Friday, March 29, 2013

Make Ahead Roasted Garlic

We are big garlic fans in this house and we prefer fresh garlic.  However, sometimes I am lazy and don’t want to take the time to chop.  Since I started making roasted garlic in large batches and freezing it I hardly use anything else.  I use it in just about everything that calls for garlic and now that I got my husband on board we are going through it in about 3 weeks.  I will be referring to this as an ingredient in future recipes, so give it a try. 

What you'll need:
12 heads of garlic
Olive oil
Black Pepper
2 sheets of aluminum foil
Baking sheet
Food processor or blinder
Parchment or wax paper
Freezer bag or container

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut each head of garlic in half horizontally divide between the two sheets of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. 

Fold foil into packets and bake for one hour.  Your house will smell amazing!! 

Remove from the oven and let cool without opening the packets for at least 20 minutes.  Trust me your fingers with thank you later.  Your roasted garlic will look something like this when it is done. 

Okay now we need to put that wonderful garlic in the food processor; before you start this step you must do one thing.  Except that you will get garlic all over your hands.  There are a couple of ways to do this some less messy than others.  So, you can squeezes the garlic heads so the individual cloves pop out.  I have tried this but I feel it leaves too much garlic goodness behind.  I use a butter knife and scoop the cloves out individually. Yes it takes longer yes it is messier but I find it most effective. 

Once you have all the garlic in the food processor pulse a few times.  Then run on low and drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil.  You want just enough oil to help the garlic form a smoothish paste.  Add just a little oil at a time it will not take much.  You want this to be mostly garlic.  Continue to process on low until it forms a paste, stopping a couple of times to scrape the sides. 

Make sure your baking sheet will fit in your freezer then line it with parchment paper.  (If not find something flat that will.) Place tablespoon size globes of the garlic paste on the parchment.  You can put them as close together as you would like but not touching.  

Place the whole thing in the freezer for several hours. Then remove the globs of garlic goodness and place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until needed.   They last for quite a while before they start to get frosty, but in our house they normally get used before they reach that point. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thriving in a Navy World: Realistic Expectations

I decided to talk about realistic expectations first because if you don’t have a handle on this one none of the rest of it really matters.  I thought about a couple of different ways to talk about this one.  The research geek in me wanted to go academic.  There are plenty of social science research articles out there that talk about how expectations effect satisfaction.  Most concluding something like, when expectations are more in line with reality then satisfaction is increased.   Don’t worry I am not going to start quoting theories, adding parenthetical references and there won’t be a works sited page at the end. (Yes, I admit I was on Google Scholar and almost went to look for an article from one of my graduate classes.)  Trust me I would but it would be much more fun for me to write than it would be for you to read. So, I will save that for another forum.

Then I considered the tough love approach.  We all know there are parts of being a Military spouse that suck, and well the Navy ads a whole other level of suck.  Everyone would be doing it if it wasn’t hard, right.   So put on your big girl panties and get over it (to put it nicely).  While that is defiantly good advice from time to time, not really my point here.    The point is it is all about attitude!

If you approach this Navy World with the knowledge that it will be hard and there are lots of things that are less than fun you will be less disappointed when the metaphorical seas get rough.  It makes it easier to except the things that are out of our control and there are a lot.

I met my husband when he had already been in for almost 5 years.  He knew what sea duty was like and gave me fair warning.  So, I had a glimpse of what I was getting into.  That is not always the case, I have several friends that were with their sailors before they joined and were never told about duty days, underways and  all the other things besides the big ‘D’ (deployment of course).

Give yourself time to be upset and disappointed; orders change and deployments are extended, and well anytime on sea duty.  We get warn down and have our moments sometimes we simply need to cry.  Take them, please!  Don’t bottle things up that’s not helpful in the long run.   So, give yourself permission to feel what you feel whatever that means to you vent to a friend, go for a run or my personal favorite blare rock music and sing at the top of your lungs.  Choose to not let those moments consume your life.  This is where the tough love comes in to play, at some point you do need to suck it up.  Then embrace the things you can control and number one is your attitude!

Don’t read this as I want you to be pessimistic there are so many wonderful things about Navy life first and foremost you love your sailor otherwise you would not be here and that makes all the suck worth it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why survive in a Navy World when you can Thrive?

Surviving is great, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  Why would you want to simply survive Navy life when you can conquer it and leave feeling accomplished?  When I married my sailor I was almost 30; I had my fair share of roommates, jobs, living on my own and traveling.  While my experience was chock-full with less than successful attempts at embracing life I think in a lot of ways they all prepared me for the challenges of being a Navy Spouse.  This is the first in what I intend to be a series of posts on thriving in the Navy world.  Here is a little taste of what has worked for me and what I have learned from being around other spouses.

Realistic Expectations:  I am sure you are familiar with the serenity payer.  Well in navy life it is almost a requirement to except there are very few things that you can control. So, take ownership of the things you can. (But don’t go crazy control freak on me here that defeats the purpose.)  The most important thing you have control over is your point of view and how you choose to react to a situation.

Know your Resources and Benefits:  I am by no means experienced in all things and you don’t have to be either. What you do need to know is how to where to look and educate yourself.  If you’re not your own advocate (and your families) no one will.

Get out of the house!  I have a lot more to add to this one but for now interpret this one as you see fit.

Find your Passion: Find something that makes you happy and give yourself permission to do something for yourself. 
Embrace your Home:  Home is where the Navy sends us.  Make the best of each duty station regardless if it is shore duty in the middle of Missouri or Pearl Harbor.

Each of these points is a post or more on their own so look out there is more to come.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.