Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is really long please don't waste your time reading it

Here's an entry that I started writing minutes after eating Thanksgiving dinner.  (My mother in law was still in the house snuggling with her little boy, my DH, who was snoring on the couch. LOL).  My fingers were flying over the keyboard and she was probably wondering why I was on the computer rather than in the kitchen doing the dishes.  The dishes can always wait.  Always.

The following entry will be full of whining and complaining.  Consider yourself forewarned.

So it is days like today that I absolutely hate.  Making Thanksgiving dinner definitely sucks.  I mean when you think of the dinner of all dinners what do you think of?  Thanksgiving dinner, right?  

What kind of holiday is celebrated via dinner anyway?  Who's idea was this?  I have issues with those pilgrims I tell ya.  Where does that leave a person who hates dinner to begin with?  How are people like me supposed to celebrate Thanksgiving if we hate making dinner?  

The problem is the fact that Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Thanksgiving dinner.  The entire celebration revolves around one meal.  You get one chance and that's it. Without the meal would it be Thanksgiving?  If I were to choose to not make a big meal (or even just eat a big meal) for Thanksgiving would that mean that we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving?  Like we don't believe in it or something?  Would people accuse me of being anti-Thanksgiving?

Here's my problem with cooking a big meal.  My family--we just don't appreciate it.  Myself included.  Too much work for not enough reward.  Now if I were to go to your house and enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner with your family that's completely different.  I would love that.  I would also love to go out to a nice restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner.  But with three kids it'd be more difficult and expensive than relaxing and enjoyable.

But you have family in town Amanda dearest.  Why not have dinner with them?  Yes, I do have family in town and we did get one invite from my sister.  But we always mooch dinner off of her.  During my last pregnancy she brought us dinner about once a week since I was practically dead and she didn't want my family to starve.  So I feel like we've kind of used up our dinner charity for a while.   My mother also lives in town but was fixing dinner for her DH and his family.  She, too, brought dinner once a week.  

So that left it up to me to create the big meal.  Because you can't have Thanksgiving without the big meal.  Great.  I love cooking.  I love being in the kitchen.  I love service.  I love feeling domesticated.  I love turning into my mother.  And to make it even more pleasant on myself, I'll invite my mother in law and her DH.

I'll keep it real simple and I'll survive this.  I will do simple.  No new recipes.  No unique twists on sweet potatoes.  In fact, no sweet potatoes.  Just the basics.  And just the things I know we all like.  I can make it easy on myself.  I have all day to do it right?  So what do I do?  I read two books in preparation for not preparing for Thanksgiving.  Pro-procrastinator, that's me.  Pre-thanksgiving night I am up to 3 am the night before reading Eclipse.

I did do a little shopping to grab some essentials.  The whole family helped plan the extremely simple menu (I wanted to make sure we were all going to eat what I make) and I made a shopping list and went to the store.  All set.  Time out to read.  I read until 3 am.  Did I already mention that?

The house was a mess.  More than usual.  So I drug my tired butt out of bed this morning and thought to myself, okay I can do this.  I forced myself to get the turkey out of the fridge and put it in the sink.  I think okay, if I just get the turkey started and the rolls out of the freezer I can read until 1 pm...

I enlist my fam to help clean up the house and my husband to wash the turkey and put it in the roaster because I can't stand to touch dead turkeys.  As he's doing this he tells me he doesn't really like turkey that much anyway.  Thanks hun.  Let's stay on task and not make this any harder for me than it already is okay.

So he gets the turkey in the roaster and I get the rolls out of the freezer (yes, Rhodes rolls, what did you expect?) and then make a plain strawberry jello.  My kids requested the jello and it's funny that they are so excited about it.  I usually don't make jello just because it's so hard to make LOL. 

I sneak upstairs to read and then shower and get dressed as my DH cuts up the potatoes and cleans up the kitchen.  Yeah, I know I'm lucky.  I wait until the very last second to pull myself out of fantasy land until I come downstairs and start making the green salad and set the table. My MIL is coming at 2:30 to make the gravy at my request.  I figured since we're going to the effort of making real potoates we might as well have real gravy to go with it and that's one of those things I've never made.

Soon the turkey is done, rolls are done, jello is set, green salad tossed together, mashed potatoes and gravy are ready and we sit down to eat.  I told you I kept it simple.  The next part is pretty uneventful.  I help Roman eat and laugh as he spits out the turkey and balk at the mashed potatoes and gravy.  He only eats the jello (with his hands).  Bella eats mashed potatoes, gravy, and jello.  I'm a little freaked out about the turkey because I know how long it's been in our freezer so I only eat a little bit.  I love, love, love, the creamy mashed potatoes and I love the salad too.  I eat like four rolls because I'm starving.  I haven't eaten much this week since I've been too busy reading.  I am glad I didn't go to all the extra work of making stuffing or real rolls or exotic side dishes or cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes or creamed corn or anything that would have taken more of my time.  It wouldn't have been well received by my kids anyway and my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and me, well, if someone else wants to go to all that trouble well then I love that kind of stuff.

I didn't make any dessert because desserts put me over the edge of sanity.  Especially pies.  So I bought two pies and a quart of ice cream.  My kids loved the ice cream and ate like one bite of their pie.  Roman spit his out.  My MIL's DH loved the pie so I sent it home with him along with everything else but the salad and the rolls.  I didn't want any Thanksgiving dinner reminders in the fridge.  We don't eat leftovers anyway.   

I am trying to think of what to do for Thanksgiving next year.  I'm thinking that maybe we'll go to Utah.  My aunt Pat lives in Orem.  She is an amazing cook.  And she didn't bring me dinner while I was pregnant (aka almost dead) so that would be a viable option.  Either that or grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ahh, Pardon Me Readers While I'm Stupid

Hi.  I know I have only one reader (thank you Emi) but I just wanted to announce officially that I haven't forgot about this blog.  And I have good intentions to be better at it.  However, I have been sucked into the Twilight series and won't be blogging again until I'm finished.

Dinner won't be made until I finish either.  So there's really nothing to blog about anyway.  (Except for the fact that I'm not making dinner LOL).  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm in another dinner rut.  Aaahh.  And a blogging rut obviously.  And on my period.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ummm.  I don't know what to make for dinner.  I've got one hour to come up with something. 


What did you end up making?  Hamburger Helper the Lasagna Cheese one.
Was it good?  Actually yes.
Have you ever made Hamburger Helper before?  Once, I think like 6 years ago.
How many ate it?  Everyone but Roman.  He spit it out.
What else did you serve?  Corn and red grapes.
You're feelin' really good about this dinner blog aren't you?  Yes, it totally  has motivated me to make dinner for my fam.  And when it doesn't go well, I have a place to gripe.
Well, everyone wants to know what the heck you did for dinner before if you didn't make it. Simple really.  It's called Meals in Moments and Dinner's Ready.  I ordered meals from them for the past 4 years.  
You mean you used to go and assemble meals at Meals in Moments and Dinners Ready?  Heck no.  I did the pick up service for a few dollars more.
Well, then why don't you use Dinner's Ready anymore?  Because we got tired of the meals and we can't afford it anymore.
Oh, I'm sorry.  Me too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

As a true feminist, I have always steered away from traditional female activities such as scrapbooking, sewing, ironing, cleaning, coupon clipping and cooking.  Yes, coupon clipping.  That is something I have never done.  Why spend time clipping coupons to save a few cents?  Well, I tell you why. When you only have a few cents you want to spend as few of them as possible.  And that's the position we are finding ourselves in right now.  John is looking for work and we have everything we own up for sale on Craigslist right now.

Yes, desperate times call for desperate measures.  Which has inspired me to raise up and clip those coupons.  It's like doing a huge math problem.  It takes time, concentration, and no kids around.  I was up past 3 am clipping coupons via the internet and making an Albertson's shopping strategy with help from Jenn S. and  forums on Pinching Your Pennies.  Albertson's is having many sales where if you buy $30 worth of certain products, you get $15 off your next purchase.  That's %50 off.  Nice.  My dear husband came home from work(?) today so I could spend some time at the store.  Who knew it would be three hours, but it was.  Have you ever spent 3 hours at Albertson's?  I don't shop at Albertsons so this shopping trip was more like a scavenger hunt.  Especially since I could only purchase exactly what was on my list. 

 This is my first time ever doing this sort of bargain shopping and I was really nervous.  I just didn't believe that people really stopped their transactions after thirty dollars without getting crap from the checkers.  But the checker I had was really nice and she even gave me a compliment which I loved.  She said she would have never known this was my first time doing this.  Ahh thanks.  So let's cut to the chase so I can brag about the good deals I got from Albertson's today.

How much did you spend? $158.05
How many items did you purchase? 137 items
How much money did you quote n quote save? $315.00
How much did you pay per item? $1.15
How long did this take you?  More time than I'd like to admit
Did you even make dinner tonight?  Heck no, Papa John's baby.
What did you buy?  Milk, bread, boneless/skinless chicken chests, yogurt, deo for John's B.O., frozen veggies, frozen entrees, boxed potatoes, liquid laundry detergent, soups,  mayo, soap, margarine spread, brownie mix, Hamburger Helper, salad dressing, etc.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dinner tonight was a recipe from my sister.  Technically she got it from her husband who got it from his mom.  So tonight I served my kids something that my brother in law ate as a kid.  And it was very good.  I don't know what it's called.  I just know that it used up the remaining roast that I had left over and that it was super easy to make.  I'm going to call it orange spaghetti because the sauce is kinda orange.  I'll even tell you  how I did it.  Mix one can of Campbell's tomato soup with one cup of sour cream, add leftover roast pieces, warm, and serve over thin spaghetti noodles.  Surprisingly delicious.

What did you make tonight darling?  Orange Spaghetti.
How many ate it?  Four out of five of us.  Roman just had apple juice.
Was it easy to make?  You betcha.  Wink, wink.
Did you serve anything else with it?  Nope.  Couldn't think of anything.

*This just in.  A wonderful friend of mine and kind-of-relative, Sara Frogley, was gracious enough to tell me the name to this great recipe.  It is from the kitchen of Dorothy Frogley, her mother (also my brother in law's mother, small world) and her mom called it Stroganoff.  That sounds way more appropriate than orange spaghetti.  Thanks for sharing this info Sara.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Success was half and half today.  I successfully made a pot roast per the menu from Menus4Moms.  John put it in the crock pot for me since I don't like touching meat.  But I added bay leaves, celery salt, and 7 up.  The roast cooked for 7 hours and turned out really good.   I even made real mashed potatoes.  This I did all by myself while John was trying to nap off his migraine that he woke up with this morning.  I also cooked some frozen corn I had in the freezer.  

Not a bad meal you might say right.  Yeah, I thought I had done pretty good.  But not by Bella's standards.  The potatoes weren't "the kind I usually make" and the corn wasn't "the kind we usually" have.  And the meat wasn't the usual kind either.  So Bella had a yogurt for dinner. She made sure to tell me that the yogurt was really good.  Oh, thanks Bella.  You're too kind. Roman found two strawberry pediasures in the pantry and helped himself.  See what I get for spending hours in the kitchen today?  At least John and I liked it. And Capri loved the mashed potatoes so that was good.

What did you serve?  Lemon-Lime Roast
How many ate it?  Two
Did you serve a vegetable?  Yes, mashed potatoes.  Real ones.  Bella prefers potato pearls.
Did you have corn?  Yes, freezer corn.  Bella prefers canned.
Did it make John sick.  No.
Will you make it again?  Yes.
Is this blog really helping you?  Yes, actually it is.  Thank you for asking.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good news.  Good news.  Good news.  Tonight for the first time in a long time, I made dinner and each and every one of us liked it.  Wow.  So awesome.  I made Tuna Noodle Casserole per Bella's request.  The last million times I've made this it hasn't been right.   Usually because I fiddled with the ingredient amounts always putting in too much cheese.  But this time I held back and put the exact amount of mayo, sour cream, milk, and cheese.  Yay for self control.

Did everyone eat it?  Yes.
Did it make John sick?  No.
Did you serve anything else with it?  No. 
Will you make it again?  Yes. 
Friday night was supposed to be fish, but we don't really eat things that are really smelly.  So I warmed up a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup.  And then John and I headed to the Cheesecake Factory for a good old fashioned date.  It was our 11th year anniversary after all.  And we still like each other a lot.  I guess it's because he doesn't mind that I don't cook.  Or clean.  Or sew.  Or (insert anything homemaker-ish).

I kinda mind that he doesn't cook.  I mean, it would be real nice if he did.  Oh, that would be so great.  But since he doesn't, I just look at his other good qualities.  Like his handsome good looks and the fact that he does dishes, laundry, takes out the trash, changes the litter box, mows the lawn, and even fills my car with gas.  So that makes up for not cooking. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

The weekly menu I bought from Menus4Moms said it was Alfredo Rotini night. So I gathered up my ingredients that I had purchased previously and...oh wait. Where's the alfredo sauce? Did I forget to buy alfredo sauce? Was it even on the shopping list? I check the list. Yes. It was the first thing on there. This is why I hate making dinner.

Me placing a frantic phone call to John.
"Honey, could you please buy some alfredo sauce on your way home? It's by the spaghetti sauce.
I need twenty eight ounces. Thanks. And could you do it like pronto since this has to bake for 35 minutes?"

Making dinner always creates stress in the household.

So the Alfredo Rotini didn't turn out so great. Bella didn't like it. And she's very opinionated and vocal like her mom. I probably won't make this again.

So lets talk about dinner shall we?

How many ate it? 2 out of 5
Did it make John sick?  No.
Did you serve a vegetable? Yes, green beans again. We're out of corn.
Did you have bread with it? Yes, that's what kept the kids from starving.
What about canned peaches? Yes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Last night I made the Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole and had great success. I tried to follow the recipe as much as possible without thinking, "No, two cups of potatoes, that can't be right. I'll just add a few more." So I tried not to do that but I did. I don't know what's wrong with me but I can never do anything EXACTLY the way anybody tells me too. Call me stubborn and rebellious. But even though I added a few extra of this and that the casserole still turned out great. And it was fairly easy to make. I still spent a total of two hours in the kitchen (which I hated) but at least my family got a meal this week.

Let's chart my dinner shall we.

How many ate it? Four out of five.
Did it make John sick? No.
Did you serve a vegetable? Yes, green beans.
Did anyone eat the green beans? Not really.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dinner last night was frozen pizza.  Not a huge hit because we eat pizza way too much.  But I do have some good news.  I am making progress.  One of my biggest challenges to making dinner is thinking of what to make.  Since we don't like anything and nothing ever sounds good (unless someone else is making it) I decided to search for menus on the internet to help me out.  I found a site that has weekly menus that they will email to you.  So I subscribed to this and printed out my first menu.  The best part about it was the shopping list on the last page.  I took that shopping list to the store last night and bought all the things I needed for the meals this week.   So tonight I am making ...ahhh...what am I making tonight?  Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole.  I don't care if anyone likes it or not, that's what's for dinner.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh well.

I'm not off to a good start.  Yesterday I was going to make a menu for the week and I forgot.  And we are completely out of food.  No bread.  No eggs.  No yogurt.  No boxed pancakes.  No peanut butter.  No mac and cheese.  So I guess I'm going to the store tonight.  

Ok, so I'm going to get busy figuring out what I'm going to fix this week.  But just so you know, this is the hardest part for me because we don't like anything.  Is it just me, or would that be a challenge for you?  The next hardest part after figuring out what to make is seeing if I have all the ingredients.  The answer 9 times out of 10 is no.  

If I do have the ingredients, then the next challenge is actually preparing the food.  If I'm in the kitchen for more than 15 minutes I start to get real anxious.  Like, get me out of here anxious. And then I get distracted.  I check my facebook or my email.  I pick up a toy to two. And that's when things start to go bad.  I burn what's on the stove.  I forget a main ingredient.  I start getting lazy and don't measure things.  Or I get over zealous and think oh, I'll just add some of this.  Never works.  Why haven't I learned to just stick to the recipe?

Speaking of recipe, I hate em.  Maybe it goes back to being a child and hating being told what to do.  I've always preferred to live by the spirit of the law anyway.  So I guess that trickles down to my cooking.  Because I can never just do it like it says.  I always have to mess it up.  

And why is it that I can be having a really great day, but once 4:30 hits all hell breaks loose? The kids are hungry, the house is a mess, the preschooler's tired, the baby wants to be held, the 8 year old wants help with her math.  Aaagh.  I am trying my best but.....

Okay, so then my husband gets home after I've called him nicely and said, "get home now," and he sets the table and rounds up the children.  Except for Roman, since the rules don't apply to him.  We try and say a prayer but this too is pretty difficult.  "Bella will you say it?"  
"Roman will you say it."  
"Ok, I'll say it."
Roman cries. "No I say it."

Then we eat.  This would be the crescendo in most mealtimes.  Oh the food.  Yeah!  But not at our house.  I will save this drama for another post.  I better get to my menu before I run out of time.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

So this is my good idea.  Maybe if I make a blog about cooking, it will motivate me to cook more. I don't know if it will work, but I'm willing to try anything at this point.  It might just be that I blog about cooking rather than cook.  Just like I buy recipe books but I never cook out of them. Time will tell.  But at least I will have a place to vent all my dinnertime frustrations.  I won't have to take it out on my Facebook friends anymore.  I'll just spew my dinnertime hatred here instead. And if I ever have any success, I'll share that here too.  Notice that I said if.