Tag Archives: goals

year of the pie–i haven’t forgotten

21 Feb

I told you back in January how I was All About the Pie this year. And then I pretty much went radio silent. And then you were probably like, “Oh look, McPolish made a promise about baked goods she doesn’t intend to keep—AGAIN.” Or you probably thought, “Oh sure. Big goals. NO action. Typical McPolish. AGAIN.”

And that is where you are WRONG, my friends. I am ALL ACTION.

For pie, at least.

Granted, I just barely got January’s pie off the ground, literally whipping it up on the last day of the month, but I did it. And while the only thing I have to prove to you that I did it is a terrible photo and the glowing accolade of my six-year-old nephew who isn’t terribly discerning when it comes to baked goods so long as they are sugar filled and no one tattles on him if he has a second piece when his mom isn’t looking, it’s safe to say my first pie was a success.

Kind of.

The filling and topping were a success. How could they not be? The filling was a decadent chocolate pudding-like creation. The topping was whipped cream. How does a person not like those things, separately or combined?

But the crust was meh.

Admittedly, it was store bought, and lacking in proper cooking instructions. (Proper baking temperature? Amount of time for parbaking? Bueller?) But it was the best I could do under the circumstances, seeing as how I still haven’t located my rolling pin and thus firmly believed I could not make a pastry crust. And more admittedly, I spent most of the month of January avoiding thinking about pie, pushing it off “until I find my rolling pin,” because the rolling pin was so key. You can’t make pie without a rolling pin! Because you need the rolling pin to make the crust! Except for all those other pie recipes that don’t require a pastry crust! But F those pies! I needed to make a pie with a pastry crust and I didn’t have a rolling pin and finding it required actually looking for it and it was more fun to just think about looking for it than actually digging through boxes.

And then the next thing I knew it was January 31st and I still hadn’t made the pie and I was all, “Awesome, totally screwing my goals from the word go! Again! Wheeeee!” But then I had a talk with myself and I was like, “Girl, just go get the damn store bought crust and make the damn pie and stop damn sabotaging yourself and don’t be an asshole.*”

IMG_20190131_214248_940.jpg

Terrible photo. Delicious pie. 

So I went to the damn store and I bought the damn crust and I made a damn chocolate cream pie from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe and it was damn delicious. A damn success all around if you ask me.

One month down, 11 to go.

*You should know that most of my pep talks with myself involve me telling myself not to be an asshole.

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time stamp

10 Jan

I love a New Year for its no-time-like-the-present attitude toward trying new things. My new thing is pie.

I also love a New Year for its no-time-like-the-present attitude toward ditching old things. (No, I don’t mean half the crap that’s sitting in our basement.) (Well, I do mean that, but that’s a different kind of ditching old things.) It’s a time to reflect and think about all those things in your life you really don’t like, and decide you’re not going to waste time on them anymore.*

Ahem.

Things I don’t have time for anymore:

  1. Negativity. There’s enough of it in the world already. I don’t need to be adding to it, and neither do you.
  2. Smoothies. I don’t understand their point for adults. Is it to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet? Because I get quite a lot already. A friend suggested I use it as a way to get more vegetables in my toddler, which I can support, but turns out he wanted nothing to do with it and asked for his sixteenth granola bar of the morning instead. Milkshakes I understand (delicious). Smoothies? Not so much. They just make me hungrier.
  3. One-sided political arguments. I don’t care which side you’re on. If you can’t articulate the pros and cons of both sides of a political debate, then stop talking.
  4. (Sadly) Wine after 9:30 pm. It’s like the clock strikes 9:30 and all of a sudden any glass of wine I may start has the makings of a wholly blergh feeling the next morning. And there are much better ways to spend my morning, like bleary-eyed and confused, and full of longing for breakfast tacos.

 

I figure by cutting these things out of my life, I will gain back at least three hours every year. And you know what I can do with those three hours? Things I enjoy doing. Like reading a book. Or making pie.** Or having a glass of wine before it’s dark out.

The possibilities are endless.

 

*Though honestly, any time is a good time to start things or end things. It doesn’t have to be the New Year. It can be a Tuesday in July if that’s when the spirit moves you. Who am I to say when you should feel reflective or will be ready to make a change?

**Possibly. Seeing as how I haven’t yet made pie, I might hate it. You just never know.

checking in

12 Jul

It’s July, which by my math and calendar* means we are more than halfway through the year. Which means that seven months ago we all lolled about on our couches in a fog of cheese and leftover cookies and made a bunch of promises to ourselves, the universe, and our dog that we vaguely intended to keep, though in the far corner of our brains knew would be packed away like so many boughs of holly by February 5.

So! How are those New Year’s Goals** working out for you? Has anybody actually tackled any? Have any actually lasted beyond Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday?

Ahem.

waves raised hand wildly

Yes, actually, I have. And yes, actually, they have.

And yes, I’m totally tooting my own horn.

(toot! toot!)

How can I not? It’s not every year—or any year, for that matter—that I can actually say I have successfully completed or am successfully in the process of completing my New Year’s Goals. Or completing anything, really. (What? Mine is a world of inspired intentions.) So I’m going to celebrate the shit out of these.

Goal 1: Make one new ice cream flavor a month

What’s the point of having an ice cream maker if you don’t actually use it? Ever since I received this kitchen appliance two Christmases ago, I’ve had a steady stream of homemade ice cream go through my kitchen, much to Swede’s happiness. But this year I felt like I needed to expand my ice cream horizons, and put some of my Pinterest pins to the test.

And now this poor ice cream maker doesn’t know what’s hit it. Entirely possible I may blow out the motor by August.

I’ve made seven new flavors so far this year (I made two in March, because it was my birthday month and…well, it was my birthday month is the best reasoning I can come up with) (then again, do I really need a reason to make two new ice cream flavors in one month?). Some were better than others, but even the ones that were only meh were still good.

January: Red velvet ice cream with a cream cheese swirl

February: Brown sugar bourbon ice cream

March: Creamsicle ice cream; lemon mascarpone ice cream

April: Baklava ice cream

May: Mint chocolate chip (such a classic flavor, yet one I’d never actually made)

June: White chocolate blackberry

Our favorite has been the brown sugar bourbon flavor, with the lemon mascarpone a very close second. Tell your friends.

 

Goal 2:

<crickets>

<twiddles thumbs>

Huh.

Totally thought I had accomplished one of the other goals on my list.

No?

Okay! Just the one goal then. But! That’s one more thing I’ve done/am doing. Let me just extend my Go Go Gadget arms and pat myself on the back again.

Well done, me.

 

So as to be completely transparent, you should know that for this one goal I can claim as successful (so far), there are at least 63 that have been failed somewhat and terribly.

Write how many words a month on the novel I’ve been thinking about for 10 years? Okay, I’ve written some. I’ll give myself partial credit.

Exercise how often? Huh. Not so much.

Make fresh pasta using the pasta maker we were given at our wedding shower two years ago? Actually, I attempted that one, only to have the motor on our KitchenAid mixer burn out. We have the parts to fix it, we just…have yet to fix it.

But that one! That one goal! I’m totally making it on my ice cream goal!

I encourage you all to look back at your own statements of intent, your New Year’s Goals, or whatever you want to call them. Did they fall by the wayside? Are they even valuable or interesting goals to you anymore? If they are, restart them. Give them a go. See how far you get. If they’re not, screw ‘em. Don’t waste your time busting your ass toward a goal you couldn’t give a hoot about. What’s the point in that? If there’s something more intriguing you want to work toward, why aren’t you doing it? Do it! Do it now! Because that’s the thing—no one says your yearly or monthly or daily goals have to start the first of the year. There are 365 days in a year, you guys,*** and any day, any day at all, is a good day to start.

*You may want to double-check me on that one. Math and calendars have never been my strong suit.

**I call them goals because resolutions are just asking to be broken.

***Seriously, check me on that one.

2017: wtf?

4 Jan

Ask five random people, and at least seven of them will tell you that 2016 fucking sucked.

And it did. There seemed to be an amped up number of shitstorms, celebrity deaths (of celebrities that we really, really liked) and political ire and just all-around awfulness from the beginning to the end of 2016. And those are just the things that we experienced collectively, in public. That’s not even diving into the shit year that a lot of people experienced in their personal lives.

It was not all bad—for me, at least. I had a beautiful, healthy baby, which pretty much eclipsed everything else. What’s more, eight close friends and family members also had beautiful, healthy babies. Eight! That’s nine total! Throughout all the bullshit, nine new lives came into this world, nine new little souls are here and bringing unconditional joy and love. When they sleep through the night, anyway.

2016 was such a roller coaster of a year, it’s hard to not let it bleed over into 2017. It’s hard to look at the 12 months stretched before you, completely blank and ready to be colored in, when you’re still wiping the paint off your hands from the previous year.

2017, WTF are we going to do with you?

We’re going to live, goddammit. We’re going to do what Danny Kaye said, and throw all the paint we can at it. Some of that paint may be from last year; so be it. It will mix with the new paint and create new colors, hopefully some original ones we’ve never seen before.

We’ll hopefully not forget the flagrant disregard for normalcy that 2016 showed us, and we’ll hopefully use that to rebuild 2017 into a monstrously extraordinary year.

Pick up a brush. Or a crayon. A marker. Colored pencil. Your choice.

It’s time.

2016: yeah, okay, use it

20 Jan

Something you should know about me: I’m not really a “yes” person.

Which is kind of confusing, I know, because I often have a hard time saying no to things.

But hear me out. Better yet, ask Swede, he’ll tell you—87 percent of the time when he’s all, “We should get pizza for dinner!” or “We should buy a farm in Michigan!” or “Let’s get another cat!” I’m immediately all, “NO.”

In essence, I can be a bit of a fun-sponge.

But often, about ten minutes later (sometimes more, sometimes less), after an idea is proposed, I come around to it.

YES! Let’s DO get pizza for dinner! Screw healthy eating for a night!

YES! Let’s BUY that farmland in Michigan because that actually sounds quite peaceful and bucolic and lovely!

YES! Let’s….wait, no. Still no. F no, we are not getting another g-d cat. And you know what? That’s something the current cats and I actually agree upon.

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Agrees that there is no more room in this home for another cat. More booze, yes. More cats, no. 

So I guess I’m not a total fun-sponge, just an initial one, might be a better way of putting it. It’s not a part of me that I really like about myself, but it’s also a part of me that I know probably won’t change, or at least won’t change easily. (Mainly because it stems from my dislike of change. Even though change is inevitable. And once I get used to it, I do tend to enjoy it. Mostly. I guess it depends.) (It’s really weird being in my head, you guys.)

ANYWAY, I was thinking about this characteristic of mine as I was thinking about the year ahead, and what did I want my word to be? Taking all of this into consideration, I concluded that a mantra function better than a word. And for 2016, my mantra is going to be:

Yeah, Okay.

Gripping!

While I may never be a yes-woman, I find that I can get cozy with hesitant agreement. I like it because it buys me time and space to think about whatever idea has been presented, and determine if it’s really the right thing for me before I write it off.

So 2016? Will be the year of Yeah, Okay. It’s stronger and more change-confronting than a “maybe” but not quite as scary as “HELLS YEAH, MOTHERF*&KERS!” And more important, it fits me just right at this point in my life, and still allows me to grow.

But Wait, There’s More

I wouldn’t be a McPolish if I only took on one mantra for the year, now would I?

(Can you have more than one mantra? Does having multiple mantras defeat the purpose of mantras?)

Inspired by this post I also decided to adopt “Use It!” to fuel my way through this year. This is also inspired by the fact that in the very recent past Swede and I lost out on a couple hundred bucks in gift cards, and are still pretty pissed about it. Why did we lose out? Because we’re (I am) dumb. And also because we (I) were (was) all, “Let’s save them for something special!”

And then we never used them because WTF even constitutes “special”?

Gaaaaahhhhh.

So all that shit I’ve been saving because it’s “special”? F–k it. I’m using the fancy lotion. On the daily. I’m spending that Amazon gift card. On shelf dividers for towels. And so help me, Mary Mother of God, Interwebers if you come over to my house we will use the f-ing Waterford crystal goblets we got for our wedding because they are beautiful and I don’t care if it’s a “just” a Tuesday and you want to drink a milk out of them.

Because you know what? This is life and it’s the only one you’ve got. And if that’s not special enough for you, then I don’t know what is.

Now That That’s All Settled

Do you have a word or a phrase you’d like to help shape your 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

 

 

 

 

going for the goal 2013: how is it april, and this is only #2?

10 Apr

Back in like, September or something, when sunshine and warmer weather still existed on a consistent basis, I trekked out to the Morton Arboretum with Sister #1, my brother-in-law, and the Chicken Nugget and Ronnie Bass to take some family photos.

You know why?

Because Aunt Molly is awesome like that. And mildly better than Sears Portrait Studio.

A couple of months later, Sister #1 and brother-in-law very kindly took Swede and me out to dinner as a thank you for the photo shoot. Granted, Swede wasn’t there for the photo shoot, but he did later ooh and ahh appropriately over the photos, and that, as we all know, is an essential contribution to my photography process as an Artiste.

Or something.

Whatever.

Anyway, the point is they treated us to a marvy little spot in downtown Oak Park, that I just have to tell you about.

Going for the Goal 2013

Number Two: Marion Street Cheese Market

Pros:

The booze. Swede was stoked to learn that Marion Street Cheese Market (MSCM) had a good selection of beers on tap. When we were there, a few local breweries, like Revolution, were available, which made Swede happy, along with some others he wanted to try.

So many beers, so little time.

For me, I was stoked to see a variety of wine and champagne flights on the menu. I do love a good flight. Sister #1 and I chose the Sparkletown flight, because, Hi. It’s called Sparkletown.* And I want to live there forever.

 SAMSUNG

*And in my head (and mayhaps out loud) I kept saying, “This! Is! SPARKLETOWN!” in the voice of the guy who introduces Jeopardy.

Writing on the menus. It may be childish, but I love when restaurants encourage you to write and take notes on their menu. Especially a place like MSCM, where you’re trying multiple offerings and small plates, and the selection is big—you need to remember in some way, shape, or form which cheeses and/or pates and/or charcuteries you want to taste, amirite? Plus it makes me feel less bad about defacing property, which I’m wont to do whether you encourage me or not. Also, if you’re bored, you can always use the menus to play MASH. And that’s never a bad thing. (Not that I was bored at MSCM; I was in good company. But say you went with a person or people who sucked? See? Then the write upon menus would be your savior.)

Cons:

Camped seating. As with Gaetano’s, MSCM’s tables seemed really squashed together to me. Is this becoming a “thing” in restaurants? Where we all sit in each others’ laps to enjoy a meal? Because if so, I may have to call off this project and eat exclusively at home in my comparatively lusciously and exorbitantly spacious kitchen table chairs.

Lighting. There’s a very good chance that my overall vision issues in this place were due to my trip to Sparkletown. Nonetheless, MSCM is not the best-lit restaurant I’ve ever been in, which probably makes me sound like an old fogey when I’m all, “What’s that say? I can’t see so good.” I just want to be able to read the menu clearly, Interwebers, so I can properly decipher what kind of cheese I should order to shove down my gullet next. A little more wattage, if you would, please, MSCM. And hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!

On a scale of one to go? If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a gouda place for a bite eat.

Two down, eleven to go.

SAMSUNG

productive goal-keeping, or, if you’d like fries with that

21 May

Swede and I spent a month in DC this winter, and the night before we were to head back to Chicago, we happened to be cruising up Connecticut Avenue, just short of my old ‘hood.

“Medium Rare,” I pointed out to him as we drove past a strip of restaurants. “I hear it’s supposed to be good.”

“Want to go?” Swede asked. “We can go for dinner tonight.”

You guys, it’s true. I DO have a type. I obviously have taken to dating geniuses.

And also, five bonus points for spontaneous dinner outings!

Amirite?

Is there anything better?

Maybe spontaneous popcorn popping and movie night.

It’s a toss up, really.

We called a couple of friends to meet us and our awesome friend The Republican responded with great enthusiasm, as it seems that Medium Rare is one of her new favorite restaurants.

And after our visit there, I can understand why.

Restaurant #2 of 12: Medium Rare 

Pros:

The Food. Now obviously, as I discussed with The Publican, I am wholly on board with meat. But unlike the Publican, Medium Rare specializes in one dish: Steak frites. And they do a superb job, simply superb. They butter you up with some crusty French bread, then serve up a lightly dressed mixed green salad, both of which are delicious, but then, then they get to the true highlight of the meal.

They’ll bring out your steak—cooked to order, of course—in two helpings, starting with one portion, drizzled with their secret sauce that is savory and smooth, slightly creamy, yes?, and essentially a tray of fries. (Which, of course, are made even better when dragged through the secret sauce.) And when you polish that off (And you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.) they bring you out the second portion of your steak. And then you can roll around in beefy ecstasy. (Again: you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.)

Whether or not you’ll be up for dessert, well, I can’t really say. We passed, but that’s not to say that the selection wasn’t tempting. I was just full of beef and didn’t want to ruin my steak high.

The Price. All that food I just mentioned? (Minus dessert.) $20. Yes, you read that correctly. Beverages not included. I’m not really sure you can find a better deal at such quality in DC.

Brick Walls. I’m a sucker for brick interior brick walls. There. I said it. And being that the restaurant is at ground level, the brick walls and open(ish) kitchen create an intimate environment.

Cons:

Seating. The tables themselves are fine (though a bit on top of each other). My con on this one is that they won’t let you sit until all members of your party are there, which I find incredibly annoying and off-putting. As a patron, it tells me that you either think I’m cheap and I’m going to sit there drinking water for an hour waiting for the final member of my party to arrive or you only want me to be in your restaurant for as little time as possible so you can turn as many tables as possible. Neither of these are feelings you want to blanket your patrons with, and both are insulting, leaving me feeling like more chattel rather than a welcomed diner.

Service. At least, our server, whose name I’ve forgotten. But what I remember is that he was mildly surly and had a vague air of annoyance any time he had to come over to our table.

Service can really make or break a restaurant for me, and if the food was not so scrumptious, I probably wouldn’t return to Medium Rare. But the food is that good, and well worth plunking down $30 (tax, tip, all that stuff), and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

On a scale of one to Go?

Go.

Right now, in fact.

You won’t be sorry.

Take me with you?

Or maybe I’ll just see you there.