Officially, it was the last day of my Spring Festival vacation yesterday. I feel like stomping my feet and huffing, “Nof air,” in a childish voice and pouting.
It was so nice being a unit again (except for our brief time apart when Noah and I had to leave Juan behind at the Thai border because the Thai embassy in China decided to tell the travel agency he could do the visa at the border like the Chinese. So not true.).
We’re generally on opposite schedules and added to it all, Juan doesn’t have two consecutive days off. So, most of the time I feel a bit mussed up, like nothing ever really gets done and we never see enough of each other as a family.
I can’t really complain, because even last semester I was only teaching 18 hours a week (although, if you’ve ever taught you’ve probably already done the math-18 hours might be almost 30 hours of actual work time). But because of our schedules and Noah’s afternoon naps, we really don’t have a lot of time to see each other or do anything – ie., clean.
Again, can’t really complain because Noah likes to clean, too. Although, his English makes it sound like he thinks his mommy and daddy are quite dirty. He still hasn’t learnt his prepositions, so he always tells us he wants to clean us! Anyway, if you have a two year old, you might know that even though they have the best intentions, attention spans are short and toys get dragged out into the living room while brooms and mops have come out to play. When Juan is around, I just send them off into Noah’s bedroom to play.
So, that’s been nice.
And who was the last person you ever heard complain about vacation!?
I’ve been so productive over the past month! I have lots of great blogging ideas, at least three recipes I’m in the throes of perfecting, went to Thailand, started to learn HTML, am reading books on food science, and have taken intensive Chinese lessons to the point that my level may very slowly progressing!
I do think everything will fall into place this semester once we have Noah enrolled in daycare. He has been a little rambunctious the last few weeks, and I suppose it must be cabin fever. He needs to be able to run around on a playground with other children his age. He needs to come home tired and happy to read a book or have the concentration to play Memory without jumping all over the bed. And I want him to learn some Sichuanese.
And I need to feel like a mommy, a teacher, AND a human being. I know this might be a bit of a hot topic amongst mothers, but I need to compartmentalize. I want to be able to be 100 percent there when I spend time with my son, so that means that I need time to do the work that brings home the bacon – you know, so I can make bacon wrapped dates or something, take care of my home making responsibilities, and feel like I’m working towards accomplishing something on my own –learning more, working on this (my other job;)), feeling healthy and finding 30 minutes to exercise in a day…that kind of thing.
Speaking of being healthy, I’ve been trying to eat marginally healthier. I say marginally because a girl needs a little cheese and chocolate every once in a while. It’s called aroma therapy. But seriously, this actually is pretty healthy. And it’s quick. And can be made in large quantities.
It’s got millet, which is a grain that is pretty good for you. And it mixes things up from pasta and rice. It’s got sweet, melt-in-your-mouth roasted pumpkin, fragrant roasted garlic, sesame oil, and lots of fresh cilantro.
You can serve this warm with something like hummus or chicken or caramelized ginger tofu and start getting ready for swimsuit season! Okay, maybe not really get ready for swimsuit season, but you can come home knowing that you’ll have one less thing to do and that you’ll eat well if you make this ahead of time.
I need quick and healthy meal ideas for the next four and a half months, anyone want to point me in the direction of the best deliciously healthy recipe you’ve made in the recent past? Feel free to post a link in the comment section for me.
- Sesame Soy Cilantro Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup+ 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups millet, uncooked
- 4 cups water
- 2 chopped red bell peppers
- 1 chopped yellow bell pepper
- 3 cups 2” cubed pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and fresh cilantro
- Extra salt to taste
- Put a pot of the water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Smash the cloves of garlic, keeping their skins on so they don’t burn in the oven. Put the pumpkin and garlic into a bowl and dress with the olive oil. Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft but not mushy and falling apart.
- Then, add your millet to the water and cook on medium heat until the millet is soft and chewy. If your water evaporates before the grains are fully cooked, then add another ½ cup of water and give the pot a quick stir so nothing sticks on the bottom. Take off heat and set aside.
- Sauté the bell peppers for 3-5 minutes or until they soften slightly.
- In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- Combine the salad ingredients, sprinkle in the salt, and add about half of the vinaigrette. Toss. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve warm and let people add more vinaigrette and salt to taste.
- Note: toast sesame seeds in a dry wok or frying pan. Shake the wok slightly back and forth until the seeds start to pop off the pan. When the seeds become fragrant and a few of them start to brown, work quickly to remove them from the wok and transfer them into a bowl so that they don’t burn!