Sunday, March 12, 2017

On Eggs

Most of my friends know I have issues with eggs. There's just something about them that made me horribly sick when I was pregnant with all my kids, and that distaste has carried over to the rest of my days. I have to be really in the mood for eggs to eat them now. And they can't be runny, or icky, or partially-cooked in any way. I learned to scramble them super-slowly so that they end up fluffy and light instead of cooked hard to death and smelling vaguely of sulphur. But even then, I REALLY have to be in the mood.

And I always hated the hard boiled whites -- eating silicone -- I prefer to lick the deviled yolks out of the whites and give the whites to the dogs.

Egg salad? Uh no. Forget it.

And pickled eggs? NEVER. EW EW EW! Reminds me of other sketchy countertop-of-an-old-corner-store stuff like pickled pigs feet, and pickled sausage, and the like.

However...I realize the significant nutritional value of eggs, especially in these middle-aged days of trying to lower my carbohydrate intake in favor of more protein and less overall body padding. I've been trying to figure out how to eat eggs without grossing myself out. So, Travis hard-boiled a bunch for me and I've been taking two to work every day to eat with my lunch (of mostly vegetables). Turns out, with enough salt and pepper, hard-boiled eggs are not so bad. Filling, tolerable, but...boring.

In browsing Pinterest the other day, though, I found a recipe for hard boiled eggs essentially marinated in a soy sauce based liquid over night. It sounded good, it wasn't purple (see those countertop eggs), and I liked the flavors. So I thought, what the hey, I'll give it a shot. Mixed up the flavors and put four eggs in a pint canning jar. I didn't can them, I don't know how to do that.

But here is the result:

Verdict? OMG. SO GOOD.
Then I was off and running back to Pinterest for more recipes. Different flavors, different methods....and then to pickles of all kinds. I LOVE a vinegar-pickled vegetable, and I have a long history of (being Italian) loving vinegar giardinera, pickled cucumbers, marinated sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, pretty much anything (except meat, OMG no).

Now I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to pickled yum. And I've already decided what the next batch of soy sauce eggs will be. I'm going to tweak the ratios so that there is a little less soy sauce (because the flavor is stronger the longer it sits, it can get overly salty), and add some fresh gingerroot and a bit of chili for heat. And I want to try a balsamic vinegar recipe, and one with rosemary, and one with horseradish (I love horseradish!).

SO this is a great development for my work lunches, and for my attempts to eat more protein and fewer carbs. I'll let you know how the rest of the recipes go.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Six Months

I've been at my new job for six months tomorrow. It's been a pretty good experience overall, and I think I have mostly moved beyond the intense perfectionistic stress of the first few post-training months into a place where I know what I'm doing more often than not. I've changed direct supervisors and that person seems much more on my wavelength as far as learning and working styles go, so that helps. Learning software that is NOT intuitive in the *least* is still my hardest task, and I think I'm improving my decision-making skills. I don't require constant review of everything I write anymore, and I've been 'released' to send reviews to doctors without sending to my direct supervisor first. And the Virginia Disability Determination Services as a whole won a national award, so we all got 4 hours of extra leave. Sometimes state jobs are nice.

The things I still don't love are being indoors all. day. long. Sitting for hours. Getting completely sucked into the detail-oriented work and realized three hours have gone by without me leaving my chair. The regular 8 hour day schedule. Making less money than I did previously. Not being in a management position for the first time in ten or more years.

I realized this week that I actually have less money now than when I was working last year. I didn't have to pay for child care last year. I didn't have a new car. I didn't go out for lunch because I was too much of a slacker to make my lunch the night before. And I was, even at my hourly rate, actually making a higher salary. Now it feels like most things are a squeeze. I should get a raise in September, and another one a year later, though. And some expenses, like child care, should fall off next year, along with one of the car payments.

It was, and has been, really tough to give up my working-from-home/stay-at-home-mom gig. Economic necessity (and by that I mean, maintaining the lifestyle we had) required it. I'm not 'brave' or particularly noteworthy for doing it, though. It was just a fact of circumstances, and I would rather struggle personally with my changed circumstances than struggle to provide activities and experiences for the kids, and riding and horses for myself and Wren.

I'm off today, and so I have had the ability to put a kid on the bus, make pizza dough from scratch for tonight's dinner, take care of some details for an upcoming horse show I am the volunteer coordinator for, and, yes, get out to the barn and get a ride in. Then I will make homemade pizza for dinner, and head to the museum to give a tour this evening. If I feel really ambitious, I'll vacuum the floors, maybe. It's nice to get a break in the week, but I will be back at work tomorrow. I'm just glad the time change is this weekend so heading to ride after work doesn't mean an intense race against the sun.