Not much went according to plan last week, but we did eat. I finally tried the Light Wheat Rolls. G. wasn’t a fan. A. liked them but agreed with me that we could look for a better recipe next time. I think I just have better luck with white whole wheat flour than a mixture of AP and whole wheat. J. did make fantastic lamb burgers over the weekend — I will look forward to having them again. And, I did get my Sunday birthday dinner — an Indian feast and mini cupcakes from Crumbs.
We spent much of this past long weekend doing large batch cooking (Chicken Soup, J.’s Favorite Goulash, smoked brisket, smoked beef ribs, and swordfish) so that J. could play with his newest kitchen toy, a pressure cooker/canner. I don’t even blink when he tells me about the next gadget he is interested in buying, because whatever it is we wind up using it. I know I’ve mentioned many times how helpful we find our vacuum sealer: I use it for packaging soups and stews for the freezer, and every few months J. will do a ton of meat on the smoker and portion it out in vacuum-sealed bags. Now we’re canning food too, both in glass jars and in retort pouches. It’s very time consuming, so I’m curious to see how we like the food that has been treated this way.
For this week, though, we’re back to food we cook and eat the same day. I’d like to bake something sweet this week, too.
We’ve had several dietary changes in our family that, for many months, left me scratching my head as to what was left for us to all eat. First, about a year ago, J. started cutting down on simple carbs and dairy and eliminated meals at home where they were the main dish. Instead, he prefers lots of vegetables, lean protein, and a bit of whole grain like bulgur or quinoa. So, old standbys he could be counted on to eat such as Spicy Cheese Enchiladas and Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos are off the menu. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with silent reflux, which was giving me a cough that kept me up all night. Eliminating caffeine (I KNOW!) and tomato sauce, plus eating lighter in the evenings, largely reversed this condition.
So, no pasta main dishes and no tomato sauce for the adults in the house. These are two ingredients my boys essentially live on, in their myriad forms. For a while, I was making lovely grain salads and roasted vegetables for J. and me, and then throwing some pasta on the side for the boys. (They would occasionally eat the vegetables, A. more often than G.) But I was definitely falling back into the “different shape of pasta every night” type of meal variety, and that is not a place I want to be again. Years after she first shared this bit of wisdom, I still think about advice my friend Karen gave me regarding cooking outside the box for our kids: “If you don’t serve it, you have a 100% chance that the kids won’t eat it.”
With that tidbit back at the front of my mind, I want to get back to cooking more chicken dishes, more tofu, and more vegetarian meals that can straddle the different needs of all our family members. For instance, vegetarian soup (me and J.) with homemade bread (boys) and perhaps roasted chicken (me and the boys) or fish (J. and one or both boys). I also wanted to get back to cooking a saucy, pasta-based dish once a week that the boys can enjoy even if J. and I are not. They miss their Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups.
We had a lovely Mother’s Day brunch here yesterday, with J.’s homemade caramel sauce, espresso ice cream with ribbons of dark chocolate and caramel, and Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies for dessert. Hello, decadence. There was watermelon on the dessert table, too, but I sure didn’t see too many pieces of the fruit eaten!
I'm Dara, the Chick in the Kitchen. Living in the suburbs of Manhattan with my two school-aged boys and husband. Feeding my family something more diverse than a different shape of pasta each night. Read more about me and CITK, and keep in touch: