Self-Care Challenge Day 1: Tackling Something New

Besides taking a walk, cooking is my meditation. The closest I can get to a quiet mind is following a recipe, mixing and measuring ingredients. When I’m in the mood to try something new, I head to the kitchen. It’s my Zen space.

So, for the first day of the self-care challenge, I tackled a lamb. Figuratively. My husband and I picked up a five-pound boneless leg of lamb on our last Friday night trip to Costco. (Side note: As a kid, Costco day with my parents was always the worst day of my life. Now it’s the best day. I hate crowds, but boy do I love free food.) When my husband suggested roasting lamb for our next Sunday night dinner, I said I was all in. But inside I was like, That seems large and easily destructible.

And yet, I’m not totally clueless. I’ve roasted a chicken. Cooked a pot roast. Surely this lady can whip up a leg ‘o lamb.

I did it. I adulted the heck out of that leg of lamb. At 30, I’m a full-fledged adult who shouldn’t be so impressed. But alas, small victories, people.

The Recipe

After an hour of research, I found zee perfect recipe from Epicurious. Before you go clicking off this post thinking, I’m not cooking lamb, Court, consider this. My beef-loving husband said it was better than steak.

Right here is where I was going to put a photo of the final product. I haven’t dabbled enough with photography to make a photo of cooked meat look better than cooked meat, so we’re skipping it.

Now that you’re totally convinced to try making a leg of lamb, two notes about the recipe. First, boneless leg of lamb comes wrapped in string to help keep the shape. The string on mine seemed elastic. Rather than test the new batteries we just put in the smoke detectors, I cut it off and re-wrapped the lamb with cotton twine. Second, cooks are divided on oven temperature and roasting time for lamb. Some swear by low and slow, and others hot…and fast…? I did a little of both. For a five-pound leg of lamb, try 15 minutes at 450F, then 1:15 at 350F.

The Verdict

Zen Level: 9/10. Trying something new made me feel calm and confident. In fact, science says the process of tackling a new challenge releases dopamine, the reward chemical. In other words, it makes you feel good.

Practicality: 9/10. There are lots of possibilities for trying something new every week, so adding this to a self-care routine could be easy to keep up with. I can also see this one being budget-friendly.

Not Into It?

Alright, if you (like most Americans) are not into lamb, here are some other ideas for trying something new:

  • Make a homemade version of a kitchen staple, like mayo, butter or almond milk. YEAH, CHURN YOUR OWN BUTTER. But don’t ask me how.
  • Switch your perspective by taking a different route or walking on the opposite side of the street when you’re headed somewhere you frequently visit.
  • Take out your earbuds wherever you wear them most to hear what’s happening around you.

One challenge down, 20 to go. Do you have a self-care routine? What have you added to yours lately?

If you’re curious about this challenge, read the intro post.

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