Sometimes, as much as you want things to be different... as much as you tell you yourself it will be different... sometimes things take longer to change than our well-intentioned selfs would like. As much as I would like to say that I left 2016 in the dust and 2017 is already waaaaaaay better, sometimes life just doesn't work like that.
16 days into the New Year and I'm already beating myself up for the lack of posts. I'm mad at myself for still feeling the effects of last year's depression. Why can't it just be gone?
For one, my back has been bothering me more than I care to admit. I was doing so well before I left for Oregon, it's unfathomable to me why I'm not regaining ground I lost. Another admission I care not to utter? I get way more depressed over my back than I probably should. There are times I feel that it's never going to get better. That this is my life now. Chronic. Pain. Endless. Unfixable. Can't. Won't. The negative words sometimes flutter around my brain, making it impossible to see beyond the scope of my limited experiences. I feel heavy, and hopeless. I cannot make myself go.
It's around this time that I have to force myself to take a step back and remind myself that these are just thoughts. As much as I tightly fuse myself to my thoughts, believing I am my thoughts, these thoughts are just products of my brain taking in my environment. I have to ask myself why am I having these thoughts and that is how I eventually get to the answer- I am scared that my injury is permanent. But you know what? I have no proof that the injury is permanent, and with plenty of life and medical options ahead, I have to let the thoughts go. It takes too much time and energy to worry about what I cannot control.
But what I can control? My actions. Instead of allowing myself to continue along that path, and to slide further and further into anxiety-producing thoughts, I can self-soothe. A great self-soother for me has always been reading. If I don't let my anxiety take me to that place where it robs my attention span. Easier said than done. But that's what life is about- trying. Failing, and then getting up to give it another go.
And so, I've already 2 books this month! I read a true-crime book that was around 700 pages, small print, and I've already finished this book (above) I bought on food photography, From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young. I always forget how important self-improvement is to my photography. Towards the end of 2016, I'd kinda gotten set in my ways and wasn't striving higher. And when I'm not trying to achieve something better, I get bored.
I must say, this photography book has wet my photography whistle once again! I got so many ideas for styling, props, camera settings, and even tons of insight into photo-processing with Adobe Lightroom. I've had Lightroom on my computer for probably 4 years, and I've never used it because it's not very user-friendly. Turns out all I needed was some guidance! I'm thrilled with Lightroom now. I actually edited all the photos for this post with Lightroom. The book was my inspiration for the first photo in this post- I took it with my tripod and I'm so excited to play around with that darn tripod some more. Creating beautiful photographs is also a great self-soother for me 😁
So, yeah. That intro was kind of long huh? Sometimes a girl's just gotta get stuff off her chest 😃
Time to talk turkey! 🦃
As many of you know, the hubby and I don't eat a lot of red meat. We do eat a lot of chicken and turkey though (turkey is not just for the holidays in this house!). And when you have a man that likes variety, said turkeys and chickens can't always taste the same. So here's yet another recipe for turkey to keep on hand. You can never have too many recipes, right? 😉 It's super-easy (thanks to the slow cooker), and so good for being a hands-off meal.
To perfume the meat (and to keep the turkey from cooking it's own juices), I took an onion and a garlic bulb, cut both in half, and placed them in the slow cooker. Then I scattered some thyme sprigs on the bottom of the slow cooker around them.
I used a double-breasted Turkey Breast for this recipe, but you could also use one of the smaller, one-breast cuts as well. I placed the breast on top of the onion and garlic halves so it was propped up a bit.
Next, it's time for the herb rub. I used garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
Mix the rub with a little olive oil to make a paste...
And then paint that turkey breast!
Coat the breast with all the herb-rub. Cover, and cook for 7 hours on low. I took the temperature of the turkey after 7 hours and I was at the perfect 165º. Let the breast rest for 20 minutes, and then turn your oven on to "broil." Place the turkey on a cookie sheet and place the sheet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until the turkey skin is crisped. Remove the turkey from the oven, and allow to rest for another 20 minutes.
While the turkey was resting, I strained all the turkey juice from the crock pot and made yummy, yummy gravy out of it. The gravy is optional, but it's so tasty. You are not going to want to skip it. All you'll need to make the gravy is some butter, flour, salt, and pepper. And, of course, that turkey juice!
I went traditional this meal and served the turkey with mashed potatoes and some roasted carrots. The turkey turned out perfect using this slow cooker method. It literally fell right off the bone when I went to cut it off. I love when that happens!
In case you were wondering, I have to roast carrots until they are dead. The hubby won't eat carrots with even a little crunch, so I really roast those suckers. I even like when they get a little black 😂
The best part of making this turkey breast? We had leftovers for days. I always make sandwiches out of leftover turkey, throw some in salads... and then whatever is leftover after all that, I toss into Turkey Noodle Soup. It's heavenly! I love making a meal at the beginning of a week that you can eat on for days later.
That's it for me today! Happy Monday everyone, have a great week! 😁
Recipe source: RecipeTin Eats
Ingredients (serves 12):
1 large onion
1 large garlic bulb
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 (6-8 lb) turkey breast, bone-in, skin-on
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter (I used 3 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp bacon grease)
1/4 cup flour
turkey drippings (sub ~3-4 cups chicken broth)
1. Slice onion and garlic in half. Place halves on bottom of slow cooker in a square or diamond pattern. Gently place turkey breast on top of onion and garlic bulbs so turkey is raised off the bottom of slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine garlic and onion powders, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add olive oil to bowl and stir to combine. Using a basting brush, evenly brush rub over turkey breast. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165º. Remove from slow cooker, place on a cookie sheet, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
3. Turn on broiler. Place turkey under broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until skin is crispy. Remove from heat, and allow to rest for another 20 minutes.
4. While the turkey is resting, make the gravy. First, strain the turkey juice from the slow cooker. Discard solids. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add flour. Stir flour around pan for 1-2 minutes to cook out raw flour flavor. Slowly begin to add the turkey drippings, stirring vigorously after each addition. Keep adding turkey juice until you reach a desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Slice turkey breast and serve immediately with gravy.
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