Archives for posts with tag: family

I told you I had a plan (involving Tupperware) and promised to let you know how it all worked out. Here we go:

I made a list during the previous week, plotting out fruit salads, green salads, pasta salads, chicken recipes, sandwiches, and healthy snacks that would travel well and keep for about the duration of four days. That sounds easy enough, well at least when you’re planning based on foods that you like. Now take into consideration that I was preparing these dishes for my better-half. He works road construction, out-of-town now, and giving him anything frou-frou or elaborate was totally out of the question. So the ingredients to make stuffed baby bell peppers filled with herbed cheese jumped the shopping list ship, as did hummus, pita bread…”Keep it simple, Babe.” That was his only request. My only request was that he discontinued the consumption of multiple microwave frozen meals from Wal-Mart.

And since I would be preparing all this food anyways, I decided to make a big Sunday dinner, for both his family and mine, while preparing and packing lil tubs of good things that travel well and don’t look frou-frou. After a very successful grocery trip, my afternoon was spent chopping, dicing, marinating, mixing, baking, preparing for company, and sending boyfriend out in search of one single egg. It was all totally worth it!

We enjoyed:

 a fresh fruit salad with large chunks of pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries,

green salad with iceberg, romaine, spring salad mix, finely sliced red onions, grape tomatoes, and shredded carrots,

 pasta with diced celery, tomato chunks, red onion, and Italian dressing,

corn bread,

marinated and grilled BBQ chicken legs,

corn on the cob, and homemade pickles.

 And I had plenty of salads, chicken, and baby carrots and celery to pack up…

 So all this, and apples, and oranges, Nature Valley bars, whole wheat rolls and bread, fresh lunch meat, spicy mustard, spinach and feta burgers, yogurt, and even some cookies, water, and Gatorade were packed up and iced in big coolers.

Dear Boyfriend,

Eat all these good foodies!

Try to avoid the salt-laden and fried foods surrounding you

in that far away place

where I cannot cook for you (but wish I could).





In the beginning, there was The Easy Bake Oven. I can remember stirring up the itty-bitty pouch of brownie mix, sliding the palm sized brownie tin into the oven slot and letting the heat dance on my face until the brownies were done. Wanting to share this creation with my whole family, I sliced that little brownie into seventeen tooth-pick sized portions and carefully transported them to my Uncle’s for Christmas dinner.

Around the same time, my mother bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook for kids. I used those recipes for everything, including snacks for my classmates. But in the end, my mother was the best teacher of all. She cooked every night of the week for seven people. 5 p.m…be at that table, or else!

As the oldest of five, I guess I was most trusted to help with dinner prep. Not yet ready to wield the knife, Mom chopped the carrots, broccoli, and meat while dancing to The Temptations. The younger siblings set the table, but I peeled carrots and potatoes (one to each of Mom’s four). I mixed the meatloaf with bare hands and poured the milk into the potatoes. I watched the cookies to make sure nothing burned. 

It’s knowing the little things in the kitchen that make cooking a more  fluid motion. It’s knowing to salt the water, when your bread is properly risen, when to use the unsalted butter, and not to walk away from the broiler. So, thanks Mom, and Betty Crocker, and Easy Bake. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

There’s Monday…and then there’s Spaghetti Monday. I cannot recall precisely when Spaghetti Monday became a tradition of sorts in my household, but it somewhere along the way, it planted strong roots in our Monday meal expectations. And it’s not just about a quick, easy, affordable meal. It is something to look forward to as 8 a.m. drags to 8:15 a.m. and the workday is feeling endless. Spaghetti Monday means that if you are within a 15 mile radius of the family home around dinner time, you are expected to be seated at that kitchen table, no excuses…and we’re not even Italian. Spaghetti Monday is about Dad’s homemade wine, garlic bread (sometimes charred when we happen to be distracted from the broiler for more than 20 seconds), and pasta of some form: ravioli, stuffed shells, seafood and angel hair pasta…it all falls under the acceptable realm of Spaghetti Monday fare. Mostly, Spaghetti Monday is about family. After a weekend that has pulled us in seven different directions and an approaching week that will most likely do the same, Spaghetti Monday is a much appreciated anchor.