Friday, out of frustration I cleaned. At least the broom would not yell at me, try to do things the hard way and then whine about it, and I could do something about the eternally frustrating, never ending crumbs and bits of dirt that seem to appear overnight on our wood floors.
There are still areas that need a lot of attention, but the floors are swept and the entry way actually feels inviting. The laundry is also almost caught up from having been given a back seat this week.
Friday night, my friend mentioned their family was going to be in Small Town on Saturday and was wondering if their son could give our kids their guitar lessons (one of our Christmas gifts to the kids) at our house. Otherwise they would have had to drive back to their Other Small Town and we would have had to drive to their Other Small Town for the lessons right after this lovely family finished their errands in my Small Town. “Of course!” I responded. “Why don’t you also come a bit early and have breakfast with us?”
I had no special plans for breakfast, my bedroom is a mess, there is at least one section of the counter in the kitchen that has items which have been waylaid on their journey to their rightful homes, the board game shelf is over flowing, and…and…and… AND these are friends. Friends are more important than an immaculate house.
These are also friends who value their limited free time.
These are friends we do not get to see often enough.
These are friends who are not expecting a fully set table with linens and silver wear, imported coffee and hand squeezed juice. They are friends and they are welcome at our house whenever and for however long, or short, the time.
What did breakfast end up being? Buttermilk pancakes, bacon, bananas, eggs, juice, and coffee. Again, nothing fancy but it really is oh so good and a great breakfast to have a conversation over.
Last week I tried 4 new meals. 3 are repeats. 1 took way too long to make. 1 cost way too much. 1 was very flavorful, even Jack has asked for it again several times since.
The 1 that took too long ended up being the one I will not repeat again. While it was good, it was not great. The flavor just did not deliver. We have the left overs in the freezer, so we will see it again on the menu at least once.
The one recipe that cost way too much seemed to also not deliver on flavor … until the final step. Even the recipe mentioned this would happen. They were right. It was a beef stew that had a bottle of wine as part of the ingredients. The instructions called for half the wine to be put in at the beginning and the rest at the end. The same for certain spices. The difference was amazing. Even my husband was amazed at the difference between the 10 minutes I took it out of the oven and when it made it to the table, finished. We will adjust it to our liking, including adding more vegetables and less meat. Again, we have enough left overs to make a second meal in a few weeks.
The one Jack really loved also took a bit of time, but I know now how to help shorted it. A lot of the marinating process can be done before the meat is put into the freezer, which is what I do when I find meat on sale but do not yet need it. This step would save me a few hours of prep time the day I want to make this meal. After that, most of the steps are “Apply this rub and cook. wait a gazillion hours. Take from the over and let it sit. Cook sauce and pour over meat. Enjoy!” I think I will also be looking for a boneless option next time at the store, as I used a lot of time cutting the bone out of the meat.
The one recipe that did not cost too much, nor take too much time, and still delivered on flavor was a Black Bean Burger recipe. It is not going to knock your socks off in the flavor area, but it was for sure not bland. My husbands verdict? “Needs more onion but is a great substitute for ground beef in burgers.” Sounds like a win to me.
This week may hold a few new recipes, though they will be soups. I am balancing this with cleaning out some of the freezer and using up some remaining breakfast items. Hopefully no meals that take a lot of time to make.
- Shakes, cereal
- Cream of wheat and grits till they are gone.
- Pancakes from freezer
- Eat out
- Chocolate chili
- Party – Sandwiches, fruit, dessert
- Curry and rice
- New Recipe
- Super Bowl Party/jam and cheese sandwiches
- Tomato soup/freezer leftovers
- Butternut Squash Soup (new recipe)
- Freezer leftovers/tomato soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup (new recipe)