I couldn’t attend my beloved Bikram yoga class Sunday because I had something special at home: my granddaughter Brianna and her mother (my stepdaughter) Tabitha. They are beyond delicious in every way.
Brianna is curious and smart and beautiful and funny. She is also stubborn, determined, un-intimidated, and bouncy, very bouncy. Her mother is calm like a goddess who embraces the world and all of its delights.
She is also up for anything! Hence, my finally having one of my girls attend a Bikram yoga class with me. Guys, Tabitha has given me a grandchild and gone to Bikram with me, so it’s time to step it up!
All kidding aside, I love that our family is so eclectic and eccentric. You never get bored in this extended household. I find that delicious and a necessity in my life. Change it up, keep things interesting, or the mind and soul starts to wander for stimulation.
I need to take a moment to address my adorable husband here because he reads all of my blogs and I already know what he is thinking, so, to him:. “Honey, I find you, your life and your life stories fascinating. That is why I hounded you to write your book. You always keep me interested and entertained! However, your jokes (and that stupid little dance you do), find me desperately searching for a good comedy/dance club.”
Laughter is a favorite drug of mine. It releases so much. No matter what we have gone through, this family always finds laughter at the heart of it all. Exercise is also a drug for me as it calms me and lessons my anxiety and my post traumatic stress disorder.
But again, so does love. The real steady kind, not the unhealthy roller coaster kind with extreme highs, lows, twists and turns. I think we are all addicts of some kind. Very often when we are young, we are attracted to big thrills, but with big thrills come big lows.
As we age, we become so much wiser and steadier. Today, and not just because it is Valentines Day, I have fallen in love with getting older. (The sound you may have just heard was my husband shouting “Hallelujah!)Today, in my Bikram Yoga class, I hated the way I looked (and felt) when I was doing Half Moon (Ardha-Chandrasana) pose.
But I let it go and listened to my teacher Jennifer’s words “So if you didn’t get there, let it go. Who cares? In time you will, so let it go.” What a great saying to take into your life outside of the hot room. So, if YOU haven’t gotten there yet, who cares? Let it go. In time, you will. Beautiful.
Love it! Love my life. Love my family. Love my hot room. Love great food to celebrate it all with!
Even though Stephen and I banned the commercialization of Valentines Day today in favor of some impromptu love notes or picked flowers throughout the year, I had to cook something a little more decadent for my loved ones at home.
Braised Short Ribs over Heart Shaped Polenta.
Dessert is Heart Shaped Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce or Vanilla Rice Pudding.
(Rice Pudding happens to be one of Stephen’s favorites. Since we had Chinese take out last night, and have lots of steamed cooked white rice, I couldn’t help but indulge him. Another “Hallelujah” just rang out from his office.)
After all, he is my Valentine and will remain so as long as he stops doing that little dance and telling the same 10 jokes over and over and over and over again. If he ever stopped those jokes, the whole family would be shouting “Hallelujah”!
Braised Short Ribs
4 1/2 pounds 3-inch-long beef short ribs
Coarse kosher salt
2 cups dry red wine
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 6-ounce package sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle ribs with coarse salt and pepper. Place in even layer in slow cooker. Add next 7 ingredients, cover, and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 8 hours
Using slotted spoon, transfer ribs to serving bowl. Discard parsley and bay leaves. Spoon fat off top of sauce and pour sauce over ribs. Serve with bread.
~Bon Appetit Cooking Magazine
**Of course, I altered the recipe. I browned the short ribs in hot olive oil. I also slightly cooked the onions and garlic before adding them to the slow cooker. I chopped a few carrots and cooked them slightly with the mushrooms, reducing with a little white wine, before adding them to the slow cooker as well, since I only had four hours, not eight. I used two cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes, not one, one on the bottom and one on top to finish.
For the polenta, I use Golden Pheasant brand and use the basic recipe: 1 cup polenta to four cups water or broth. Sometimes I do half milk, half broth and a dash of salt, sometimes I add garlic to the boiling liquid mixture. I reduce the broth/water/milk mixture to 3 and ¾ cups to make it thicker in case I want to bake it in a mold as I did this evening. I stir in a little parmesan cheese when thick and sometimes dried parsley or fresh herbs. A few tablespoons of butter is also an option. Pour into mold, cool or refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake 375 for 30 minutes or until slightly browned on edges.
For the vegan or vegetarian in your family try this easy marinara recipe and spoon it over the polenta, baked or soft. GO crazy and add roasted zucchini and other seasonal fresh organic root vegetable with sweet onions! Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese if vegetarian.
Try pouring a decadent chocolate dessert into individual heart shaped spring pans, such as flourless chocolate cake, before baking for an extra treat. (I found mine at Target around Valentine’s Day a few years ago.)
Homemade brownies (in a heart mold or not) are also delicious right out of the oven topped with vanilla or coconut ice cream and home made chocolate sauce, then topped with nuts.
Bon Appetit and Namaste!