Saturday, May 8, 2010

Embarrassingly Easy Dinner & The Kids' Love.

Recipes: This is a completely non-gourmet dinner. Nothing special about it at all, except that my kids LOVE this dinner. Sometimes you just cater to those sweet little people in your life because it makes them happy.

Chicken in a Nest (aka, Hawaian Haystacks):

Cook up enough rice for you family's main meal. We go through about 2 1/2 cups uncooked rice. Cut up a whole bunch of different veggies, chicken, etc. and serve in separate bowls. We like the following:

Sliced olives

Green onions

Cut celery

Grated carrot

Uncooked broccoli florets

Diced tomatoes

2 Chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

Optional: some people like pineapple chunks

Simple Gravy: I'm almost embarrassed to post this, but like I said, the kids love it and sometimes that's gotta do. 2 Cans Cream o'chicken soup mixed with milk or water to fill one empty soup can. Heat in microwave.

Serve: Rice, topped with all the veggies and chicken, then ladle the gravy over all. Top with chow mien noodles if desired.

See? Super easy. I can prepare everything hours before, place on a tray for convenience, refrigerate until dinner. Just heat the gravy and rice. So not gourmet. But such a good way to get veggies in the kids. (Do I dare post this? I feel like I'm lowering my cooking standards somewhat!) :)

Freezer Jam: This is not really a recipe (you get the recipe in the Sure Gel box; just 3 cups crushed raspberries and 5 1/4 cups sugar, plus the pectin cooked w/water as written on the recipe in the box). This is actually just a hint.

When you pick or buy tons of raspberries later on in the summer, you don't have to spend all the time making the jam all at once. I just blend the berries in the blender, then fill each freezer bag with the right amount for a batch of jam. Then I make "fresh" freezer jam throughout the coming year as needed.

Sometimes it's all about making things as easy as possible.

Running: Today is the last Saturday run before next Saturday's marathon. My training schedule says I should have run 8 miles, but since I was on the treadmill and don't trust the numbers on it, I actually ran 10. But the 10 is about how long it would've taken me to run 8 outside on the road and with hills. I also did a core workout (P90X) and a few cheating pull-ups. I am battling runner's burnout. I can't wait for the marathon to be over! But then I'm considering signing up for the local marathon next month. And maybe another one in August. I'm already signed up for one in September. Okay, so now I can't wait for winter when I can take a little break! Running is dumb (pushing your body just for fun?) Yet I love it (it's the high of doing more than you thought you could).

Reading: I'm still reading "A Mercy." It's a really cool book. I guess I never realized how dead history was to me. I never thought of people from the 1600s as ever being...well, as being real people. Real people, with real thoughts, hopes, desires, feelings, and personalities. I know they lived, but in my mind they've never been more than a clump of history that breathed a moment then was gone. I'm seeing how narrow and selfish I've been to not consider the dead as ever having lived. Out of sight, out of mind? No, that's not right. They lived another life, another time, but they lived. And many of them are probably mine. I am so glad I didn't live that life, by the way. It was a brutal time.

Ruminations and Relations: (I'm changing "Family" to "Relations" because it flows better). Funniest thing I've heard in a long time was from my sweet 8 yr. old Oliver. "Mom, is it a requirement that you feel embarrassed before you fall in love?" Pretty astute if you think about it.
My boys and husband spent most of the day at a Scout activity, so the girls and I were alone. This is nothing new. Every school day the boys are gone and Jeff's at work and the girls and I are alone. But it seemed a little bit more special today simply because it is a Saturday. Girls' day included laundry and washing the floors (boring), and I let them watch Dumbo while I ran on the treadmill, then to try to make it "our day" we took our token trip out to eat for lunch. Food makes the day celebratory. Then we went to the Nature Park to feed the ducks. Just as I was parking, Jeff called and needed us to rescue them from car troubles. So no Nature Park. But it still was a nice Girls' day.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. It really should be called, "The Day Everyone Tells You How Wonderful You Are Even Though Deep Inside You Know They're Really Just Telling You How Wonderful You Ought To Be And Aren't Yet." It's a day full of lovely hugs and sweet little gifts made at school, a home-made meal from a wonderful husband, and the wish that they'd let you sleep in even though they just can't. They're too excited to give you breakfast in bed (you really want to sleep) and pile on the little cards (but they're really really cute kids) and then they pile on you (and you can sleep later - like at night) and you just relish being loved so deeply even though you know you're not the great mom they make you out to be. It makes you want to be that mom, though, so you try a little harder to be a lot better. I love that children are so forgiving and sometimes so blind to imperfections. They are perfect. Mother's day should celebrate the children. (But don't tell them that. I don't want to give up my breakfast in bed).

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