When I sat down to plan my weekly menu, I looked through all my recipe emails, supermarket flyers, my bank account, and my calendar.
They all said in chorus: You will be eating a lot of chips and frozen food this week. And so it came to pass.
Hamburgers and chips
That is what we had. Not even the pretense of a vegetable.
Oh, I forgot, though, I have a pretty cake to show you! This was Friday, and I was pooped. I had finished two essays, sent off invoices, did an interview, prepped dinner and did not strangle the toddler, even she was super asking for it. Time to go! As I grabbed up my keys to launch into afternoon errands before I could go home and collapse, I suddenly realized . . .
I had to do another interview and make a birthday cake.
The sound that escaped the gates of my teeth was not a happy sound.
But I made my excuses for the interview, filled my pockets with fruit snacks, dragged the toddler where she needed to be dragged, and made all my stops, including buying cake stuff. (Just a box cake and a tub of icing. I am not a masochist.) Got that thing baked, cooled, frosted, and decided it was going to be an autumn tree cake. Not well-thought-out, but look! It’s bright!
The leaves are hard candy that was smashed, melted into thin sheets, cooled, and re-smashed.
I put waxed paper on a pan and sprayed it with cooking spray. Then I put butterscotch and cinnamon hard candies in bags (double bags, because the seams break) and smashed them with a can, because I couldn’t find a hammer. Then I spread the pulverized candy in the pan and put it in a 250 oven for . . . sorry, I don’t know how long. Maybe 20 minutes, until it was melted. I let it cool, then snapped it into jagged little bits for leaves. It would have been better if I had had more colors and had let them mix more. I also sprinkled little red balls and gold sugar over it to give it more texture. This actually works better with Jolly Ranchers, but they weren’t in the colors I wanted.
I have used this technique for a campfire cake
I think I may have shared these cake pictures before, actually. Oh well. I have also made some cakes with sugar glass, which I made from scratch, but now I’m wondering if I could just use those terrible clear minty hard candies and save a lot of work. Anyway, kids are always impressed. Here is a Frozen cake, with sugar “ice”:
and a “broken glass” cake, with food coloring blood:
We also use crushed and melted hard candy for stained glass cookies, very pretty.
and — ooh, this is an old picture! That baby is Benny — for a”make your own lollipop” party activity.
Sausage subs with onion and pepper, onion rings, ghost pops
Sunday is usually the day I’ll make a more complicated meal, but we went apple picking after Mass. You think I’m going to have a ton of apple recipes now, but no. The apples were kinda spotty and weird. But there was a horse!!!!!!!!!!
Knowing we’d be home late, I opted for an easy and crowd-pleasing dinner. Lot of sweet Italian sausages browned up and cut lengthwise, lots of onions and green peppers sauteéd in olive oil, served on rolls with pasta sauce and parmesan. Frozen onion rings.
I had the older kids supervise the younger kids to make rice krispie ghost pops.
This picture kills me. Look at Benny’s face. Look at Corrie’s ghost’s face.
It was a kit that came with ghost-shaped molds, icing, and sticks, but it would be pretty easy to make these without a kit, she said while lying on the couch and telling other people what to do. Pretty easy indeed.
Hot dogs and fries
I don’t remember Monday. I never remember Mondays. I think there was a cross country meet. I think it rained and froze and the morning glories died. I think I cleaned out a closet and found what was making that dead mouse smell (a dead mouse).
Chicken burgers and chips
There was a concert on Tuesday. I liked it, and no one was beatboxing, so I didn’t have to say “boo-urns” under my breath while I clapped.
Greek chicken salad with toasted pita
Wednesday was a bit less busy, so I bestirred myself a bit for supper. I coated some chicken breasts with olive oil, and put on plenty of salt and pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil and oregano so they were really crusty with seasonings, then roasted and sliced them, and served that over salad with various olives, feta cheese, cukes, grape tomatoes, diced red onions, and hummus.
I also made up a batch of yogurt sauce with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt, and I cut pita bread into triangles and toasted it in the oven with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt.
Toasted, salty, garlicky pita bread triangles, with crunchy tips and warm, chewy insides are way more delicious than they have any right to be.
Although if you put olive oil, salt, and garlic powder on dead leaves and toasted them, I’d probably eat that, too.
Korean beef tacos with kimchi and Sriracha mayo, and rice
Bit of a chance here. I tried a new recipe from Damn Delicious. Much of the family likes the Korean Beef Bowl recipe, and this beef is basically that, but not quite as sweet. I cooked it in the morning and then put it in the crock pot for the rest of the day.
Okay, so, kimchi. I’ve never had kimchi before, but have long enjoyed a sort of low-simmering curiosity about it. I didn’t think most of the family would like it, so it didn’t seem worth making myself; so I bought a jar. I was a little alarmed at the warning on the cap:
Hm, bulge. My mother had always regaled us with horrible stories of people whose cans of lima beans were bulging, but they ate them anyway, and then they had to have their legs amputated or something. If you even smell it, it could kill you! Your eyeballs would go bursting out of your skull with a sickening pop! Or something. I wasn’t really listening, because I didn’t like lima beans at the time. Anyway, this jar was definitely bulging. Sure, it said it was supposed to be, but what if it was intentionally bulging and botulism bulging? How would I know?
I figured I would taste a little bit, and if I died, well, at least I would die knowing what kimchi tastes like. So I leaned carefully over the sink, draped a napkin over the lid as suggested, and twisted as hard as I could . . .
even harder . . .
sheesh, hard lid to get off . . .
. . . GRRRRRRRRR . . . . .
. . . RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
–and then KABLAMMO! The cabbage came surging out like a living thing! Like the violent urgency of life itself! I’m telling you, this kimchi needed a Rite of Spring soundtrack!
It also got on my shirt, bleh.
So I sauteéd it up with some sugar in a pan, and we had tortillas with beef, caramelized (okay, it didn’t really caramelize. It never really caramelizes) kimchi, mayonnaise with Sriracha stirred in, and a bunch of cilantro and fresh limes. It was . . . a little challenging. It was sort of like when an Afro-Cuban bembé comes on the radio and you’re like, “Oh, this is neat! This is so — wait — it’s — what? — help!” because you really want to dance to it, but you’re just too damn white. What I’m trying to say is, I liked it, but I also only ate one.
Actually, I made a bunch of rice, and I had extra rice with lime juice and kimchi. I’m like Area Grandmother. Very familiar with rice, thanks.
So I went to my new spiritual director and he asked how I was, and I said I was pretty good, and he said, “Oh, we won’t be needing these today!” and he jokingly took the tissues away, but then I cried anyway. And that’s what kind of food blog this is. Natural bubbling and pressure. Just lay a napkin over the top, it’s fine.