Looks Can Be Deceiving

Last week was a little out of the ordinary for us in terms of meals.  I tried some healthy new recipes that ended up being delicious but too complicated for this mama of three 5 and under.  Part of this was due to the fact that I had some extra hands with my husband around on New Year's Day and for lunches a couple of days.  Here's how the week began: we arrived back home from Augusta on Sunday afternoon and went straight to a New Year's Eve Eve Eve party for the kids.  A magician, ice cream bar, balloon animals, face painting, and a 7:00 balloon drop made for the perfect family New Year's event.  This was in contrast to my actual New Year's Eve when George was on call...fast forward two days.

So, they say looks can be deceiving, right?  This was definitely the case last week...exhibit A:  our New Year's Eve meal.  To the untrained eye, this may look like a perfect setting for two, which it was.  I sent this picture to a friend of mine showing her what we were having for dinner that night...date night in as we have learned from too many New Year's plans gone awry when George is on call.  This picture was taken around 3pm, and the salad, dressing, champagne, and wine were quickly whisked back into the refrigerator until George got home...and about 5 minutes later, he got a call from the hospital that he was needed back there to help with a hand injury that was no doubt incurred by someone already enjoying New Year's Eve a little too much.  Hey, at least it wasn't me or anyone in my family heading to the ER...I'll take it!  Dinner was rushed and chaotic (but that's the norm around here with the kids,) and then George was off.  The kids and I watched a mock ball drop on YouTube (luckily they aren't quite old enough to realize that it said 2010 at the end of the drop,) then it was off to bed for them, and a night with NBC and my wine for me.  Honestly, this has been my NYE story since 2006, the year after George started residency, so there is really no disappointment in it at all.  Happy New Year!

We did finally get to celebrate a few nights later with yet another salad (yep, it's the week after Christmas,) and that champagne!!  I attempted a Gwyneth Paltrow duck recipe, which was amazing...who knew that Hoisin sauce was so easy to make?  The only problem is that the ingredients are not so easy to find.  Red Miso paste?  Preserved Lemons?  Harissa paste? Five Spice Powder? Duck breasts?  George made a trip to an Asian market here in town and found several ingredients that my regular grocery store doesn't carry due to my stepping outside the box and being adventurous...also, I found out that Lowe's Foods carries frozen whole organic ducks...the only problem was that I had to butcher it so that I could then grill the duck breasts (I decided to do the legs and thighs too after all the effort.)  Good thing my mom grew up on a farm and I had seen her break down a chicken (and I have watched Ina do it a time or too also, I believe ;).)  Thus, exhibit B...beautiful dinner that looks relatively easy to make (this was not the case, my friends!)

The rest of the meals last week were equally as complicated and will not be repeated until my children are old enough to drive around to different grocery stores and purchase all of my ingredients for me!!!

This actually has nothing to do with food at all, but this is what I was doing one night when George was, once again, back at the hospital for the evening.  My sister and I were texting about her baby that is due in February.  After many lines of back and forth comments, pictures, etc, I decided to tell her what labor was like through emoticons:

Exhibit C: one may think from this that I actually have some knowledge of emoticons, that my labors were a breeze, or that I have WAY too much time on my hands ;)  None of those statements are true, but it made for a funny FB post by my sister.

So, yes, my friends, looks can be deceiving.  I never want anyone to think that everything is always peaches and roses over here in Laws On Dinner land.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great place to be, but I worry that people sometime take things from social media at face value when there is a lot more to people's stories than what they put on FB.  So, in this new year, I hope that we can all find contentment and joy in our "everyday" no matter what those days may look like to other people!

This week is back to the grind with school starting back, schedules filling up, and my meal planning revolving around my philosophy...one grocery store, once a week when at all possible.  On the menu are some comfort foods for this cold weather: Creamy Tortellini Soup, Cooking Light's Beef Daube Provenal (basically a beef stew over noodles,) Chicken Enchiladas, and Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce.

Happy Cooking!

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