Becoming a statistic and other “fun” life experiences

I’ve been in the weeds, as they say, these past few weeks and I apologize for my absence. I promised all these fun posts and then vanished but it wasn’t for no reason at all. Two weeks ago, I joined the ranks of many unfortunate Americans today and acquired a new label, I became unemployed. I know I’m not alone in this, especially among my age group, in fact I think I’ve lasted longer than most of my friends from college; I’ve seen them all take this label on for months at a time over the last 5 years since graduation. Yes, we all had the unfortunate luck to graduate into a floundering economy in which jobs are scarce, let alone good jobs, those are almost non-existent. Gone are the days when employers take care of those people who work so hard to keep them in business, the sad truth is that the American economy now puts the almighty dollar first in each and ever scenario, hence the enormous unemployment numbers.

I was one of these people 2 weeks ago. Blindsided by the fact that my position had been eliminated and not even given the chance to make my case.  As I sat in the very short meeting, where I was told that I no longer had a job, my first thoughts were, well sheer panic, then disbelief, then anger that this had apparently been discussed weeks beforehand by the board of directors and no one thought it would be a good idea to mention to me that my position was being evaluated, and then finally came the hurt. My pride and ego were bruised and battered, I wasn’t given the chance to say good-bye to the co-workers I had spent 35 hours a week with for almost 2 years, I just packed up my stuff and vanished.

Why is it that HR departments always think its most human to treat people like they are not in fact human at all? That is one point I’ll never understand. Sure, we expect you to make this work place a priority in your life and spend most of your time here for the duration of your working here but when it comes down to dismissing you, lets not treat you like a human, instead lets treat you like we would a computer. Shout all the policies in your face, make you sign forms as you quietly cry in their office and then ask you if you have any questions. In my head I wanted to scream, “Questions? Um, you just ruined my life 5 minutes ago I haven’t heard a word you said after, “your position has been eliminated.”"

So now what? That was the place I found myself last week. Depressed, unmotivated, confused and lost. Family and friends have been so supportive and this week, after taking time to be sad, I’m looking forward. I’ve been given a chance to re-evaluate things and make a choice to do something I’m passionate about. Was I passionate about my job? Nope. It was a good job so I stayed safe and worked there dreaming of what else I might dare to do someday but now I’ve been given a second chance to go out and do it. Follow those dreams and maybe, end up back in the kitchen where I’ve always felt the most at home and at peace.

No longer and I allowed to wallow, but instead I’m weighing my options and making the hard choices. In the end, I think I’ll look back on this time and be grateful for it. Not everyone gets a push into a second chance. But here’s to mine!

The best news in all this is for you guys. No job = Lots of time to blog! You’ll be hearing from me more and I’ll keep you posted on what’s going on with me.

As always, thanks for reading! (Oh, and if you’re hiring, let me know!)

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Rosemary

I saw this picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago:

Post image for Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary

And if you’re anything like me, your first thoughts when seeing something like this are, “mmm, I want to make that.” I clicked on the picture and found it belonged to a blog called My Baking Addiction. That author got the recipe from famous chef, Michael Simon (he’s an Iron Chef and is now on the new talk show, The Chew.)

The recipe combines cream, goat cheese, garlic, chicken and rosemary into a creamy and delicious sauce. I’ve never been a big fan of mac n cheese, sorry folks, I just never liked it. Let me explain. I grew up not really liking cheese in general. I’m not sure why, but even today its not my favorite. I cannot sit and eat an entire cheese course nor do I enjoy a snack of cheese and crackers. For me, cheese needs to be in a dish or on a pizza. One of my brother’s favorite meals growing up was my mom’s macaroni and cheese, we ate it pretty often. My mom did the whole make the cheese sauce and bake it thing, it wasn’t Kraft, but I still didn’t enjoy it much. It was too bland and too much of the same flavor for me. Naturally, this twist on that dish intriqed me. The ingredients were simple and since the recipe didn’t take long to make, it looked perfect for a week night meal.

To start the recipe, combine the heavy cream, garlic and rosemary in a medium sauce pan and place over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Watch so it doesn’t boil over and keep it at a low temp so that its still simmering and reduces by half. The recipe says this shouldn’t take too long, for me, it took about 40 minutes to reduce properly; plan accordingly.

While the mixture is reducing, cook the pasta and shred the chicken.

Once reduced, stir the goat cheese into the cream mixture until smooth and thick.

Add the roasted chicken to the mixture.

Combine the mixture with the cooked pasta and top with some fresh rosemary.

The flavors are subtly delicious, but this dish is extremely rich.

Another tip is to make only half of the recipe depending on how many people you’re feeding. It doesn’t reheat well because of the cream sauce and you never eat as much as you think because the sauce is so rich.

This recipe was simple and delicious, a mac n cheese I could get used to!

Here’s the recipe that I got from My Baking Addiction (her blog is really nice, be sure and check it out!):

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Rosemary
Print
Author: Adapted by My Baking Addiction from “Live to Cook”
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound dried rigatoni
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the oil and rigatoni to the water and cook according to the directions on the package, 10-12 minutes.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, pour the cream into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic to the cream and bring it to a simmer – take care not to let it boil over. Allow the cream to reduce by about half.
  3. Stir in the goat cheese and chicken and continue cooking cooking it till the cream coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Thoroughly drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce. Coat the pasta in the sauce and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Serve hot.