Archive for December, 2010

The Leftovers Conundrum AKA Who Gets the “Fresh” meal

Posted on: December 13th, 2010 by Cori

One of the perks of a work from home arrangement, at least for me, is that I can start dinner during the “work day”, bringing my laptop to the kitchen as I alternately chop, simmer and send emails. This only works of course if I am organized enough to multitask and if neither the work task or recipe requires more than 65% focus! But it still doesn’t solve the problem of my making two dinners every evening.

For the most part, Sara eats everything, and we are lucky that she is as excited about vegetables as she is about cookies, well maybe not as excited, but she does like vegetables very much, so I know we have that going for us. But she eats around 6:00, and we dine at 8:30 after she has gone to bed. This means that from 5:00 – 8:30 I am doing my dinner scramble: making something for her that is – hopefully- not pasta or chicken nuggets for a second or third day in a row, feeding her, prepping our dinner while Gary plays with her, then when she is down, rushing to cook our meal so we can have a moment to sit, relax and be adults. It’s tiring! Not to mention, it can be tricky- how do I make us something interesting that can be prepped before bath time, but then sit for a bit and be prepaerd in 30 minutes or less when we are ready to cook?

And more importantly, short of us eating at 6, how do I only make ONE meal? Do I make it so it’s fresh for Sara, and then we reheat it later? Do I make something fresh for us, then she eats the leftovers the next day? Are there things I can prep once and then cook twice – once for her and then later for us (ie a piece of fish). A few weeks ago, I found a recipe that looked interesting and easy – chicken marinated in a mild yogurt/curry mixture then roasted on top of some squash and brussel sprouts and served with nan and yogurt.I decided to give it a whirl, and let Sara be the recipient of the fresh from the oven version.

She gobbled it up (yes, I know, I am very thankful for a child who greedily stuffs brussel sprouts in her mouth and then asks for more!). Later that evening I rewarmed it for Gary and I, and it was just as good. So good that we gobbled it up. So good that the next night we gobbled up the leftovers eagerly, which is something I rarely do. So good I could not wait to make it again.

I was thrilled – a delicious, healthy, easy recipe that I made once but served twice without the person getting the “seconds” eating something that tasted reheated. This is any parents dream meal, not just one who works from home. This could easily be partially prepped in the morning and then finished/cooked after work with minimal effort. Find the recipe here and see for yourself.

I know there is not one right answer, and that I will constantly be changing things up so that none of us is always eating the leftovers, but I consider it a small victory when I find something that works!

Do you have any favorite cook once serve twice recipes?

Giving Thanks

Posted on: December 7th, 2010 by Cori

I know that Thanksgiving was more than a week ago, so this post is a bit tardy, but I hope you’ll indulge me anyway under the theory that Thanksgiving is really the the start of a “season” of holiday and cheer and celebration, and not just one day.

When Gary and I were dating, and it came time for Thanksgiving, instead of choosing which family to spend it with we decided that we would host ourselves. It’s usually the only time of year that both our families are together, and the guest count ranges from 8-16 family and friends depending on who has what going on.  I love Thanksgiving – it’s a holiday all about food so how could I not – but usually it’s also a stressful time. The grocery shopping, the prep work, the logistics of getting everything in and out of the oven on time and ensuring it is still hot when we eat: it’s a bit of a challenge even for an experienced host and entertainer like myself.

The year I was pregnant, morning sickness was in full bloom and Gary came down with a 24 hour stomach bug Thanksgiving morning. He stayed in bed most of the day, emerged for the guests and had to carve with rubber gloves! The next year, we thought we hit the lottery when our six month old who was famous for mini naps, took a marathon three hour one just when we needed to prep and cook the most. Turns out, she was teething and had explosive diarrhea the rest of day. Last year she was more mobile, and needed more supervision, so we basically took turns cooking and playing with her, which of course caused everything to take twice as long to finish.


The Honey Do List

Posted on: December 3rd, 2010 by Cori

We’ve all heard the jokes and seen the bits on sitcoms about men and the “honey-do” lists that their wives give them. “Fix the roof” “Clean the garage” “Put gas in the car” etc. But lately I’ve noticed a shift towards women having a never ending list of tasks instead. And yes, I know, it’s not news that a lot of women complain that even though they have a full time job outside of the home, they still bear the brunt of mommy and household chores. In fact, in most two working parent homes it is the woman who returns home first at the end of the day, to take over primary care giving duties from the grandparent/nanny/daycare or school that assumed that role between nine and five (or eight and six, seven and seven …. )

In this day and age, I like to think most men are stepping up to the plate and partnering in a way they might not have say, ten or twenty years ago. My husband for instance, is an amazing partner and co-parent and does as much as he possibly can. But the fact still remains the fact: I physically am in our home during the day and so I have more to do. Laundry needs to get done? Even if he puts it in the machine before he leaves, I am the one who moves it along its journey back to our drawers. Make sure we have food for dinner? Me. Food for Sara? Me. Arrange for the AC guys to come and investigate that strange noise? Me. Snacks and diaper bag packed for the outing to the park? Me. Again, I am not trying to bash my sweetie in any way – he does a lot when he is here, and does what he can from his office. But my “honey do list” contains items that MUST happen, even if it is at the expense of my own work. Pressing deadlines aside, how do I balance an average work day with the demands of the house? Especially on the food front. It’s one thing for Gary and I to order take out if I don’t get a chance to get to the store, but for Sara it’s not so simple.