1982 Called

My high school reunion is next week.

Its been 30 years since I walked out of the doors of Ohio County High School.  I wasn’t actually ever supposed to be there, but fate landed my family in a new community and landed me in a new high school.  On my father’s side of the family, my grandmother, a cousin who grew up in Louisville, and I am the only three members of our family who didn’t graduate high school in Hopkins County.  Some dropped out before graduating, but literally, we’re the only non-Hopkins County graduates for generations.

In April 1979, I had never walked into a building (school, store, church, etc) that I didn’t know a single soul or wasn’t related to nearly everyone.  No one knew who I was or understood what it meant (or cared) when I said that I was a Hailey from Hanson, KY.  To say that it was daunting, overestimates the word “daunt.”  I remember when my mother pulled up in front of the school that Monday morning, she offered to walk in with me.  I considered it, but I knew it would be easier without her than with her.  So off I went, into the great unknown.

What I found was a school completely unlike what I was used too. Back home, the preppy movement was in full-swing.  But at Ohio County, concert t-shirts, blue jeans, and long hair ruled the hallways.  I didn’t wear jeans.  I didn’t wear t-shirts, and my dark curls were always kept short.  I was either going to sink or swim.  Standing in the office before the bell rang, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.

Our move wasn’t planned.  It just happened.  My father had been commuting to a coal mine in Ohio County, which meant that he drove an hour to work and an hour home. He had a heart attack the year before, so the long commute was difficult.  So my parents rented a mobile home right beside the mine’s guard shack.  If he was too tired to drive home, he’d stay there.  Many nights, Mom and I made the trip to be with him.  The next morning, we’d get up and head back to Madisonville, via the Livermore Ferry.  Thanks to that ferry, many mornings we were late.  Thankfully, my sister was on the school faculty. She clued my homeroom teacher and principal to what we were doing. My tardiness was often ignored, as I slid into my desk dazed and overwhelmed. By spring break, we were all exhausted.

I watched my mother worry. I watched my father struggle to get enough rest and recover from his heart attack. We knew that Daddy would most likely continue to work at that particular mine for awhile.  For the first time in my life, he was working day shift. He had great job as a crane operator and the mines wasn’t in danger of closing. So, we knew he would be there a while, if he wanted. A decision needed to be made: we could either keep commuting or we could move.  We spent spring break in Ohio County. It was amazing to see how much happier we all were with just a few days rest. On Sunday afternoon, we talked about our options. My parents left the decision up to me. Even though I was 14 years old, I knew moving was the best. So I choose to move. Rather than spend anytime thinking about it, I became a freshman at Ohio County High School the next day. Before we changed our minds.  I can only image what my friends at home thought, when I didn’t show up for school.  It must have seemed as if we simply disappeared.

My first day at Ohio County High School wasn’t easy. I spent first period getting enrolled.  Of course, my new class schedule didn’t match up with my former curriculum.  When the guidance counselor walked me to second period, I thought I was ready to face my new classmates.  When I sat down, the boy sitting in from of me turned around and commented that I looked like I had been in a hurricane.  If he only knew.  After all, 24 hours before I walked into his Earth Science class, I never expected to be there.

Simply wanting to just get through the day, I went to each class and tried to melt into the furniture.  Thinking about it now, I understand the students weren’t prepared for a new kid as much as I wasn’t prepared to be a new kid.  After all, we hadn’t bought a house or moved into any neighborhood, so the local gossip network had failed.  They had to work out all the details of who I was, where I had come from, and why I was wearing gaberdine pants.  It wasn’t natural for a girl to simply show up.  It took a few hours for everyone to work things out. Afterall, Twitter didn’t exist in 1982.

Drama Club Officers

It got easier after lunch.  By the time my last class rolled around, a small group of new friends walked me to the band room.  Band rooms have a chaotic environment that is universal.  I don’t remember who it was, but when they pushed open the double doors — time slowed. My vision refocused until I realized that my trumpet was in the band room in Madisonville.  When the band director handed me a spare, found music and a place for me sit, the stress of the day evaporated as we warmed up by running scales. That’s when I knew everything was going to be okay.

And it was.

I spent three years at Ohio County High School and loved (almost) every minute of it.  High school wouldn’t be high school with some drama. I had my share, but I survived.  No, I thrived.  The school was a lot smaller than North Hopkins, so I got involved in everything. I joined clubs and the student council.  I performed in band, choir, and the drama club.  Most importantly, I made friends.  Lots of friends, who rolled their eyes and focused me back on the subject at hand, whenever I talked about life back in Hopkins County.

Eventually, I bought blue jeans and a few t-shirts.  Looking back, I had probably a better high school experience at Ohio County than I would have had at Madisonville. In Ohio County, I had freedom to explore what I wanted, rather than be restricted to family expectations.  My teachers couldn’t compare me to my older siblings and my sister wasn’t on the faculty.  Everything seemed like it was a possibility except Mr. Berryman’s geometry class.

Band was the string that held everything together for me.  You can’t stand on a parking lot for an untold number of hours, repeating and repeating field sets under a sweltering sun, without developing friendships that last a lifetime.  One of my favorite memories was during my first OCHS band camp. I had marched with Madisonville, so I wasn’t a novice. But a cute trumpet player offered his insight on hitting the hash marks just right.  I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me.  Come to find out, we were both new kids trying to simply start a conversation. He became one of my dearest friends.

Beta Club Officers

After a few months, we moved from the mobile home into a pretty little brick house in a cozy Beaver Dam neighborhood. Thousands of my high school moments are woven into a tapestry of memories: riding around, hanging out at Pizza Hut, band trips, play rehearsals, learning how to parallel park, Space Invaders, church youth group events, football games, basketball games, dances, parties, sleepovers, and the constant rush to grow up.  Tragic moments are intertwined with the happy ones. But they’re all there.

The spring before I graduated, we begun the process of moving home. Dad was working at a different coal mines, closer to home. By last week of school, we were no longer living in Beaver Dam. We kept a single packed box in the pretty little house, just for appearances.  After graduation, sweet neighbors filled our front yard and watched us put the box in the car. As we drove away, they waved us good-bye.

My life in Ohio County was over.

Next week, my classmates are gathering in Bowling Green to relive memories and the music of 1982.  I would love to be there with them, but it’s not possible.  I hope that they know how much their friendship meant (and STILL means) to me.  If there is one good thing about social media, it’s the fact that I have connected with many of my classmates again.  I love observing their lives and being together again — if only via the internet.  While they gather together and giggle at the changes in our 50 year old bodies, they will forever be 16 in my mind.

Cooking with Love

I love being in the kitchen with Nick. While making the stuffed cabbage rolls,  we found a heart-shaped leaf.

Cooking is a labor of love.

My youngest nephew, Nick, loves to cook. From the time he was little, he has faithfully watched the Food Network. Now grown and a student at Madisonville Community and Technical College, over the years he’s gained some pretty impressive cooking skills. His desserts are magical. I love cooking with him, so every chance possible, we get in the kitchen and make something yummy. Sometimes our adventures in the kitchen are successful, sometimes they’re a complete disaster. But we always have fun.

One day back in the spring, I went to Madisonville for a quick overnight stay at my brother’s house. I had talked for weeks about the bounty of organic goodness we were receiving from Hillyard Field Organics. So I bought an extra basket that week as my hostess gift.

As I drove toward Brown Road, via cell phone Nick and I planned dinner, using the produce from my hostess basket which included a lot of greens and root vegetables. Our menu included stuffed collard green rolls, roasted root veggies, salad, and a strawberry layered cake.

I love collard green rolls, which is a variation of cabbage rolls– you can put just about anything in them. It’s a bit more work than I like to tackle during the week, but the outcome is so worth it. When Nick got home from classes, I had the meat mixture and leaves ready to go. We rolled up our sleeves and got going. About halfway in, we found a collard leaf that was heart-shaped. Well, to us it looked heart-shaped. So, of course, we knew we had to take a picture. Afterall, how often do you find a heart-shaped collard green?

As the rest of the family gathered round, Nick and I proudly filled the table with all our dishes. While my brother mocked our stuffed collard greens, saying they “look like something from Jurassic Park,” and my oldest nephew snaked-eyed the various dishes, we enjoyed a meal made with love and full of organic goodness.

We filled a baking dish with our stuffed collard greens.

Stuffed Collard Green Rolls

Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey or shredded chicken
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Preparation:

Drop cabbage leaves into boiling water; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well. For filling, combine ground beef, onion, carrots, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Place a portion of the filling into the center of each collard green leaf. Roll leaf around filling; fasten with toothpick. Place in a baking dish.  Bake covered in a preheated 350° oven 30 minutes. Remove rolls and discard toothpicks.

Midnight Snack for Two

Alex and I raid the fridge.

Sometimes you just need a midnight snack.

The other night, I couldn’t go to sleep. Neither could Alex, the precious beagle who takes up half our king-sized bed. Usually sleep isn’t something that evades Alex. After all he’s a hound, an expert. But for some reason, he just couldn’t drift off. I couldn’t tell if he was just restless or if something was wrong. Half-awake, I watched him flip and flop until he finally just got up and left our bedroom.

Alex didn’t always sleep with us. He quietly wiggled his way into our bed. Now that he’s there, you can tell that he doesn’t intend to ever leave. He even has his own baby quilt. Occasionally, he sleeps with our son. But usually, after his last trip outside to potty with exhausted bloodshot eyes, he starts herding us toward our bedroom. Once he achieves that, he jumps and dances his way on top of Vince’s pillow which starts a game that they play each night. Vince pretends to be mad, picks him up, puts him into the middle of the bed, wrestles him into his spot, then snuggles and tucks him into place. Alex loves every minute of it. Once settled, it doesn’t take long before sweet beagle snores start coming from under the baby quilt.

But that night, the snores didn’t come. He got up and tried a different spot. He twisted, he turned, he scratched, but he just couldn’t make his nest. I laid there very still, hoping he’d go to sleep. It doesn’t matter who is in our house, I have to be the last one awake. Once everybody is alseep, I can go to sleep. My mother used to tell me that I did that because I didn’t want to miss anything — important or not.

When Alex got up, I thought about following him. But I didn’t because I thought maybe he was just getting a drink of water. So I waited. And I waited. After a few minutes, when he didn’t come back, I got up, concerned that he was into mischief. He loves digging in our plastic recycling bin and chewing on iPhone cords. I expected to find him gnawing away on something.

I found him sitting in the middle of Sam’s room, head cocked as if he was surprised I was up. He was sitting by one of his food bowls. His main food and water bowl are in the kitchen. But he has a couple of cat-sized bowls in Sam’s room for water and snacks. When I realized that his snack bowl was empty, I knew what the problem was. He needed a midnight snack, and frankly, so did I.

“Come on Alex, let’s raid the fridge.”

After a through investigation of the contents of our refrigerator, I managed to organize a ham sandwich for me and a handful of potato chips for Alex. We sat quietly together on the kitchen floor, each enjoying our midnight snack. One of the best things about being a dog owner is that dogs aren’t complicated. They are content to simply hang out, no conversation needed. Don’t get me wrong, Alex is a great communicator. He definitely holds up his share of any conversation.

By the time I put my plate in the sink, I could tell he was getting sleepy. The walk back to our bedroom was a little slower, and with more determination than eagerness, he jumped up in the middle of the bed. He stretched out and let out a huge sigh of pure doggy peace.

As I closed my eyes, sweet beagle snores were just beginning. . .

Off to the County Fair

My canning entries are all dressed up and ready for the Calloway County Fair.

I’ve been waiting for this week all year long.

It’s Fair Week in Calloway County. To a farm kid, there is no greater validation than receiving a blue ribbon at the county fair. Unless you receive an elusive purple championship ribbon.

Our family was very involved in 4-H. Mom and Dad served on the Hopkins County 4-H Council for years. My sister was legendary at the fair barns. While she might only be 5’4″, she could lead an 1100-lb steer around the ring with her little finger. Horses loved her. Pigs adored her. She earned so many blue and championship ribbons during her 4-H years that her bedroom walls were testaments of her first-born perfection. My brother happily participated too, and brought home plenty of ribbons and trophies of his own. While he certainly knew his way around the fair barns, he seemed happier outside of those barns rather than in them.

Being the youngest kid, I watched my siblings prepare and compete. I thought they were awesome (still do!). The year that I was finally old enough to enter the 4-H competitions, I was ready. I studied the Hopkins County Fair Catalog like it was the Bible. My parents knew that I was busy with projects that summer. But I think they were a bit overwhelmed with my collection because in the end, I had entries in nearly every class of the 4-H General Division. For my efforts, I was named 4-H Grand Champion and earned plenty of blue, red, and white ribbons.  Enough to have a decent display on my own bedroom walls.  Then, I discovered boys.

The Calloway County Fair is just like all county fairs; kids run around with snow cones and cotton candy, carnies hock their games, and Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” rules the midway. While my 4-H days are long gone, I nearly entered a few of my canning projects in last years’ Family and Consumer Science competition. But I chickened out. After all, I was still a novice. For weeks, I talked myself into it, only to talk myself out of it. Then the day came — and went without my entries.

But this year, I am not chickening out. I have little jars all dressed up and ready for their debut at the Calloway County Fair with entries for each canning class: jellies, jams, preserves, pickles and relishes, and canned fruits and vegetables. I have to admit, I’m pretty excited. I’ve driven my beloved, my sister, my niece, and my friends crazy for months preparing my entries. With each canning project I’ve asked, “Is it Fair-worthy?”

We’ll see.  Wish me luck!

Tiny Jars of Opportunity

Sparkling jars wait to be filled.

Our kitchen has become a science lab.

Sparkling clean jars cover the island and practically every horizontal surface in our kitchen.  Recipe books, torn pages from magazines, and every mobile device I own are piled upon the breakfast table.  Music blares as I dance around the kitchen singing along — off-key.  It’s canning season.

In the last three years, I’ve become a canning fiend.  Technically, I learned how to can in my mother’s kitchen.  Learning to can was the same as learning to cook — we were expected to learn how.  My sister excelled at helping Mom can.  I just tried to help where I could, but mostly I stayed out of their way.  They had a natural rhythm that worked.  Besides, I recognized when there are one too many cooks in the kitchen.  Once my contributions to their efforts were finished, I went and folded laundry.

Fast forward a lifetime.  My sister became a high school home economics teacher then a celebrated 4-H agent for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, and then she was recruited to become a home economist for Purdue University Cooperative Extension.  I still preferred to fold laundry.

When my sister and her husband moved back to Kentucky, she and my mother began canning together again.  I admired their industriousness and gladly returned to Murray with a few of their deliciously-filled jars.

When my mother died, I didn’t grieve.  Cancer had stolen her voice and her quality of life.  She simply wanted peace and to reunite with Daddy, who was waiting for her.  She well-prepared me for what was coming, and I couldn’t be so selfish as to want her to live on in pain.  So when the day finally came, I was at peace with her death.  Until eight months later — when I found cucumbers at our farmer’s market.

I became obsessed with the possibility of making bread-and-butter pickles.  After thousands of phone calls to my patient and slightly surprised sister, I proudly displayed my first batch on Facebook.  Seven pint-sized jars from my grandmother’s recipe.  A few weeks later, during the dog-days of August, I shocked my sister again by offering to come home and help with her canning.  Together with our husbands, we spent the weekend chopping, slicing, and julienning our way through bushels of produce.  I expected to feel like there was one too many cooks again.  But I didn’t.  I expected to get over my nostalgia.  I didn’t.  It was fun and it felt completely natural.

This was about the time we started eliminating processed foods.  I realized that by canning, I could better control the content of our diet.  The more we eliminated, the braver I became in my canning attempts.  By the next summer, I was canning nearly every weekend, and I didn’t kill anybody with my efforts.  I’d call my sister and tell her what I had found at the Farmer’s Market.  She’d tell me what to do with it.  Once she realized that I truly had the bug, she made it her mission to get me well-supplied with canning gear.  That Christmas she loaded me up with cookbooks, tools, and a churn for making sweet pickles.  Best. Christmas. Ever.

Now every Saturday morning when my beloved and I head to the farmer’s market, I’m giddy with excitement to find my next canning project.  When we built our new kitchen, every element was considered for its ability to make canning easier or more productive.  My happiest days are spent in this kitchen canning with Van Morrison providing the sound track.

Today, I made Herb de Provence jelly using herbs from our garden.  I’ve never made jelly, because we prefer preserves.  But when I saw this recipe, I had to try it.  I decided to use wine as the base instead of apple cider.  It just made sense.  I went to Roof Brothers and bought three different chardonnays, including an organic wine and a local Kentucky wine, to experiment.  Because my sister isn’t a drinker, she couldn’t advise me on which wine to choose.  So I tweeted Mrs. Wheelbarrow, who told me to “use what I love” #asJuliawouldsay.  I love chardonnay, so I bought six bottles.  After all, this was a science experiment.

Herbs de Provence Wine Jelly

Quart jars stand by to strain the infused wine.

In steel pans, I placed 2 Tbsp herbs (oregano, basil, lavender, tarragon, thyme, chives, and summer savory) into 2 cups of wine then let each pot come to a boil.  Then I turned off the heat and covered with a lid.  I let each pot set for 20 minutes.  I then placed old dishcloths over quart jars with plenty of slack, using rubber bands to hold the cloth in place.  Then I drained the herbs and wine into the quart jars.  The wine was strained by the dishcloth, and the slack was just enough to hold the herbs.  I let the wine drain for 20 minutes.  One wine appeared cloudy.  The others had perfect clarity and gorgeous color.  Those were the two that I proceeded with.

I emptied the strained wine into another steel pan and stirred in 2 cups of sugar.  With the organic wine, I used organic, unbleached sugar, which deepened the color.  With the non-organic wine, I used bleached refined sugar, so that mixture retained its golden chardonnay hue.  Once it began a hard boil, I added 3 ounces liquid pectin and set the timer to 2 minutes.  When the timer went off, I removed the pan from the stove and filled my jars.  After a trip through a 10-minute water bath, I anxiously waited for the results.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Rich in color, clear as a cloudless day, and full of savory and sweetness, my Herb de Provence jelly is a success.  I can’t wait to make more!

Perfect Sunny Days

Hunter finds an aromatic spot to spend a lazy summer morning.

Who doesn’t love a perfect summer day?

When I was a kid, summer was filled with adventures and sunshine. I’m sure it rained, but all I can remember are long, lazy days where pirates were fought and the Bronte sisters shared my afternoon tea. The Brontes were, of course, perfect imaginary companions. I am blessed to have led an idyllic childhood with parents who adored me and encouraged me to head outdoors and explore the farms that surrounded us. I can’t remember a single threat other than watching the traffic when I crossed Brown Road.

Everyday was an adventure, sometimes shared with a neighborhood pal or cousin. If I was lucky and they had the time, my older siblings would show me the places they explored when they were my age. But many days, I would simply take off and find out what was going on around the neighborhood. I loved going visiting, especially with Mrs. Jennings.

Mrs. Jennings was a lovely petite woman with beautiful white hair that was always properly pinned. I never saw her in hair curlers or wearing an unpressed apron. While I probably had muddy shoes or leaves sticking out of my hair, I always used my best manners when I visited her. I somehow just knew to sit up straight and cross my dirt-caked ankles.

She never treated me like the child that I was. We had grand visits together where she’d offered me lemonade or iced tea and we would talk about her garden or the neighborhood news. Mrs. Jennings grew the sweetest strawberries I ever tasted. Without fail, she’d bring me one of her first pints because she knew how much I loved them. I think it’s rather funny now, but I always called her “Mrs. Jennings.” And yet her husband, whom I equally loved, was simply “Sam.” He was one of my favorite farming buddies, who always waved whenever he drove past on his tractors.

They lived in a charming white-clad house across a couple of fields from our farm along a one-lane country gravel road. When I was in the 3rd grade, they moved to the other side of Hopkins County. My mother would often drive over to their new house just so I could visit. But it wasn’t the same; Mrs. Jennings knew it and so did I. But like all proper ladies, our tears never showed.

Many of my childhood summer days couldn’t properly start until I knew what was going on at my maternal grandmother’s house or at my great-aunt’s house. Sometimes all you had to do was just sit outside and listen, as they used the time-honored communication method of hollering out their back doors. They had a sing-song method of greeting each other every morning. Sometimes our mother got in on the act and joined their song. From those lyrical conversations, you knew that everybody had made it through the night and what were their plans for the day.

My only summer plans were to improve my softball abilities, avoid working in our mother’s garden, and find out what was in the cave down by the creek. My brother always talked about the cave, but I never found it. I am positive that it doesn’t exist — or if it does, it was only a hollowed out place along the creek bank. But he always made it sound like Mammoth Cave started behind our farm. Brothers.

Slowly each perfect summer day melted into the next and before I wanted, the Hopkins County Fair would start during the hottest days of July. After the fair, it seemed that summer fast forwarded into back-to-school shopping and then Bobby Ashby would arrive at our house driving faithful bus number 7, ready to take me back to Hanson School.

But until that yellow school bus appeared at our corner, I made the most every perfect summer day.

Do you actually look at your dinner plate?

Mondays we typically have stir-fry.      My beloved chops up fresh veggies then sautes them into a wholesome dinner. Tonight we paired the veggies with pasta.

What did you have for dinner?

In our fast-paced, zoom-zoom-zoom life, I wonder if anybody actually looks at their dinner plate anymore.  Meals have become something you eat on the go, something to curb the appetite, or something to do while you’re watching American Idol.  Let’s face it, we’re hungier than ever because we have no idea what we’re even eating. Let me tell you — it’s mostly crap.

As you know, I’ve been on a food journey these last few months.  In the effort to eliminate all the hidden sugar in my diet, I’ve eliminated soda, and I’m strictly controlling the amount of processed sugar I consume.  It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s working.  I’m losing a couple of pounds a week, and I’m seeing positive changes in my physical health.  Understand, I’m not dieting. I’m simply eating better.  And so is my family.  My son has lost weight, as has my beloved.  While there is still a long way to go, we’re getting there one plate at a time.

This whole journey began as we developed the blog. During the writing process, I’ve learned a lot about myself and exactly how healthy our family – wasn’t.  I’ve also come to realize that modern American families know very little about nutrition.  I certainly don’t, and I know few of my friends understand it either.  We’re constantly talking about the struggles of simply getting a meal on the table.  For many families, it’s easier to grab something on the way home than to roll up our sleeves and head into our beautifully-appointed kitchens.  I understand — I’ve been there and done that.  But it’s time to get over it and put those fabulous stoves to work.

One of my favorite bloggers recently posted a picture of what she had packed for her child’s school lunch.  It was a photographic delight that any child would be thrilled to find in their lunch box.  But as I read her post, I was shocked that, for all her knowledge about “real food,” she had made a grand mistake about meal planning.  Nearly everything she packed in that lunch was sugar- or fructose-based with very little protein included.   My 48-year-old body couldn’t handle that much sugar, and frankly, I don’t know how her 1st grader could either.

“Here’s my 1st grader’s lunch: Triple-decker waffle/cream cheese sandwich, fruit (mango/grapes/blueberries), and a little homemade trail mix (sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds/dried apple rings/dried mango). What did everyone else pack today?”

For some unknown reason, I decided to call her out on it.  Dozens of moms took me to task for it.  One even told me that the cream cheese alone was 10 grams of protein and that six-year-olds only needed 30 grams per day.  I don’t know about them, but my mother would never consider a triple-decker waffle/cream cheese sandwich as nutritious, especially when paired with fresh fruit and dried fruit trail mix. And I don’t either.  While it might make an excellent midnight snack, as a meal it’s just–whacked.

We all make nutritional mistakes. Goodness knows I still make them.  I once posted a recipe on this blog for muffins that was so full of sugar that I am surprised it didn’t cause someone to lapse into a diabetic coma.  (See how much I’ve learned?)

I think we all need to step back and rethink how we organize our meals and actually look at what’s on our dinner plate.  We know this stuff people. We’re smart, educated individuals.  Our mothers raised us to know what was healthy and nutritious — thru osmosis if nothing else.  But what are we teaching our children?  Too busy to cook? Call for pizza delivery.  No wonder obesity is now the norm; we’re nutritionally bankrupt.

We need to open our eyes and actually look at our dinner plate.  What do you see?  What will that food do for your body?  Will it provide you the energy you need?  Will it build healthy blood cells and strong muscles?  How much of that food will turn to sugar?  If you don’t know, then head for your nearest internet search engine and find out.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting on our Facebook page and on Instagram what we’re eating for dinner.  I invite you to follow along.  Disclaimer: our meals are not something you can create in 30 minutes or less, and they certainly aren’t “semi-homemade.”  But each meal is full of nutrition, and the leftovers are often packed for lunch.  How do we do it?  We cook together, and we plan ahead.  My favorite tool in our kitchen? The deep freeze.

Join in. I invite you to share photos of what’s on your plate.  It’ll be fun, and maybe we’ll all learn a thing or two.