what we ate

Repeating myself here, but: I’m a bit sick of food. There’s just so much of it, all the time, and we don’t eat a great deal anymore. Plus, everyone’s plenty happy with the simplest of fare — eggs and toast, baked mac and cheese, granola — and some of us would eat popcorn every night for supper if we could, so why bother cooking? Not complaining; explaining, blah, blah, blah.

But we need a balanced diet. We need vegetables. We need to not always eat our favorites — some less-than-exciting food helps to keep consumption in check — so I play the Mean Mom and cook boring meals like baked potatoes and green beans and corn, or zucchini parm and toast, or vats of Italian Wedding soup. It’s not that nobody likes these meals (except for the one child who would rather skip eating altogether rather than have a forkful of zucchini grace her mouth — but a little fasting here and there is good, right?), it’s just that they’re not the kind anyone’s inclined to gorge on. 

And so, therefore, I make them.

Now. Forget everything I just said for a minute because we had a birthday and spent the whole day feasting on all the favorites. For his breakfast, Birthday Boy (he’s 15!) chose Dutch Puff with warm vanilla pudding and sugared strawberries from the freezer. 

Lunch was what he has every year for his birthday lunch: subs with all the fixings and chips. Those pickled peppers make the sandwich, I think. I can’t get enough of them.

And supper: bacon cheeseburgers with grilled onions (for me), more chips, tons of shrimp, and steamed broccoli.

To cap it all off, a very sloppy-looking ice cream cake: coffee, chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, and cookies and cream. Instead of a brownie layer that turns rock-hard in the freezer, I used oreo crumbs. I made a copycat DQ fudgy chocolate sauce which worked great, but the caramel sauce turned into caramel toffee in the freezer and we once again had to hack our way through. 

(And no, we didn’t eat more than half in one night. The photo above is from a later eating.)

One of these days I’m gonna get it right. (Maybe.)

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I checked this cookbook out of the library. Flipping through it, the farro fennel salad caught my eye. I had one bag of farro left (from a whole bunch of bags that my aunt gave me), and I love fennel. Plus a whole lemon and garlic? It sounded wonderfully simple and delicious.

But nope. While it was beautiful, it was also horribly bitter, thanks to the whole lemon, and way too mild/boring tasting. I’d followed the recipe exactly, too. Made me mad, it did. I ate two helpings though, stayed mum about my disgust, and then watched in amusement as my husband quietly, diligently, and painfully chewed his way through his serving. The meal over, I pulled out a bag of leftover lettuce and told everyone to make themselves salad and sandwiches. And later there were bowls of cereal and, when I confessed that the salad was a bust, a roar of indignation and incredulity from my husband, ha!

This morning for my breakfast, a banana muffin from a coworker’s test bake yesterday. 

Bakery leftovers are a huge part of our diet and one of the reasons I’m not cooking as much. I bring home all sorts of things: sourdough heels, random pieces of leftover quiche and pie, egg whites, pie crust scraps, croissants, loaves of multigrain, cheese rinds, caramel sauce, toffee cake, the dregs of a container of pie filling. And then my daughter sometimes comes home with leftover biscuits, sausage gravy, fresh-squeezed orange juice, chopped cucumbers, pancake batter, etc.  It’s great, and a huge financial help, but then we’re eating Magpie food and not the food that I’ve canned and frozen, and after a bit I start feeling food overwhelmed. 

I have a new favorite granola recipe (with pumpkin seeds!) that my husband and I are nuts for.

I can’t share the recipe because it’s a Magpie classic, but if they ever give me the go-ahead to write about it, you’ll be the first to know, pinky promise.

For supper tonight, grilled cheese using a loaf of failed sourdough I made months ago (cleaning out the freezer, yay!), and tomato soup.

Also, we had sweet pickles and then, for dessert, leftover ice cream cake. (I scooped mine into a cone.)

P.S. As I finish up this post, both kids are in the kitchen making — you guessed it — popcorn. I hope they share.

This same time, years previous: stack-of-books birthday cake, snake cake, good morning, lovies, crispy baked hash browns, a horse of her own, the quotidian (2.9.15), gourmet chocolate bark, addictive and relaxing, corn and wild rice soup with smoked sausage.

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