How I Single-handedly Ruined Thanksgiving Dinner…

At least according to my 16-year-old daughter. (I wanted to start with some journal entries to feel like I’ve caught myself up on my blog so thank you for hanging in there with me) First and foremost…I know my mamaw was rolling over in her grave the minute that I received the confirmation email. Being a southern woman, wife, and mother there are some things that are expected of us and one of those things is cooking a from scratch holiday meal, every holiday,  until the day we die. Before we die we are to also make sure to pass down ANY AND ALL cooking knowledge to the next in line which is learned through cooking every holiday. This year I did something so completely radical that my kids are ready to throw out the ENTIRE Thanksgiving Holiday. It went something like this once I got the kids home from school, dinner started, homework in progress and answering phone calls:

ME (to kids): Announcement Everyone!! (I’m all smiles so they know it’s not bad news)
KIDS (gather in the kitchen)
ME (still smiling): I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. (still smiling)
KIDS (uprising officially commencing): OOH WHAT!! Now we have to go to grandma’s and PRETEND to like her food and PRETEND to like her boyfriend. Then have NOTHING for leftovers when we get home! I don’t want to let’s back out!
ME (wishing I had the ability to yell ‘SHIELD WALL’ and have the Vikings to back me up): No No…we’ll have leftovers.
KIDS (uprising paused and puzzled looks): Are we cooking?
ME (Still wanting that shield wall): No one is cooking?
OLDEST DAUGHTER (takes lead with fire in her eyes): Are we not doing Thanksgiving at ALL?!
ME (she is my mini me…I can take her if she rushes me): I ordered Thanksgiving dinner so all we have to do is pick it up, heat and serve the day of.
KIDS (in unison): What!? *Moaning and groaning noises*, its tradition! You ALWAYS cook dinner and WE eat it!
OLDEST DAUGHTER: *Steps forward, Thanksgiving is RUINED! *Stomps off.

This is the basic rundown of the conversation. I didn’t need that shield wall but I did need to explain to them the reasoning behind the break in tradition. Time, my employer only allows one day off for the holiday and I would spend an entire week of prepping, cooking, and clean-up. With the hectic schedules that are in my house, I would be up until midnight or later. Budget is another reason for my decision. I can easily spend $200-300 on all the ingredients needed to make my authentic from scratch southern Thanksgiving dinner but ordering the already made dinner I am spending less than half of what I normally would. BONUS of ordering…unfortunately the place I ordered from is about an hour away. I know you’re thinking why waste time and gas? My husband and I haven’t had a decent night out without the kids. We are treating this as a little date night and the town that we are traveling too has a bunch of shops that we have been meaning to visit.

My oldest girl has been sulking since I told her what was happening. I compromised and agreed to use the china (She has to wash it since I wanted to use paper plates but this will also appease my ancestors). Instead of me running around, exhausted, and irritated with everyone we can have a nice meal and spend the quality time together that we have been missing. My advice to mom’s EVERYWHERE…make it easy for you. Break tradition if you have too. You are not ruining ANYTHING for your children. Looking back they’ll see that you were there and in the moment instead of in the kitchen killing yourself frantically trying to recreate your great grandmother’s recipes.

Image from Cracker Barrel

Doodle & Doodlewash: 5/28

It’s been a trying day. I cooked separate meals from me and the family and I think I was even drooling over their food! I stayed strong but let me tell you my knees were weak when I pulled the bacon out of the pan to drain on paper towels. Instead, I had scrambled eggs with salsa and a slice of low-fat bread (Entire meal equaled 1 point!). I found solace in writing, doodling, and painting. The only problem I’m facing at the moment is whether or not to participate in next month’s Doodlewash challenge and do my own. I just know if I do my own thing then it won’t be daily and I’m loving the daily! I don’t know.


Looking back being upset over my kids drawing on the walls was uncalled for, an unnecessary stress that I added to myself and luckily it didn’t dampen their artistic side.

illomo Prompt: Toddler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Sunday, up until today, we would go out for pizza. My family understood that it would derail me really early in my journey to a healthier me. Once I figure out the point system and the best way to handle restaurants then we’ll go.

Doodlewash Prompt: Dinner

6 Word Story: 2/5

I drew a blank on this until I was sitting here at my table, blank screen in front of me, remote in hand scanning through the guide when I saw the title ‘Beauty and the Beast’. My mind was immediately thrown to the scene (Disney version) where the beast is trying to get Belle to go to dinner then to a situation where my husband and I had been arguing for weeks and he had to ask me to dinner…which I refused several times.


Prompt Word: Humbled

He Growled, “Please” removing his pride.

6 Word Day 20

No explanation needed. I’m sure the noise of your own family needing dinner will ring true with this one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could throw a bag of family chow on the table with glasses of water and call it dinner?


Prompt Word: Ding!

Impatient, starving family… DING! Silencing salvation.

Cheatin’ Cajun Chicken-Pasta

With bills climbing, puppies, kids’ homework, work, and our just daily lives I’m having to pull meals together out of thin air. So, yesterday morning I found some chicken thighs and Cajun seasoned chicken breast in the freezer and thought about maybe a Cajun chicken pasta. Pulled it out to thaw for dinner. I looked up recipes that called for pretty much the same thing. I thought, ‘what can I do to make this easy on me to make and on the cheap.

Walking through the store I grabbed pasta but none of the pasta sauces looked Cajun worthy so I grabbed chicken broth and 1/2 but that didn’t feel creamy enough. So I walked towards the cheeses and snatched some ricotta, shredded Parmesan and a sharp cheddar blend. All I needed was onion, peppers, carrot, garlic but though, ‘SCREW THAT!’ Do you know how much chopping would need to happen? OH that’s when I remembered that there was already chopped onion-veggie blend. And voila! Shopping done. So here it is:

  • chicken thighs
  • pasta
  • box of chicken broth (there was some leftover)
  • small container of 1/2 and 1/2 (there was some leftover)
  • 1 small bag of frozen chopped onion mix (also had peppers, carrots, and celery)
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded
  • 1/2 container of ricotta cheese
  • 4 tbsp of A.P. flour (give or take a scant)

I chopped the chicken and dropped it in the skillet then added the frozen veggies and chopped garlic. Don’t freak out if it looks watery-it’s from the veggies. It’s fine…this is where if you don’t have Cajun seasoned chicken then start adding a little seasoning (Cajun of your choice) cook through until done. Add flour and cook for a few more minutes or until you feel the flour taste (the gummy part of flour that wasn’t cooked taste) is out then add 1/2 box of chicken broth and 1/2 container of 1/2 and 1/2. If you aren’t a coffee drinker or have no use for the leftover 1/2 and 1/2 then use milk. If it’s to thick then just add more broth. When you reach the desired consistency throw in cheese. Don’t judge me…my husband won’t eat much of anything if it’s not cheesy. When the cheese melts you may need to add more broth-up to you. Toss sauce with pasta and there you have it!  Throw some bread on the side and you got it!  Din Din!

Quinoa and Quiche -A Cue from 2 Q’s

What the FU&$ is Quinoa??

I had no idea what I was going to cook for dinner simply because yet AGAIN I forgot to pull meat out from the freezer. Blue Apron to the rescue! The only recipe that I could cook that didn’t require meat from the freezer was Black Bean and Quinoa enchiladas. I looked at the recipe card and thought what in the hell is quinoa? Ya’ll know where I’m from and I grew up under my mamaw’s apron strings cooking up meat and taters with some kind of gravy. The ONLY remotely healthy thing we would try was the vegetables we pulled from the garden. That was the extent of adventuring outside the comfort zone of our standards outside of whatever daddy bagged for dinner when money was tight.

I wasn’t going to research what these little pebbles of mystery were until AFTER we ate but I did know that it was something that people were raving about in almost every fitness post I came across. I had to rinse them like a bean, boil them like a pasta, OK I can handle that. Finished prepping the dish, even got to cook up some tomatillo for the Verde sauce and was it delicious! My husband even jumped ALL in, no questions asked and loved it. So what I learned was that Quinoa is a hardy seed and a person knows it’s cooked when it has a curly looking tail. It’s LOADED with iron and vitamins. Who knew?

Questioning Quiche

Wednesday, I had errands to run and decided that I wasn’t going to be able to cook. THEN I get a weather warning  and looked in my rear view mirror and seen how black it was getting towards the direction where I lived and decided to turn around and be there with my children if anything was to happen. Nothing pulled out (again) and a slow panic started to rise in my throat. Like having an angel land on my porch my third Blue Apron order had arrived! So I choose the quickest meal with the least work needed and it was a ricotta cheese and arugula quiche. Now, I have never made a quiche and was skeptic at first. I mean come one, how filling could one of those be? Was it filling and yummy! We ALL scarfed it down like we haven’t eaten in days. And the best part was, it took me less than 30 minutes from start to table!

These two meals were my cue to step out of my comfort zone and try new things on my own without it being delivered to my house. I have so many ideas on how to make these recipes a different way or use the ingredients to substitute a meat in another dish.

Disclaimer: These pictures aren’t mine and Blue Apron makes it look yummier than I did. Plus the family was eating before I could take a picture.

Spaghetti and Anxiety Meatballs

I had just had another bad day at work and was going to be busy attending my daughter’s band concert.  Having a bad day, no time in the evening to do any writing, and dealing with a large crowd only made my anxiety and self doubt scream throughout my body.

I already have faced anxiety with just the thought of ‘what’s for dinner?’ and ‘shit! I have to run to the store and deal with people while trying to shop for ingredients’. This took the therapeutic unwind I needed and time with my family cooking away. Shopping and trying day at work only equaled to an anxiety filed and head down lady. I don’t like her but have come to be familiar with her. My therapist said that cooking could help with anxiety but I had to get through the shopping and planning. But there are plenty of articles that support cooking for individuals with anxiety, depression, PTSD etc…to get in the kitchen.

It’s nothing new that I’m a self proclaimed podcast junkie and I had listened to so many that promoted Blue Apron that I decided to investigate as to whether or not this would be helpful and approved as yummy by my kids and husband.  I was excited and impressed opening the box of goodies that would hopefully help with home life. But after ordering I learned some important things. FRIDAY is not a good day for my delivery to come. I work all weekend. ANY bread delivered needs to be placed in the fridge. If I place meat in freezer, REMEMBER to pull out the morning of cooking for dinner that night planned.

I wasn’t able to make the first meal until the following Tuesday. That’s when I learned that I should have pulled the meat out that morning. Fine! No meatballs for us but instead I just started cooking the beef. Other than that…WOW! My son helped cook the sauce and chop garlic, my daughter helped with the beef so I could supervise my son’s knife skills. We were laughing and having a great time cooking together in the kitchen. All of us eager to try this new delivery. It was a HIT!!! I didn’t have to rush to the store for all the ingredients needed and no leftovers to throw away after it sits a week in my fridge. 

The stress of the day disappeared and  I was able to make a connection with my family that I haven’t been able to do in a long time. Blue Apron is not giving me any monetary compensation for this advertisement whatsoever. I just want people to know that this option is out there. It can help with a lot of the pressures of cooking dinner and shopping. And if you’re anything like me, memory is often a problem. I’ll forget an ingredient and either have to go back to the store or try to make it work without. The only thing I wish they had was an option for adding another serving because my husband likes to take leftovers to work or the kids like seconds but still happy with the first meal.

NOTE: I have 5 invitations for someone who hasn’t tried Blue Apron to receive free shipping. If you would like this invitation extended to you, please just send a message through the contact form.

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