Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Half-Baked and Parboiled Me

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. … She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family …” ~Proverbs 31: 10-11, 15

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; ... Is not life more important than food ...?” ~Matthew 6:25

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." ~John 6:27

I do not blame my oldest child at all, but, ever since she was born, planning menus, preparing grocery lists, and executing decent meal preparations has tended to be a struggle for me. I have joked many times that if it weren’t for my hubby (who, fortunately, happens to be a great cook), we would have starved to death within weeks of her birth. I don’t know if some permanent atrophy occurred in my brain, or whether it’s just a lack of will borne of perpetual “Mommy Fatigue,” but whatever the case, I am finally acknowledging (after nearly nine years … how pathetic) that I really do need to take action on this.

I am tired of staring at the pantry, then the refrigerator, then the pantry, then the freezer, then the pantry, then the refrigerator, then finally all three at once while uttering unintelligible mutterings that might be interpreted as: What am I gonna fix for dinner? There’s nothing to fix for dinner. Ugh. Why can’t I get on the ball with this dinner stuff? Man, we’re even out of leftovers. Let’s see, there’s one chicken breast, a can of cream of celery soup, dill pickles, coffee creamer, and six cans of tomato sauce. Oh, brother. I’ve really gotta get a handle on this. Anyone up for macaroni and cheese … again?

Don’t you think for a minute that I wouldn’t have any takers on the Mac ‘n Cheese proposition, but understand that they would all be under the age of ten. So why am I spending time writing about this rather than taking action? I have identified two primary reasons:

1. I am hereby petitioning for suggestions. I have several good (read, “easy enough for a mom of elementary kids to reasonably be expected to prepare”) recipes, but, to be honest, we’re all kind of tired of most of them. Do you have any menu or recipe recommendations? If so, are you willing to share? I would love to try them!

2. I know that if I put this in writing that I am much more likely to actually do something. It’s a matter of obligation, actually. My husband reads this blog. In fact, he called me at work several weeks ago just to let me in on a little secret.

“I read your blog.”

“Yeah …?”

“You called me ‘dear’ and a ‘saint.’” (I could hear the delight in his voice.)

(rolling my eyes) “Uh huh.”

“I’m gonna remember that.” (His words were undoubtedly vocalized through smiling lips, while my response to his banter was slightly less chipper.)

So, that’s how I can be so sure I will (have to) follow up on this admission. I really must do something about the fact that I suffer from complete brain freeze when it comes to planning and preparing food, and it’s not ‘cause I stand too long mumbling to myself in front of the icebox. It’s ‘cause now that it’s in print, my husband's “gonna remember that.”



  1. :) Oh my, how I can relate! I didn't officially make any New Year's resolutions...but this has been something I've consciously been working toward this year. I get out my cookbook (which, btw, is still the photo album with recipes that you gave me at my wedding!), pick out recipes for one-two weeks, and write them out so I know what to expect to make and when. I'll be happy to share some with you if you really want them. I've added a lot to the book over the years. I actually thought of putting a recipe of the day (or week) on my blog at one point. I don't make anything complicated! :) And you are lucky that your husband can cook! My husband can do many things, but cooking is not one of them! :)

  2. Wow - that staring from one place to the other thing is what I do, with the same results too, I'm afraid. And I've been trying to cook healthier for all of us lately too. That just complicates the whole thing further. I am teaching Michele to cook, so that's helping some (and of course we are counting that and all the other wonderful things she does around the house as home ec credit for school.) So, although the beginning of our downfall may have begun with the children, they can start becoming part of the solution in time. I don't know what I'd do without Michele. She's great.

    And Genny's got a great cookbook with quick and easy recipes. She had Anne get it for the church library. I'm sure she'll suggest you check that one out. We're just eating alot of lean meat and green veggies - cooked simply and as quickly as possible at our house. Boring - but luckily we like boring.

    And on the husband-blog thing. My wonderful husband decided to "help" me out by critiquing my blogging. He said something to the effect that I rambled alot and it was sometimes hard to follow - that it was like it hadn't been edited! And he said that about three months after reading a grand total of two entries - both about Aaron. I tried to inform him that blogging is something of a therapeutic tool for me and that no, I didn't edit, yes I do ramble, more so when I'm talking about my kids, and especially when I'm talking about Aaron. And while I do it for others to read if they'd like, I do it just as much for myself. I certainly don't want to have to worry about spelling or grammar - although generally I'm quite a stickler for both correct spelling and good grammar. Needless to say, I didn't receive the intended "help" with quite the level of appreciation he'd apparently hoped for. I tried not to be too annoyed as he obviously does not understand the reasons behind my blogging.

    Oh well - still rambling, non-editing and probably made some spelling errors and absolutely sure there's a whole mess of gramatical mayhem in that, but I don't cared because I feel much better after my little bit of therapy. I can get back to work now refreshed from my little escape to blogland.

    Oh yeah, and if I haven't said it lately, I really enjoy all your many varied posts. They make me think and they make me smile. Others have said it and I agree - you do have a gift for writing.

    Not me - I just ramble...:) Hope to see you Sunday.

  3. Melissa knows me well. When I read the first part of the post, I thought, "I have just the book for you!" The book is titled The 5:30 Challenge. We do have it in the church library. I liked it so much I bought myself a copy. Every recipe uses only 5 ingredients and takes 30 minutes. And, it really does. My usual plan is to sit down on Sunday night and look through the book, noting what items I need to buy for a week's worth of menus. Monday is my grocery buying day. To make it even easier on myself, I plan at least one meal a week of the completely non-nutritional variety i.e. corndogs, hotdogs, mac'n cheese, etc. Add a salad or green vegetable to any of the meals and you're good to go. If you like, I'll even give you the names of the recipes that I've tried and found to be tasty and successful.

    And, Sharon, I must say this surprises me about you...I thought you were just about perfect at everything. So, actually it's a relief to find you're not Betty Crocker. Is that bad? To be happy that you're not good at something? Probably shows some serious type of psychological issue that we won't delve into here. Maybe in a future post.

    Happy Cooking!

  4. I am a baker not a cook, so I look long and hard for some good recipes. Our new family favorite is Paula Deans' hash-brown quiche. They would eat it for every meal if I let them.

    (you will need 2-3 pie pans)
    preheat oven to 450
    3 c. drained and thawed frozen hash-browns
    1/2 stick melted butter
    Press the hash-browns into the pie pan to make a crust. Pour the butter over the top to act as the glue.
    Bake 20-25 minutes

    While that is baking mix together
    3 large eggs
    1 c. heavy cream or milk
    3/4 c. pre-cooked meat (we like bacon)
    1 c. cheese
    salt and pepper

    Once crust has cooked pour liquid mixture over hash-browns and bake 350 for 30 minutes. Be prepared...they will gobble this up!!1

  5. Okay, I may come back to this. Belinda told me how to make a cool chicken pot pie. I made my own kind. It was so super quick (and works if you have one measly chicken breast.

    1 ready made pie crust (optional)
    1-2 cubed (boiled) chicken breasts OR a can of cooked chicken
    1.5 cans of cream of chicken soup
    2 cups frozen veggies
    A few dashes of milk
    Salt and pepper.
    1 can of crescent rolls.

    1.Bake one pie crust in a glass dish.
    2.Cook and cube the chicken.
    3.Prepare the veggies according to package.
    4. Add cream of chicken soup, veggies and chicken and mix with 1/4 cup milk.
    5. Salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Fill pie crust
    7. Cover with one layer of unrolled crescent rolls. (Should only take half the package)
    8. Bake according to Roll directions (or until golden brown and hot inside.)

    ENJOY! I had this last night and LOVED IT!

    More to come later!

  6. Now, the only problem with your question is that one has to have time to actually cook. My kids have informed me I "never" cook anymore. I do but not every night like I used to. I would be glad to share with you what I do. It is quite simple if I have time to prepare the meal and money to get the groceries. It is in my PDA. Most are very quick.


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