I think every year needs a word to be a personal theme or mantra. Last year, I chose “fearless” and worked on letting go of a lot of my fears, whether it be a fear of walking away, fear of trying something new, fear of unfamiliar territory… I spent the year letting go of my fears. When I was thinking about this year’s plans the other day, the word “unstoppable” came to mind over and over, a sign to me that it should be my word for 2015.
Unstoppable is a funny word though, and I had to think before officially accepting it as “my word” for this year, because it has such a complex meaning. “Something that cannot be stopped” can be either good or bad. Someone who uses others, has ulterior motives, or acts in otherwise shady manners (whether it’s obvious or not), can be seen as unstoppable. Or something like a rumor, a political tyrant, a catastrophic series of events could be considered unstoppable. Maybe we don’t like unstoppable.
On the other hand, I firmly believe that being a light to the world, a force for good, a person driven to bring out the best in yourself and others is amazing unstoppable. Unstoppable can mean diligence, caring, perseverance, faithfulness – so many great things. And that definition, all the good things about unstoppable, is how I will be embracing the word “unstoppable” this year.
One of my projects is growing this blog’s readership dramatically by the year’s end and working on a few professional goals I’ve set, after taking care of my family emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Another is getting back into better physical condition.
When the Godfather last deployed, I got down to my smallest adult weight, and managed to keep most of it off for almost a year until I got pregnant with A. Once hormones settled after baby, I started losing again, but I’m just not quite at my “happy place” yet, and that’s unacceptable. I could make excuses, but that’s not my style, so instead, I’m taking steps to reach my goal. First, I’m running again and will be training for a half marathon (which one is TBD). I’m also early on in a Whole 30 to help me detox after the holiday sugar rush (hellloooo treats!) and make better choices in cold weather.
It’s easy to reach for calorie-laden comfort food when it’s snowing outside, but it feels so much better to find a healthier and equally satisfying alternative. I’m also LOVING the culinary challenge it’s providing! I’m doing it alone, the Godfather isn’t cutting out his starches or sugars although he is happily eating whatever I make, and the fact that it hasn’t tempted me to see him eating rice with his meal or having a bite of chocolate for dessert afterwards does make me feel unstoppable.
This recipe was actually our “celebratory” dinner the first night of my Whole 30. It was a Wednesday evening and we were celebrating the end of my first Whole 30 day, because we like “just because” celebrations. We also had a beautiful cut of locally raised organic short ribs that we purchased from a farmer during a little birthday adventure outing for the Godfather the weekend prior.
Short ribs are best cooked low and slow so you break down all the toughness in the meat until it’s fall off the bone tender, and this is why my preferred method to make them is in the crock pot, after browning. Browning short ribs is an important step because it helps lock in the juice and flavor. Sometimes, you lose a little flavor in the crock pot as everything is cooking together so long it almost blends, and you really don’t want that to happen with short ribs. It only takes a few minutes, and you can even do it the night before you plan to cook. Just avoid using a nonstick pan. Nonstick pans aren’t ideal for browning because of the coating. I picked up a stainless steel pan from a local restaurant supply store that I use regularly for pan frying or other high-heat situations. You can find one like it here on Amazon.
If you’re hesitant about trying short ribs, this is a great introductory recipe. In fact, I had to shoot the “end result” pictures the night we had this dish for dinner because I wasn’t going to have leftovers for the next day – my daughter ate almost an adult-size portion of the ribs and vegetables! She LOVED it, and I hope you will too!
- 3 lbs short ribs
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
- Preheat a skillet with the two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.
- Sprinkle the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper, then place into the skillet to brown. Cook about 3-4 minutes each side until browned. Remove from the pan and place into your slow cooker.
- Lower the heat to medium, add all the vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring in 1 cup of the broth, swirling it around and scraping to pick up any bits of meat or vegetables still in the pan. Dissolve the tomato paste in this and then pour into the slow cooker with the remaining cup of broth.
- Set the slow cooker on low and cook 8-10 hours until the meat is cooked through and very tender.
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