I have been MIA in the Cuizoo world lately. Â Sorry about that. Â It’s the strangest thing with this stage of life and motherhood (or maybe parenting older children in general) . . . I feel like I never have a minute to rest, yet I never have anything to show for it. Â I’m not closing big deals. Â I’m not renovating a house. Â I’m not planting a garden. Â I’m not traveling.
The things that occupy my days are the same old things. Â People ask me what’s new and I struggle. Â The driving to and from school and activities? The laundry that needs to be put away again? The twenty minute crying benders over the wrong pair of socks or the lack of cookies? The cooking? The grocery shopping? The loading and emptying of the dishwasher? The cleaning up of toys and clothes from the floor? The piles of junk that stack up in the exact same places?
I spend my days in constant do loops and nothing is ever done.
And because of it, I end up mostly frustrated and bored out of my mind. Â Is that honest enough for you?
The spring weather helps. Â Activities and schedules are changing a bit. Â I have gone back to work ten hours per week. Â I’m thinking about heirloom tomatoes and swimming pools. Â These are good things. Â But, damn if I still don’t feel absolutely unproductive and unrewarded.
And it’s the ultimate “it’s not you, it’s me” thing. Â The love I have for my kids and husband is beyond anything I have ever known. Â I am so truly fortunate in that and I thank the Baby Jesus for them every day. Â My rewards come climb in bed with me early in the morning and write me notes telling me how much they love me. Â I know that is enough for now and forever.
But what is it about motherhood that makes you feel like you are in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” silently crying out, simply hoping that the act might break up the monotony and frustration?
Or is that just me? Â And beyond, what do you do when you have a leftover ham bone?
Black Beluga Lentil Salad with Ham and Kale
3/4 lb. dried Black Beluga Lentils
1 ham bone/ham hock
1 small bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 large leek (or 2 small), trimmed, well washed, and white part thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
1 1/2 cups of cooked ham or prosciutto, chopped
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T dijon mustard
Juice and zest of one lemon
Chopped fresh herbs, if desired (thyme or chives would be nice)
1. Â Place lentils and ham bone in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Â Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes until lentils are tender. Â Strain and remove ham bone. Â Place lentils in a large bowl.
2. Â In a sautÃ© pan, cook chopped kale in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until wilted. Â Add 2-3 T of water, reduce heat, cover, and cook about five minutes longer until tender. Â Season with salt and pepper. Â Remove and place in large bowl with lentils.
3. Â In the same pan, sautÃ© chopped leeks for 2-3 minutes in a bit of olive oil until just wilted. Â Remove and place in bowl with lentils.
4. Â Mix the dressing by combining olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic, dijon mustard, juice/zest of lemon, and about 1 t of salt and pepper to taste.
5. Â Add chopped carrots, celery, and ham to lentils, leeks, and kale. Â Toss with dressing and season to taste with additional salt and pepper and chopped fresh herbs if desired. Â Can serve slightly warm or make ahead and chill.