Saturday, 19 December 2009

Kitchen Aromas

Sometimes I amaze myself when I remember I'm the grown-up here. Even though I'll be 30 next year, I think I permanently feel about 20. And so, even though I'm feeling like I've been hit by a bus, there are still things that, as the grown-up/mommy, I still need to do.

Cooking is one of them. For some strange reason, my children and husband still seem to want to eat even though the thought of food and cooking is tiresome for me. And my body demands nourishment also. A couple of months back I bought a terrific book called "Once-a-month cooking," with the idea of taking a Saturday at the end of November and cooking up a month's worth of meals that go right into the freezer, ready with little preparation on the day you want to eat them. My thought was to have them stored for when the baby comes. Unfortunately, I started getting even worse through November, which not only meant that I never got around to my cooking marathon for the baby's arrival, but also that I didn't even have the energy to put a meal together now. I knew I had to do something the night James came home and asked what I made the boys and I for dinner, and I replied "oatmeal." He genuinely thought I was kidding. I genuinely wasn't. Instant oatmeal from those little Quaker pouches. I think I made "Raisins 'n' Spice," hoping the raisins could count in the "fruits and vegetables" food guide category.

So the first week, I broke down and bought a pile of frozen meals - lasagnas, stir fries, frozen entrees and the like. I can't remember the last time I bought or served one, but I figured it was better than oatmeal. Unfortunately, my kids weren't fooled for a second. James and I thought they weren't bad, but my kids have grown-up with whole foods and meals I make from scratch. They wouldn't even eat a bite.

With a freezer still half stocked with those prepared boxes, I happened across a lovely book in our local bookstore: "Crock Pot: 5 ingredients or less." Well, I have a small crock pot, and with 5 ingredients or less to toss in a pot and let simmer all day - I figured even I, feeling like I'm on my deathbed, could handle that. Turns out - I can! We've had numerous delicious meals, rounded out by a side of frozen vegetables. We've had to adjust a little to the higher salt content (most meals use a can of condensed soup as the base), since I never cook with salt, but other than that it's been a hit! Each meal does us at least a dinner and a left-over lunch, and sometimes even a second dinner.

I think this will be my new "baby shower" present for my friends.

PS - I also did a little "holiday baking" today. Ginger cookies and some yummy bars. Not too much and not too difficult, but it will be nice to have them around to put out over the holidays. We're hosting both family Christmas' this year (as the only ones with a house)!

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