Masterpiece to Crumbs and Bellies Full

Because of the holidays, and a good book I got sucked into- Ive kinda been a lazy butt the last couple of days. Around 3:30 yesterday I felt “weird”. I needed to do something productive. And I still had all that turkey from Christmas to use up. So I actually thought of dinner BEFORE everyone was hungry 😂 which rarely happens around here.

I usually wait till little people are surrounding me. I tell them “no you can’t have snacks- it’s just about dinner.”

Even when I still haven’t thought of what I’m making.

My oldest has figured me out though. If I say we’re about to have dinner, but don’t have things on the stove (and if he’s really hungry) he takes action.

“I’ll help” he’ll say.

If I look like I’m drifting off to my land ‘Bustling Thoughts’ he might suggest ideas. If I don’t return to the problem at hand- dinner- he’ll start making chili or pancakes.

But yesterday my 12 year old was out playing in the snow with my other kids and the neighbour boy.

And I was ready to create.

This occasionally happens in the afternoon, but nearly always results in baking. We were, however, gloriously blessed this Christmas with more baking than ever before and still have plenty! (I think baking is a comfort thing. I get that. Things are kinda crazy in the world right now- let’s bake. Oh look Christmas is coming- let’s bake more and share 💕).

So if you can’t make REAL pie, you make dinner pie right?

I was so on top of thinking of dinner early, I even had enough time to raise dough in the bread machine for dinner buns. Because soft carbs, go really well with crunchy carbs holding gravy things.

Random note, I love exchanging a cup of flour for chickpea flour, gives a little nutty flavour and makes them so golden!

Do you know why people take pictures of food?

Because it looks so good? Well, Yes.

Because they want others to want it? K, probably… mostly likely- Yes.

Or maybe it’s cause they created it and took a great deal of time making it. And unlike art or woodwork, or other creative hobbies they are proud of-

It’s completely devoured never to be seen again, like

ONE

HOUR

LATER.

It probably won’t even be remembered! Except perhaps by a later burp.

I’m a mother, I totally understand the REASON for dinners is for keeping the most precious treasures in my life alive, well and with happy bellies. That is my greatest reward. And I’m so blessed so live with the resources and time to do this.

But the artsy side of me, is also happy I can snap a picture to remember a great creation by. Cause they aren’t everyday. And sometimes dinner specials give me the same thrill as seeing what came from my pen on paper.

So cheers to your great dinners friends!

And cheers to all the survival dinners! Read about my Dinners of shame 😜🙃

And next time you create in the kitchen, don’t feel bad about taking a picture. Sometimes I save them for myself to remind me of what I can do… when I get stuck in bunk and can’t see beyond spaghetti or chili.

Cheers to you all! Hope your all enjoying your holidays, and have full bellies. Oh man are we blessed!

All About… Beans?

I buy beans, in dried form, in large bags. It’s one of those tricks you learn when you have a lot of kids and try to make food go a little further. It made me feel pretty super cooking my own beans.

If you follow the simple directions on the back of the package, your winning and things are simple and straight forward. Problem is- your suppose to soak those beans all night.

There’s really isn’t anything complicated about that. Beans, pot, LID (made that mistake once) and a lot of water (as they’re thirsty, dried up little buggers).

Except that I usually forget come night. I’m usually winding down from my shift of… using my brain.

My beans might sit dried in their store bought bags for a month as I nightly forget to soak them.

Turns out, there is a remedy to this problem. You just cook them oh-so-long and no one knows the difference.

K, well, except all who enter your home that day.

It’s like the fart that just wont quit. The kids keep entering the kitchen starting the question, “who let one?!….. oh, never mind…. BEANS.”

Yep.

Today Elise asked me if there wasn’t a perfume spray or something we could use.

I probably smelled like an armpit when I dropped and picked her up from her gymnastics class.

As well as forgetfulness, I often struggle with another problem that seems to arise whilst cooking beans. Its my Efficiency Expert Training. Or at least that’s what I call it on good days when it works well for me. Other days, like today, it appears in the form of Lazy Mans Poor Choice Shortcuts.

Have you ever read Cheaper by the Dozen? Well if you haven’t its a true story of a family with 12 kids. The Father has a JOB as an Efficiency Expert. He goes into businesses and helps them cut out useless tasks, and do things in an order that will help their business be more cost effective and efficient. Get stuff done, for less money and time. He also applies may of his skills at home with his dozen kids.

Sounding good eh?

My Mother was an Efficiency Expert. She did things like wash an army of muddy garden carrots in the washing machine. Or make a funnel out her window that went straight into her compost bin. She never sorted the cutlery, but stored it all face up in a vase so you knew what weapon your grabbing.

So I come by it honestly.

Some days it’s gloriously inventive. Impresses the socks of my impatient self. Others it’s darn right lazy and disastrous. And ends up being MORE work.

Right. Beans.

If you take the time to get out your colander, you just dump the cooked beans and boiling water into the colander in the sink. Or you scratch that step, grab your pot with large oven mitts, tilt it over the sink and pour your liquid through the perfect size slot you made by slightly sliding the lid ajar.

Then as your kid starts your vehicle for you so you can take her to gymnastics- you’ve got two minutes or you’re gonna be late. Suddenly you find yourself scooping an entire pot worth of beans out of your lunch dishes and the sink. Stupid oven mitts! Stupid sliding Not-So-Perfect crack! You draw a crowd of worried onlookers (teaching kids life lessons here) and focus on the fact everything was submerged in boiling water and is probably totally edible after a good rinse…. in the colander.

Why do I always feel like I accepted defeat when I use the colander? It feels like…… I lost and had to get a parent to come help me… sheesh maybe I need kitchen therapy.

Once your beautiful beans are cooked. Reserve what you need for the recipe (that I most likely am not going to follow, ) and then dump them on a cookie tray to freeze. They will break apart easily and can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer and poured into any other meals as you need them later.

No don’t just freeze them from warm in a bag.

Hammering the frozen bean cluster against the counter top only draws a crowd (kids again wondering what on earth your doing) and rips the bag in more ways you thought possible. Nobody can eat THAT many beans at once. So just take my word for it.

Freeze on a flat tray and transfer. Expert speaking here.

I hope this doesn’t make you NOT want to try cooking your own beans! Honestly they are a fantastic fiber, protein… or um whatever healthy thing they are. And you can cook so many more things with them on hand. Makes chilli a heck of a lot cheaper too.

To win you back, incase I chased you away from the idea,

Here is what I’m making for dinner tonight.

Of course I don’t really follow the recipe- but it’s nice to have a starting point. I make my own seasoning, add cilantro to everything I can, 2 extra cups of beans (I have them, I might as well put them to use) and just use marble cheese that I go ahead and shred myself.

Some how I wrote a whole post on beans.

Since I have them on hand, what’s your favourite bean dish? Or just one that fills the spot, isn’t too time consuming, and has a max of two dirty pots?

Yours truly,

Efficiency Expert (in Training )

Green Tooth

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“I’m still hungry.”
This was Elise. Fifteen minutes after dinner after I just put the food away, and the dishes. “No your not. You just had dinner and dessert.”
“Yes I am! I really am!”
“Then you can have more dinner.”
This stalls her because she didn’t really like dinner.
“Or more veggies.”
Her face lights up.
Strangely…. like I offered her candy. She runs to the table and becomes possessive over the veggie bowl. I find myself reminding her it’s not hers and to please leave it on the table and stop eating over it like its her plate.
She eats them all.
Every last veggie.
I wouldn’t believe it except that she was at (not sit exactly…) the table for so long.
My kid ate a small garden.
What’s this saying about my meals??