We had more parades yesterday – St. Patrick’s Day. When Mardi Gras is late (as it was this year), this Irish parade comes up too soon. I haven’t had time to get over being sick of parades. I know, I know – so spoiled. In any case, the parade goes right by our house so we basically had a choice of going or being trapped inside anyway. I billed a looooot of hours this week, and was feeling pretty weary, but nevertheless we went. It was fine, just a little draining, and now I’m trying to squeeze meal planning and prep, shopping, laundry, house-cleaning, and a few financial chores into the short afternoon hours after church today. Tired just thinking about it.
Last week’s meals were really good. The brisket was over the top delish. The hamburger soup was boring but did the job. I put a bit of sugar in the creamy rigatoni, as it was quite salty and acidic given the tomatoes – but really good stuff. I’ve frozen half in a pan, and in a week or two we’ll defrost and I’ll crumble bread crumbs on top for a pasta bake. The salmon was also good, except (a) the store had no ripe avocados, so I didn’t even do the good avocado salsa topping, which is a big part of the point, and (b) I didn’t use salmon, I used redfish, and that one piece of fish (large enough to feed all of us) was TWENTY SEVEN DOLLARS and now I remember why I hardly ever make fish. Delicious fish is delicious but expensive, and cheap fish is cheap but non-delicious. We live on the Gulf Coast. I think we could do better.
We are down to nothin’ in the freezer, so I’m about to brave Costco on a Sunday afternoon (along with everyone else in the world), and buy All the Meats. Since I caught a giant cabbage plus one non-giant but still substantial cabbage, the below menu shall be disproportionately cabbage-based.
- Lasagna. I keep reading all these recipes for lasagna roll ups (roll the typical ingredients up in a lasagna noodle) or lasagna cups (tuck a noodle in a muffin tin, fill remainder of muffin cup w/sauce and ricotta) and I’m like – this is still just lasagna, only harder to make. Ours will likely have layers of zucchini, spinach, ricotta, jarred sauce, and if I’m feeling feisty, perhaps some sausage. I usually mix a medium sized plastic tub of ricotta with one raw egg, a dash of nutmeg, and wilted spinach. Then layer sauce, cooked noodles, zucchini/sausage, ricotta, then re-start with sauce, cooked noodles, etc. Shred mozzarella on the top. I might make two, and carry one down to a family w/a new baby down the street.
- Cashew cabbage and chicken kebabs. A little Asian fusion.
- Lazy cabbage rolls. Looks do-able.
- Slow cooker refried beans and leftover brisket in some sort of tortilla configuration
- Frozen pizza – I’m going out to dinner and a concert with some girlfriends on a Wednesday. How thrilling! The spouse shall frozen pizza-it-up while I’m out.
- Roast chicken, potatoes, and carrots.
One last story before I dive once more into the breach. We were at the parade yesterday, on the route before the parade started late. Suddenly, four giant school buses went pealing by, way too quickly. Craig, thinking the parade had started, darted forward toward them, and my neighbor (who was closer) dashed forward and roughly grabbed him back. This sent him WAILING – zero complaints on her daring save, but her roughness startled him. He loves this woman and so he felt betrayed when she shouted and grabbed him, and his giant, rolling tears made for quite a dramatic sight. Her friend made a game attempt to talk him into a better mood, and learned through some prodding questioning that Craig’s a big fan of garbage trucks. So she said – “Ha! I planned this parade. I know the clean up crew. You’re going to ride on a garbage truck today.”
Two hours later when the darn thing ended, I thought for sure she’d forget, but she didn’t. After the end-of-parade fire truck went rolling by, I sent the big boys home with the neighbor and the friend, Craig, and I headed down the filthy route toward the (frankly astonishing) clean up crew. They do a bang up job cleaning the mess, and after we pass the people with rakes, the bulldozer, the people dragging garbage cans on casters, more people with rakes, another set of ‘dozers, we get to the line of garbage trucks. She has a word with the boss, and he radios back to the driver, and next thing you know, Craig and I are hoisting ourselves up into a garbage truck. He was wide eyed and speechless. I was a bit chuffed myself – it’s kinda cool up there! The driver was a bit embarrassed at the state of his truck – “If I’d a known you was a comin’, I’d a cleaned it!” – but I assured him that we were totally thrilled.
We’d found out earlier that day that our boys have once more been rejected by the public charter here in town (School Choice is bullshit, don’t let them sell you on it), really our only shot at a public school for next year, and I was all set to up stakes and move away. I’ll admit, the garbage truck thing mollified me again. This city is both frustrating and magical in equal measure. (Besides, bullshit charters are spreading across the whole country so it’s not like we can escape this nightmare. RIP public education, c. 2017.)
Have a lovely week, and wish me luck in bending the space-time continuum to get all these chores done before I launch into another 60 hour workweek. One plodding foot in front of the other.