Remind me again what “normal” is?

Posted on | February 1, 2012 | No Comments

This is a very long, disorderly & random post. Too many thoughts, too little blogging and a bit of time to write this morning. There. You’ve been warned. Try to keep up, so you can remind me what I wrote ๐Ÿ˜€

Last week my parents came in on Tuesday. They left Saturday afternoon. Saturday was a blast. For those that don’t know, we had an open house style birthday party for Keenan. We ended our day of festivities by having a “Toy-Story-athon,” as Keenan received the first 2 movies on DVD (to replace the VHS’s we had). Why an open house style celebration? It’s simple for us, really. While we are close to our family, we’re still up to a few hours away from them. By doing an all-day thing, we were able to have any of the family come & go as they pleased, without the hassle of a schedule. I prepared a table full of good finger foods. Veggie & fruit trays, chips & salsa, chips & dip, 3 slowcooker dishes of meats, cheese, crackers & spread, etc. Everything put on the table could stay all day without worry of it going bad, or precautions were taken to maximize food safety (only putting out enough dips to be eaten in a short period of time & replacing it regularly; hot foods kept hot in the slowcooker, etc).

 

I bought a newspaper Sunday & spent the day clipping coupons (which is difficult to take full advantage these days, since switching to natural alternatives), making grocery lists by matching good sale & coupons, then completing my hard work with a menu plan. Hubba took some time to read, watch tv & relax. This week it’s back to life as usual. After a day of grocery shopping yesterday (left at 9am, came home around 3:30), my beans were ready to be drained (approximately 24.5 cups worth!!!- blacks, kidney, pintos), cooled, packed & frozen. Chicken bone broth was started Monday evening, and beef bone broth last night. I’ll pull & pack the chicken broth today.

 

I realized yesterday as we were making our rounds to get groceries that for SEVERAL weeks now, we’ve been feeding EVERYBODY! OK, not everyone, but we’ve had family in (many as multiple day guests) for Thanksgiving, Christmas & then for Keenan’s birthday. And while I’m not complaining, I also realize how taxing it is. It’s taxing on the work load. It’s taxing on the wallet. We fully filled our freezers in December, and by this past weekend, it was near empty again. I will admit, I’ve also had my share of cheats in the kitchen for a few months now. That’s taxed the wallet as well.

 

Now, I fully feel that every Mom has earned the right to cheat some/occasionally. That’s all it can be, though where budget & nutrition are concerned- some/occasionally. My “cheating” has gone on long enough. It’s time for me to get back to my relationship with my kitchen. I’ve been mean & neglectful. If I don’t get back to my kitchen, she’ll think I’ve abandoned her for someone else. I’m worried she may ask for a divorce O_o . So, along with my aforementioned beans & stocks, this week will be good home-cooked (albeit quick & easy) casseroles; soups; stews & simple, comfort meals. I’ve got a few cups of cooked chicken in the freezer. Home-precooked foods are such a wonderful way to maximize ease & spending in the kitchen. With one whole chicken, slow cooked, I can make up to 5 meals for this family of 5. I used some for chunky chicken gravy over potatoes & veggies. I’ve got plans for chicken & cheese quesadillas; buffalo dip; soup; chicken salad. This still doesn’t account for the stock I’ll still have after the soup & gravy.

 

Breads are also on the plan, batch cooking & lots of soups. KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Foods began incorporating a weekly soup into her Menu Mailer. I figured I can do that, too. Now, while KerryAnn does one soup per week, I don’t want the โ€œTomato soup, again??โ€ I’ve decided to make huge batches of each type of meatless soup and freeze them in portions. I plan on adding soup to meals 1-3 times a week. Variety; nutrient dense foods; full bellies running amok in this zoo and a way to get bone broth into them. Winwinwin, right? I think so. ๐Ÿ˜€

Today is going to be a busy day. Good thing my aprons are clean ๐Ÿ™‚ I should probably toddle off now. I’m sure I’ve left you scratching your heads as they’re cocked to one side with my random, scribbly-type post today. By day’s end, I hope to be stinky, sweaty & covered in butter, grease & flour. On the upside, my kitchen will smell divine, & I hope dinner tastes the same.

Hungry bellies? As Sponge Bob would say โ€œI’m ready! I’m ready!โ€

Bring. On. Backtonormal.

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