Friday, September 16, 2011

It's All About Balance (Right?)

This week's events are a good example of how even the best-laid plans often can't hold up to life with small children.

Here's how things unfolded:

My husband has been out of town. My original plan was to plan a simple meal the first night he was away, and then live on leftovers the second night. First, he didn't leave until after dinner the first night, so my leftover quantities were diminished (I was glad to have him there otherwise, don't get me wrong). He has also started packing a lunch, so my leftovers weren't quite as plentiful as I'd hoped.

This meant I needed to actually cook something on the second night I was on my own. That's fine, I just pulled out a fillet of lake trout, since the boys both love fish. Fish and oven fries would fit the bill nicely.

However. Right when I was supposed to be starting dinner, D decided to check out my new Pampered Chef apple wedger, and promptly sliced his thumb open to the point where he needed stitches. I called my mother-in-law for back-up, so I didn't have to deal with both baby G and D in the waiting room and while D needed to be held down for his needle. We waited about an hour, from 5:30-6:30, and after the stitches (two), we were out of there at 7:15. I had warded off hunger with a few snacks, but we still needed to eat. I decided to do the quickest option, and picked up Vern's pizza by the slice. Truly not my favourite pizza, but it filled a void.

Fish is still in the fridge, ready to be cooked tonight.

Because of this series of fortunate events, I was also low on lunch items for my sitter and the kids. Due to my weakened emotional and mental state after yesterday's challenges, I caved and pulled out a package of hot dogs.

Now, this may not be a big deal for many people. But let me provide some context. When I left home and moved out on my own, when I was 17, I promised myself I would never buy hot dogs. Smokies and Kraft Dinner were okay, but I drew the line at wieners. I wanted to make sure I cooked and ate well and never gave in to the easy fix. This has truly served me well, gave me a great start on my life as a foodie, and I honestly never did buy hot dogs for a quick, easy meal.

In the past 20 years since I left home, I can count on one hand the number of times I purchased a package of hot dogs. And then, only because we were having a wiener roast. Even for wiener roasts, I usually opt for something more recognizable as meat, like sausage.

Case in point, the hot dogs in my freezer were left over from G's birthday cook-out, and they didn't get used because everyone chose the smokies I brought instead.

But there they were, along with a can of beans, and because they were there, I gave in to it. Gave Grandpa the lunch plan instructions.

And promptly headed out the door to work at Caffe Sola, where I enjoyed delicious tomato soup and a fig chevre tart for lunch. I'm a hypocrite, I know. But only today. And I feel compelled to confess. That's something, isn't it?

I'm not sure it makes up for today's transgressions, but I did feed my boys hot 12-grain cereal for breakfast, and then turned the leftovers into cookies. I always feel guilty when I have leftover porridge, because it's so good for you, and I hate waste in general. I made oatmeal bread with leftover oatmeal recently, and it was wonderful. So why not cookies?

I haven't perfected the recipe yet, but here's what I did:

2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 c. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2/3 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. leftover multigrain porridge
1/2 c. raisins

Mix together dry ingredients, mix in butter and eggs until creamy (2 minutes or so) and the stir in porridge and raisins.

These turned out to be kind of cakey, sort of a cross between hermits and toothy snickerdoodles. I will make them again, and when I do, I will use brown sugar instead of white, use half whole wheat and half white flour, and a 1/2 t. vanilla. They were good enough for me to eat three of them while still well as the leftover hot dog. With mustard. It's not like I get that chance every day.

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