four children + green dreams + recipes + story writing + running wild + (sanity) = where you'll find me
Monday, March 28, 2011
A Week in Suppers: 3
Monday supper. Whole chicken "roasted" in crockpot with garlic and lemon. Steamed rice (or leftover quinoa) on the side. Brussel sprouts in brown butter with walnuts. Salad made of leftover spinach and bean sprouts, plus grated carrot, in a tamari dressing. Thumbs up around the table. Next time, I will not use the whole lemon inside the chicken. It flavoured the meat quite strongly, which was not to everyone's liking. (Just realized the carcass got composted, and I did not make stock from it, as planned). And while the crockpot version of roasted chicken can't beat the flavour of oven-roasted chicken, the ease with which this meal was prepared was totally worth the trade-off. I had to go to the doctor in the morning to get my eye woes seen to, and after school I took the kids to Factory Shoe to get them all new running shoes. Which they wore to school the next day, before spring was foiled by Wednesday's heavy snowfall. Except I bought the wrong size for CJ. In fact, I bought him the size and style identical to the ones he wears at nursery school. Argh! So we'll have to make a return trip.
Tuesday supper. Sweet-and-sour chicken and tofu, with carrots and onions. Baked rice and steamed broccoli. Wow, this was a fabulous meal. I got complaints from no one. I was on my own with the kids for supper (Kevin ate alone, when he got home from work). The two older kids don't like tofu, but there wasn't enough leftover chicken meat to fill out the stir-fry, so I combined both proteins, and dished out one or the other. I loved this meal so much; I must post the sweet-and-sour recipe. Kevin played the final of his soccer tournament, then went on to his last hockey of the season, and ended his own personal triathlon at Ethel's taco night.
Wednesday supper. Baked black beans with sausage in the crockpot. More rice. Cabbage salad with mayo/cider vinegar dressing. The baked black beans were my attempt to mix up the usual chili flavour, with middling success. They were sweetened with molasses and brown sugar. But I had great success cooking them in the crockpot overnight, and adding in the rest of the ingredients the next morning. It should have been a snow day, but it wasn't. When the snow was still falling thickly by school pick-up time, I decided to pass on our music lessons. But supper was still eaten in a rush because I'd planned to go to a yoga class, to make up for the class missed due to Kevin working late yesterday evening; this required elaborate scheduling. We gulped our food and ran in a variety of directions, with limited success: the class was hard and I felt tired and sick and wished I hadn't gulped down quite so many baked beans; a pair of soccer shoes were taken out of a bag and left on the living-room floor; by the time the soccer dad and soccer kids had discovered the missing shoes, they were in the midst of a snow-caused traffic jam and ended up missing practice. And I forgot to take a photo at the table.
Thursday supper. Rice pilaf to use up all the leftover rice. Ginger carrot soup. As I said to a friend who was over for lunch, "It sounded good to me." The ongoing dilemma: do I cook for the kids' tastes, or my own? A bit of both, really, and in this case, I knew the pilaf wouldn't be loved by all, but it sounded delicious to me, and included toasted sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, the leftover rice ended up creating more leftover rice, this time in pilaf form, so I was back to square one. To add to the pilaf, I chopped up a block of queso fresco, a mild Latin-American soft cheese, and the kids gobbled it up plain. The soup was fabulous. I added a cup of toasted cashews and pureed everything together and the flavour was out of this world. Our basement was getting repaired yesterday and today, a muddy business, fortunately contained down below. I skipped a yoga class to enjoy supper with the whole family, and after some frantic post-supper machinations, Kevin and I got out the door together to our kundalini yoga class. It ain't easy, getting the both of us out the door at the same time on a school night.
Friday supper. A sirloin roast in the crockpot with red wine and garlic. Mashed potatoes. More cabbage salad, this time with grated carrot too. My mother-in-law Alice was here for a visit. We all ate together between skating and soccer, though Kevin and AppleApple had to rush. I made an absolute vat of potatoes. I was extremely pleased with how everything turned out, but didn't receive an endless stream of glowing compliments, as seemed fitting (c'mon kids, throw the chef a bone). If we could afford it, and if it were good for us, I'd make roasts more often; but it's definitely special occasion food. We buy all of our meat from local farmers, most of it organically raised, and it is not cheap. But I actually believe that's a good thing: we eat less meat as a result, and get the bulk of our protein from beans and legumes. Better for everyone and everything.
Saturday supper. Shepherd's pie made with leftover mashed potatoes and beef, plus added hamburger, plus gravy made from drippings, plus the rest of that carrot soup to add some vegetable matter. More cabbage salad. And fresh-baked bread! With extra-old cheddar on the side. I went to the freezer to look for peas and discovered we've eaten all of the peas! And all of the green beans! And all of the corn! The only veg left is some steamed beet greens. I wonder why. I accomplished a lot today, too much to list. But the lovely thing was that Kevin got home in time for supper, and we enjoyed a glass of wine, and then Alice put the kids to bed while Kevin and I slipped out to a movie--Barney's Version. Loved it. See it!
Sunday supper. Leftover surprise. Rice pilaf baked with cheese on top. Cold shepherd's pie. Cabbage salad. Dill smoked salmon I'd gotten on impulse at the grocery store (ridiculously--almost suspiciously--on sale), with rye crackers. Nobody was terribly excited or surprised. But AppleApple spent the afternoon at a birthday party, and Albus didn't feel like cooking, and the basement was desperate for a thorough cleaning, so Kevin devoted his afternoon attention to that instead. It wasn't a hard meal for me to prepare. I also made yogurt and baked ginger cookie squares, which are delicious, but for the second time in a row overflowed the pan while baking. I need to solve this problem. Two pans? Casserole pans rather than baking sheets? I will figure this out. The kids played happily together after supper, and even practiced piano and doing homework without grumbling. The basement is clean. And Kevin and I had a scheduling meeting of epic proportions to cap off the day, and the week, over a warm cup of tea. I love scheduling meetings. I probably love them more than is right and proper. I went to bed a happy woman. (With leftover leftover leftover rice pilaf in the fridge).
I'm mother of four, writer, dreamer, planner, runner, photographer, taking time for a cup of coffee in front of this computer screen. My days are full, yet I keep asking: how can I fill them just a little bit more
-- with depth, with care, with pleasure.