Friday, February 4, 2022

Friday Food: Leftovers Every Day


Short version: Pot roast, gravy, egg noodles, raw carrots, leftover steamed carrots and broccoli

Long version: The pot roast gravy was made with cornstarch and milk (and the meat juices, of course), and it was good, but cornstarch just doesn't make as thick and nice a gravy as flour does.

Every child had a raw carrot before dinner, because they just couldn't wait to eat something. Carrots work.


Short version: Leftover white chicken chile or barbecue beef sandwiches, green salad, frozen peaches and peas

Long version: I made bread in the afternoon, which meant the main course of dinner was really just a complement to fresh bread. So some had the barbecue beef (leftover pot roast simmered with barbecue sauce) and some had the chile, but all had the bread.

The children had the frozen peaches and peas while I was making dinner and they were whining about being hungry. I invited them to browse among the frozen produce in the small freezer, and half had frozen peaches while the other half had frozen peas.

Remember when I suggested front-loading produce to get kids to eat more of it? As you can see, I really do practice what I preach on this one.


Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, pasta with pesto, green beans, leftover broccoli, crispy rice treats

Long version: I still have quite a few cubes of frozen pesto in the freezer from the summer, for the simple reason that I have a hoarding mentality about it and hate to actually start using it. Which is, of course, crazy.

Anyway. I used some, and it was good. As were the green beans, which were also garden produce frozen at the height of summer.

It's always fun to have garden food in the deadest of winter.


Short version: Pot roast tacos

Long version: Since I had the oven on anyway, I cooked two chuck roasts on Saturday. The one I didn't use that night I sliced and saved for this after-work meal. All I did with the meat was fry it with cumin, chile powder, and salsa. Tasty, and very quick.


Short version: Scrambled eggs with cheese, leftover taco meat, bread and butter, carrot sticks with curry dip

Long version: We ended up going to the school basketball game unexpectedly, which meant I wasn't home to make dinner. So, when we got home at 6 p.m. with four starving kids, it was scrambled eggs to the rescue!

Those who don't really like scrambled eggs had the meat.


Short version: Lamb gyros with homemade sourdough pita bread, hummus, yogurt sauce, green salad

Long version: I go along making boring old hamburgers and random leftovers into meals and then . . . I do this. 

It all started with a boned leg of lamb (ram, actually) that I pulled out of the freezer. I cut the nicest part of that into strips and marinated them in olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt.

Then I made the pita bread

Then I made the yogurt sauce with plain yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

The hummus was the last of the double-batch I made some time ago. I had one more container of it in the freezer, and I figured this was the perfect time for it. (This was the day's leftover, I guess.)

Butter lettuce with vinaigrette (the dressing was also actually a leftover) and . . . well. I don't like to brag, but you would have wanted to eat this meal.

It would have been even better with the cucumbers and tomatoes that were supposed to come in my Misfits Market delivery this day, but given that it looked like this outside all day, I can't say I was surprised FedEx didn't make it to my house:

Luckily, we weren't relying on FedEx to deliver Samson's hay.

This may have been one of the most delicious meals to come out of my kitchen in some time, but it was also definitely one of the messiest.

No such thing as a spatter guard for a griddle pan.


Short version: Lamb stew, bunless cheeseburgers, frozen peas

Long version: The gnarlier bits from the leg of lamb went into this stew, along with potatoes and carrots and peas. Half the family ate the stew, half ate the cheeseburgers I made with the remainder of the ground beef from a few days ago. The latter group also had some potatoes from the stew, and still-frozen peas.

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

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

T.T.: Oddly Wholesome Movies

This is kind of weird, but you know what's a really good group of movies for kids?

The Ernest movies

If you're old enough, you probably remember Ernest from the 1980s. I didn't even watch them, but even I knew who Ernest was. Apparently, they continued making the movies into the 1990s, and there are quite a few of them. Some of them are free on YouTube or Prime. 

I randomly put on Ernest Saves Christmas a few weeks ago for the kids, without much hope that they would all like it. I figured Cubby might, but I wasn't sure about the others. They almost never all like the same movies. That happens when there's an 8-year age span.

Imagine my surprise when all of them loved it. So the next time they got to watch a movie, I put on Ernest in the Army. They loved that even more.

I know they all liked it because every one of them came to tell me their favorite parts in great detail after the movies were over. 

They're kind of stupid movies, in the sense that the comedy is almost entirely physical. 

But! BUT!

It's not inappropriate comedy. It's not scatalogical; it's not mean; it's not snarky; it's not subtly sexual; it doesn't rely on bad language. It's just . . . falling down and throwing heavy pancakes as artillery and so on. It's slapstick, and it's fine for kids.

I find that frustratingly rare in entertainment, even in entertainment that's supposed to be for kids.

So! If you find yourself scrambling for truly family-friendly entertainment, you might try Ernest. I haven't watched all of them, so I can't really personally vouch for every single one, but the two we've watched so far have been hits.

Bonus movie tip: Every one of my children also likes The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a.k.a., the original Pooh movie. That's another entirely wholesome movie for kids, though not free anywhere online as far as I know. It's funny without being at the expense of any of the characters. I don't know why movies like this can't be made anymore, but it's pretty unique.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Amateur Librarian Seeks . . .

Book recommendations. And here's why.

I was asked to put together a library for the middle and high school students at our school, and I'm pretty much starting from scratch. 

In addition, I'm adding to the existing small elementary library. 

This means I'm buying books. Lots of books. 

A. has suggested quite a few books, particularly for the older students. My older two children--who are prodigious readers themselves--have suggested quite a few books. I've ordered a few dozen books, and have about a hundred more on a list that I'm preparing to order.

But I still have room on that list for more, and I'm sure there are some really great books that I'm missing.

So! If you were in my position, what books do you think you would consider essential for a school library? Any ages, any genres, non-fiction, fiction, modern, classic . . . it's all fair game.

GO. (And thanks!)

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Snapshots: Winter, Finally

We've gone through most of the calendar winter at 60 degrees with high winds. Boo. But now, it finally looks (and feels) like real winter.

Snow on the road.

Snow on the horse.

Snow on the sheep.

The only uncovered window in the living room faces east, which means the best light of the day in there is as soon as the sun comes up.

My early-rising habits ensure that I am always awake to see it.

That first light coming in through the window creates areas of light that look just like a Dutch painting.

Vermeer would have loved New Mexico.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.