Apr 15, 2024

Weekly Roundup: My Best Kitchen Tip, Easy Meals and More

Happy Tax Day, and Happy Jackie Robinson Day! It's been 77 years since Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League Baseball, and every year, I have a greater appreciation for just how meaningful his accomplishments were and still are, and what an incredible human being he was. I was lucky enough to meet his widow, Rachel Robinson, over 20 years ago, and I'm happy she's still doing well at the age of 101! I hope you have a great week! (I've marked affiliate/referral links with a *, which means I may make a little bit of money if you make a purchase or sign up using that link - thank you!):

  • My top kitchen tip might actually not be a cooking tip, but a cleaning tip. I am so averse to cleaning that I will avoid making meals that I know will make for a difficult clean up. However, my options widened dramatically when I discovered an easy way to clean almost every caked-on pot: Just dissolve some dishwasher detergent in the pot with hot water and soak overnight. For lighter messes, I'll use this environmentally-friendly powder,* but for heavy-duty cleaning, I'll use a Finish Quantum tab.* This method usually means I barely have to use any elbow grease to get my pots and pans looking sparkly.

  • One of the best things I've done in my recovery from surgery is wear an abdominal binder. They gave me one when I left the hospital, and I probably didn't wear it enough the first couple of weeks. As I've become more active, I've been wearing it more, to the point where I bought this one from Amazon.* I can't recommend it highly enough for providing core support, and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to do nearly as much as I've been doing without it. (Side note: I've experienced a lot of internal abdominal discomfort, and I had to do a fair amount of research to determine that this is perfectly normal. I was pretty sure it was, but it was reassuring to know I'm not the only one to feel like my insides are, to use someone else's word, "discombobulated.")

  • During my recovery, I've been trying to cook quick and/or more hands off meals when I do any actual cooking. This past week, I tried Instant Pot Crack Chicken, which is basically shredded chicken in a cheesy ranch sauce. I think it could have benefited from a little acid and some freshly grated garlic, but overall, I appreciated how easy it was to make this meal (especially considering the fairly long ingredient list). It calls for 3 pounds of chicken, so it made a lot, which was also nice since I'm feeding a growing boy and often find that new recipes don't leave me with a lot of leftovers.

  • As a fan of Angela Duckworth, I've become familiar with the work of Daniel Kahneman, a pioneer in psychology and economics who passed away recently. Behavioral Scientist published 30 remembrances from a wide range of people who knew him, and the stories are uplifting, inspiring, and educational.

  • Speaking of Angela Duckworth, I was sad to learn that her nonprofit, Character Lab, is ceasing operations. I will miss their weekly emails with tips on being a better parent, friend, and person. Fortunately, their playbooks, which are full of these tips, will remain accessible for the time being.

  • Finally, a tip for college-going students and their parents: Now is the time to check the status of your FAFSA, if you haven't already. Just log in and then you'll see that your application is "In Review" (still processing), "Processed" (no further action required) or "Action Required" by you or your contributor(s). If you see "Action Required," be sure to take care of it to ensure you get all the aid you're entitled to. Financial aid offices are doing their best to get award letters out, so be sure to check your (student's) portal at least once a week and contact the school if you have any questions about your award.

Please let me know if there's something you'd like to see in the roundup. And don't forget to sign up for my monthly email newsletter!

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