2017 was a pretty big year for us. I married the love of my life, I finally after 12 years got a new car. Lola, my ever loyal 2005 Corolla is still on the road and in the family. My new car is another Toyota, this time named Veronica! So far Ronnie and I haven’t gone too far, but life sort of punched us in the gut not long after I got her. My Nan lost her battle with cancer in August. Let me tell you, it was a hard-fought battle, however not prolonged. That is one of the blessings that was hard to find in the beginning. We didn’t spend months at her bedside, watching her fade away, watching her become someone else. That brings me more comfort that some might think is ‘normal’. But let’s be frank, what’s normal when it comes to grief? It’s a different experience for everyone. We all find comfort in different ways.
Personally, I discovered during that challenging time that I had some wonderful framily. (I’ll use that term a lot, it’s shorter than family by choice) One of the saddest truths about death and grief is it also reveals the not so wonderful, the people who you expect to be there who shrink away from you. It’s a harsh truth we all experience at some point in our lives. Like a death you also begin to grieve the loss of closeness and friendship. I think the key is to not let it devour us whole and to find light and happiness in the people who are still with us alive and in our lives.
As I stumble my way through the grief from losing my Nan, I have had some extraordinary conversations with people about life and finding joy in the darkness. I can honestly say, I have, and I continue to. To paraphrase a lovely note from my cousin, “She lives on in you, how you live your life and in everything you cook.” There is so much truth in that. When my hands scoop flour onto the counter top to roll out pizza crust, or when I run a knife along the edges of the cake pan, even though I floured and greased it, she’s there. She is over my shoulder while I watch the oil get to temperature while making her donuts. She is in my mother’s laugh.
Now this first real post wasn’t meant to dive so deep, but I warned you all I just needed this outlet and I’ll always appreciate having friends along the path. So 2018… I’m turning 40! Oh my stars! But really, that’s another blog post.
I’ve also embarked on a new weight loss journey. For those who don’t know, about 10 years ago I joined Weight Watchers. Between the loss before I joined and after I lost 80lbs. I have yet to reach my goal weight. Since losing that weight back then, I’ve maintained with about a 20lbs gain. But since the fall I’ve been slowly talking myself back into healthier habits. I became a runner years ago, and over the past two it’s not been a priority. I plan on bringing that back into my life this year as well. Healthy eating is something I want to do for myself. I do not want to become diabetic. It runs in my family. I’m being proactive. I want to run again because it’s always been a great release for my stresses. So I have a few goals to achieve this year, and they are all set to baby step thresholds.
I have a favourite recipe that is a go to for me right now. All the satisfaction of a hearty pasta dish with half the “points”. (You can also find this recipe here)
Taco Fiesta Bubble Up (7pts for 1/6 of the pan)
1 ½ C Peppers (red, yellow or green)
1 onion, chopped
1 lbs extra lean ground beef or lean ground chicken or turkey
1 package of taco seasoning
1 can of Pilsbury Biscuits (cut into 6 portions each)
1 small jar of salsa of choice
Fry up the extra lean meat and add taco seasoning and bottle of salsa.
In an 9 x13 pan, spray with non stick cooking spray and place 1/3 of the beef mixture on the bottom with 1/3 of the biscuit pieces layered on top.
Add 1/3 of the peppers and onions.
Repeat layering until everything is evenly distributed.
Bake in 350 Degree oven for 30 to 35 mins covered, uncover to brown for approximately 8 more minutes.
This is delicious served with Fat Free Sour Cream, chopped green onions and sliced avocado!