Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Uninspired Cook

I know it’s been a while, but was surprised to see it’s been almost a month since I posted last. A lot has been happening: the holidays (how long can I use that as an excuse?), painting, trying to live within our new, reduced budget. I’m told “don’t spend anything!” Okay, I get it, we need to rethink how we, um… live.

One of the conditions to giving up my job was that we would eat out much, much less—quite a sacrifice as Atlanta has many wonderful farm-to-table restaurants—and I would cook much, much more. I’ve been doing fairly well in keeping up my end, having dinner ready most nights (what a domestic goddess I’ve become), but I’m uninspired. I need to make delicious, nutritious meals, with whole grains, healthy meats (at least two vegetarian meals a week), and fresh, seasonal, locally-grown produce. AND, in a relatively short amount of time; I don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen—I’ve become a fan of the crock pot, but there are only so many things you can cook that way. Add to that, that I’m an irregular grocery shopper, and you see my dilemma. Lucky for me, Mr. Man will eat just about anything; I’m the picky one.

I usually decide what I'm making for dinner in the morning based on what I have on hand. Thank god for the freezer full of beef. At around 5:00pm I can hear the girls calling from the chicken coop. They know that I’ll be on my way to the compost shortly, and I always give them whatever scraps they’ll eat—tonight its carrot peel, a little celery, and a little potato as I'm making Lentil Potato Soup with sausage. The recipe calls for chorizo, but I don’t have any so I'm using brats instead—fully cooking them before adding to the soup and throwing in a few handfuls of spinach during the last few minutes of cooking.

Note: While the overall flavor of the soup is good, the brats aren’t the right fit. It definitely needs a sausage with more spice to it. The addition of spinach was good, adding beautiful color and flavor to the soup. I'll definitely try this again, but will have to plan ahead to have chorizo on hand.

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