Saturday, October 27, 2007

Order Amidst Chaos

In an attempt to regain control over my frequently chaotic household, I have made great efforts to be more organized and preplan as much as possible. Being someone who loves the unexpected, this is a struggle. Gone are the days when I can take luxury and enjoyment in the spontaneous question "What do you feel like for dinner tonight?" just when hunger strikes.
No, things are different now. Children get cranky (husbands too). Bath & bedtimes are serious business. You don't want to mess with me on that one!

That leaves little room for new recipes and artful experimentation mid week.
I had the sudden urge to take more control a few days ago, around the same time that my new copy of Nigella Express arrived. I couldn't read it fast enough. Between paragraphs, I would swat Glen and say "You see? You see? This is me!" I know, I am such a loser.
What remains in my mind most, is how she says that it's not the cooking itself that is stressful. On the contrary, cooking is something she (and I) adore. It's calming to me, in fact. It is the planning, shopping and prepping that cause the greatest stress when life's day to day stuff becomes overwhelming and draining.

I read the book cover to cover, made a list of things to pick up, and started planning my week. And it all went well. No stress! I started out with her Instant Pancake Mix on Sunday. It was excellent. Then I made the Quick Minestrone and Scallops with Chorizo. Delicious!

The following night, I blew the dust off my rice cooker (thanks for the reminder, Anna) and while it steamed away, I made my favorite Sechuan Bean dish from Cook's Illustrated magazine.

I made enough rice for the next night and made Nigella's Mirin Glazed Salmon to go with. Another winner. And extremely fast and stress free!
The following night, we decided to order take out so I could have a break. And because I was so chuffed with myself for my previous 3 nights work of perfectly planned meals, I felt no guilt about that. And, it left me a tidy kitchen and time to make a new cake. And what a delicious cake too! The Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple-Espresso Glaze from the October issue of Bon Appetit. I didn't get a chance to add the glaze, but will try to add it tonight. Although, it doesn't even need it. It was just right with my cup of coffee this morning.

To end my week of order and organization, I purchased a really cute new lunch bag to tote all of my delicious leftovers to work. Now, if I can only plan this well next week too!


annauk said...

What a super cute lunch bag Sandy!!!

We JUST had the mirin glazed salmon AGAIN!! I love that recipe, it's so easy to put together while the rice is steaming in the cooker (I LOVE my rice cooker!!)


Norm said...

Wow Sandy! Super-organised... I'm so impressed! The food all looks wonderful, and I LOVE that lunch bag! Where did you get it?!

Lisa said...

Yum! Everything looks great, and I tip my hat to you!
(I made mac & cheese tonight!)

Kelly-Jane said...

I've not made the salmon yet... your food looks lovely, and such a cute lunch bag too!