Contentment in My Kitchen

round button chicken

I love the Pretty Happy Funny Real link-up. I think that taking pictures throughout the week and recording them with a good-natured spin, remembering the good instead of musing upon shortcomings and unfulfilled expectations is a good exercise in gratitude to foster contentment. And, the kitchen is a place where we can be vulnerable to discontent and discouragement. So, I’d like to make participation in this link up regular on this blog.

Plus, it turns out, I’m not really a food blogger. So I need something for this blog that doesn’t require too much food photography. :)

Pretty

simple family meals

Last year I participated in an online book club for Edith Schaeffer’s Hidden Art of Homemaking. One of the chapters was on centerpieces, and I thought it would be a nice thing to make a part of our life at home. In my post, “Hidden Art of Homemaking: Flower Arranging, plus a practical solution,” I even came up with a few strategies to make it practical and manageable for a homeschooling, lots-of-littles life. But, after the flowers in the centerpiece I made for that post died, I only managed one other centerpiece all year. Then Christmas came, and so the advent wreath lived on the table as a centerpiece. Then, a new year began. And, of course, new years are made for new resolutions.

The centerpiece I put together for the new year is still there, and it’s still serviceable. It does add a nice touch to the table. It is a civilizing effect, I think.

Happy

simple family meals

Happy birthday to Knox! He’s now four!

His birthday food menu was as follows:

  • Breakfast: Marshmallow Mateys
  • Lunch: cheese muffins, salami, grapes, bananas, potato chips, root beer
  • Dinner: baked macaroni and cheese, oven omelette (for those who avoid carbs), bacon, grapes, red pepper slices

And he had chocolate cake, which he helped make from scratch, with blue frosting and orange sprinkles. He also had chocolate ice cream “with a cone on the bottom” and sprinkles on top.

The cheese muffin recipe was in the last Simple Pantry Cooking Newsletter, and I’ll include the macaroni and cheese recipe I used in the next one next week (sign up at the top of your screen or on the sidebar so you don’t miss it!).

Funny

simple family meals

simple family meals

My dinner helper helped that night by taking pictures.

So, even though I have an ebook about keeping a basic pantry stocked so you can make dinner even without a plan, sometimes I still get caught without a stocked pantry. One night a couple weeks ago I got caught at 5pm without thawed meat and without a lot of other staples on hand, and neither my husband or I really wanted to leave the house if possible. Popcorn and cheese makes an emergency meal in my mind, but not my husband’s. We had no tortillas and no pasta, so my quick to-the-rescue dinners were not possible.

I started pulling out random components and putting them together. Cabbage, canned chicken, dried cranberries, yogurt dressing. At least it was an opportunity to use the mandoline my husband gave me for Christmas.

It got us through the night, but no one asked me if I’d make it again. In fact, my husband might volunteer to leave the house and get a Costco chicken if we find ourselves in a similar situation. But, the interesting dinner prompted me to actually clean out and take stock and refill the pantry shelves, since muddling through was no longer possible.

Real

simple family meals

This week we had a birthday, which means extra cooking. Monday afternoon in addition to making dinner, Knox and I together made his birthday cake, homemade chocolate ice cream, cheese muffins for his birthday lunch, and homemade baked macaroni and cheese for his dinner. This whirlwind of activity, also conducted with a mobile wrecker underfoot (aka 15-month Geneva), was not without incident. In fact, I think I tallied three kitchen injuries – to myself!

  1. Butter spat out of the pan and landed on the back of my hand, and I have a significant-looking burn.
  2. While grating cheese, I also grated a bit of knuckle.
  3. While putting some things back into the fridge and whisking more ingredients out of the fridge, I tried taking a large step over the baby, who was emptying the plastics drawer. She whipped out a plastic plate and spun it right under where my foot landed, and my bag of cheese went flying, my ankle twisted, and I went splat, flat on the floor. It was quite dramatic.

However, all the food turned out delicious, so it was all in a good cause.

simple family meals

And now, from you:

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