2020 MJR Wins, Fails, Fixes, and Flops

Celebrated with magic sparkling grape juice. Place a dot of food coloring in the bottom of each glass, then pour. Wait for the oohhs and aahhs!

I have a lot of fun with My January Rest. It works for me. The process fascinates me and my antics in attempting to follow through on My Rest points, produce wins, fails, fixes, and sometimes, out-and-out flops! Flops are when I try to “fix” something to make a viable outcome and it completely fails. Or I burn the attempt terribly, like I did one year! But, trying to fix things is often how I learned something of value. Once when I wanted to make hummus, I was out of Tahini, so I substituted roasted cashews. I have never gone back!

One of my cheats: I celebrated with my friend with this GF cupcake!

I don’t think I had any true flops this year, so that is a win! While speaking of wins and failures, I don’t keep score. MJR isn’t about succeeding or failing as much as it is about changing my focus. Looking for wins and fails, keeps me honest as far as how I’ve abided by MJR.

One failure is that I threw out some frozen bananas. I tried, hard, to use them all up! But, no sugar means no banana bread and my husband and girl don’t like banana anything! For some reason, it seems that bananas multiply in the freezer. Years ago, one of MJR sojourners taught me how to make banana ice cream (blend frozen bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder—I like to use dark cocoa powder, peanut butter, and a bit of milk if needed—I use coconut milk). To this day, I still make it! And I did. However I was out of creamy peanut butter: I refused to use crunchy. Hey it is a family feud in this house—so I substituted roasted peanuts. Oops. This was close to a flop. The flavor was tasty, but the texture was chunky. And, to get it smooth, I would have melted the bananas. It would have gone better for me to use the crunchy peanut butter after all, but don’t tell my husband! So, I ate my lumps and liked it. Sort of. 

For my girl. Hot rice with milk, butter, and brown sugar.

Still, I had more bananas than I knew what to do with and so I threw some away. Which I hated to do! Last year, I learned something from my dad. He stored his bananas in the refrigerator and I would have never thought of that because it makes the skin brown. But, the inside stays great! When they are sufficiently ripe, I throw them in the refrigerator and they stay perfect for smoothies and less end up in the freezer to begin with! This concept also changed my avocado consumption and waste! Once the avocados are ripe, they go into the refrigerator. Thanks Dad for the new method! 

One of my favorite fixes was that I took old apples, peeled them, and cooked them with cinnamon and pecans. Even though the apples were a little shriveled, and definitely past their prime to be eaten fresh, they were so tasty—even without any sugar. It was a wonderful treat for my mostly sugar-free January Rest. 

Used the last of my Kaleidoscope carrots from my garden

Do not worry. If you are invited to dinner, I promise not to feed you old food. I’m particular about food handling and I get teased a fair amount by some. Family. But, I am not naming names. I blame my grandfather’s training. He owned a general store and he had me wash down counters with bleach water frequently. I’ll eat old-ish food, but if there is any question about it being safe, I don’t take chances. Now that that is off my chest, I feel better to move on!

BEST avocado toast ever. LOOK at those gorgeous tomatoes!

That leads me to bread. I completely got away from eating any bread. When scouring the freezer, I found two GF buns and a bit of bread. I’d pitched some bread before, because it had been so long since I ate it, it was freezer burnt. The bread and buns were doable. I fired up the toaster! Toasting gluten free bread is self-defense. If you don’t know what I mean, you haven’t tried gluten free bread. Only on rare occasion, can you find wonderful gluten free bread. But, that wasn’t what came out of my freezer. I forgot how great toast and garlic toast could taste, even if it was gluten free! While MJR is about resetting bad habits, and regaining good, I started a bread habit again. That will count as a fail.

Another win: I used up two bags of coffee instead of starting a new one. I was tempted each morning, as I was pining for the bag of french roast in the pantry! The two that were open were medium roast not dark and delicious and bold. I prefer dark roasts! I wanted the french roast. Every morning! I wanted it bad! Boo hoo. But, I didn’t give in. I know! I know my flesh is spoiled rotten, which is part of what MJR is about, taming the flesh and regaining contentment. Funny thing is that I was out of coffee filters, so I used the wire basket in the coffee maker. You get a bit of grounds in the brew with it. That made it richer for sure, but not what I was dreaming of. So with grounds in my teeth, I drank the weaker brew. Filters went on the February shopping list. When February hit, hubby went shopping and when I went to put the filters away, I realized I did have filters afterall. I smiled again when I thought about the grounds in my brew.

Oops! I forgot and thumbed up my husband’s request to get meat on sale. In January. We were out…

I did pretty good in clearing out items from the pantry. My husband ate up several types of crackers, and our snack supply dwindled. Also, we cleared quite a bit out of the freezer. We had some leftover frozen meals from my dad, and a few of them were gluten-free. Thanks Dad for sharing your meals.

We found two packages of older ground beef, one was freezer burnt. With the good package of ground beef, I made taco soup, although I was missing many of the ingredients. I didn’t have the correct type of beans, So I substituted white beans. The soup looked pretty! I didn’t have stewed tomatoes, and I did not have corn. I had frozen jalapeno and cilantro in the freezer, so I used some of them. Also I added a touch of cinnamon, to make up for lack of sweetness from the missing corn and stewed tomatoes. Just a touch. I assuredly told myself no one would ever know. Imagine my surprise when my daughter immediately asked if there was cinnamon in the soup! The soup was good, but I won’t try to sneak cinnamon past her again!

Refried rice

One yummy fix was that I made recycled rice. Actually, I made refried rice with leftover rice from a meal that someone brought to Anna. I added meat, fresh veggies, onion, garlic, eggs, seasoning, and it became a delicious main course. Another fix was I made our favorite beef vegetable soup, but I was out of beef stock so I used veggie stock. It was an extra vegetable beef vegetable soup. I used a bit of extra worcestershire sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos to “beef” up the vegetable broth. As we speak, I still have chicken carcasses in the freezer. I love to make homemade stock, I could not get to the them in January. I was a little busy being a nurse maid. It’s ok thought because the carcasses are not going anywhere. Or if they do, I will be a chicken and run out right behind them!

We had amazing fresh fruit in January

Just for fun: I found a small container of vanilla ice cream in the freezer. I’m sure it was moved into a smaller container, once upon a time when we were fighting for freezer space. Sad story. It remained unclaimed. Now, it was certainly gross and not going any in any mouth in this house. I put it in the sink and thought about running hot water on it. Then I recalled that my husband said our blender has a soup setting that would cook soup! My creative spirit and sense of adventure kicked in and I put some water in the blender, hit the button, and whirled it hot! I then triumphantly proceeded to pour the hot water on the ice cream to melt it. I am quite sure this wasn’t an efficient use of my time, but I did amuse myself and learned to use my blender better in the process! 

Besides lots of cookies in the freezer, thanks to my mother-in-law, we also have a lot of fruit. And, I mean a lot! We have gallon bags and bags of strawberries and blackberries. My sister-in-law picked fresh, wild blackberries and many are still in our freezer. It is hard to drink smoothies in the winter because it’s cold outside, and smoothies are cold, and it makes me cold. You’re feeling me, right!?

While digging around in the freezer, I found grapes. They are super sweet! I’m still trying for two smoothies a week, to use up the surplus. And, I had protein powder that I got away from using because it was whey-based. I’ve been avoiding dairy when I can (for the same reason as avoiding grain). However, I decided to use up the whey protein because it was pricey! Actually, grapes, spinach, strawberries, and vanilla whey are a good combo! I had a lot of leftover butternut squash and I put some in a smoothie. It was good too. The squash provided some sweetness, in lieu of a banana. Plus I got some beta carotene and fiber while I was at it.

Two friends gave me books in January. I chose to shelve them for January. I tried to be diligent in working my way through the books that I set as a priority for MJR and I did a pretty good job! The books spoke to me in amazing ways. They were exactly what I needed, even to the point where a contemporary author was quoting the author of the other book I’m reading, written 50 years ago! Those sorts of things make me feel I am right on track! 

I committed to not playing BlockuDuko, except for waiting for my daughter’s surgery, etc. We went to stay the night in Chicago so we could be at the surgi-center bright and early the next morning. The night before, they were watching Mrs. Doubtfire in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. We tried to get English subtitles to no avail. My girl knows some Spanish and could get along well enough. I was lost. I ended up playing BlockuDuko that night, to pass the time and distract my nervous momma’s heart. Besides, I was bored because they were otherwise occupied. Surprisingly, I did not play the next morning while waiting for her. I used the time to write notes to people. That helped me pass a lot of time, and focus on things that I was grateful for. 

Later, I found that I was playing the game while waiting at PT or doctor’s appointments because it was difficult to focus on a book. So, I deleted the game off of my phone! No more excuses, read or don’t read, but no more playing the game. End of story.

Each year, for the last several Januarys, my Bible study has rested from intense study and spent our time with the Lord in the Psalms. This year we picked a Shepherds look at Psalm 23 to devote ourselves to. But I didn’t have a journal. 

I struggled with purchasing one. My husband buys a certain notebook from his General Store. They’re a nice size, and slightly heavier paper with a fine surface, beautiful to write on. I used the same journal for many years now. I needed a new one for 2020. It was a new month—My January Rest—and a new decade! I thought that I could do without, but I decided I needed it. Journaling is an important part of my journey. I could have written on loose leaf paper and transferred it. Oh, but I know thyself too well. With the best intentions, it would have never happened. So I gave my husband permission to purchase one notebook. And I generally would have a special notebook for my new study that began in January. My fix: My Daily Journal is on the front and when I flip it upside down, my Psalm 23 Journal is in the back. 

My double-sided journal and study for MJR

Next post, before next Wednesday and my next surgery, will be My January Rest review. How has this year’s Rest been different than other ones? What worked and what didn’t? Processing and recording helps me prepare for the rest of this year, and even next year’s My January Rest.

I’ve been so encouraged by those who took this journey with me. I love hearing about Your January Rest and how resting from has changed you!

Happy day! Our girl and I both said that LYFE was a 10 out of 10! Our family lunch before getting her 3 week check up. Love Your Food Everyday – But for my husband and I, it is Love You For Ever (and I will!)

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