New Year Again!

It has been my practice to do a new year’s resolution.  It makes me feel happy so see where I am going in life. It helps me set myself in an adventure in terms of pursuing a career, or something that I desire. It also gives me an indication if I had move on; or if I am still the same, as I add years in my age. But this time, I don’t even know where to begin. As I kept thinking of promises for myself to set me off as a start for the year, I do feel uncomfortable for forcing myself.  “Do I have to do this again?” Then my mind went silent.  “Oh dear, did I just said that to myself?” It is already four in the afternoon.  My husband requested for his favourite meal – “lumpiang shanghai” as the New Year’s Eve dinner.  I have to start cooking for it takes time to wrap these tiny spring rolls. So I left my work desk to the kitchen and started working on our meal; which I know will help me to relax my mind at the same time.

They say women can do multitasking.  This is true to me, as long as I don’t communicate while I do other things. So, I was thinking about my new year’s resolution again.  But this time, I am aware why I cannot create it.  I have to overcome this uninspired feeling that I am having.

It has been a rainy holiday season.  So we had prepared indoor activities to go through the grim weather while enjoying our stay home. There are times when we individually preferred to be alone in our own rooms, preoccupied of things that interests us. We played board or playstation games together.  We also watched the extended version of “The Lord of the Rings” in sections.  I wrapped the filling of the spring roll while watching the last part of “The Lord of the Rings”. We paused watching the movie for dinner.

The meal is a complete success!  Not only Matthew (my son, nearly eight years old) declared that he like it, this is now one of his favourite and he wants it to be his birthday meal.  We also had a good, relaxing family chat during the meal; which it trigger the realization why I am not able to define my new year’s resolution for 2014.

I grew up celebrating my birthday by just having my favourite meal, cooked by my mother. This now a practice in the family, the celebrant must have his favourite dish.  My husband always likes to have curry in the five-minute walk Indian restaurant from home.  And now, my son prefers to have my “lumpiang shanghai” for his birthday dinner.  So now they asked, what about you Angelica, what do you want for your birthday? I said, for presents, I cannot think of anything I would like to have.  For dish…I went silent. It went quite for a while as we all waiting for my answer.  Then I looked at them and answered: “Gosh! I am not sure.  I don’t know.”

I do look forward for Chris’ (my husband) next chicken roast.  But I don’t fancy the tidy up after the meal. Chris had changed how he roasts the bird. He do it low and slow, which keeps the meat from drying but still very soft in the inside and little crispy on the outside.  The rest of the cooking process is still the same: lots of tidy up, which I often do most of it.  To avoid this part to happen on my birthday, I am thinking to try nice Italian restaurant in town called “ASK”.  However, I had improved the recipe of my bolognaise (good basis for tomato-kind sauce) and carbonara (a good base for any white sauce). So I expect to have a better tasting meal than my recipe.  I am worried to be disappointed… That is it! Disappointment is what stopping to define my new desires for the year.

Looking back the years, I have spent the last year improving many little things in myself, family and home.  Looking back to it, I am pleased to admit, that I had done well.

I had been so sick for the first quarter of the year.  When recovered, I was back climbing mountains with my husband and son. I am so lucky to be encouraged cycling and playing badminton by a lady friend.  And because of the suffering I went through during my long illness, I always tried to have a sensible diet.  I am enjoying doing all these things, so I just kept doing it. One day, I notice, my old trousers would not stay on my waist.  So I had a good looked at myself in front of a full size mirror in our hallway… I felt happier.  I am elated to try again my old favorite clothes I wore when I had not been pregnant.  They fit well again.

By taking my son’s comment on comparing my recipe like potato mash recipe with the school ones, I had improved mine and he added this new version to his favorite foods at home.  I have been missing my favorite Filipino dishes, like adobo.
I could cook it in the style I grew up (fatty and oily), but I might need to finish eating it all by myself. Chris does not like oily or fatty foods, so we tend not to cook this kind of dishes, which is a good practice.  So I cooked it to a low fat recipe; and now everyone likes adobo. Last summer, I had successfully made loganberry and honey jam (no pectin). I also improved the recipe of “lumpiang shangai” (small meaty spring rolls).  My husband is inspired with all the experiments I am doing in improving recipes of our daily meals.  So when he cooks a roast meal, he planned to do it differently; and this please us all well. He used to cook the bolagnaise sauce before. He stopped and admitted defeat that my recipe is better. But is now, he is back more often in the kitchen cooking other dishes like toad in the hole. He even tries new recipe of Jamie’s “15 minute meals” – “Golden Chicken, Braised Greens and Potato Gratin”, that it took one and half hour; and he was successful delivering a very delicious late meal. He is challenge to do it again in shorter time. All these home cooking spoils us to eat good food the way we know in the price we control.

Since we had our house extended, home improvement is never ending; and I don’t think it will ever stop.  For the first time I had a looked at things I had done for it; and also imagined, how it was before without it… I had created a lot.  I had save a lot by creating these useful things at home.  I deserve a pat on the back.

I have lost a friend and gain more.  I need to stop beating myself for losing a friend and start appreciating the beauty of the people I start knowing. I shall go out with my friends to have more laughs.

These are all wonderful things done and happened.  For these year, I will continue to do the good things I practice doing for my health, fitness and family.  Life can be simple and enjoyable, if I appreciate it as it comes.

God bless as all!  Enjoy 2014!