I’m trying to get back into the swing of cooking again. Last year during the moves and while Dad was sick and then after, we ate a lot of meals that others had made for us (and gratefully enjoyed every single bite) and we ate a lot of take-out. Now that we’re trying to get back on track with some semblance of a routine, I’m trying to find my meal mojo again. I’m discovering it’s like jumping rope. You have to find your rhythm with the dish selecting and the recipe compiling and the list making and the grocery buying. There’s a whole other rhythm that has to happen in the kitchen to get the meal prepared and on the table. It’s going to take a little time until I’m making music in the kitchen again, but at least today I was actually getting a little excited about some new recipes I want to try this week.
I think my move back to the kitchen actually started Christmas Eve. We usually spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house but this year we decided it might be a good idea to change things a bit. My brother and mom came over to our house and spent the night with us Christmas Eve. Earlier in the week I solicited my friends for some good breakfast casserole recipes for Christmas morning. They sent me several really tasty-sounding ideas. I finally decided to go with Kellie’s (LaVidaCoffeeGal) Creme Brulee French Toast. It did not disappoint. And it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Sus (Carpoolqueen) sent me her best breakfast casserole idea and said that I had to try it, so I didn’t feel like I had any choice but to obey. She was right. It is definitely a keeper. These were both so good that I’m thinking that I might plan a brunch for a few girlfriends this month mainly so I’ll have an excuse to make them again. Doesn’t that sound fun? Christmas was so rushed that I didn’t really get to visit with my friends. I’d love to have them over for hot chocolate and spiced tea and these two breakfast dishes. Of course, I’m great at ideas and terrible at follow-through. One of you needs to ask me at the end of this month if I actually threw a brunch or not and embarrass me if I didn’t. Amy sent me a recipe for a sausage and egg casserole with sun-dried tomatoes (Yum, right?) but I didn’t have all the ingredients so I’m saving that for another time. Just in case you want to try it before I get around to it, I linked you to the recipe on epicurious.com. You can find the other recipes I mentioned by clicking on the name of the dish.
On the way to Kentucky I was thumbing through the January issue of Southern Living and saw a recipe for Hoppin’ John with White Cheddar Cheese Grits that sounded delicious. In my house, every New Year’s Day we eat greens (usually a combination of mustard, turnip, and collared served with pepper sauce and/or vinegar), black-eyed peas, and cornbread. If you eat your greens you’ll have plenty of dollars in the coming year. The peas guarantee you an abundance of coins. The cornbread is good to sop up the juice from your dollars and coins. My husband’s family serves cabbage rather than beans. Hoppin’ John is a black-eyed peas with rice dish that is often served on New Year’s Day. Since we were finishing up our road trip on New Year’s Day we decided to delay our New Year’s meal to last night and we left out the greens. I tried out the Southern Living recipe and we all decided that it was definitely going in the “Keep” file. It’s perfect for a cool-weather meal. Speaking of weather….
We’re supposed to have cold weather this week so I have chili, soup, and red beans and rice on the menu for this week. I also have a few recipes that I want to try from a couple of new cookbooks that friends gave me for my birthday last month. Kasey gave me Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook (!!) and I’ve drooled on almost every page. Tanya gave me The Mitford cookbook and I can’t decide which recipe I want to try first!
Today is the first day back to school so I must go wake the children. Reentry into the world of alarm clocks and schedules and commitments is always a little rocky, isn’t it? I’ll be cheering for you if you’ll be cheering for me. We can do it, right? All this talk about yummy, home-cooked meals and I’m off to prepare nice big bowls of cold cereal for the children. Wish me luck!