Yesterday at lunch I couldn’t face another PB&J (for myself, I’ve really been a slacker lately, the kids eat way better than I have been). I opened up the cupboards and freezer -and yes, I could hear my mother fussing in my head- and stared, and stared, and stared.
I talk about menu planning all the time.
Heck, I’ve written a menu planning primer.
I also frequently recommend SayMmm.com and SavingDinner (Summer Menus), both are great tools if you just don’t have the mental bandwidth or time to create your own. (SayMmm creates shopping lists from your plans / chosen recipes and SavingDinner has complete menus with recipes and shopping lists.)
Still there are times when life just happens and you get off track.
I’ve written about that before, too:
|I Am Overwhelmed
(another reader question)
|Overwhelmed by Mess
(sense a theme?)
(If you’re new, I’ve updated a few times since this post, the woman who wrote the email is doing much better)
|The Dangerous Comparison Game
(update – the kids will be going to public school this fall)
Where was I?
Oh, yeah, overwhelmed. In the past month I’ve been to Minnesota and back (23 hour drive there and ridiculously obnoxious flight home), upped my hours at the pub to nearly full-time, applied for jobs, and launched our home’s birthday season. And that’s enough and it’s okay that I’ve let things slide and become behind. It happens to everyone from time to time.
I’m working on getting my act back together. Are you?
Yesterday I decided to try to find my cooking mojo (have you seen it?) and I certainly did not want to head out into the ridiculous heat and humidity to go the grocery store. This limited me to what I could find in and around my house (the kids demanded a garden this spring, I planted a few herbs and said, “There, that’s all I can handle kiddos, happy?” Now I’m kind of glad I did.)
I grabbed a few handfuls of neglected basil and tossed them along with some walnuts and olive oil into the food processor, this is a trick I call poor man’s pesto as pine nuts are ridonkulously expensive. (If I had to do it over again, I would have done this step last as it oxidized quickly, but the flavor was fine.)
I dug into the freezer and found some meatballs and broccoli. In the pantry I found a box of pasta, a can of olives, and a can of artichoke hearts.
And it turns out that some of my best cooking happens when I have no plan and I wing it.
I’ve always wanted to do an Iron Chef Special, family style. I think the challenge should have random children running on set with insane demands, the chefs should have to fold at least one load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, and convince a child to set the table. Additionally, at some point during the challenge someone should use up a critical ingredient -perhaps an inconsiderate teen will walk by and drink the last of the milk or someone will have put back an empty egg carton -why?! I ask, why?! Or maybe the garlic will have sprouted. The bonus challenge? Unexpected company with some health claim: lactose intolerant, gluten free, won’t eat green food (we all know some people have legitimate dietary needs and others are just a pain in the butt).
I think that would be way more entertaining than watching chefs with every tool and ingredient on hand.
What do you do when you’re overwhelmed by life and trying to get back on track? (I’m heading to the grocery store later today, don’t worry).