When life gives you lemons…

I am on vacation this week, as I had planned to be for a while. I had also planned to be at the Greenbrier professional food writers symposium where I would meet fascinating and talented people, get some great ideas, and possibly start making a definite plan towards a career change from InfoSec geek to writer geek. Oh, and Paul was going to be there too.

But things change. At the last minute, Paul couldn’t get away from work after all, so while I could have gone without him, I decided to stay home. After all it’s our dream, not just mine. And I kinda like being with him. Just don’t tell him — he might think I like him or something.

So what to do with a week at home? I could be lazy and sleep a lot — very tempting thought. I could do nothing but write — sure way to get writer’s block. Or I could do something productive that’s good for me and for my little family. I could cook. A lot.

We always have a problem here. Paul and I both love to cook, and Patric doesn’t hate it as bad as some things, but it’s really hard to put a good meal on the table consistently during the week. Paul and I don’t get home until 6:00 at the earliest, and we’re typically exhausted. Paul has to work more evenings than I like to think about. It would be easy to expect Patric to cook dinner, but homework comes first, and it really doesn’t seem fair to ask that of him every night on top of the other chores we expect him to do.

The best solution that we’ve come up with is to cook when we can and freeze casseroles and soups to make an easy, good dinner when we don’t feel like cooking. So that’s what I’m doing this week. I have big plans. This should put enough meals in the freezer to last for a month at least, probably more since we’ll be getting fresh produce every week for the next few months.

I’m making marinara sauce, lasagne, Swedish meatballs, kugel, beef and Guinness pie, paprika chicken, macaroni & cheese, pork tinga, Moroccan chicken pie, stacked chicken enchiladas verdes, Merguez meatballs, pork pie, locro de papas, German split pea soup, Indian-style lamb pot roast, mushroom and potato pierogies, beef, chicken & corn pie, goat curry, chicken and olive empanadas, trinchado, and baked penne with cheddar and leeks.

A little insane maybe, but it will make our lives easier, and I enjoy doing it. I also feel like I have shopped around the world to get all of the ingredients for this. Costco provided a good chunk, then another batch came from Viet Hoa (15 limes for $1! — you can’t pass that up even if you don’t need limes!), then another batch from Whole Foods, then a couple of stragglers to come from Sam’s Indian market and Jerusalem market. And of course there was a trip to Lit.

The first day has gone pretty well. I’ve gotten everything on the list for the day done except for the mac & cheese, and that one was always an if-I-have-time one for today (it could be made any day). The freezer is looking lived in, the fridge is ever so slightly emptier. We even managed to have dinner (spaghetti with extra meat sauce from the lasagne).

So I’m not hob-nobbing at the Greenbrier. I’m getting things done. I’m spending time with my family. I’m writing a blog entry. And there’s always next year. Although, we may actually be out of food by then…

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