Happy 2016, Readers! How are you all doing? Have you recovered from your holiday sugar hangovers yet? Are the Christmas decorations boxed up or are you hanging onto your festive decor for a few more weeks (or until Valentine’s Day)?
Once Christmas is over, I’m pretty anxious to wipe away all signs of it, so the red and green knicknacks came down as soon as the New Year’s confetti fell out of the sky. I also felt the need to purge the house of all but the most high-quality holiday treats. I’m a little too cheap to throw away the Williams-Sonoma
Crack Peppermint Snaps just yet, but the cookies and the junky grocery store candy and the blocks of half-eaten deli cheese went in the trash.
It’s not that I’m on some Draconian Post-Holiday diet plan–I’m not, and I don’t believe in that kind of stuff–but a diligent refrigerator and pantry cleaning is good for the soul sometimes.
In fact, though I’m loathe to call it a “resolution,” I am going to try to streamline and de-clutter my a life a little bit in 2016. Several times last year, I took a look around the house and just felt a little overwhelmed by how much stuff we have. Stuff that, frankly, we don’t need or really use.
I don’t know how that happens, do you? This accumulation of unnecessary things? I think sometimes, while I sleep, little clutter gremlins sneak in through the windows and fill my shelves with useless shit, just to complicate my life.
Yeah, that’s totally what happens.
I’m a baby-steps kind of person, though, so the shift to a more minimal type of living will be gradual. The thought of tackling my entire house with a bulldozer and a hazmat suit is quite intimidating, so baby steps it is. If anyone has any genius tips or revelations for me in this regard, I’m all ears. Give me the goods! I’d love your help and some of you are such wise souls.
The other goal I have for 2016 is much simpler–thank goodness. I need to get more water into my body. I feel like I walk around in a constant state of dehydration. There are reasons for this:
Reason 1: My bladder is the size of a thimble. Drinking water, for me, is pretty much an in-and-out affair. That’s lots of bathroom time, which is a pain in the ass.
Reason 2: My thimble of a bladder is also a weakling. Remember, I’m the girl who earned the nickname “Leaky” as a child. And now I’ve pushed out two children, which does not help matters. Not only does this mean a lot of bathroom time, it means that I need a bathroom in REALLY close proximity. All day long. Also a pain in the ass.
Reason 3: I live in the Rocky Mountains, and the combination of high altitude and an arid climate are the equivalent of Nature’s Squee-gee. Staying hydrated takes concerted effort and dedication. I’m so scatterbrained that I can’t even remember to take my cell phone with me when I leave the house; how am I supposed to remember a water bottle?
Reason 4 (and this is probably the most compelling reason): Water tastes like ass. Well, at least I think it does, although technically, that’s bunk, because the tap water in Colorado is some of the most delicious tasting tap water in the nation. For real. Someone studied it once.
Gee, now that I look at what I’ve just written, that water goal doesn’t seem so simple after all.
I can’t do anything about the size or the strength of my pathetic bladder, and I’m not going to move any time soon, so I guess I’m going to have to focus on finding ways to make water more palatable, so I won’t hate drinking it.
As luck would have it, almost every food magazine I’ve received in the mail recently has some kind of article touting “infused” water. My idea of “infused” water is adding a chunk of lemon or lime, but apparently, I am shamefully behind the times. Lemon is passe, people! The new way to infuse water is with a combination of fruits and aromatics and herbs and flowers and fairy dust! That’s where it’s at!
Yes, it’s kind of weirdo.
But I cannot resist weirdo, so I’ve dog-eared a bunch of magazine pages and am going to try my hand at infusing my water with things that will hopefully make it palatable. I will tell you how things go.
The first recipe I decided to try was, frankly, one of the weirder ones. I was on board with the grapefruit, because grapefruit is lovely and refreshing but the addition of rosemary and jalapeno to the water gave me pause. Rosemary is a bully of an herb–it can easily overpower any other flavoring and, if you overdo it, you’ll feel like your swigging Pine-Sol. That didn’t sound pleasant. Jalapeno’s pretty dang aggressive, too, so I was dubious. Pine-Sol Firewater, anyone?
I stirred up my first batch and let it steep for a while to infuse and mingle, and took a big swig.
Gaaaa! Pine-Sol Firewater!
The jalapeno totally overpowered everything–I must have gotten the Viagra of jalapenos, because dang, it was potent. Spicy stuff, and not in a good way. I think my rosemary sprigs were on steroids, too–and now that I think about it, they were very big rosemary sprigs, so I think that was my fault. Word to the wise: if you have big, honking rosemary sprigs, cut back! And test that jalapeno before adding it, mmkay?
I threw most of that batch out and tried again, tinkering with the proportions and varying the technique a little. I tasted my jalapeno this time (it wasn’t as fiery) and scaled back on the rosemary. I also muddled the grapefruit in the bottom of the pitcher with a large spoon, so the oils in the grapefruit peel could make the flavor more pronounced. This batch was much better. I was able to drink it without pain, anyways.
If you want to try this, just be open to tinkering with the recipe. In fact, don’t think of this as a recipe at all–it’s a loose guideline. Use your nose and your tastebuds and your common sense and I think you’ll be just fine.
More water adventures to come! Wish me luck, readers! And close proximity to bathrooms. You can wish me that, too.
Grapefruit, Rosemary and Jalapeno-Infused Water
adapted slightly from Cooking Light magazine
Get out a 32 ounce mason jar or pitcher. Add a small sliced ruby red grapefruit and mash it violently in the bottom of the pitcher with a large spoon. Add 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary and 3 small jalapeno slices, seeded–do not mash these–just mash the grapefruit. Fill the pitcher with 22 ounces or so of either filtered or sparkling water. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.