Oatmeal…it’s what’s for dinner


Cooking has never been one of my talents. When I moved into my own apartment, back in college, my parents bought me a meal plan to the dorms’ dining services. Probably out of a hidden fear that I would starve to death if they didn’t. Once that plan expired, I lived off PB&J and Mac and Cheese (or Hamburger Helper if I was feeling especially adventurous). Believe it or not, giving birth to children has not magically imbibed me with newfound abilities in the kitchen. I’ve put forth a good effort, but I still find myself rolling my eyes and skipping any recipe that has the words dice, slice, peel, cube, or more than 8 ingredients. Two things have made it even harder to motivate myself to put forth more than a marginal effort in the kitchen. The first being that Sir Smiley is rarely home for dinner. Four nights a week he works, one night a week he has worship practice, and one night a week we have dinner with our Bible study. This leaves a whopping one night a week together, which usually becomes a date night night of some sorts. So when I cook, it is for me and my four year old and my two year old. Note: I do send leftovers with Sir Smiley so that he doesn’t eat out. It saves us money. So he does eat what I make, I’m just rarely there to witness it.
Problem number two would be my kids. To say that they don’t have a sophisticated palette would be an understatement. I try occasionally to make a new recipe that is somewhat healthy and balanced. I usually find it tasty, but they stare at it like I served them bugs and then make horrible gagging noises when I make them try it. So here I’ve spent an hour cooking (remember, monkeys have more cooking skills than me, so it takes a while to make something new) and then the only feedback I get is horrific retching. A bit of a downer. Then there’s the fact that when I take two minutes to make them oatmeal, a banana, and veggies they act like I have prepared a bountiful feast. Doesn’t help improve my motivation to actually cook. That’s not even including the whole process of cooking with kids underfoot. (See this post for a taste of that..pun intended…)
Maybe when Sir Smiley gets a schedule that allows him to eat with us I’ll put more effort into my kitchen exploits. Maybe when the kids are older and not underfoot. Either way, I’m sticking to pastas and casseroles (and a lot of oatmeal) for the time being. I’m just proud of myself for getting some veggies on the table.


Oh, that’s right…


So I decided to cook Sir Smiley his favorite meal for his birthday.  This meal is a homemade chicken pot pie.  I almost never make this meal even though it is delicious because much of it is made from scratch, including the crust.  But after a while I start to wonder why I haven’t made it in so long.  First is the grocery trip with three kids in tow.  It is rather uneventful until the can of chicken broth Urpling was in charge of carrying needs to be rung up.  I take it from her and a meltdown ensues.  Fast forward through 3 painfully slow minutes and I have her calm enough where I at least no longer want to melt into the floor.  As for the actual preparation of the chicken pot pie, it includes the dicing of an onion, simmering of flour and butter, and the boiling of chicken broth and milk.  So tell me, how many of those activities are kid friendly? Yeah, that’s right.  None.  Urpling has discovered the joys of retrieving her stool from the bathroom sink area and bringing it out to the kitchen to give her a better vantage point to reach everything on the counters…and stove.  So in she comes carrying her stool.  The flour and butter are on the back burners (this isn’t my first day on the farm, so to speak) so she can’t reach them.  So she “helps” stir the flour and salt for the crust together.  Flour everywhere.  (which did come in handy when it came to rolling the crust out). Then comes dicing the onions.  Those little two and a half year old fingers were everywhere!  I finally chased her away and banned her from the stool so I could cut up the onions with as little bloodshed as possible.  So she finds Sir Smiley’s empty shoe box.  Apparently this looks like it will make a good bed.  It rips open when she ties to get in it and she then manages to rip apart several other pieces and scatter them all over the floor.  A slippery obstacle course to navigate while carrying boiling liquids and knives.  Excellent.  (see Exhibit A) Then she leaves and comes back with a tutu she wants to wear. I put it on her and go back to boiling and dicing. She then starts twirling and crashing and crying.   So she removes the tutu and adds it to the obstacle course.  I finally have everything finished and then have to somehow open the oven door, put in the heavy pot pie, and keep Urpling away from the scalding hot stove door and racks all at the same time.  But luckily I accomplished it all with no injuries.  Everyone loved it, even the kids.  Successful dinner.  (see Exhibit B) But it reminds me, why haven’t I made this in so long? Oh, that’s right…

Exhibit A

Exhibit B