Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade is still the best

Good Morning Puffins.  It's a cloudy, snowy, cold Saturday morning here on the Farm.  My Farmer and I have been taking turns being "awake" all night long.  Congestion, back aches, sinuses, etc...  Thankfully it's the weekend and we'll be able to catch up on our rest.

I'm mentally planning my day while I'm sitting here drinking my coffee and have been reading through a few of my favorite blogs.  I'm not feeling up to doing much cleaning or decorating, beyond the must-be-dones.  But I enjoy imagining how I will "fluff" my front porch and kitchen this spring.  Our living room and office may be in disarray as we are planning to gut & renovate the living room, paint both it & the office and put new flooring down in both rooms.  My brain seizes up when I try to plan much for these rooms.  It balks at even considering paint color.  I'll be asking for advice on that as I get closer to actually buying it.

So since it is not a day to do alot of physical activities, my plan is to bake some cookies for my Farmer and mix together some sandwich buns and possibly a loaf of bread.  While the bread dough is rising I can be resting or sewing.
And on the off-chance we feel well enough to go to church tomorrow, we should dig into our Sunday School lesson.

The day will not be a loss as long as I keep myself on track.  I've found if I give into the feeling of "poor me" when I'm not well, then I truly am a pitiful soul.  But if I keep on going, I may still feel just as unwell, but I have accomplished something and that helps me to feel productive and brightens my day.

Such was the case last evening.  After both my Farmer and I were home from our busy day at work, as usual we discussed our ideas for the evening meal.  In the past, I've done meal planning, but many times he is not that hungry or would prefer something lighter.  It works best for me to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer and fridge, with the ingredients ready for different meal suggestions.

We both agreed we felt pretty worn out from the week and that a lighter meal sounded best.  I had 2 different packaged soup starter mixes on the shelf.  I don't normally buy mixes like these, but they were a Christmas gift and I've been eager to try them.  Farmer-dear chose the Beef Noodle and I chose Chicken and Dumpling.  Happily, his left-over ribeye steak from last weekend was in the freezer and it took no time for me to defrost and poach a chicken breast and thigh from my stash in the big freezer.

While Farmer was out choring and then was busy with his own affairs inside; I thinnly sliced and then sauted his beef.  I poached my chicken in water, fresh thyme, s/p and onion/garlic.  

While that was going on I started to break up the 2 pork roasts I had cooked earlier in the week.  I used Pioneer Woman's recipe from her cookbook.  I had planned to serve some of this all week long but Farmer-dear was never in the mood for it.  I decided to shred it all, reheat it with the juices and rechill it.  (I love my "walk-in cooler"  a.k.a. front porch in winter when the temps are 12°.)  Today I will portion it out and vacuum-seal it for meals this spring and summer when we are busy.  And quite possibly I'll save out enough for us for this evening, just in case a bbq pork sandwich sounds good to him.  Or it will go into his lunch this week.

While the pork was reheating in the oven, I finished up our dinner.  This consisted of shredding up my chicken, dumping the contents of the boxes into the broths and topping mine with the dumplings.  I'm sorry to say that was it for our dinners.  Not the most nutritiously planned meal.  No veggies beyond what was in the soups.  And I noticed Farmer-dear hunting around for more after his initial bowl.  That is very telling for me.  He only does that when his meal was not satisfying.

We both found our individual soups very lacking.  I definitely did not care for the smell of his.  Too much of a  "processed beef" smell, that was sickening to me.  My chicken soup was too salty (I guess that's why they said to start with water, not my good stock, which was salted to flavor the chicken when it cooked.)  The dumplings were fairly good.  We both agreed that the soups were "edible at best" and tasted much too "processed and full of preservatives."   I guess we've gotten spoiled from eating mostly home-made foods.   And then later I noticed I had a reaction from the MSG and the extra sodium that were in the soup.  

I know these kinds of foods are marketed to busy women, but I can't say I saved all that much time.  It takes only a few more minutes to slice or chop up a carrot and potato, add in some dry noodles, stir in a handful of frozen peas.  If one does not make their own stock, there are several decent brands available in the store, some sodium free and some organic.  With just a very few more minutes I could replicate these soups with ones that would have a cleaner flavor and very few additives.  
I do, however, appreciate the wonderful thought behind this gift. 

Well, my dears, my coffee is long gone and the laundry is not getting washed by me sitting here.  It's time for a Vit C dose and a big glass of water to wash out my system.

Have a wonderful, relaxing, joy-filled weekend.  Please leave a comment on your thoughts of time-saving vs home-made meals.  Are you interested in cooking more "wholesomely" or are you willing to sacrifice taste for convenience.  Oh dear.... I must get off that soapbox!  *grin*

I'll be back soon....

** "Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork."  ~English Proverb


  1. Last night my 23yo DD took home our leftover homemade chicken and noodles to feed her little family for supper. Her boyfriend was amazed at how well a small portion filled him up and she tried to explain to him how cooking from scratch was better food that fills you up on less, as opposed to the expensive prepackaged junk he buys for groceries. Slowly but surely she's converting him to a healthier way of eating. :o)

  2. LOL I have a walk in freezer right now but hopefully in a while it'll warm up to a cooler status. Of course scratch cooking is the best.

  3. I would rather eat scrambled eggs and toast for a quick meal if I don't have time for a truly homemade from scratch dinner. Your front porch 'meat locker' /freezer is great! I store some produce on top of my freezer out in the garage (cabbage, root veggies, etc.) You will come to enjoy the cooked port that you vacuum sealed .. especially when you need to make a quick home cooked meal.

  4. I wish I had a bigger freezer and pantry... come to think of it a bigger fridge wouldnt go amiss!!
    I cook a lot of meals from scratch but being a busy mum and working part time I do get a little lazy and do part scratch and part semi prepared... most of my cheats when I think about it are more like pre cut up vegies.. so Im not too bad after all LOL

  5. I agree, most pre-prepared foods just don't taste all that good. And there are a lot of things you can do to make homemade food easier, like you shredding your pork and freezing portions of it for another time. I like to keep a list inside a cupboard door of ideas for quick and easy meals made with my home-canned meats (or frozen, already cooked meats, like your pork), because when time is short or I don't feel all that well, my inspiration is also lacking.