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On my own terms.

It is 6am and I am awake with coffee, and ready to write.  I have not been feeling very much writing inspiration in a while, so this is a nice change.  I have the fire going, the house is silent, and I am lost in my thoughts.  The impending 46th birthday has me once again racing against time to place all my thoughts lovingly in this website so that my children will be able to read my thoughts when they need them.  If they need them.

If you go through the catacombs of this now 7 year old blog, you will see my journey, marriage, infertility, career choices, motherhood and my life in food.  I guess one thing about me is that I have done things my way, not to quote Mr. Sinatra, but he was onto something.  “Let the record show, I took the blows, and did it my way.”  So much truth in those words,  Powerful, and they are just about as true as you can get to how I have lived my life thus far.  On my terms.  I am not a follower, that bugs people.  I rarely “join”.  It is just not in my character to have anyone have any claim on my time other than the person who writes my payroll, and now my family.

While this has a lot of benefits, there are downsides as well.  Every style of personality has its own set of ups and downs.  I tend to be alone, but rarely lonely.  Don’t get me wrong, I have friends, but am I often out to cocktails with the girls?  No.

I had this realization when my pal was over.  We talked a lot about ourselves, as women,  I finally just let it out.  I am goal oriented, and I am a succeed-er,  I cannot balance too many peoples emotions and accomplish goals. You simply cannot do it all.  You can, however, take care of your family and yourself and stay focused on your goals.  Taking on too much more dilutes something and usually the dilution is the YOU.  The self care.  You want to have a happy family and a full life AND a busy social life?  Well, you need your job, your family mean the world to you, so bye-bye exercise and rest.  Does this make for a long and happy life  No.  So, I often say goodbye to a large portion of the fluffy stuff and focus on family, goals and health.

Here is what I have witnessed: Those who give too much of the personal self fail:  marriages end, careers stall, or they raise kids who fail to become accomplished adults.  I am talking about making it to every party, every cool event, being part of the “in crowd”.  FOMO (fear of missing out) is the killer of relationships and careers.  I am grateful for whatever gene I inherited that I do not have this, I actually feel embarrassed sometimes for not feeling this more intensely.  I simply do not tend to be jealous.  You can have whatever you want, and if you want it bad enough, you will get it.  Jealousy is ridiculous to me, and seems like the outcome of laziness.  Tough words?  Honesty usually is.

Here is what I know:  I do need to still own me.  I also need to teach my children to be okay with being alone sometimes and taking time for a deep, hot bath, to watch a  movie alone, to get a massage instead of a night out on the town.  You can be alone, and not lonely.  There is a difference.  Those who find themselves in good company when alone are more apt to take risks, make big changes, and create success around them.

I look towards my retirement there are 3 things that I know for sure:  1.  I will be holding Jason’s hand on long walks.  2.  I will see and travel a lot.  3.  I will write every day.  How do I know this?  Because I allow the space in my mind to think of the future, and not be scared of it.  I am learning who I am and I am not going to rat race myself into thinking that I don’t have time.  I also allow myself the time to think.  I don’t fill my life with clamor, and that is by design.

I have people ask me how I am doing the career-mom-wife-radio personality balance.  the truth is that there is no balance needed.  My life is organized and I expect that someone will get sick, and that I will miss something, and I allow life to be bumpy.  If you know it will be bumpy, then it is just funny.  My husband and I often say to each other “this is crazy, right?” and have a good laugh.  I think back to when we had the twins and our life turned on its ear.  It was a turning point for us: survival mode.  We were in the kitchen, each of us holding a preemie twin, no sleep, trying to hold it together, trying not to hate each other due to lack of sleep….. and I said to him “Wow, I really think having kids has made our marriage even better!”  We laughed.  So hard.  It is all about remembering what you want overall, and not getting caught up in the nano-moment.  THAT is how I do it.

I do have time, and I will invest it as I see fit, and no, I do not feel bad.Maki

 

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Moments that define you.

I have a friend named Tami.  She is the person on my shoulder that  whispers in my ear what to do and what not to do.  My conscience.  She is actually  a real person as well, and actually comes in my office and lets me know when I am being too hard, or soft, but rarely that I am being to soft.  So, yeah….I guess I am what you would call a strong leader who needs a soft soul at her side.  That is Tami.  Why am I bringing this up?  Because I wanted to talk about moments that define you and these are moments that you do not have your Tami next to you.  When you actually make a decision, good or bad, and they define you.  The decision becomes a trademark, or an indelible memory that people will never erase and it will be always etched on you, like a tattoo.

For some it is something that sends them to prison.

For some it is something that wins them a Nobel Peace Prize.

I think we have many of these, and sometimes you have defining moments that erase all of the old feelings, or ideas about you.  Think of, perhaps a leader who was racist, until they did some sort of a grand gesture, switched sides, then spend decades working on equality – that person would have had a defining moment and then would always be remembered for the good they did, and perhaps the 20 years prior of hate and pain they caused is erased.  Is that fair?  I guess that is up to you.  These are large scale items.  What I am writing about are the small ones.

I am not sure if you ever know when your moment is coming, so the idea is that you live a life based on making good decisions so that you are defined as good.  I wish I had that to offer.  44 years of great decisions.  Popular choices.  Staying on the right side of the tracks.  I don’t and I will not even try to kid you about it.  I am pretty damned average and have had moments of splendor and moments of weakness.  Both are acceptable in my book, and frankly my book is the one I live from.  The weak decisions shape me, and the splendorous moments lift others, and perhaps the opinion of others in the process, which I am told we are not supposed to care about.  Confusing, right?

I have had many moments.  I decided to move to Portland.  I married Jason.  I decided to switch jobs 4 years ago.  I decided to have kids.

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Yes, decided because I am infertile and I had to pay a lot of money to have my children.  Yes, I am infertile.  I am okay saying that.  I started trying to have kids when I was 34 and after we went through all of our treatments and achieved pregnancy my Dr told me “we do not like to tell women this, but we are confident that you would never be able to have kids naturally.  You made all the right choices so we did not have to address this, but I think you should know for the future.”  Did this hurt?  Hell no, it justified 50 thousand dollars. (no insurance would cover my treatments)  So, cash money was well spent.

So, to sum it up, my moment that defined me was:  Choosing to be a mother.  

Not everyone’s life changes when they have kids.  We get a lot of comments from people about how much time we spend with our kids.  I think it is sweet, but I am always surprised, maybe embarrassed. Do we seem obsessed with them? ( yes) Are we over the top with family time? (likely) Do we both run home after work and have all sorts of plans every night for what we will do as a family? (always).  But, here is the thing:  I am average.  But maybe, my moment that defined me was not the same as others, and that is okay.

As I wrap up the year I am humbled by the fact that I was given the opportunity to have a family and children.  That my life is easily and clearly laid out in front of me now.  That my priorities are all lined out and I do not have to rely on Tami to keep me in line anywhere but at work.  I have the rest of my life’s greatest work of art in process.  What a privilege to already know what the picture I am painting will be.  Now to focus every day on my greatest work, my priority, my moments that define me.

Happy Holidays dear friends.  Happy holidays indeed.

Simple Kitchen Berry Coffee Cake

Berries!  They come into season and as quickly as they arrive – they are gone!  This is why you must freeze them – so that you can enjoy the fresh flavor of berries in the depths of winter.  After the holiday joviality has been tucked away and the skies are gray….you need something to look forward to.  Summer.  Sun.  FRESH BERRIES!

For starters – you should have picked your berries, washed them, then placed them on a cookie sheet to individually freeze them…then placed them into freezer bags.  This extra step is so you can scoop them easily out for smoothies and muffins and cakes!  Trust me – you will not regret it!

I was so pleased when I was unloading my freezer ( we bought a new fridge!) and came across my berries that were a gift after the babies arrived.  I had taken the extra steps and froze them because I was so busy with the twins I was unable to bake with them at that time!

Simple Kitchen Berry Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup of blackberries (or any berry)
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  1. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and soda. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine egg and buttermilk; stir into the flour mixture. Fold in berries. Spread into a greased and floured 8-inch round or square cake pan. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over coffee cake batter just before baking.
http://www.mrsmakicooks.com/2014/01/23/simple-kitchen-berry-coffee-cake/

Simple Kitchen Beets – Crockpot

How wonderful is the summer season? There are farmers markets busting at the seams with gorgeous veggies and fruits! A wonderful family and friends of ours went to the Gresham Farmers Market and brought us a bounty of fabulous veggies and fruits! The timing was perfect becasue I needed kitchen inspiration!

My “catch of the day” included 2 healthy bunches of red beets and I had a few golden in my fridge from the Beaverton Farmers Market. I have not always liked beets but in the last 5 years or so I have fallen in love with them and their earthy flavor. The exact thing that turned me off…..turned me right back on. I wish it was like this with other things for me, such as kale….but alas it is not (yuk!)

I read somewhere that you can cook beets in the crockpot. Now, the only thing holding me back from making beets and eating them on a regular basis outside of my favorite restaurants was the fact that they are a FREAKING PAIN IN THE TOOKUS TO MAKE! But, it sounds like there may be a soution:

The ingredients re simple. Olive oil and fresh beets. I took the opportunity to use some of this awesome Red Ridge Olive OIl from Oregon Olive Mill!!! I figure I may as well keep this recipe local. I preach it enough….right?

My directions are Simple Kitchen Simple:

Take 2 bunches of medium sized beets. Scrub them down and cut the within 1 inch of the beet. Wrap in tin foil packets…one to 2 per packet…and put in the crockpot on medium for 4 hours or high for 3.5 hours. When done, cool completely and remove from tin foil and rub skin off with a papertowel. One paper towel will suffice for all of the beets…no need to be wasteful…..

Gorgeous Roasted Beets

Enjoy your fabulous beets in a salad, by themselves, or warmed and as a simple side dish!

 

Shallot Pepper French Bread Ring

Shallot Pepper French Ring

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tbsp diced shallots
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Add most of the shallots and pepper - set a pinch of each aside for the tiop of the bread Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends. Twist into a "Round" or "Wreath" Form.
  4. Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Sprinkle with rest of the shallots and pepper. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack
http://www.mrsmakicooks.com/2012/06/06/shallot-pepper-french-bread-ring/

Bread!  I got to bake bread last weekend!  This was delicious, and if you have the patience – it is SO worth the wait!  I started with a recipe from allrecipes.com and just doctored it with some Missy-flavor and got creative with the shape!  SO fun!  Have fun with recipes!  Have fun with food!

Gorgeousness!

 

Vern Nelson The Hungry Gardener from the Oregonian on “Simple Kitchen with Missy Maki”

Hey everyone!

Tune in today if you are trying to start a garden….trouble with your herbs?  Not sure what will grow in Oregon or when to start?

What kind of fertilizer?  I have a million questions…and I have the man with the plan!

Tune in at 9am on KPAM AM 860 today!  It is a LIVE SHOW you can call in 503-225-0860

Thanks!

Missy Maki