I was standing in my kitchen last week, realizing I had a glorious hour to make dinner...and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to make, and no ambition.
Now that I'm working part time, mostly from home, I've really looked forward to getting to play Susie Homemaker in ways that would make my mom (and that little nagging voice in the back of my head) proud.
[Sidebar: did anyone else have a mom that made keeping house look like the most natural thing in the world? Effortless? Now, I helped a lot at home and I know just how non-effortless keeping house is....and how much true strength goes into homemaking....but somehow, when I set out to do anything from scratch that sweaty, tired picture morphs into some perfectly coiffed lady in dress clothes, who would never under pain of death break a sweat. Weird, huh?]
So, as I was bemoaning this to my husband, I realized, that yet again, in my four years of marriage, I'm living with a new routine. Now, the glorious part of this is that after months of late nights and busy schedules and striving just to keep swimming, we chose this new life. Not because we had to, but because God led us here and we want to.
That is freeing. But it's still new. And Jane Fonda images aside, I love keeping house. I like keeping things clean, cooking, making things beautiful. It suits me. (Housekeeping is the perfect profession for the OCD-creative mind [yes, that's a heavy mix - be grateful you don't live in my head!] because your house becomes your blank canvas, to do anything you like with.) But, like all other grown up decisions, any formation of habit must suit me...not an ideal, not a pintrest board, not my grandmother, just me.
So, in an effort to make more whole-food meals, where I can name and spell all ingredients used, I'm on a quest. (Yay quest! Cue my theme music, someone?) I have been moving away from convenience foods for about a year, but there are still a few I hang on to. And rather than go cold turkey, and completely re-learn how to budget and grocery shop, I am picking one new recipe a week. I want to actually learn (as in be able to do without much thought or stress) to make some of the things that now come in little red bags in the freezer aisle. Things that my grandmother would have made sans-recipe because it was just a part of cooking.
My quest is this: one new recipe per week. I am going to try it according to the actual recipe directions (shocking, I know!) and then practice until I get it right. More than likely, I will do this on Mondays, as that is my unofficial day off, but I plan to blog about each recipe, and how the experience goes. I don't know how long I'll do this for, probably until around Christmas time. Hopefully by then I will have built a new repertoire of dishes that used to scare me - and I'll have that many more cooking skills mastered.
Would you like to join me? You can read about my kitchen adventures here and try them yourself, or set off on your own culinary journey and just fill me in! More friends always make life more exciting!
This first week, I am going to try mastering meatballs! I found what claims to be the best ever recipe in this old issue of Bon Appetit. So stay tuned - we'll see how this goes! And for those of you that were following the Stretch project on Facebook, I plan to update soon! We're half way through, and it's even opened in a couple of new venues....so keep an eye out for that!