Here's a peek...
With all five of my children now living under one roof-- and the added time at home that comes with summer vacation-- my kitchen is definitely hopping with activity. Seems like someone's always hungry or thirsty or whipping up something to eat. The stack of dishes sure proves it!
Two weeks ago we had a family meeting where we all decided that each of the kids could choose a free evening during the week where they would be in charge of dinner preparation. So far, our plan has been a real success. With more flexibility that comes with freed up school and work schedules, summer seems like the perfect time for the kids to have more opportunities to contribute to the family this way.
I'm loving it. Not only has it been a great help to me, but it has been a joy for me to see them really grow and shine. An opportunity for them to develop not only their culinary talents and skills, but be able to see just how much planning, coordination, and effort it takes to put dinner on the table. (Secretly, I think they see me in a whole, new light!) We've all been well fed, and I'm so proud of what good cooks they all have become over the years.
Each of them have their own "style" or expertise. Gary fed us a wonderful Sunday dinner of breaded and pan-fried Tilapia, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini and a green salad. Jane is our "ethnic and spicy" queen, and makes the best curries and stir-fries ever. Sam tends to lean towards Mexican food with his rice and bean dishes, and Eliza often feeds us delicious vegan pasta creations, as well as batches of her famous Snickerdoodles, and chocolate-peanut butter-banana smoothies. Each one of the kids totally "off the cuff" in what they come up with, now that I think about it. Isaac lends a hand where he can. He's our "go-to-guy" and is doing a great job with learning how to clean the kitchen after dinner. And that's a big job.
Needless to say, I haven't been spending as much time in the kitchen as I'm accustomed to. And it's been nice to have a break from it all, but even rolling around on my scooter, I can't seem to stay away too long from kitchen creating.
:: June is when the roses bloom. One of my favorite summer-time pleasures is making arrangements from the blooms I cut and bring indoors.
:: Grateful, still, for all the things that our neighbors and friends continue to share with us. Plates of cookies, loaves of bread, chips and homemade salsa-- even the bag of sweet cherries Ernie brought over Sunday night. Knowing how much we liked them, he later brought over a huge plastic bucket filled to the brim. So generous and kind of him to pick, sort, wash, and share all those cherries with us. Jane and I spent most of Monday getting them ready to fill many freezer bags full. (My fingers are still stained brown.) Looking forward to many cherry cobblers, crisps, pies, and smoothies in the coming days.
:: yesterday morning I made a Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. Perfect and great to use up some browning bananas.
:: With Dad and the boys off to a company barbeque and baseball game, here's what I came up with for us girls one night this week: Sauteed collard greens, onions, and garlic. Then, a tasty reduction sauce made from pineapple juice, Bragg's, and dried cranberries. Cubed tofu and spicy red chili flakes added. Topped with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and served over a bowl of brown rice. This kind of food is all I need...
:: another (sort of) invention to take to last night's potluck... a Southwestern sweet potato salad made with roasted cubes of sweet potato, leftover brown rice, sweet bell pepper, green onion, chopped tomato and fresh parsley, black beans, and corn. A cumin-miso-lime dressing poured over and tossed. Good, but would have been great with chunks of avocado.
:: One loaf for us, one loaf to share.