On Track for Self Improvement, or Derailed? You Decide.

Little confession to make here: I have spent a good portion of my life –  nay, let’s make that the majority of my life – as a perfectionist.

You know. One of those kinds of people.

But speaking on behalf of those kinds of people, I want you to know we really don’t mean to be assholes. It’s just that, you know … we want things to be perfect. And, um … the way you’re doing it? Whatever it is you happen to be doing at any given moment? We can easily think of three or four ways it could be done better. And we’d like you to know it.

Frankly, I would have happily remained a perfectionist if not for the fact I once salvador-dali-famous-quote-perfection-art-creativity1worked for a proud, self-proclaimed perfectionist.  I mean, OMG, was she an asshole! And then one day she said, “You’re just like me!”

Which really, really, pissed me off, you know? Especially when I realized it was true.

Since then I have  been on a mission to overcome this deep character flaw of mine, and I think I have finally succeeded. Really, I think I have!

Here, let me show you the evidence:

WP_20151203_18_20_04_Pro[1]

First up, my kitchen as it appeared yesterday morning. Is this something I would have tolerated in my perfectionist days?

Are you kidding me?

A cabinet door open, a messy counter, junk mail in a pile. There’s an out-of control plant that needs trimmed and … wait, a nearly dead plant? Let’s look closer.

Click Here to Jump to Soup Recipe

WP_20151203_18_20_20_Pro[1]

Oh yeah, now I remember. I saw these lovely photos on Pinterest showing herbs arranged on a windowsill. Thought I’d give it a shot. (Pinterest is a Perfectionist’s dream. And nightmare.)

Yeah, that plant is not perfect. Not even close.

Moving on, I pull out my toaster.

You know how you can use something day after day, never giving it a thought, until one day you look at it? I mean really look at it? Well, yesterday I really looked at WP_20151205_08_04_49_Pro[1]my toaster.

Oh dear. How old is this thing? Has it EVER been wiped down? And yeah, I remember it lost a knob, but I don’t use that side much and … um … it still toasts, you know? Not perfectly, of course, but … yeah.

Click Here to Jump to Cookie Recipe

Moving on.

For breakfast, I envisioned a meal of eggs, hash brown potatoes and sauteed vegies. Have eggsyou ever seen where they kind of stack them together in a lovely, delectable dish? Sort of like this yummy little morsel on the right?

I found that on Saveur.com. Wow, do they have marvelous recipes on that site. Only I didn’t bother looking at the recipe because they’re eggs. How difficult are eggs?

I think my problem was that I was trying to conserve pans. I have a huge cast iron skillet and in a moment of brilliant insanity, I thought I’d cook all of the items together.

WP_20151203_18_27_34_Pro[1]You’re not supposed to cook eggs at the same temperature as hash browns, did you know that?

I did.

No, really, I did. Only I thought if I waited and added them at the very end … well, that didn’t work out so well.

Even so, they tasted good. Maybe not perfect, but … you know. Good enough.

Moving on.

Instagram is a glorious way for perfectionists to show their, um, perfection. Ever notice that? It’s a great way to get a glimpse into their well-ordered, Photoshopped lives. Especially their Christmas decorations. Wow, there are some seriously great photos of Christmas decorations there.

Hey, want to see my Christmas decorations? Here they are!

WP_20151203_18_21_04_Pro[1]

Not so long ago, I would have had all my decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. And they’d be up perfectly, too. No Photoshop required. Yep. those were the days.WP_20151203_18_22_01_Pro[1]

Oh, and look. I didn’t notice until just now that I still have my Thanksgiving sign up.

That’s not perfect. Sooooo not perfect.

There was a time when I would have totally freaked out at these things. But you see how calm I am? Amazing, isn’t it?

Why, my hand is hardly trembling at all. And that twitchy thing my left eye is doing? Hardly noticeable.

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I’ve got this perfectionist thing licked. And you know what the best thing about it is? The absolute best thing?

It’s made me a whole lot easier to live with, just ask Husband. Also, I’ve become a more forgiving parent, a more understanding friend …

In short, letting go of my perfectionism has made me just a little more perfect.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy a toaster. But first, let’s get these recipes out of the way.

First up, dang am I proud of this soup. It was one of those wonderful impromptu meals where I had leftovers from a vegetable platter, a hungry vegetarian daughter, and a personal desire for chowder. This was the result. And may I just say, it turned out perfectly.

Perfectly Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

  • Servings: about 6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, dicedWP_20151201_18_20_32_Pro[1]
  • 3 cups chopped vegetables (I had broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and those little bell peppers that come in red, green and yellow)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used 1/2 cup sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan)
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons Sriracha sauce or dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper)

In a soup pot, melt butter and saute onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, stir another minute, then add the rest of the ingredients up to the broth. Add more water if needed, to cover. Continue cooking over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add grated cheese and stir until melted. Add hot sauce and seasonings to taste.

Serve with extra cheese on top. Enjoy!

Bonus Recipe!

Let's Have S'more Cookies

  • Time: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: nothing to stress over
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 12 whole graham crackers
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallowsWP_20151208_19_41_58_Pro[1]
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Place graham crackers in pan closely together, as though you’re making a crust; cover with marshmallows.

In a small saucepan, add butter and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Spoon over marshmallows and cover with almonds & coconut (if using).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Cool completely. Cut into two-inch squares, then cut each square to form triangles.

Don’t worry if they don’t look perfect. They shouldn’t. If they turn out perfect, you did something wrong. But don’t stress over it. I still like you.

Author: C. J. Hartwell

Christi lives in Phoenix with Husband, Son, Daughter, and Dog. She enjoys moonlit walks on the beach, but as she doesn't live anywhere near a beach, she's usually in bed by 9:30.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s