Menu Monday: In a “Back-slidden’ Condition”

Heather says:

Before reading, I suggest you go ahead and check any judgey-mcjudgerson pants at the door. We all have our fail moments in one area or another.

It has been a rough couple of months around here. I’ve been adjusting to having a part-time job outside of the home, working on my start-up SpinPicks, and trying, trying to keep everything moving here at Home-Ec 101.

Recently, someone hit my car in a parking lot while I was in a coffee shop working. If you don’t know me very well, you may not know that my super power is the ability to leap to the worst conclusion in a single bound. I even bought the anxiety girl t-shirt (I’m setting the stage for the next bit). Let me just tell you, for a person like me, having a cop walk up to you and ask if you drive [description of my car] and ask if your last name is Solos is quite scary. I was so relieved that it wasn’t anything serious that the poor guy who tagged my car kept commenting “You are so calm about this.”

My desktop computer, until a few days ago, has been nothing but a giant, paperweight that pretends to act like a computer until I begin something important, then it reverts back to paperweight mode -that’s a big part of the reason for the recent dearth of recipes… no pictures, no posts.

Last week I received a letter from my publisher saying that Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living will not be reprinted. Yeah, that’s a let down, but there’s nothing I can do about it. If you want to get a copy, I suggest you hurry up and order it.

So what got left behind in all of this?


Don’t worry, the kids still were fed 3x a day and almost all of the time it was fairly healthy – there was one night where I said to heck with, it gave them each an apple, and then we went out for ice cream sundaes because I was done, just done. Go ahead and feel smug, I doubt the department of social services is going to get too upset over that one.

Oh, you want to know what the back-slidden condition reference is, don’t you?

Many years ago, in my college-ish years, I dated a young man from Spartanburg, SC. Once while we were in the upstate he took me to the place where the Marshall Tucker band used to play. I can’t remember the name, just that there was live country music, dinner, lots of sweet tea, and dancing. Apparently one of the highlights of the evening’s entertainment included the owner asking the audience, by show of hands what denomination they were, “Do we have any Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics,” etc Finally he would get to, “How about any Baptists?” insert a pause for more than half of the crowd to raise their hands, “Currently in a back-slidden conidition.” ha ha ha

All of that was to say, my menu planning and dinner preparation is in a back-slidden condition and I’m working on fixing it.

Saturday I sat down with my sitter, who is an honorary part of the family and my life-line to sanity at this moment, and we planned out this week’s menu:

  • Monday – Patty melts, oven roasted broccoli
  • Tuesday – Baked Pork Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, Stir Fried Vegetables (hoping to get pics of fried rice preparation for the recipe index here)
  • Wednesday – C.O.R.N (I made a giant batch of etouffee on Saturday and brought some in to my co-workers)
  • Thursday – BBQ Chicken (leg quarters on the grill, cooked by indirect heat, low and slow), pasta salad, steamed green beans
  • Friday -Breakfast for dinner (She is cooking)
  • Saturday – Blackened tilapia with strawberry salsa, rice pilaf, some manner of steamed vegetales
  • Sunday is to be determined by how working the brunch shift goes. If it was anything like this week? It may be leftovers or I may load up the kids and head to the local Mexican joint and let someone wait on me. I don’t know.  Or it will be the planned Caesar Salad with grilled chicken.

What are you eating this week? What do you do when cooking turns into a chore?



  1. Becky on May 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    A couple weeks ago when my husband (the house chef) was in the middle of a three-week work trip, my kiddo and I were outside playing, and when I said I needed to get dinner ready, and he wanted to keep playing, I said – okay, if you are okay with cereal for dinner, we can keep playing. We had cereal again a couple days later. He was cool with it… and so was I.Other I don’t feel like cooking mom-specialties: waffles, pancakes, eggs… breakfast for dinner is a theme around our house, apparently.

  2. Kristen on May 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I love reading this not because oh what you are going through, but because it makes you sound so normal. Oh how I can relate – in fact, night before last my kids had cereal for dinner. Cookie crisp, to be exact. Not even good for you cereal 🙂
    Hang in there and give yourself some room to be human 🙂

    • HeatherSolos on May 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

      There are many things I am, normal probably doesn’t apply 😉

  3. MicheleN on May 15, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I love to cook (and eat) more than anything in the world, but I have chronic pain so there are times that cooking makes me feel downright lame.  When that happens, I’m a fan of making something not too healthy, not too difficult, but oh so delicious to make the kitchen work more “worth it”.  Examples include steak with herbed butter, nachos (with lots of cheese and olives!), quiche Lorraine, fettuccine alfredo or, one of my favorites, chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream. 🙂  I don’t let myself do it for more than a few days, but it never fails to pick me up when everything else is bringing me down.
    Kind of random, but I went to school, and met my husband, in Greenville, SC (my mother AND my in-laws still live down there).  Small world!

  4. Messy Wife on May 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    To answer your question, we are eating lots of leftovers this week: I made a big pot of a dish last week for one of the lunch in Teacher Appreciation Week. I thought, I’d double that since it was my kids’ favorite dish. At the end of the day, I found that I still have 3/4 of the pot left from school…
    After the leftover, we will probably have a spaghetti night with Ragu with mushroom and ground beef. 
    Yes, I am pretty back-slidden myself too.
    If my son were not allergic to milk, I probably will make a meal out of canned cream of mushroom, frozen broccoli and ground pork. Because of the allergy, I cannot use cream of mushroom, so, I probably will go for canned chicken broth, canned corn kernel, ground pork with Tofu. Or, maybe I will use fresh corn, they seems to be on sale this week. 🙂
    Truthfully, if we haven’t just started budgeting our expenses, I would definitely go for take-out.
    I like cooking but it is one of those weeks. 

    • HeatherSolos on May 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

       @Messy Wife you can make bechamel with soy milk and use the How to Make Cream of X Soup recipe here on the site and you’ll get all of your favorite casserole dishes back into your rotation. You can use olive oil instead of butter for the roux.

      • HeatherSolos on May 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

         @Messy Wife for the technique

        • Messy Wife on May 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

           @HeatherSolos Thank you so much. I guess you are not letting me going for the canned products even in back-slidden mode 😛 I know  you are just trying to help even when you feel like you are in back-slidden condition. Thanks again!

        • HeatherSolos on May 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm

           @Messy Wife oh I didn’t mean right now. I just thought you may be able to bookmark it for when you feel like it

        • Messy Wife on May 16, 2012 at 1:06 am

           @HeatherSolos I know and I truly appreciate your finding the information for me. I will definitely try it… when I am up to trying new things again 🙂
          I am relatively new here and am really impressed by your ability to help.

  5. SouthernFriedTech on May 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Hmmm. As with most anyone who has ever needed your advice, assistance, and encouragement, methinks I detect perhaps a wee bitty bit of fear over others’ perception of your efforts to keep all the balls in the air whilst on the unicycle? Well…
    I seem to remember, long about the last time that I was overwhelmed by life, I found a fantastic site that helped me both stop stressing and start making progress in MY backslidden condition. Perhaps a couple of posts from these sage and kind-hearted souls would do as much for you as they do for many, many others:
    Webizen Ivy: “…many people who are [insert your particular life challenge here] don’t have the energy to cook from scratch, and they shouldn’t have to feel bad about their choices.” (
    Webizen Heather: “You cannot compare your life where you see every moment, good or bad, with someone else’s best foot forward.” (
    Poke around on the site…there are many more helpful statements such as these…
    Don’t mean to play the smart aleck. Just a reminder. One of the reasons I–and I suspect others–enjoy this site is not because we believe you to be perfect but because we believe you to have two unique talents that we benefit from: (1) figuring out how to keep a home going in the midst of life’s ups and downs and (2) sharing that information with others in a manner that is clear, helpful, and supportive.
    Hooray for Heather!  🙂

    • HeatherSolos on May 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

       @SouthernFriedTech perspective and losing it is a very funny thing, huh?

      • SouthernFriedTech on May 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

        Absolutely! And something that you have helped me with IMMENSELY over the last year or so since I’ve discovered this wonderful site! I can say in all truthfulness that I am a happier, healthier person than I was a year ago and that finding your site helped start that process.
        Heather Rocks!!!

  6. SandeeHill on May 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I’m in a back-slidden position with my cleaning. Cooking still gets done, the bathroom still gets cleaned, the dishes get done and the kitchen wiped down once a day…..but that’s about it. Laundry is on an as-need basis, and is NOT getting folded…we’re picking out of baskets. Everything else? BOOM! An explosion has gone off in my house. I’m pregnant and tired, and I’ve had two teeth that needed to be pulled (I just got back from the extraction) that’s kept me from eating, and I just haven’t had the gumption to do anything about it. Once I heal up from today’s festivities and able to ingest some real nutrition, I swear, I’m gonna get back on my schedule, get this house cleaned up, and back to basics. That’s the plan, at least!

  7. Dechlin on May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    OMG you’re HUMAN??????  I like you even better now!  Sorry to hear about your car and your book (which I think is fab and I’m giving to to my 17 year old for Christmas).
    Dinner plans tonight: finish up the black beans & rice from Saturday.  Probably stuff into a tortilla with some cheese.  Feeling salad-y, too.The rest of the week’s planning will happen after I hit the farmer’s market tomorrow but will invariably involve some kale, zucchini, peaches, garlic, and whatever else Farmer Joseph has to offer.  
    And I need to use the beets that have been hanging out in the fridge too long.  Why am I afraid of beets?

    • HeatherSolos on May 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

       @Dechlin you’re afraid of beets because you have never peeled, quartered, tossed them in olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and roasted them.

      • deneicer1 on May 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

         @HeatherSolos Really?  ….. about the beets I mean……   I did not even know beets were edible.  LOL!  I thought they were for funky plate designs at fancy-schmancy restaurants!   

  8. cherieamb on May 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Oh honey – no need to feel guilty.  This life stuff is so freaking hard sometimes isn’t it?  As long as no one is starving or nekkid in public it’s all good

  9. stark23x on May 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

    1. AIn’t nobody gettin’ it all done all the time all correct and proper-like.
    2. BRINNER! One of our favorite things to do. WHich is why we don’t do it often, lest the shine come off that frigging delicious penny. /mixedmetaphor

  10. boggett2001 on May 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Don’t worry about it, Heather.  We all back slide from time to time, and we’re all forgiven for it.  I like to think of myself as an organized woman, but it usually doesn’t last for long.  I’m not.  My husband lost his job 3 weeks ago and he’s currently looking for another one, but thanks to thinking ahead, I’m able to use those 12 crock-pot-and-otherwise meals that I froze 2 months ago and not have to worry too much about feeding us both during this difficult time.  Really, I think that’s the last time I was actually organized, and boy, did it feel great!  And I thought you had a bar job, not a coffee shop one – you must’ve changed when I wasn’t looking.  Anyway, keep doing that voodoo that you do, so welllllll…………..!

    • HeatherSolos on May 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

      I work in an Irish pub. I was working on my laptop in the coffee shop just mooching wifi. 🙂

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