Many thanks to everyone who took the time to share in the last post how they handle kids and activities and arranging bread on their skulls while laying on the floor. I really enjoyed reading the array of responses, and confess that it was a relief for me to read that my kids aren’t the only ones activity-hopping. I guess I have concerns about them never finding their “thing,” (or, alternatively, giving up on the thing that they’re actually quite adept at—swimming is the first sport Chickadee’s shown real potential in, and her reaction is a resounding “whatever”), but yes, of course, y’all made me realize that at this age, flitting around is the right way to go.
In fact, when they get home from school today, I’m going to tell them that I was just kidding when I told them to “get a job,” earlier. Chickadee spent a couple of hours polishing her resume, true, but I think they’ll be relieved.
Anyway, I was just making some pizza dough, and realized I wanted to talk about food.
The new regime of weekly menu planning continues apace (though with fewer smashed fingers, thankfully), and I am enjoying this with a fervor that makes me suspect that underneath my slow-beating, sloth-like heart, there’s a tiny little bit of Martha-wannabe. Which is a little scary. But good, too, because we’re eating exceptionally well, and in truth this tiny bit of planning actually enables me to be even lazier than usual.
(I know. It’s hard to imagine me EVEN LAZIER. But sometimes it happens.)
We’re still getting a good mix of tried-and-true favorites and some new recipes. Allow me to take a moment here, too, to say that if you’re one of the five people on the planet who is not yet reading A Year of CrockPotting, you need to start IMMEDIATELY. I am thinking of enrolling my children in a 12-step program to deal with their addiction to these babies. Because every single Sunday when we sit down to plan the week before grocery shopping, they start chanting “TURKEY MEATBALLS! TURKEY MEATBALLS! TURKEY MEATBALLS!” Anyway, despite the fact that my children have latched onto a single (awesome) recipe from there, I do rely heavily on my crockpot and have found a lot of awesome recipes on Stephanie’s site, there. So check it out.
In the course of doing this, I’ve discovered that I have two “rescue” foods. (It’s sort of like having lifelines, only I don’t have to call anyone to admit that I have no idea what the capital of Uzbekistan is.)
The first one is frittata. Sometimes I have a pang or two about all those eggs, so now I mix eggs with Egg Beaters or some other FakeEggProductInABox. But the beauty here is that a great frittata can be made in about ten minutes, tops, and you can put almost anything into it. Proof positive that my children are weird: Their favorite is spinach, onion and feta. (For that matter, they also like a handful of spinach leaves for snack. I swear I had nothing to do with this, but I’m not arguing.) If you’ve ever wilted spinach, you know that that whole giant bag you get at the grocery store shrinks down to about half a cup in your frying pan, so I feel reasonably virtuous when I serve this for dinner.
Sometimes I feel the need to counteract that virtue with home-made pan fries. I’M ONLY HUMAN.
The second one is pizza. Like fritatta, you can throw on (in) almost anything. And that’s why we’ve been having pizza or frittata most Friday nights—it uses up the leftovers from earlier in the week. Unlike frittata, I actually have to REMEMBER my plan sometime before 5:00, and make some dough for the crust, but that’s one of the advantages of working from home. I can take a break and go in the next room and mix up the dough and close it in the microwave to rise while I go back to work. Then, if I’m lucky, Otto will come home and go to heat something up and ask me why the microwave is full of dough. (That one just never gets old.) (Also in the “never gets old” category: Responding “EEEEK!” to the other one saying “Boo!”, and Otto coming home and saying he’s going to go change and plaintively responding, “Don’t change! I love you just the way you aaaaaaaare!”)
None of this is to say that I don’t ever screw up the planning. Tonight when we build our pizzas we’ll have our choice of the standards the kids like—spinach, ham and pineapple, or pepperoni—but also grilled veggies, barbecued chicken, or some eggplant parmesan. Somehow this week’s menu was extremely amenable to the Friday Leftover Finale.
But just a few handy little tips I’d like to pass along:
1) Those turkey meatballs never last until Friday, which is fine, because no one wants cranberries on their pizza or in their frittata.
2) There will always be leftover rice that gets thrown away. Unless you get in a tizzy about always throwing away leftover rice and make less, in which case you will run out of rice and the carb-addicted people in your house will whine. And then you will remark to no one in particular that yes, people are whining about not having enough brown rice, what a wonderful world this is. (They will not be amused.)
3) Split pea soup—delicious though it may be—is not a suitable pizza topping.