So now that we are on the home stretch of football ( last official game is this weekend with the SuperBowl next weekend...) I am hoping to get back into the swing of cooking not only for my family but for my friends. And boy are they ready. As I have said.. I have some friends who dont do alot of cooking so when I cook they really seem to enjoy it or atleast they tell me they do!
I have using the Crock Pot alot lately ( with getting out of the house before 8am every morning and not getting home til after 5, then heading off right away to Football... by the time 8:00pm rolls around the last thing I want to do it cook.) This past Sunday we snuggled in to watch The Patriots ( hey, I live in Mass) and believe it or not it was snowing. Already. Yup.
So I tried out this great recipe I got online from my bloggy friend Ace. Check it out. Its a great warm dish in the winter and is pretty cheap to make so you can make a ton...
Cut potatoes in chunks. Cut onion into slices or chunks. Boil both together til tender. Dump out most of the water, leaving enough to cover the potatoes slightly. In a separate container ( with cover) I mixed Flour with milk and seasoning until thin. I added this mixture to the potatoes and lightly mixed. I did leave some of the potatoes a little chunky but you can mash to your desired consistency. I then seasoned again with salt, pepper and garlic salt. I cooked on medium heat, stirring often for another 15 minutes or so. When done, garnish with crackers, cheese, bacon bits... whatever you want. Be careful not to use too much flour otherwise the whole soup will taste like flour. Just enough to thicken up the broth.
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable--
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on the hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
---Edna St. Vincent Millay
Playroom before Tuesday Wednesday Spaghetti
Playroom after Tuesday Wednesday Spaghetti
I offer up these pictures not to say, "Holy crap, and you should see the rest of the house." Rather, to show that people came over, ate some dinner, and their kids played happily while grownups visited and talked.
Some people brought food to share, some people didn't, some people came straight from work, some people came straight from soccer practice, some people brought friends, some people brought their friends' kids, some people ate spaghetti with sauce, some people ate spaghetti plain. One thing I heard more than a few times was, "Are you crazy to do this?" It felt really good to be able to say, with complete candor, "Maybe, but it wasn't hard and it doesn't stress me out." The idea of 50 people in your house on a Tuesday evening eating pasta and red sauce (from a jar, thanks, it's not gourmet night Chez WRH) sounds overwhelming, and maybe even a little crazy. But it's not. I shoved a lot of junk in drawers and closets and I swept and I will totally admit to mopping the floor behind the toilet in the kids' bathroom because I have a son and, well, AIM, CHILD. I boiled water and I bought paper plates. There are some dishes still in my sink today, but that's not unusual for midweek.
It is, I realize, an exercise in self-improvement and a bit of therapy for me to do this Wednesday Spaghetti thing. LOOK, you can not lose your mind at the thought of people seeing the dust elephants bunnies in corners. LOOK, you don't need to pull out all the culinary stops to impress anybody. LOOK, your life might be crowded and cluttered but you can maintain friendships. LOOK, kids are meant to get together and play dress up and make noise and jump on the furniture. LOOK, you are doing it. LOOK, you are happy. LOOK, you might not be changing the world and saving humanity and making a million dollars and becoming a household name in anybody's household but your own, but LOOK, you are OK.We were very, very merry and the apples and pears have never tasted better.
The pace of our collective life chez WRH is, uh, shall we say, "brisk." So brisk in fact that TWGH has thrown his back out for the second time in a month and by 5 pm my voice is so shrill and whiny that it could shatter glass.
School year demands on teacher and students and Carpool Dad, three soccer teams between two kids, ballet, family obligations, new puppy, PTO meetings, volunteer responsibilities, mandatory back-to-school colds, you know. The usual.
The safe bet would be to keep everything humming along without any unnecessary interruption. Stick to the schedule, go with the flow, eyes on the prize, fake it 'til you make it, hum hum hum. No surprises, everything planned and routine.
I'm doubling down on What Are You Thinking, Woman?!!
I have to. I tried not to. I went all September without a Wednesday Spaghetti. October began and I looked at the calendar and I realized that there was no good day to do a Wednesday Spaghetti until at least mid-December. So, What Are You Thinking, Woman?!!
What this woman is thinking is that two hours with friends and neighbors, sharing a simple meal, no matter what state the house is in, that the dog isn't fully housebroken, that my daughter will still be wearing her clothes from ballet that afternoon, and that my husband might come late to his own house for dinner because of a work meeting, is too necessary to forgo.
Maintaining the connections that sustain us is as important as the sustenance delivered in spaghetti form.
Lora, founding mother of Wednesday Spaghetti, has this vision of people across the country beginning their own Wednesday Spaghetti traditions, modified by whatever fancy strikes and to meet the needs of a diverse many. Is it folly to think that something so simple could nudge us back to a place where we remember what matters? Not just on Wednesdays (or Tuesdays), but every day?
Cold weather means one thing in my house - time to get out the crockpot! Here is a very easy and delicious recipe that seems to please the palates of all age groups!
PULLED PORK SANDWICHES
2 to 21/2 pounds pork loin or tenderloin, trimmed of all visable fat
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1 jar (12 oz) all natural barbecue sauce (I use Gates)
8 whole wheat hamburger buns
Add all the ingredients, except buns (that would be just gross!) to crock pot. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. When the meat is tender, remove from sauce and shred using 2 forks. Place
the meat back in the crock pot, and mix with the sauce.
This recipe is good with:
1/3 cup light canola mayo
3T cider Vinegar
3T maple syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 bag (16oz) coleslaw mix
3/4 c. dried cranberries
Whisk mayo, vinegar, maple syrup and salt into large bowl until smooth. Add the coleslaw mix and cranberries and gently blend. Serve right away or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Wednesday Spaghetti was formed to increase public awareness of the need for families, caregivers, and peer groups to spend quality time together in an in-home, casual dining setting in order to discuss general life issues, household guidelines and practices, personal habits, issues, and goals, educational habits, issues, and goals, employment habits, issues and goals, family habits, issues, and goals, physical health-related issues, sexual health-related issues, emotional health-related issues, spiritual issues, relationship issues, community events and resources, and other such topics; to support and conduct nonpartisan research, educational and informational activities to increase public awareness of the importance of togetherness, communication, and good nutrition; to provide simple to make, nutritious meals to any family or group in the community, regardless of race, color, creed, sexuality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, economic status, or location at no cost to the family or group.