Monday is Mom's Day Off. Here's What the 11-Year Old Made
Monday night is Mom’s Night Off. Each Monday has a different cook in charge of dinner starting with the first Monday of the Monday and continuing through the next month: 1stMonday is Lieve (9-years-old), 2ndis Valerie (11-years-old), 3rdis Audrey (13-years-old), and 4this Brian (59-years-old). I am the end of month proof that cooking skill doesn’t always improve with age.
At 7:00 Valerie decided to put down the cell-phone and make dinner. Because there wasn’t a lot of preplanning, this was going the farm animals safe and be vegetarian. Whole-wheat pasta, cream sauce, and mushrooms were going to be the main course, and watermelon was the fruity salad or dessert, depending on when a person decided to eat theirs.
Spent half the time talking about Valerie’s project presentation on Hadrian’s Wall and the other half hearing Audrey joke about her disastrous study session over at a friend’s house with her Tiger Dad.
My wife wasn’t feeling well, so for breakfast I heated up left over friend rice and shoveled in their little thermoses for lunch and then added in a Tupperware container of left-over watermelon. Also included a mini-baggie of 8 M&Ms apiece because I had eaten the rest of them.
Day 11 ( June 9, 2019)
There are only two types of avocados: Not ripe and too ripe.
Tossed salads are a great place to toss a bunch of vegetables that are on the verge of turning from ripe to nasty. This included the avocados sitting on our kitchen island for a month. We took them, leftover blackened chicken from last night that we never served, and some other things and made a salad. Make our own Green Goddess Dressing by _________. Topped off with watermelon.
Corn was 10 for $1 at the nearby TOPS grocery chain. Wow – 1970s prices.
One of the girls was at a sleep-over a week ago and loved playing a card game called Sky-Joe. Picked it up on sale for $12 and played until it was dark. The middle daughter pulled out a miracle round to win it all. Her prize: She gets to cook dinner tomorrow night.
End of the weekend ice cream. Three pints of funky ice cream (Rolo, Cookie Dough, and Twix) for $5 at the nearby Dollar General. Ice cream cones which used a lot less ice-cream than bowls. Ate half of the stash and everyone was happy.
Party! Celebrating a 62nd Anniversary Potluck
Day 10 (June 8, 2019)
Some people think it’s impossible to go to a buffet without overeating. If you want to grossly overeat on a $10 Dinner budget, have the buffet come to you. Potluck or Dish-to-Pass Time!
Some friends from church were celebrating their 62ndAnniversary and we invited them and some of their friends over for a potluck to cut loose. A ten-course meal in the time it took us to make Fried Rice and Blackened Cajon Chicken. Here’s how it was made:
Girls were going to make ‘Smores on the back porch, but this was thwarted by me not being to find any marshmallows, and them being unwilling to roast graham crackers and a. pretend marshmallow.
Lots to do. Let's use up a coupon at McDonalds
Meal 11 - Lunch (June 9, 2019)
We're loving it. The girls had a music practice at church, and I'm edgy about not having gotten enough done today. Instead of heading home for dinner, let's use up some coupons at McDonalds, and get on with the day.
Love those happy meals with the micro-sized portions perfect for the little one. Love the huge sizes of fries and McNuggets for the rest of us. Like Burger King says, "Have it Your Way."
I also like the idea that they have a Family Night every Friday. Cooking for the family at home isn't always easy, and this gives families a chance to come out and have fun. They've got activities and coloring stuff at the tables, and I'm guessing people aren't staring at their phones.
Day 10 (6-6-19). What a powerful day. It’s the 75thanniversary of D-Day. I’m still out of town with my Greatest Generation Dad, and I remember how 25 years ago, I was on the D-Day beaches for the 50thAnniversary of D-Day. I’ve asked my family to make a special observance and say some words of gratitude before dinner.
Here’s what they ate afterward.
Day 9 (June 5, 2019). Late last night my 92-year-old Dad had to go to the emergency room abecause of kidney failure and delirium. We had moved him from his home in Iowa down to be near my brother in Norfolk, Virginia, so I woke at 3:00 to catch the first plane out to be with him until Saturday when my brother could take over. Here’s what happened for dinner when I was gone
15 Minutes to Eat - Sixth Grade Band Concert Night
Day 8 (6-4-19)
A 15-minute dinner because daughter has a 10 second flute solo tonight.
A Wolf-it-Down dinner. Spoon out rice in a cereal bowl and cover it with the Beef and Pepper Strips. No real conversation other than asking about whether the performing daughter was nervous about her “solo” – which only turned out to be about 10 seconds of quarter notes. Still we all felt like we were on a mission to get her there on time.
Other than getting an idea of what was coming up this week in school, this was a short discussion since we wanted to be on time to the concert.
Monday's Mom's Day Off -- The 9-Year Old Made the Meal
Day 7. June 3. Since my wife is starting to get more working gigs, we decided a while back that every Monday is her day off from cooking. Since there are four others of us, we are taking each of the four Mondays each month and making it our responsibility to cook. This month the 10-year-old volunteered to do the first Monday. We’re big believers in saving a bundle shopping at the local Warehouse Club store—got to get our $25 membership paid for in costs savings. One of the things we buy are these huge 50 lb. bags of meatballs and big jars of pasta sauce. The 10-year-old dished out a bowl of these, grabbed the kitchen stepstool, boiled up some pasta, and microwaved some pasta sauce. Then she cut up a bunch of fruit for the salad. A totally forgettable meal if you have a Food Network show, but an awesome dinner if you are a 3rdgrader.
Day 6 Breakfast (6-2-19).
We're on the verge of being late for church again -- like every other Sunday. I notice we have an extra person at the table who is left-over from the Sleep-over the night before.
In order to make a good impression (her Mom's also the middle school math teacher), I decided to actually feed them instead of pointing to the breakfast cereal.
Scrambled eggs and bread with P&J. I'll do the eggs and they can do the rest.
Come on, let's go or we're going to be late.
Out-of-town Vegetarian Friends
Day 6 (June 2, 2019) A former college professor visiting – YEAH! He and his wife are vegetarians – [silence, cricket, cricket]. We’re eating in the dining room, so that’s cool. Eating in the dining room would make even a cereal bowl of Super Sugar Crisp seem like it was straight off of the Food Network.
Having people over for dinner – whatever their age – adds electricity to a dinner. They talk about different things, and everyone’s on their best behavior. Tonight, the girls were strangely quiet, and when I asked them why later that night they answered, “Because it was interesting just to listen.” Sweet.
Dinner had some very cool elements along with an appetizer of Tofu Kabobs. These were pretty horrible and were described by my friend’s wife as “Interesting texture.” When my friend said, “Everything is great,” I passed him the last Kabob, and said “We were saving this for you.” I ended up eating most of them so that my wife wouldn’t feel bad.
This is a cool lesson about cooking. You can make the same tried-and-true stuff again and again and your family will love it. Alternatively, if you get bored doing that you can swing for the fence with something new. Some things will flop, but others will be the new favorites. That’s a much more interesting journey for a certain personality type.
A reporter once asked me what my favorite meal is, and I replied church potlucks. Tons of different types of food and most of it's either 1) comfort food you never make for yourself, 2) something new you've never, or 3) it is what you made for yourself.
These things are always upbeat and there's lots to eat.
This would probably be the big meal for the day except that we're going to have out-of-town friends over and will have to eat again tonight. Yippee!
Day 5 Lunch (June 2). Time for an express lunch so girls can get to flute practice.
Leftover solution. Put the leftover burrito ingredients from last night over a bunch of lettuce. We'll call it a Burrito Bowl instead of a burrito salad because it sounds cooler.
Also had blueberries and milk.
It's Sleep-over Saturday - Dinner on the Deck
Photo Sleepover pay-back time
Great day out and all the girls want to eat ‘Smores over a fire. Nothing else matters. Dinner, a game, ‘SMORES, and a DVD. But the focus is on the ‘Smores. The grill was out of gas, so the chicken and pork were slathered with some cheap BBQ sauce and pan fried inside. We ate on the deck and everything was a big hit because it was viewed as a prelude to the ‘Smores which they did on the stove because they didn't want to wait for me to build a fire.
It's Middle School Formal Night!
Day 4. (May 31, 2019) What dinner did you have before your Middle School formal night? I asked myself that, and I can confidently recalled asking myself, “How could I go to a formal if I don’t have a date?”
To try and make this an interactive experience (that costs less than $10), we made it a Build-Your-Own Burrito Night. There were two types of fillings. One was a spicy ground beef and the other was chicken. Salad was basic iceberg lettuce with sliced up tomatoes, peppers, and onion.!
Because a “boyfriend” was over for dinner, the meaningfulness of the even was either asking him questions or trying to impress him in some way. Lots of good energy when there’s a guest, and we have two more nights of them after this?
Day 3 (May 30, 2019)
Tonight’s piano lesson night. No practicing on lesson days so everyone’s happy.
Ten bucks doesn’t seem like it’s enough to feed a family of five – especially when they all love beef. One way to stretch the beef is to boost up the protein content with cheap, cheap tofu. It doesn’t taste as wonderfully beefy, but it does soak up some of the flavor and add a little texture variety. One way to do this with some spunk is to cut the beef in really think slices about 1 ½ or 2 inches long. Makes it seem like there’s a lot. If you weren’t aiming for the $10 target or if you had fewer mouths at the table, you could drop the tofu and make it a full beef bonanza.
We asked everyone to describe their high point, their low point, who they appreciate and why, and their compass for the future (like tomorrow, for example). Only got to the second person because everybody interrupted, asked questions, or said something irrelevant.
Family Meal #2 (May 29, 2019)
Growing up in Iowa, we had 2 rivers, 2 lakes, and 0 oceans. I never knew anyone who got excited when they were having fish for dinner. It's different if you grow up on an island like Taiwan. The 5 best times I've ever had fish were all cooked by someone from Taiwan. Here's a basic one.
Day 1. (May 28, 2019) Yesterday I mentioned we should try to eat $10 dinners for the whole next month, which coincides when my job ends. My wife didn't seem too excited about it, so I was surprised when today she said, "The $10 dinners start tonight."
My childhood comfort food was supercharged casseroles. Sometimes these were homemade, but when my mother went back to work as a secretary, they generally were boxed meals. Sometimes they were brand names and sometimes generic, but they were basically the same: Some kind of macaroni pasta and a flavor packet to which she'd add a pound of hamburger and either canned vegetables or frozen ones from our garden.
Tonight it a basic boxed meal called "Cheeseburger Casserole" that we bought at the local BJs Club Store. (BJs is like a Costco or Sam's Club. You pay $25 and you can shop there and buy flatbeds of food at huge discounts. Some people are County Club members, we're BJs Club members. Not much overlap. Yesterday my wife bought 6 of these boxed meals for $8.99. Try to find that deal at the local Country Club.
Dinner was one of these boxed meals, plus xyz. Yum