Sunday, April 8, 2012

MPM--Spring Swing

So, here we are, T-minus-less-than-a-month to the First Communion. Over break, we got the outfit done (yay!) and the retreat done. Plus, my whirl through the house continues. I committed to the "40 bags in 40 days" thing again and was chagrined to be done with more than two weeks to go until Easter and NO discernable difference in my house. Part of my cleanout was in the kitchen; man, I have a lot of garam masala. Hopefully we get the grill going again soon so we can use it on the chicken, yum. But this is a big spinny-eye month for me with a lot going on. Here's hoping the joy of Easter (and the caffeine from the soda and chocolate I gave up and am welcoming back with happy taste buds) will carry me through to May!

Monday: last day of break for the boys! Plum jelly chicken, rice, broccoli

Tuesday: oh, how I love you, Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Mom-Boys Night. And fencing. Lent is over, I'm crying "uncle" and taking them out.

Thursday: Lemony potato smash, leftover chicken, a green vegetable that strikes my fancy. (Quite possibly the edamame-tomato salad with buttermilk dressing on my sidebar since I have all those things.)

Friday: It's not Lent anymore but I still enjoy the vegetarian Fridays. I'm scrambling a little bit here because the go-to meal I loved for the boys (or me!) was the mushroom-truffle pizza from Trader Joe's but the last two times my younger son had it for Friday dinner, he threw up Saturday morning. It might be coincidence, but I'm not eager to take the chance.

Last week, while we were all home, I was on a bit of a cooking/not cooking binge. Not cooking because hello, vacation, and cooking because with the pressure of all those dinners off, I actually got to think about doing some fun stuff in the kitchen.

As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a sucker for a homemade salad dressing, so I had to try the Perfect Vinaigrette from Catherine Newman. She wasn't kidding; it is perfect. Easy, came together in a snap (and would have been quicker still if I hadn't jettisoned my garlic crusher in a drawer purge), and she was right-it tasted like I always hope store-bought will taste but it doesn't because of the preservatives and stuff. This will go in our rotation. I had some marjoram in my house already from I-don't-even-know-what-project, and I can already tell you: it will be totally used by this dressing over the summer. Yay.

I also used some of my leftover cabbage (uncooked!) for the white bean, potato, and cabbage dish I never got to last week. Still a winner, at least for me, and as long as I "overcook" the cabbage. (And bonus: I used some of the beans I made in the slow cooker and froze. Yay me.) And I rescued some avocados from oblivion with detox soup. It wasn't my best batch ever but it was good, and a good use of just-around-the-bend avocados. And man, I forgot how much I enjoy cleaning up after cooking vegetarian meals--I'm not freaking out that I have sewn the seeds of my family's demise by spreading invisible toxins around my kitchen. (Yes, I should probably get some therapy.)

Also, because like every dutiful internet-trolling foodie, I was hypnotized by these videos, I got An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler from my library. I might have to cave and buy it, in an e- or print version, not sure which, because it holds out that holy grail for me: becoming an intuitive cook. She makes it seem easy (and either doesn't have small children to feed, or hers are way less picky than mine) to just pull things together and not have to think about every day as a new adventure, but instead have meals flow from one to the next--for example, boil a chicken, and use the meat and veggies in multiple ways for various meals--chicken dinner, soup, etc. This sounds so dumb and obvious but every time I do that, even with the yummy farmer's chickens from my Coop, they taste bland and are extremely unappealing. Perhaps I am undersalting my water, if the first chapter is to be believed. It's tricky because it's not really a cookbook; it's a series of essays describing techniques. They are detailed enough to make me think I know what to do, but then--I really don't. So we'll see how that evolves for me.

Try I'm an Organizing Junkie! for more inspiring menus!

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