Being home the last little bit has transported me back to my coveted days as a SAHM. I’ll be honest, I’ve missed it. While the kids are older and come with a whole separate set of concerns now, my time is pretty much my own, even though I’m working remotely and our youngest really likes company.
I’ve puttered around the house. Dishes are done. The neverending pile of laundry is slowly dwindling and doesn’t seem to be growing at the same exponential rate as usual. I feel more rested (even though I also find myself a little tense and stressed by end of day – too much worry and social media. My bad!)
Thankfully, I’ve also spent more time in the kitchen. My boys haven’t magically become appreciative of home cooked meals. There are definitely still complaints around the dinner table. However, I’m able to try things and make things stretch and even laugh at my disappointments. I really, really do miss this.
On Monday night, I had a flattened Portuguese chicken available. I had picked it up at the grocery store in shrink wrap packaging and with a discount sticker a few weeks ago. Threw it in the freezer as a shortcut meal and refused to feel guilty about it. (Lies… shortcuts still tend to make me feel guilty. Something I know I have to figure out for myself.)
Monday, I made the chicken with roasted mini potatoes and a spinach salad. After dinner, I simmered the carcass into a beautiful, flavourful broth.
On Tuesday, I used some of the broth as the base for a quick and easy tomato soup – broth, a can of whole tomatoes, half a red onion, a couple handfuls of spinach, some almond milk for creaminess, a generous sprinkling of dried basil, and a medley of various spices. (But not cumin…. that fell out of the cupboard and spilled all over my floor last week. Note to self: remember to add cumin to your next shopping list!) It was a tasty comfort food dish that was simple to prepare if you didn’t count the hours the broth simmered the night before.
I’ll admit that Wednesday, I had been out (but still social distancing) and saw my husband (who ordered a huge lunch for us.) By the time dinner rolled around, I was still stuffed. It was a fend for yourself night that included nachos and cheese, waffles, grapes, cereal, etc. Not our healthiest shining moment.
Thursday, as I glanced in the fridge for lunch options, I saw my mason jar with leftover tomato soup. I put it on to simmer while I wrestled some bread dough into submission. (I don’t think I was the victor in this case. It never seemed to rise properly.)
To jazz it up, I added a handful of frozen corn with jalapeno (to the simmering soup, not the bread dough.) Topped it with cheese and some leftover tortilla chips to give it a new taste profile. I had one generous bowl of yumminess awaiting my delight! As I’m about to dig my spoon in, the youngest finds me. (Between Justin and Diesel, someone always knows when there is food available.)
“Oh, that looks good! Can I have a bowl?” and eagerly he wanders to the stove. Sorry kid – there’s none left but I’ll share with you. (Often, this approach means that I’m allowed to partake of my entire meal. He doesn’t like mom-germs and I get points for generosity – it backfired today.) Off he goes to grab a bowl and I
begrudgingly kindly part with half my soup.
But he ate it and raved about how tasty it was and shared some genuine appreciation and comfort from the same pot that’s served us well multiple times this week. I don’t have the opportunities or time generally to feed my family like I ought, (excuses, excuses) so I’m enjoying these moments as blessings in disguise and taking the compliments as gold.
Am I a culinary goddess with unknown powers at my fingertips? Not a chance. Yesterday I made a smoothie for breakfast and it literally made me gag… as in my kid told me to run to the bathroom because he thought I was going to puke based on the wrenching noises as I tried to get it down. Also, that bread? It was one dismal tasty disaster.