Tuesday, May 20, 2008

3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days - Day 20 Too Much Time in the Kitchen?

This morning started out with a special, different-for-us, breakfast. I made biscuits and sausage. My original plan had been to have biscuits and sausage gravy, but then I realized that I had purchased maple flavored sausage. I didn't think that would go too well with the gravy. So I decided that we would have biscuit and sausage sandwiches. The only problem there was that my brain and hands were not communicating; so I made large biscuits and small sausage patties. So, we had biscuits, and we had sausage patties. Oh well. It was still delicious and such a treat, especially for a weekday breakfast. Joy has a wonderful biscuit recipe that I have been wanting to try for a long time, but that will have to wait until next month so that I can buy some butter-flavored shortening. I just used a boxed mix that I doctored a bit this morning. I don't think the mix was the freshest because it has been in my pantry for a LONG time, but they still tasted pretty good for a boxed mix.

For lunch we went with the old standby of boxed macaroni and cheese. As I've mentioned before, this is one of the hold outs from our old way of eating before I started making everything from scratch. I have been scaling back on this though, and this is only the second time this month that we have had it. I guess that's not too bad. We also had pineapple with lunch.
I made a batch of cinnamon rolls today for breakfast tomorrow. While I prefer them fresh out of the oven, they are still very good warmed in the microwave. Sometimes, convenience is just more important for me, especially when it comes to breakfast. If I had been really on my game, I would have made an extra batch to freeze. But as it turns out, that may have been a good thing this time around. I have been making these cinnamon rolls for quite a while now and I've gotten proud of the fact that I can have them completed, start to finish, in less than 40 minutes. I have played with them to get them bigger and gooier for Eric. I am definitely still not there yet. I think the first few times I made them were actually the best. But now, as Eric pointed out today, I have fine-tuned them to the point of being average cinnamon rolls. They are not the ooey Cinnabon-type rolls they turned out to be the first few times I made them. They definitely do not look as good as Joy's lately. Dinner tonight was Swedish meatballs over egg noodles with peas. I used a package of meatballs I put in the freezer earlier this month and made a quick sauce of beef gravy, onions, and sour cream. By using the frozen meatballs, I was able to have dinner completely made in less than 20 minutes, and it was done and ready to be reheated by 12:30.
One thing I have realized this month, by doing the 3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days series, is that I spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen. This thought has been floating around in my head for awhile but was really brought to the forefront today when Eric asked why I spend so much time in the kitchen. Honestly, I'm not sure. I have definitely worked out what I view as manageable system in the kitchen. Most days, I have all necessary cooking for the day done by 1 pm, including any baking. Some days, if I am in the stocking the freezer phase of the month, or if there is a LOT of baking that really needs to be done, I am not done as early as usual. Yet even with that understanding, I see that I spend more time than needed in the kitchen. I am not quite sure why.
I think a large part of the reason is selfishness. I really enjoy being in the kitchen, cooking or baking and putting love into everything I make for my family. There are many afternoons where there is not a thing that needs to be done in the kitchen until it is time to warm up dinner, and yet I am standing in there trying to figure out what else I can make. My eyes have now been opened to the fact that this is unnecessary. It is also not fair to my children. Do I put my kitchen ahead of my children? I'd love to say no, of course not, but if I really examine it honestly, I am ashamed to say that on occasion, I do. This is never a conscious choice. I view the food I make for my family as an outward expression of my love. However, they really need time with me much more than they need a new batch of cookies made when there are already 3 different options of dough in the freezer.
So, I think I need to start imposing limits on my time spent in the kitchen to that which is needed. An easy way I think I could do this is if I plan out my activities in the kitchen with my menu plan and then make sure I stick with it. For example, I had breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tomorrow's cinnamon rolls completed by 2 this afternoon. I also had the kitchen cleaned up. On an ordinary day, I would have hung around in the kitchen trying to come up with something else to do or make. Today, Eric pushed me to not do that. Instead, we went outside and played with the kids for a while. That was such a treat. I realize I need to do this every day. In a few years, I will be able to have all the children with me in the kitchen, with everybody doing something together. But for now, they are just too young for that for an extended period of time.
I have learned that cooking from scratch really does not take very long, and I hope I have been able to show that through some of my posts. Now, I need to learn that most days I can just walk away from the kitchen when I am done. It is selfish to choose to indulge in my "hobby" when I don't need to. My kitchen will always be there, my children will not!

Don't forget to stop by Joy's kitchen where she has been making breakfast in bulk, or Toni's vacation kitchen where food and fun has been had by all!


A Grammatical Disclaimer

I freely admit to consistently using improper grammar in the following areas:
1. I like run-on sentences.
2. I have a tendency to end sentences with a pronoun. (I really do. I can't help it.)
3. I always seem to use passive voice in my sentences. (See?)

I've been trying to break this habit, unsuccessfully, for years, so now I just accept that as my writing style, and since I'm not writing for grades anymore, I embrace it. (Again, see?)

Hence, I invoke Blogger Artistic License for this blog!

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