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Clean Living: Beets!

So today I was pretty close to my childhood goal of becoming Wonder Woman (I’m still pissed over not getting those underoos). I got the kids to school on time. I made beds, picked up toys, vacuumed, folded laundry, ironed the wrinkly stuff, then actually put it all away, went to the dry cleaner, popped into Walgreen’s for sunscreen and spot remover. I even exercised!! O.k. only a little, but every little bit counts.

Then the kids came home and the wheels fell off. Seriously, when I’m home with everyone by myself I operate at a level just sane enough to keep me out of a padded room, but not together enough to really qualify as competent. I’m pretty sure I’m going to crack a tooth at any moment from the constant clenching as I remind myself to count to ten, 20, 30…or whatever number it takes to keep me from screaming and jumping up and down while tearing out my hair in frustration.

Honestly, walk out into your yard…find the nearest weed…then tell it repeatedly to put on its shoes. Your success rate should be about even with mine. Then throw in the whining, crying, screeching refrains of “He hit me!!! I had it first!!!” and the ever popular catch all “Mommy! Mommy! MOOOOOOMMMMYYYYY!” and then wonder why I’m counting down until college.

I had a recent comment from a long lost relative, Dru, who asked if it was wrong to wish for nothing but time alone on her birthday. To which I offer a big, fat “NOOOOO!” with a cherry on top. I will flatly tell you that I daydream of vacationing alone. Of having the free time to take a community enrichment class in photography, creative writing, asian cooking, fiber arts or some other topic of interest to no one in the family but me. If that’s wrong, then count me among the guilty.

Don’t think I don’t love my boys. I count having children as one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. But that being said, every now and again — and by every now and again, I mean as often as you can possibly swing it — you have to do a little something for yourself.

Today I made beet salad knowing that only I would truly appreciate it. At this point, you may be thinking, “Jodi, that is a truly pathetic attempt at pampering yourself.” Perhaps. But it was the only “just for me” thing I could work in today, aside from my 15 minutes of Yoga this morning.

Or you may just be thinking, “Ugh! Beets! Those things taste like dirt!” But cast your childish preconceptions aside and give em a try Jodi’s way. Honestly…these things are awesome.

Peel and cube 4 beets. Toss with 2 T. olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and some fresh thyme from your kitchen garden. (Don’t have a kitchen garden? Well that’s an easy fix. Even if you don’t have a yard, container gardens work great for herbs and can live quite happily on even the smallest sunny balcony. My personal must haves would include Basil, Thyme and Rosemary, but you could throw in some spicy Oregano or a few bunches of Chives to round it out. This also gives me something to do when I want to ship one of my kids to Morocco, as dead-heading and trimming my kitchen garden gives me an excuse to walk out the back door and take some time to calm down before hurling myself once more into the breach.) Bake your beets at 425 for 12 -15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, place in a small bowl and set aside to cool.

When you’re opening the oven for that midpoint beet stir, pop in a pan of walnuts to toast. Take 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces, toss with 1 T. olive oil and a little salt and pepper and let them roast for 6 to 7 minutes. Then dump them in the bowl with the beets to cool off.

Thinly slice 1/2 a red onion, or my personal favorite — a sweet Vidalia onion, and toss in with the beets and walnuts.

For the dressing, combine 2 parts olive oil with 2 parts Red Wine Vinegar and 1 part real Maple Syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste and shake or whisk to combine. Pour over your beet/walnut combo and allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, place a portion over some baby spinach leaves, washed and trimmed, and crumble an ounce of soft goat cheese over the top. Heaven on a plate. As expected, the kids wanted no part of it tonight, but were happy to eat slivers of goat cheese by itself. So everybody wound up happy in the end. Always the goal.

I realize making yourself a beet salad may not be your idea of indulgence, but my point is…do what you gotta do to survive. Recruit a baby sitter and go get yourself a manicure. Pop in your earbuds and rock out to Lady Gaga while they watch one more soul-sucking episode of Barney (or worse, “Make Room for Noddy” — what sadist came up with that one?). When all else fails, hide in the bathroom and eat chocolate while you giggle maniacally at the knowledge that you aren’t going to share. Not One. Single. Bite!

Much love to all my friends in the trenches. We will survive!!

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5 Responses

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  1. Susan L says

    Whatever it takes to survive. I’m a person who needs time to myself to crave and between working full time and two children I never got a lot as they were growing up. It really got me down and by 8 at night I was so tired I literally couldn’t function. PS Love the beet salad … absolutely one of my favourite salads. I blogged about my favourite way of doing it only a short time ago (http://itsthethingsthatmakeyougommmm.blogspot.com/2010/05/ruby-tuesday-good-things.html).

  2. alonna says

    Make way for Noddy is fun for a while but the episode when he ties Martha Monkey to the hood of his car on a mattress and drives thu town to get her out of his house is over the top. Who didn’t catch that one in the editing room?

  3. jodi says

    Alonna — I truly had no idea of the hijinks going on in Noddy’s world. The theme song alone is enough to make me run screaming from the room, but it’s totally like kiddy crack.

  4. amy says

    You know what I think I like best about beets? The way it looks like you murdered someone in the kitchen.

    Also, I like how asparagus makes pee smell like asparagus. I’m easily amused, I guess.

    PS: I’m cooking beets now. Farmers’ market locally grown beets. YUM!

  5. Kate says

    I’m sitting here giggling through the comments, and going “yes!! Yes!! YES!!!!” to the post – you HAVE to have time for yourself here and there, lest you turn into Scary Dragon Woman Who Has No Time For Hugs – and the more chocolate you can keep to yourself the less cranky you will be :)
    And I agree with Amy too – asparagus wee is weirdly amusing!



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