...because we all have our motley moments!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hello, old friend...

If you are a regular reader of our Motley Moms blog, you have certainly heard about our adventures in Once a Month Cooking. Since last summer several of us have gathered one day a month to, well, cook (hence the title Once a Month Cooking). On that day we prepared enough meals to feed our families for the month, and doing this saved us time and money.

For several reasons we have decided to skip cooking this month, and I was more than a little nervous when I realized that my normally full-of-dinner freezer would no longer be able to help me feed my family. Even more unnerving was the realization that I would need to begin actually planning our meals again. I have never been good at this. I always end up at the grocery store hastily grabbing things that look like dinner only to return home and discover that I bought sauce but no pasta or marinade but no meat.

Well, yesterday after a morning at the question-writing office, I grocery store-ed and produce stand-ed my way home to a kitchen just waiting for dinner prep. I took out our standard Saturday night spaghetti sauce and started browning some ground beef. I remembered the squash and zucchini I had purchased, and I reached into the drawer for my knife. My knife. I watched as she sliced effortlessly through green and yellow and left a confetti of little cubes to add to our sauce. I remembered how excited I was the first time I chopped garlic with her after bringing her home from the store on my birthday. The poor thing hasn't seen much action lately since my cooking has been so sporadic. We worked together to create a beautiful meal, and I felt like a Teppanyaki chef at his hibachi (though I probably looked more like the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show). I was a creator of food, not just a cook, and it felt good to do that again.

So, I'm still not that comfortable with planning our meals, and I will probably still need to improvise when I forget a few ingredients on my shopping trips, but I am excited about using some creativity again in the kitchen. I think my knife is happy to be back in the game, too.

I must confess that we did chop so much that we were able to divide last night's sauce into two meals, one of which is happily waiting in the freezer for another night. Hey, you don't expect me to cook every day, do you?


Donna said...

I can totally relate, Rachel! I, too, love to cook, but have enjoyed the extra time with the kids that our freezer cooking has afforded me.

However, it has been nice to get back in the kitchen and try some new things. This week and next we are experimenting with pearled barley vs. quick cooking barley. I also plan to bake a garlic-stuffed chicken for dinner and use the leftover bird for homemade stock...yum!

Paul is even planning to make a crockpot meal one day this week to save me one afternoon in the kitchen. He plans to put a pork roast in the crock with sauerkraut and potatoes (recipe from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook") in the morning before he leaves for work. I love that he is getting in on the action to give me a little break!

I can relate to your love of excellent knives. I can't bear to put my professional Henkels in the dishwasher, in case I need them before we run it. I handwash them and put them directly into the knife block to dry. And oh! The joy of a freshly sharpened knife...it's the little things in life!

Have fun cooking this week!

Liz said...

I'm not super crazy about cooking, but I love using my knives. I don't even put them in the dishwasher (and I put EVERYTHING in the dishwasher) because I want to baby them. I love cutting things. Is that wrong?

Bryssy said...

I just finished making sloppy joes and stewed cabbage. And, without OAMC I have been using my ultimate crock pot a lot more.

The ultimate crock pot is the one with 3 crocks (2, 4 & 6 quart). It is really awesome.

That said, I think I'll be ready for OAMC next month!

Rachel said...

Donna, let me know how the barley experiment goes. I've tried the pearled but not the quick-cooking, and I would be interested to know if the faster one is good. Also, Paul's crock pot recipe sounds great! Let us know how it goes!

Bryssy, so your ultimate crock is one machine, but with three wells? Did I understand that right? Wow, you could do a whole buffet...Pretty cool!

My knife is hand-washed, too. I'm too paranoid to let the dishwasher have her. Liz, I don't think it's wrong to love cutting things--I like pretending that I can do it like the people on the Food Network. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm remembering something about a 100 list and a machine gun, though...I'm glad you're on our side! :)

Liz said...

It wasn't a machine gun, it was an M-16. It's a fully automatic rifle, but usually set for 3 bursts. (That was a direct quote from my husband. I just turned to him and said, "An M-16 isn't a machine gun, is it?")

Rachel said...

I stand corrected, and I humbly apologize!