Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Normal...

Well, the Tree is gone. Lights are all taken down. Blow-Up-Santa-On-A-Harley is back in his box... Things are still a bit disheveled and the garage is a disaster area b/c all the Christmas Sh*t needs to go back up in the rafters, but the Normal Routine is starting to return....

And this is the week that The World returns to Work.

My job is such that, normally, the very last couple of weeks of the year are D-E-A-D. All of my New-Year Implementations are *supposed* to be complete and I get a couple weeks of downtime to file away last year's stuff.

This year, unfortunately, I didn't get that "break" (too many clients waited 'til the Last Minute to get their implementations rolling). And now things are back in full-swing again


Add to it, the Christmas Cold/Flu on top of the General Holiday Madness... And the fact that DH's company was on shut-down - which meant he was here 24/7 for a week-and-a-half (Love him dearly - don't get me wrong - but there is NO ONE on the PLANET that I want to be with 24/7! Not even MYSELF!!!)...

I was pretty much reaching the end of my rope (Stress-wise!).

Yep - I'm pretty-much ready to go back to my normal routine!

So today was a WAH (Work-At-Home) Day, and Rog went into the office. I suspect many of my clients are slogging through emails and generally getting back-into the daily grind. Although (lucky me!) I did have three conference calls scheduled today. I got through 'em, but all I could think about was how much I enjoyed having the house All To Myself!!!

Even the dogs settled back into their normal routine: sleeping in the guest-room most of the day - as opposed to playing the "Let-Me-In/Let-Me-Out" Game 542,968 times a day!!! (Pandemonium reigns supreme when Papa's Home!).

I did manage to squeeze out a few loads of laundry; Cleaned the kitchen; Started a batch o' Smokey Pork Roast... And - Get This! - I vaccuumed up the Christmas-Tree-Poop and started putting the living room back together!

Yes, vaccuuming - for me - is a Big Freakin' Deal!

June Cleaver, I ain't! (That's the Understatement of the Year!).

Funny Story there: When I first met Roger, he had a maid who would come in once a month to tackle the dusting, vaccuuming, toilet-scrubbing, yada-yada stuff. He *did* do his own laundry back then (although you'd never guess that now - based on the whining I hear when he's about to run out of clean undies: "I'm gonna hafta go COMMANDO!!!"). Well, when I first moved in, I started tackling some of the light-duty household chores. First was laundry (And yes, I regret that decision - to this day!!!). And I'd do a light wipe-down of the kitchen couple-three times a day. And, over time, I became the Dishwasher Fairy who made the dishes magically load themselves into the dishwasher - and also caused them to levitate and make their way back into the cupboards... (To be fair - I *did* pretty-much take over the kitchen when I started bringing in matching dishes and flatware and cutlery that actually *cut,* and cookware that didn't flake-off Teflon into our food...).

Well, a short while after I'd moved in - but before Rog began to fully grasp the concept of learning how to express one's desires in a manner that was inoffensive to the recipient (This is an ongoing lesson, by the way. Rog is a notorious "blurter" and doesn't always - ummm - THINK before he speaks!). He was still in Kindergarten as far as that lesson goes, but I *do* applaud his efforts in this particular instance!

Anyway, after I'd moved in, Rog decided to try to broach the subject of Aida, the maid, and was there any way that I would be his Domestic Goddess/Dream-Come-True, right?! It's kinda hard to relay verbally b/c there were lots of non-verbal messages going on in this exchange. But the conversation went something along the lines of this:

"Well, I have a maid, Aida, who comes in once a month..."

"Really? That's nice." I replied.

"And, well...." [I can just tell that he's DYING for me to jump in and say "Oh no, Dear - *I'll* take care of the house!"] "Well, there's two of us here, now..." [Pregnant pause]

"Uh huh." [I have mastered the Art of "Denseness," where appropriate"]

"Well. With two of us here, things get a little messier now." [Pause, yet again... His mind is ticking away and he's realizing that things aren't going as planned!]

"Uh huh." [Mama didn't raise no fool!]

"Well, I think I'll have Aida start coming in every three weeks instead..." [Good Answer!!!]

So yeah, we still have Aida take care of the scubby-vaccuming-dusting chores. Yeah, I work-at-home most of the time - but the keyword there is "WORK." Yes, I have a fulltime JOB! Yeah, I can squeeze in laundry while I'm on conference calls and whatnot - but I definitely don't have the time for full-on Housekeeping (and, quite frankly, I suck at it anyway!!!) (Just ask my mom!!!). But since Aida's not gonna be here for a couple more weeks, I figured I'd break down and vaccuum the living room :::GASP!:::

So that was MY excitement for the day! Well that and making my pork roast.

* * * * *
Here, I'll even share the recipe (Straight from my Rival Crock-Pot Booklet)!

The recipe is actually for "Hickory Smoked Brisket" - but I use it for Pulled-Pork instead.

3-4 lb Beef Brisket [or Pork Shoulder or Butt Roast]
1/4 cup Liquid Smoke [Hickory or Mesquite - whatever you prefer]
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp Onion Powder

Place meat on a large sheet of aluminum foil. If there's a fatty-side, make sure the fatty side is on top (you want the fat to drip-down and cook *into* the meat to keep it tender).

Sprinkle with seasonings and pour liquid smoke on top. Wrap the foil around the meat, seal it up and put it in the Crock-Pot. Cook on low 8-12 hours, or High 4-6 hours.

I would think that if you were doing brisket (I never have!), you'd stick to the directions and when it was all done, you'd remove the roast. Slice and serve warm with juices over each slice.

So here's where I get all creative:

I used 3 cloves of fresh, minced garlic and 4 Tbs onion flakes (in lieu of the powdered stuff). And tossed in a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary (discard before serving). Also, about halfway thru the cooking, I added chopped fresh onion (about half of a large onion). I also added cooked bacon pieces.

I generally overcook the hell out of it, til the meat falls apart. Today's roast was almost 6 lbs (and had to be squished forcibly, into my 5 quart crock-pot) so I'm cooking on High for 8-10 hours [it ended up taking 9 hours]. Once it reaches the "starting to fall apart" stage, I'll remove the foil and dump the roast in the crock pot. If it's too liquid/fatty, I'll use a turkey baster to suck out the excess (set aside, in a bowl, in case I need to add it back in)

Once it really starts to fall apart, I'll grab a knife and a fork and pull it apart into little chunks. Dig out and discard the bone (if applicable). Then I usually pour-in tons of BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's Hot 'n Spicy mixed, half-n-half, with K.C. Masterpiece Hickory or Mesquite) and let it simmer for another hour. Makes AWESOME pulled-pork sandwiches!!!

This time, since I'm on my Low-Carb Kick, I won't cook it with BBQ sauce (might add a little drizzle on top, later).

Or - one recipe I'm dying to try (haven't, yet!) can be found on Jenny's Blood Sugar 101 page: Indispensable Low Carb Treats.

The roast is actually quite tasty - even without the BBQ sauce!

Oh, and for a variation on that whole recipe: I've done something similar to make Hawaiian Kahlua Pork. In order to nearly-duplicate the Hawaiian (cooked-in-a-pit) flavor, you need to wrap the roast in (Banana, Canna or Ti) leaves *inside* of the foil and sprinkle it generously with Sea-Salt and Liquid Smoke (Remove the leaves when you take the roast out of the foil).

Optional - you can also add 2 cans of spinach during the last 2 hours of cooking (I've not tried the spinach option myself - so can't comment on it!).

I made Crock-Pot Kahlua Pork, as a side dish, for a BBQ this past summer and got RAVE reviews (from Native Island People and everything!!!)

Anyway, it's deeee-lish and actually pretty easy to make if you're into the Crock-Pot Thing...

* * * * *
Regarding Militant Low-Carbing: I did GREAT the first day. But I'd forgotten that Rog set us up with a lunch-date on Saturday. A former colleague of his, Jerry, got hit HARD with the Bubble-Bust and is currently jobless and homeless. So we took him out to lunch. We went out for BBQ Ribs - but I kinda broke the Militant Low-Carb rule (I suspect Armadillo Willie's Sauce is NOT low-carb!).

I jumped back on the wagon yesterday, but I need to get thru the Three Solid Days of Low-Carb to fully de-tox! I feel like a Zombie right now (Ugh!)

On the Plus Side: For the Militant Low-Carb Days, I've needed NO Bolus insulin AT ALL! And my BG#'s have remained pretty-damned flat (70-130, for the most part). Hell, I might even be able to dial-back on the Basal, at this rate!

* * * * *
DH is home now, so no more blogging now. I'll try to update later!

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