Friday, March 5, 2021

Friday Food: Enforced Seasonal Eating


Short version: Cheese pizza, scrambled eggs, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: "Hey!" said Jack. "We get to have pizza, and we don't even have any guests!"


Guess I should make pizza more often, huh?

For some reason, I really, really didn't want to make pizza sauce, though. Then I remembered the can of spaghetti sauce a neighbor gave us. It didn't have any terrible ingredients in it (except high fructose corn syrup, which is not so much terrible as unnecessary), so I decided to use that. It was pretty bland, and I had to add extra garlic powder, dried onion flakes, and basil, but it sure was easy. And the pizza was good.

The scrambled eggs were for me. They were completely separate from the pizza. I'm sure someone has put scrambled eggs on pizza, but I'm also sure that person wasn't me.


Short version: Pork stir-fry, rice

Long version: When I had cut up the boneless pork country ribs a few days before to make goulash, I set aside the cleaner pieces for stir-fry. 

Oddly, I had two bell peppers, and almost no carrots. Usually it's the other way around. So the vegetables ended up being onion, bell pepper, frozen green beans, and a little leftover steamed broccoli and carrots.

And there they are when freshly cooked! Ah, those were the days, when I had fresh vegetables on hand.


Short version: Pot roast, mashed potatoes, mashed calabaza, Holy's cabbage, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Long version: I made two roasts, figuring that way I would have enough left over for Monday's dinner. (Spoiler: I did not.)

The calabaza was a small, somewhat immature one that I figured really needed to be cooked already. It was fairly tasteless.

Charlie claims not to like either cooked squash or cooked cabbage, so I put a bit of each on his plate. Just so he could tell me which he dislikes more. The winner (or is it the loser?) was the squash. "I don't like cooked cabbage," he said, "But I don't like squash even more."


I made the cookies using Cubby's recipe that calls for melted butter, but I replaced about half of the flour with some of the quick oats a neighbor gave us. And then it was REALLY sticky, so I added some more oats. And then some more.

It ended up being like a cup and a half of oats and a half cup of flour. I didn't increase any of the other ingredients, either, but they came out surprisingly well. A bit dry, maybe, but nothing the chocolate chips couldn't make up for.


Short version: Waffles and bacon and still-frozen peas for kids, leftover pot roast and calabaza for adults

Long version: I got home from work and took out the pot roast to heat it up, which is when I saw that there was not nearly enough meat for six people.

Plan B! Which I did actually not have a plan for.

Luckily, there was some batter left from the waffles Cubby made the day before for the after-church second breakfast, so I made the kids waffles. They were SO EXCITED. Little did they know it was just because I was tired and didn't plan ahead sufficiently.

They ate the still-frozen peas before dinner. It would have been kind of weird to put peas on the plate with the waffles, right? Probably no weirder than giving them bowls of frozen peas as an appetizer, but whatever. They ate something green.


Short version: Meatloaf, baked potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: I made the meatloaf ahead of time, and made six small ones rather than two big ones. I had a meeting and didn't get home until about 4:30, so I figured the smaller ones would cook faster. They did, but they also dried out more. Probably because I cooked them too long, because I'm used to cooking big ones.

Anyway. They were fine.

Speaking of cooking things faster, get excited for the upcoming Tuesday Tip involving how to make bake potatoes bake faster.

I know. It's this kind of scintillating content that keeps you coming back for more.


Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, leftover rice, frozen peas

Long version: I had only taken one 2-pound package of ground beef out, which isn't quite enough for everyone, so I had leftover meatloaf with leftover fried cabbage and peas.


Short version: Carnitas-style pork tacos, mashed squash, canned pineapple

Long version: Hey, anyone remember this photo from September?

Small Poppy, big squash.

I cooked the very last of those squash that we had stored in A.'s office. The last one was a somewhat immature squash that was lacking in flavor, but it was okay.

And don't worry, I still have several bags of cooked squash in the freezer.

I offered the pineapple after dinner because it's been awhile since we've been to a grocery store, thus the enforced seasonal eating. This is what a refrigerator dedicated to seasonal eating looks like in March:

Lots of milk courtesy of the school Sysco program and . . . not much else.

But wait! What about the refrigerator door? Surely that was still full.

That's a negative, Ghost Rider. (Although I do have a few more condiments than the last time I counted.)

But I had a can of pineapple in the pantry! So that was the kids' "vegetable." 

My vegetable inventory until A. goes into the Outside World on Tuesday stands at one head of cabbage, several bags of frozen squash, and a lot of frozen peas.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

T.T.: Go With the Crispy Rice Treats

If you find yourself tasked with providing a treat for any sort of holiday or gathering, I have a suggestion: Crispy Rice Treats.

These are better known to the majority of people by their brand name, which can be abbreviated RKT. However, I use the Malt-o-Meal cheapo cereal we always have on hand for our Sunday Cereal, so I don't call them that.

Plus, I don't like misspelling anything. It should be Crispy, not Krispie.


This is the recipe I use*. It has extra butter and marshmallow than the original recipe does, and therefore is extra good. 

The benefits of these treats are many: No baking involved, very few ingredients, the ability to make a large quantity without too much work (individual cookies, I'm looking at you), gluten-free, almost entirely dairy-free (most people with a lactose intolerance can still handle butter), easy to transport, and universally beloved.

I'm not kidding about that last one. I make them every year on Valentine's Day for every single kid and staff member at the school and everyone is SO EXCITED to get them. This year when I was handing them out, no fewer than three full-grown adults absolutely lit up when I handed them theirs and told me that these treats are their very favorite.

They are definitely much more than the sum of their parts. 

So go ahead. Get the store-brand cereal, generic marshmallows, and some butter, and make these. No one will be sorry. 

* Just a note that I never use mini marshamallows as called for in the recipe. The regular-sized ones are fine. And I just use my hands to press the treats into the pan. If you wet your hands a bit, they won't stick.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Snapshots: O, A-Gardening We Will Go

A. spent some time preparing garden beds for me on Friday. Hooray!


The one he's digging in this photo was planted with carrot seeds, plus one row of kohlrabi. And the prepared ground behind him was planted with beet seeds.

In this little south-facing area that's sheltered by stone walls, I planted arugula and radishes. And then we put the plywood up to keep the dogs out. They can't resist digging in freshly prepared garden soil.

"You think me capable of such perfidious destruction?" says Jasper. "I am wounded to the heart, madam."

A.'s fall-planted garlic field is looking pretty good. There are a few shallots in there, too, which I'm REALLY hoping we get to the harvest stage this year. Gophers like shallots, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, Cubby built a a pretty rad fort out of the old fenceposts A. was going to cut into firewood.

Poppy was a fan.

I also stuck some ground-cherry seeds into starter pots inside. Those are a totally new thing for me, so we'll see how that goes.

And there you have it! My life, snapshotted.