Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday Food: Homecoming Brisket


Short version: Concession stand dinners

Long version: We got spirit, yes we do! 

This was homecoming night, which at our school is during basketball season. We always go to the game, but this year, we went for alllll the games. That meant A. and the older two boys were there for 8 hours (they wanted to watch their friend's PeeWee basketball game before the school teams played), and I was there with the younger two for 5 hours. 

We had to stay until the very end because Jack was the crown bearer for the homecoming king. He wore a little suit and yes, it was just as cute as you imagine. I was too far away to get a really good photo, though.

Also, the older elementary kids have been practicing basketball skills all year during P.E. so they could do a demonstration during one of the half times, complete with the Harlem Globetrotters music. It was quite entertaining.

I was actually pretty impressed at how far the kids had come with their ball-handling skills. Good work, P.E. teacher!


I suppose I could have packed food to bring with us, but this is one of the very few nights in the year that I even have an option for food prepared by someone else, somewhere else. And they went all out at the concessions for this game, offering a brisket dinner with green beans, rolls, potatoes, lemonade and dessert. So that's what we all got. It was actually very good. I knew it would be, because the English teacher smoked all the briskets in her smoker at home.

Hooray for tiny schools in cattle country. And hooray for not cooking OR doing dishes.


Short version: Beef pot roast, boiled potatoes, roasted beets, still-frozen green beans, baked apples

Long version: The oven was on for quite a while for the pot roast, which is why I also made the beets, fennel (which we didn't actually eat until the next day, because I totally forgot about it when I was serving up), and baked apples with the apples that were in the frozen Misfits Market delivery.


Short version: The belated birthday blowout--shrimp, Italian sausage, spaghetti alfredo, baked fennel, chocolate cheesecake

Long version: Cubby's birthday was Friday, when we were at homecoming. And I was too busy Friday (in addition to homecoming, it was a teacher in-service day) to make his requested cheesecake (I use this recipe) so it could chill overnight. So I made it Saturday instead and Sunday dinner included all of Cubby's requests.

A. bought the shrimp and Italian sausage when he was in Santa Fe for Calvin's hunter education a few weeks ago. The sausage was just store-brand links, but it was real Italian sausage and I was so excited. We literally cannot get real Italian sausage anywhere at any of the stores that are "close" to us (you can imagine where we live as the remote center of a wheel with spokes that run 90 miles in different directions to get to three bigger towns with grocery stores).

Unfortunately, since A. didn't know if it would be any good, he only got two packages. But you can bet next time he goes there (which is probably not anytime soon), I'm going to have him buy them out. I do miss Italian sausage.


Short version: Leftover shrimp, scrambled eggs and bacon, leftover potatoes, raw tomatoes and radishes

Long verison: Oh, could you tell this was a work day? Yeah.  Here, have a random picture.

We only have one child still young enough to ride on Daddy's shoulders.


Short version: Leftover cafeteria hot dogs, leftover baked beans, leftover eggs, bread and butter, raw tomatoes

Long version: And you could probably tell from this that it was another work day, although not a typical one for me. I was subbing for the other teachers aide. The hot dogs were left over from lunch the day before at the cafeteria, and they're actually pretty good all-beef hot dogs. Not that hot dogs are ever health food, but as hot dogs go, these aren't the worst by a long shot.

Also, they went perfectly with the container of almost-Grandma-Brown's baked beans from last week that I froze. It was kind of like a summer meal in winter.


Short version: Leftover spaghetti, fried pork, sauteed green beans

Long version: Yet another work day, but not all leftovers. Yay me!

I had roasted tomatoes and garlic along with the pot roast on Saturday, and I used my immersion blender to puree that along with some cottage cheese to make a sauce for the spaghetti, which was extra I had cooked on Sunday.

The pork was two cans of the commodities canned pork, which is always surprisingly not-gross when it's cooked. It comes out of the cans looking and smelling like dog food, but so does the bull meat I canned myself. Anyway, I just fried it with spices and added some of the tomato sauce to it, and it was good.

I had to use up the fresh green beans from the Misfits Market order the week before, as they were on the verge of no longer usable, so I actually de-stemmed and sauteed green beans, which, yes, counts as an impressive feat on a worknight for me.


Short version: Ground beef tacos

Long version: I made the corn tortillas, and we had lettuce AND tomato, so it was a Deluxe Taco Night. Or something.

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

T.T.: Turning the Tables

This has been a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks, and although I did have some ideas for a tip to post here today, I decided instead to let all of you do the heavy lifting. Which means I'm going to ask YOU to share a brilliant tip with ME.

And, of course, with everyone else who reads here.

The great thing about this is that my tips tend to fall within very narrow categories--or, actually, almost entirely within the parameters of the kitchen--whereas I'm sure all of you have more areas of expertise.

So, what can you share with me and the Internet at large that will make us all go, "That's such a good idea!"

Jasper is all ears.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Snapshots: Valentines and a Tea Party

If you know me at all, this picture will shock you:

If you even know what you're looking at, that is.

I always make the kids make their own Valentine's cards for their classmates, which most years are nothing but folded pieces of construction paper with "To:" and "From:" inside. My boys are NOT into making valentines, and I'm not willing to press the issue. We stick these bare-bones cards onto bags containing a crispy rice treat and call it good. 


Some sort of madness overtook me this year, and in an effort to make it more fun (for them, not me), I let them choose paper from a giant box of origami paper my sister gave Cubby (thanks, sis!) AND I carved a heart out of a potato and let them potato-stamp with paint. 

They were pretty wonky-looking hearts, to be honest, but the kids did find it fun. It took a lot longer than just writing names in the unadorned cards, though, and the reasons I dislike crafts with four children of various ages were again made clear, but it's done. 

My Christmas gift from A. this year was a blender, since I have not had a functioning blender in, uh, four years.

But not just any blender!


I mostly use blenders in the summer, so it sat in the box for awhile, waiting for a party. Finally I asked A. to get the ingredients for margaritas, because you know what makes this a party blender?

Pick your poison.

I laughed pretty hard when I saw the button labels up there, but I did dutifully use the "margarita" button, and it did make margaritas. It's been years since I've had a margarita--maybe as many years as I've had a non-functioning blender?--and they were delicious, but WOAH, I forgot how strong margaritas are.

The children had a much more temperate party of their own yesterday when Cubby asked me if he could make some cream tea. Poppy had been asking for a tea party, and I told her we needed to wait for her brothers to be home to make it an actual party. So when Cubby asked for tea on a snowy Saturday, I figured it was a sign.

Our tea parties are much more humble than the elegant affairs Grandma used to have for the children when we lived at Blackrock, a house with more than its share of tea cups, pots, saucers, sugar bowls, and cream jugs.  I don't have the room to store any of that stuff, and anyway, all the important elements were there, if not elegantly presented:

Food, cream, sugar, mugs, tea strainer, and tea in a pot (mostly white tea, with one black tea bag for flavor).

I was, of course, reminded by one of the children that Grandma used to make cookies or scones for tea parties. To which I responded that I would take away the apples, cheese, and spiced nuts if they deemed that inappropriate for their tea party. They elected to eat them. And they very much enjoyed their cream and sugar with token amounts of tea.

I don't have a new morning walk picture because, thanks to weekend activities involving teacher in-service and homecoming at school, I have not been taking a morning walk. But since it snowed Friday night, it looks just like this old picture I took a couple of weeks ago:

Sorry, dogs. Maybe next weekend.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.