer and some avocados...maybe the plastic tub of kale, too, but an article on page 43 titled "Cheers to a New You" also caught my eye. If you read my last post, you'll remember that I hate New Year's Eve for a lot of reasons, particularly that damn sparkly ball that makes promises it can't keep. Lists of resolutions come under the broken promises category...okay, okay, sometimes it's been my fault, but sometimes I have to blame the ball.

"Cheers to a New You" (oh, I'd love to be able to order some new parts online!) lists the most popular resolutions according to the University of Scranton's Journal of Psychology, which are listed below with my annotations.

1. Lose Weight
Well, yeah. Welcome to my life, University of Scranton. I've been a Weight Watcher most of my adult life, and I'm going to keep at it until I get it right...or almost right, I guess. My kitchen baker's rack holds at least 10 Weight Watcher cookbooks, and I'm planning to actually use them this year. (To be fair, I have used them a little, and my family likes the meatloaf recipe from the Just Like Home cookbook more than my old family recipe.) Today, my plan is to make one new recipe a week. As I do, I'll share them with you.

2. Get Organized chance. Have you seen my desk at work? I once knew a lady who started the "Four and No More" club in the community where I live (four children, that is). As a mom of four, I was invited to the meetings. One meeting was about getting organized: when her children were all little, she knew if she didn't organize then, she'd never do it, so she put them all in childcare for a few months while she went through the process. Her house was soon basketed, labeled, and streamlined. Each child had a color of towel, so that she'd "know who left the towel on the floor." So, I guess I should say that I missed that organization revolution, and we are an equal opportunity towel-on-the-floor family.

3. Spend Less, Save More

Trying. This could be a creative nonfiction novel, believe me. I'm working on it...the novel, that is. Did I mention that our washer had to be replaced the day AFTER Christmas?

4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

You know, everyday while I make the 50-minute drive to the university where I teach, I talk to God. I like to think that I'm offering prayers of gratitude, but sometimes I feel like I'm bartering. If I let You know how much I appreciate x, maybe You'll let me keep y. Since I got the call that my brother was dead from a gunshot to the brain, I've been a worrier. For me, the intangible and philosophical "What If" has gritty substance. I tend to answer my phone after 9 p.m. with "What's wrong?" I worry about everybody, all the time, because, you know, what if? So....I'm working on worrying less and enjoying more. My oldest daughter has been known to tell me that I don't know how to have fun. I'm like Joe Btsflk with a continuous dark cloud over my head. Yeah, I wish she could have gotten to know the girl who hitchhiked the length of Spain.

5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Really? Do there have to be two of these on the list?

6. Learn Something Exciting

Well, this one is right up my alley. I'm a teacher, for Pete's sake. My inner girl is standing in the Wal-mart Back to School aisle picking pretty notebooks and pens. She's cracking open the new volume of the Trixie Belden or Cherry Ames series. She's conjugating Spanish verbs like a @#&$ chica.
My desk is covered with new materials every semester, but I've been thinking about learning French--just for the je ne sais quoi of it.

7. Quit Smoking

Check! Never really started, well...except for that one pack of Lucky Strikes I smoked in Spain.

8. Help Others With Their Dreams

I deal in dreams. Lucky for me, I get to work with talented young writers on a daily basis, and we dream weave together.

9. Fall in Love

Done...a long time ago. Here I want to write "he's still the one" and "still crazy after all these years," but I'm afraid you might think my cliché disingenuous. All true, dear readers, all true. I'm singing those words right now.

10. Spend More Time with Family

Come home to me, my little ducklings! If only...but we do have Sunday Dinner at our house. Two of my four live in Arkansas and California, but two (and one extra soon to be mine) find themselves at my table most Sundays (sometimes they also do their laundry). When everyone is home as they were for Christmas break, our table overflows with family (mom/editor's note: the outcome of these dinners is not always as warm and fuzzy as I'd like, but, hey, we're family). The rest of the time, I rely on texting, Facetime, and Snapchat (oh, hello there...that's a nice outfit you are wearing to that party!). My preference would be to have them all sleeping upstairs in their footed jammies, but those days don't belong to this episode in my "Cheers to a New You" life.

If meatloaf will help cheer up your new year, here's a great recipe (adapted from the Weight Watchers Just Like Home cookbook).

Better than Jill Sunday's Original Meatloaf Meatloaf
  • 3/4 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground round
  • 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together 1/2 cup ketchup and the next 6 ingredients. Add ground round and oats; mix just to combine. Shape mixture into a loaf, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. (I cover the top of the broiler and the inside pan with foil for easy clean up. Poke holes in the foil on the top of the pan to allow the juices to run into the bottom pan. Spray the top foil.) "Ice" the meatloaf with the remaining ketchup. Bake for 70 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. (Per serving: 242 calories; 7.5 grams fat; l.4 grams fiber; 27.2 grams protein.)

This meatloaf is Blue Plate Sunday approved. Go make some.