Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guess what I did?

That title kind of sounds like it could be a regular feature. I'm really hoping it doesn't turn out to be!

Last week I did my usual grocery shopping at HEB and bought a cart load of all our favorites. I had some meals planned, but mostly I bought things that my stomach told me to buy because I was STARVING!

Anyway, I saw this big, beautiful pork roast and had visions of me cooking it nice and slow and feeding it to my adoring family and friends. I know I have said that I can't buy regular beef or chicken at the store anymore, but this is pork we're talking about. Whatever convictions I have about food, pork is always the last to go. Did I mention my love for bacon? (Ok, ok, I didn't realize I had already mentioned it!)

I was unloading all the frozen stuff into the upright deep freezer when some of the food in there started to tumble out. I did a little dance because I did not want a frozen anything landing on my precious toes! In my hand was the big, beautiful pork roast still in the plastic grocery bag. I dropped it behind me and proceeded to rearrange the freezer. Basically, I pushed all the same stuff to the back that I've been pushing back there for a year or so. Stuff I have no intention of eating, but feel guilty throwing away. I managed to get everything stacked just so and my new grocery items in there and then I moved on to the pantry items.

Fast forward a couple of days ago. My deep freeze is located in my laundry room and every time I would go in there, there was this smell. At first, it just smelled like someone, son or husband, had gone in there and "released some gas" so I didn't think anything of it. Then, the next day, it smelled more like a dirty diaper and I didn't remember putting one in the trash can in there. We're also potty training so I searched really good for a surprise hidden somewhere. Nope. No diapers or surprises.

Yesterday, I couldn't take it anymore. It smelled like something had gone into my laundry to die, actually died and had begun the process of decomposition.

Well, remember that big, beautiful pork roast I had such visions for? It was still in the plastic grocery bag where I left it only now it was covered with a dirty t-shirt and some socks and it reaked of dead animal. Sometimes, when I leave something out (oh, yes, I've done this before) I find it during that gray time when you're not sure if it's had a chance to spoil. Like eggs, or milk, or not so frozen vegetables. I always take a minute to struggle over whether I should throw it out or not. This time, my only decision was where to put the rotting thing. Trash pick-up was scheduled for the next day, so I could just put it in there and never look back. E suggested I boil the thing and give it to the dog. No way. I love Chloe but I'm not fixing her a gourmet meal of rotting meat just so I can feel a little better about wasting $11!

So, in the big blue trash container it went, along with every fly in the neighborhood. "Have at it!" I said.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thank you, it's good to be back.

Oh my goodness! Have I been busy. That was a statement, not a question. I feel so out of the loop. Actually I've been in the middle of a very big loop, I just haven't shared any of it with you. But today, you are going to get so much information about me and what I've been up to that you won't want to hear from me for at least another month!

Here's a photo list of some of the things that have been going on around here:

Road trip to the metroplex to see a now out-of-state friend and let the kids see Nana.

Got a dog for John and named her Chloe.

Had a princess party for my 6 year old princess.

With lots of fancy goodies to eat,

and lots of goodies to take home,

one very grown up girl...

and six candles!

Had another party for my 2 year old princess.

Watching my son play baseball. Go Tigers!

Helped host a baby shower for Francesca.

Made my first pound cake and forgot to add the flour. I got it out and set it on the counter and then proceeded to leave it there, unopened, while I finished the cake and put it in the oven. Did I mention that I'll be turning 37 next month? I'm sure that has nothing to do with it.

Didn't just talk about a garden, but actually started it!

Here's my tomato plants.

Potatoes are coming up nicely!

And last, but certainly not least, I just finished setting up my church's blog yesterday. And you know I wouldn't do that much work and not give you a link to it. Be sure to put a link on your blog if you have one, visit often and comment even more. It'll make Brandon's day!

So, that's just about it. Those are the things I took pictures of anyway. I promise I'll try to be more regular. Maybe fiber will help.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Yes, this is the same WFMW tip I posted last week, but I've had some people ask me about it so I'm running it again. I've also added a few steps at the end to make it even easier to keep up with!

Here's the scenario. Someone you know has a new baby or surgery or maybe both and you are asked if you'd like to fix a meal for that person and their family. I don't know about you, but I immediately freeze up and can't think of a single meal I could make. I forget I even know how to cook. I tell the person, "I'll call you and let you know." Then I pore over all my cookbooks, second guess myself and, eventually, never make the call.

I now have a solution. This idea came from another chef friend of mine and I'm just getting around to implementing it, but so far it's working.

I have been keeping a list of meals that my family likes and that friends have said they like and also some generally simple meals that anyone would like. I've taken that list and formed a menu that the new mom/surgery patient can order from. Here's my version...

Sorry it's so small. If you click on it, you can see it better.

Anyway, I will take this menu and give it along with my gift, at the person's baby shower and they can fill it out and mail it back in the self addressed, stamped envelope. That way, they don't have to think about it again. When that sign-up sheet comes around to me, all I have to do is pick the day that works best for me and start cooking! (If you're doing this for some other reason, it's not hard to adapt it to the situation.)

Update: I don't have a printer right now so I haven't been able to do this yet, but my plan is to get a binder notebook and keep copies of the menu sheets in the side pocket along with self-addressed stamped envelopes and in the binder part, have all the recipes and their list of ingredients printed out and in order so when I get that menu returned to me with a meal selected, I can just go to that menu, make my list, and get started! It might also be a good idea to put a tab in the back of the binder and keep those menu's for future reference. If you evey want to make dinner for that person again in the future, you can surprise them and know that they will love what you made because they picked it out!

And that, my friends, is what works for me!