Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's next?

It's finally happening.

We've lived in our current house for 10 years, and have been accruing stuff all that time. Our three bedroom home had gradually turned into a large storage unit for things we thought we needed. First the garage, then the small basement, then one, then two of the spare rooms became catch-alls for things, old and new, that we figured we'd sort out eventually.


Eventually isn't an actual time, you know.

Eventually never comes around.

What I've learned in the last year or so is that Eventually is a lie we tell ourselves to put off the inevitable. I'll eventually lose weight. I'll eventually get out of debt. I'll eventually de-clutter my life.

Eventually. No more Eventually.

We have moved on to What's Next?

What's next? Should we clean out this closet? Learn how to make great Vietnamese spring rolls? Throw away the decorative fountain that broke six years ago? Cancel cable? Move that piece of furniture into a usable place? What's next?

What's Next is giving us the ability to look at what we need to do and take it a piece at a time. There's no start date or end date, no ultimate goal in mind other than moving past the things that were going to get done Eventually and going on to the next necessary task.

In the last month or so, we've cleaned out our garage and basement from top to bottom, organized our closets, beautified our lawn, made countless little repairs around the house, and thrown away more junk than I thought possible.

Last week, after a 3-month daily countdown to the day our contract expired, we were finally able to cancel our cable television service. We kept internet service and lowered our bill by $80 a month. This wasn't a difficult decision - since rearranging furniture earlier in the year, we hadn't had cable TV hooked up to a television and for the last few months, haven't missed it. We either watch it online or download it.

Here's something valuable I learned recently: I used to think the number of "must-see" TV shows I couldn't miss was somewhere around 10 or 15. Now, that number is around 5 or 6. It's incredible how "must see" something is when you have to do a tiny bit of legwork to watch it.

It's finally happening. We're finally getting organized, and the remarkable part is that both Mr. Awesome and I actually get excited when we ask What's Next? Take it a piece at a time, and any task is completely doable.

What's Next?

Dinner. That's what. For dinner tonight, we're making one of my favorites: salmon with leeks and balsamic sauce, served over grains. We typically make couscous with herbs and cheese with this dish, but tonight I'm going to try Seeds of Change Uyuni Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice that I picked up at Costco.

This dish is really, really, REALLY easy. It literally comes together in 10 minutes, and tastes like something you'd pay big bucks for in a fancy restaurant. If I could eat only one salmon dish for the rest of my life, this would probably be it.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Honey-Balsamic Sauce

Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 8 per serving

Cooking spray
1/4 tsp. olive oil
4 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
4 6-oz salmon fillets, with or without skin
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper, divided
3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil. Place over medium-high heat; add leeks, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.

Sprinkle fish with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

Add vinegar, honey, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper to pan. Cook over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Divide leeks evenly over fish; drizzle with sauce. Yield: 4 servings