I’m Calling This Monday

Thursday, Dec 22

Yes, yes, I know the rest of the world is calling today ‘Thursday’, but that’s a mere detail.  For me, it’s Monday, the day I announce this week’s winners: 
Lisa Murray and Cassandra.  Congratulations to both of you.  A new contest is underway (well underway, actually), with the usual rules.  If you’ve commented this week, you’re entered.  Two winners will be chosen at random, notified by Super Jen, and announced on the blog this coming Monday.  (Or whichever day I decide to call Monday.)  Our winners will receive an autographed copy of my latest book.
I can barely believe it’s almost Christmas.  It will be a quiet one here on the Triple L, but that’s okay; I’ve never been all that into hectic holidays anyway.  🙂  Wendy and Jeremy are traveling toward San Diego, and having a wonderful road trip in their rented RV.  The dogs, Margie and Lily, are loving every minute–playing in the tide, visiting restaurants where doggie meals are served on souvenir frisbees (I kid you not), and just generally rollin’ on down the road.  I advised the kids to take their time and enjoy the journey (literally), because it might be a long time before they can ramble in quite the same way again.  I plan to visit my mom and will have Christmas dinner with Mary Ann and Larry (aka the Canadian Wrangler)–and get right back to work on NORTH OF EDEN.  I’m SO into this book.
We’ve got snow here in the Spokane area, and it’s been very cold.  The furnace that heats the main floor was out for more than a week, and that was okay at first, since I sleep and work upstairs, anyway.  After a while, though, it started to get to me, so I was very happy when the men from Lowe’s appeared bright and early Monday morning and put in a brand new unit.  Now, it’s toasty–and believe me, I’m grateful.  
I have a big pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove as I write this–seems like just the right weather for it, and I’ve been keeping a cold at bay for a while now.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m a freestyle cook–I got out my biggest stockpot, browned celery and onions in a little butter (gotta love this Paleo lifestyle), then added 2 whole chickens, a bunch of herbs, alderwood smoked salt, pepper corns, LOTS of garlic, and a few other items just for good measure.  I like to add Lipton’s Onion Soup mix to every savory dish I make, along with garlic–if I were forced to list measurements, etc., though, I’d be in big trouble.  I’ve been making gluten-free bread, too–I guess you could say I’m one of those modified Paleo people.  I use coconut sugar in coffee, along with a creamer called Nutpods–it’s a mixture of almond and coconut milk and it’s really good.  Giving up my Splenda was a challenge, but I’m committed; artificial sweeteners are wrong on so many levels; and, as Jenni quipped, it does start with the word ‘artificial’.  🙂  Yesterday, before Weight Watchers, I took a gulp of diet cola and just about gagged, so I guess I’m over the hard part, where Splenda and its ilk are concerned.  I like to say I do an 80-20 Paleo thing–and I’d lost 3.6 pounds when I weighed in at WW, so I guess I’m doing something right.  
After an earlier blog, one of you mentioned that Paleo is hard to stay with, and I guess that would be true, if I were going for the whole 100% instead of 80-20, but, as promised, the cravings disappeared after a few days.  I rarely eat more than two meals in a day, and I often find that one is enough, if I have a snack or two.  I think the reason Paleo, Whole 30 and Clean Eating work for so many people is simply that these plans focus on Real Food, not ‘frankenfoods’, as many members of the community refer to processed products.  Paleo folks believe, and I agree, that the low-fat, high-carb movement was a disaster; it’s about taking the time to buy and prepare actual food–what a concept.  Back in the day, my mom–and every other woman I knew–would have been horrified at the idea of serving her family a meal-in-a-box, or a bag, or frozen in little compartments.  No way.  We ate vegetables either straight from the garden or preserved from last year’s garden.  We had venison, chicken, beef–mostly hamburger–and ham or turkey at major holidays.   
Before anyone raises their virtual hand and says women had more time back then, because so many of them didn’t work outside the home, let me clarify a thing or two.  My mother did work, as did the mothers of my friends and cousins; we had a motel, so every day there were rooms to clean, besides all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, helping with homework, etc.  A number of women had outside jobs–I had an aunt who pulled green-chain in a sawmill, and another who built a successful career selling cosmetics.  Others worked in the office at school,  or at the post office.  In other words, they worked VERY hard–and they still cooked.  And guess what?  Obesity was very, very rare in those days–I only recall a couple of significantly overweight people in our town of 500, and they had other physical problems that exacerbated the problem.
And have you seen the serving sizes in most restaurants today?  I swear, my mother served the main course to three kids and a husband who worked sixteen hours a day and was hungry when he sat down to eat on a platter about the same size as one person’s meal in a Mexican place or a pancake house today.  It breaks my heart to think of so much waste, when so many people are going hungry in the world.  How much is enough??  
I truly believe many of our modern health problems come from eating processed foods, additives, and preservatives.  Trust me, I know what it is to be busy, and I’m not trying to criticize anybody.  What I discovered, though, was that cooking is fun, even relaxing, and it certainly gives one a sense of accomplishment.  With all the recipes available online and in fine cookbooks, meals don’t have to take hours and hours to prepare, and there’s a lot to be said for preparing things in bulk on a day off, and freezing good, nourishing food to be enjoyed on a busier day.      
I guess I’d better step down off my soapbox, shut down this computer, and head downstairs.  I have soup to eat–and freeze.  🙂

About Linda

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West.

Raised in Northport, Washington, Linda pursued her wanderlust, living in London and Arizona and traveling the world before returning to the state of her birth to settle down on a horse property outside Spokane.

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