I don’t know if I’ve talked about this with you before – I keep my on-line recipe collection (four thousand and counting) on Yumprint. I like it because allows me to keep my recipes organized and easy to find. I can plan out my family’s meals for the week (or longer), then drag everything into the grocery list and I’m done.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m just a little nuts. I like to plan my meals and I don’t like “blank” days on my menu planner. But what about those days when you aren’t cooking? What about when you’re traveling, or have been invited somewhere or just plain don’t feel like cooking? Because I’m a little crazy, I had to create a solution – I created a cookbook called “Menu Book”. It doesn’t contain recipes in the usual sense, but it does allow me to fill in those blank dates on the menu planner. Just for laughs, I thought I’d share it with you. (Being just a little nuts is a whole lot of fun!)
Now this first “recipe” might take a bit of explaining. I’m Catholic. There are certain times of the year (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) that are designated as Days of Fast and Abstinence. On those days, not only is meat forbidden, but a fast is required. Way back when, a fast meant consuming nothing – not even water after midnight. Eventually the law was changed to allow people to have water to take medications. (No dah!) The next change came with the realization that a full fast might not be all that healthy. So the definition of “fast” was redefined. Meat is still forbidden, but you can have one meal during the day plus two “snacks”. The total of the three should be less than what you would typically eat in a day – so we’re talking one small meal and two little snacks. In our house, we don’t eat ANYTHING on days of fast from sun down to sun down – but that’s just our way. As you can imagine, fasting creates a huge blank spot on the menu planner. Instead of a recipe, this is what I have:
A Day of Fasting & Abstinence
Water as needed
Bread as needed
Prayers and Reflection
Eat enough bread or other substance to coat the stomach for the purpose of taking any medications that cannot otherwise be taken on an empty stomach.
Drink water as needed to prevent dehydration.
Reflect and pray throughout the day to bring the spirit into submission with God’s will and seek to cleanse the mind and body of worldly desires. “I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and petitions, with fasting . . .”
And on to the really fun stuff . . .
1 Commitment to a Company Function
1 Positive Attitude
1 Understanding Spouse
Accept the fact that you MUST attend this event. Come with a positive attitude. Drag along a spouse, if allowed. Make the best of things, mingle and try to have a good time.
Dining Out – Sit Down Service
1 Restaurant of your choice
1 Reservation, if required
Pile the family in the car and drive to restaurant of choice.
Disregard calories and dietary restrictions for once – order what you want and enjoy!
Dinner with Friends
1 Group of Friends
1 Home for Hosting
1 Gift for the Host/Hostess (wine is nice)
Make plans with friends and remember to offer to bring something (appetizers, dessert, wine or if you are like me offer to bring all three).
Mark the date on your calendar.
Show up at the appointed place and time. Have a ball!
Pick your poison – any fast food joint
Drive up to the drive thru window.
Order whatever looks good or the usual.
Take it home and eat it, preferably in front of the TV.
Left Overs Without a Plan
All Left overs from the fridge
Pull all left overs from the fridge and lay it out of the kitchen table “buffet style.”
Get plates, napkins and flatware necessary.
Everyone fends for themselves.
On The Road
1 Smart Phone for Google Search
1 local phone-book
1 Conversation with the hotel desk clerk
Locate a nearby eatery. Check parking lot for number of cars (the locals know best) or take your chances. Order whatever sounds good.
And then there’s my favorite “fill in the blank” . . .
The Ultimate Party Recipe
Assorted Appetizers – your favorites or packaged
Party Platters – do it yourself or from the deli
Sparkling Beverages – Champagne if desired, Sparkling Apple Cider – anything bubbly
Pick a Date – Special occasion or no reason at all.
Call your friends & family together.
Play games. Swap stories and laugh a lot. Most of all graze the night away and greet the dawn with a smile.
Life is all about rolling with the punches, never taking anything too seriously (unless it really is serious) and to remember to show kindness to all. Enjoy the blessings of every day!