last week’s meals

Sunday 10/30 – Stovetop macaroni and cheese, steamed peas and carrots, and chopped tomatoes for a quick dinner after partying hard at a young friend’s bouncy house birthday celebration.

Monday 10/31 – Halloween! I like a tradition of meals so I always make grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup for Halloween. Then we go out and attempt to collect our body weight in candy throughout the neighborhood.

Tuesday 11/1 – A simple and huge beef stew in the crock pot, enough to feed an army. A small army, an army of maybe a dozen.

Wednesday 11/2 – Sausage, tomato, and spinach risotto and roasted cauliflower. This is a favorite meal.

Thursday 11/3 – We had an afternoon of appointments, so we grabbed dinner out after the two dentist appointments but before the flu shot clinic. The whole thing was way more pleasant than it sounds.

Friday 11/4 – Friends came over! The kids played happily while dinner cooked – chicken cordon bleu casserole, rice pilaf, and steamed green beans. The Malbec flowed, every dish was scraped clean, and then we had chocolate-chip M&M cookies (with M&Ms purloined from Halloween buckets).

Saturday 11/5 – The rest of the beef stew with brioche rolls. My youngest was kind of at the end of his appreciation for beef stew after being served a few bowls for lunches throughout the week but after I strained his potatoes, carrots, beef, and peas and discarded the broth he was happy enough with it.

stocking up

I’m from a large Midwestern family, which is how I assume that I acquired this genetic predisposition towards stocking up. Even when I was living alone, I did it. Why buy just four or six rolls of toilet paper…when you could buy thirty six? I don’t think any of my four roommates ever once bought toilet paper which was fine by me, since I only like the expensive stuff. Well… maybe the ex-Peace Corp member that spent an extended period of time learning how to binge-drink for peacekeeping in Mongolia, who may have had understandably different attitudes towards both toilet paper texture and the psychological effects of the maintenance of consumable goods.

When I went back to school while still working, I spent a few hours on my last free Sunday before the school year prepping casseroles for the freezer. What family of two needs multiple casseroles in the freezer, especially when one of them works nights? They were eventually eaten but I think it took two whole semesters.

When the birth of our oldest coincided with the boom of Amazon Prime* I was in straight heaven. My husband will forever tease me about the massive amount of spaghetti I bought without noticing that it was twenty boxes that each contained two pounds instead of one. Four years later, we’ve nearly finished it. In retrospect, elbow macaroni or even campanelle would have been a better choice. (But it was only six cents an ounce!)

For the most part, though, I was able to keep my stockpiling urge under control. There are four grocery stores in our town, one of which is directly across the street from my work, and depending on which route home I choose, I pass two more. We try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables – food that is definitely perishable – and we don’t have a chest freezer (yet. I just looked up prices) which does place some outer limits on the stocking up that I can do.

But.

Our second baby was born in November. Another dreamy boy, just a little more than two years after his big brother. We really didn’t need to do anything to prepare for his coming since we were living fully equipped in babymode (just diapers, but again, thanks Amazon Prime). What we DID need to do was get everything ready for the rest of us so we could just veg out at home and enjoy being a family of four. So I stocked up. I filled the freezer. I filled the pantry shelves in the basement. I bought laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, more pasta (yup), peanut butter, toilet paper (you know it), and made a list of fifty meals, the main ingredients that each would require, and made sure that each of those recipes was handwritten on decorated index cards in the recipe box that my mother-in-law gave me at my bridal shower.

Silly, right? Ha.

Things went swimmingly (albeit sleeplessly) for about two months. Then the snow came. This was January 2015, in New England. Storms mercilessly dumped on us for six weeks straight. It was an insane amount of snow and broke several records. Walls of snow teetered on either side of our driveway, making it feel more like a tunnel. Icicles melted from the eave of our porch and connected to the snow pile on the ground, looking more like stalagmites and stalactites. But we had our health, and a massively overstocked kitchen, and sometimes we watched Frozen twice in a day.

Every time there was a break from the snow, my husband or I would run over to one of the grocery stores in town and stock up. We’d get the perishables that we consumed the most and whatever strange ingredient was needed for something we craved. Most people joke about eggs, milk and bread but those were some of the things we needed pretty much every time! If I remember correctly, our town was out of eggs right around week 4 of our record snowfall.

The following winter I made it a point to get up to par every time there’s snow in the forecast. Sure, on any given week throughout the year we have above and beyond enough food in the house – there’s no way we’d starve and we’d probably eat quite well. But since I started to get a little worried around week six of being snowed in, I decided it was time to get serious about stocking up in the future.

All that to say…it’s November first. It hasn’t snowed yet, it’s not in the forecast, but it is definitely coming. I can smell it. Like Lorelai**.

* Just a shout out. I love them! They know nothing about me. Other than my tendencies to stock up on things like pasta and pocket packs of tissues.

** Just another shout out – ♥ you Lorelai!