5 New Year’s Resolutions Worth Keeping

Winding Down & Shifting Gears

The holidays are always an epic display of twinkling lights, iPhone portrait moments, gift-giving action, and a merry-making smorgasbord of delicious eats and drink. The magic of Christmas brings back childhood nostalgia, and memories in-the-making with family and friends. After a month-long cycle of feasting, I’m ready for a bit of detox and self-improvement.

New Year’s resolution – it’s that time again! This is where a pen and notepad come in handy, and I prioritize smart resolutions. Scouring the Internet, the Huffington Post quotes Amanda Stemen, a therapist and coach, who defines SMART as “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely” goals. I’ve prioritized resolutions to an achievable list of five, which may resonate with you.

1) Follow through on a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). Why start out easy? I want to focus on a major goal that can have life-changing implications and take me out of my comfort zone. You probably have a BHAG that you’ve been ruminating about, and 2019 may just be the year to see it through.

2) Focus on the most important things and filter out the noise. With all the distractions that exist in this world, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to focus on what’s most important. This is where I focus on the most important things and people in my life. Happy and successful people are able to do this well.

3) Cook more and keep a bowl of fresh fruit visible at all times. It’s so easy to eat out or get take away on any given day, but I appreciate the process of cooking and creating healthier meals that contribute to longevity. I’ll have my cheat days, but overall I am committed to cooking more and being more mindful about what I eat.

4) Declutter with more of a minimalist mindset. I’ve been inspired by Marie Kondo’s book on the magic of tidying, and she makes the concept of cleaning as a life-changing revelation. I love the concept of only keeping items that have repeat utility and spark joy. Less is definitely more.

5) More family time in an analog kind of way. This is where we put technology aside and focus on activities that are fun and enriching for the family. Rediscovering classic board games, reading books, baking, exploring, and getting craft-y together.

Cheers to you and have a happy new year!

The peanut butter mayo sandwich didn’t divide my family

The PBM fit for the King

I grew up with Skippy peanut butter and PB&J sandwiches. I remember watching The NeverEnding Story, and noting the times that Bastian huddled under a dusty blanket munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As he pleaded to save Fantasia and the rainstorm thundered outside, he made his way through that comforting sandwich bite by bite. He seemed to have an endless supply of it while locked away in the school’s attic.

I’ve always enjoyed peanut butter and the various iterations of nut butter, including almond, cashew and even walnut butter. But nut butters have become the anathema of school lunches. The dangers of peanut allergies and sensitivities have gotten so much attention over the years. As a responsible parent, I understand and appreciate the safeguards we have in place to protect children who have life-threatening allergies.

At home, we enjoy the occasional PB&J sandwich on the weekends. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and comes packed with macronutrients. I’ll happily spread peanut butter on a slice of toast.

PBM: A Southern Comfort

One thing I had never tried was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. After reading about it in the Huffington Post article Peanut Butter And Mayo: The Sandwich That May Divide Us All, of course I was intrigued. I’ve always been interested in the time of the Great Depression (1929-1939), as it was both a devastating period and one of sea-change. The decadent roaring twenties led into a melancholic decade filled with jazz, blues, gospel and swing. One of the Southern comfort foods to come out of the Great Depression was the PBM sandwich. When food was scarce, folks could improvise with the less perishable white bread, peanut butter and mayonnaise. The combination was protein and calorie dense. The Huffington Post article referenced an older article from Garden & Gun, which provides a satisfying narrative of what it must have been like to have PBM as a saving grace, as well as a bit of childhood nostalgia for those who grew up eating it.

We all know that Elvis, the King himself, enjoyed a good peanut butter and banana sandwich. He may have even had a craving for PBM. Remembering my 18-hour road trip to Graceland years back, I knew I had to try it to satisfy my curiosity.

The experimental lunch

My daughter presided over the sandwich-making exercise, squealing with delight as she would be getting her toddler hands into the creative process. We went with GF white bread for the grown-ups, and soft brioche rolls for the kiddos. I grabbed a jar of Skippy’s for the grown-ups and Adam’s peanut butter (no additives) for the kids.

Simple ingredient list:

– Peanut butter
– Mayonnaise
– Ripe Banana
– White sandwich bread (and brioche rolls for the kids)

Ingredients
Simple ingredient list: peanut butter, mayo, a banana, and bread

Unlike some of the photos you may have seen, I used mayonnaise rather sparingly. The mayo could be overpowering, and I wanted to avoid pushing sourness into the peanut butter combo. I added sliced bananas. We had the natural sweetness of the ripe bananas, the tang of mayo, and the creaminess of peanut butter.

PBM sandwich
PBM in progress

The hubs and son were worthy participants. They both examined the lunch in trepidation, and then with a little encouragement, took the plunge. My normally picky son finished his sandwich with surprising efficiency and exclaimed “I like it.” The hubs commented that the mayonnaise combination had made the peanut butter creamier in consistency and taste. The sourness all but went away with the inclusion of the banana slices. Overall, my son gave a hiked thumbs up.

Lunch eating
Enjoying the PBM sandwich

The Verdict

The PBM was tasty enough, but didn’t rival my childhood PB&J. The experimental lunch satisfied my curiosity, and I understood why it had become a beloved staple during a time when food was scarce.

On a cold, rainy day, I am still in the camp of eating a PB&J, huddled under a blanket while watching Bastian save Fantasia for the umpteenth time.