I'm having a totally indulgent Saturday.
Not a mani/pedi/massage kind of induglent Saturday; just a work around the house kind of Saturday. The indulgent part is that I can watch Law & Order reruns until my eyebrows start to look like Sam Watterston's and even stop for a quick nap if I feel like it.
Now THAT's indulgent.
Ever notice that the more you dread a task, the bigger and gnarlier it gets every time you think about it?? That's what cleaning the kitchen looked like to me this morning so I tricked myself into being motivated: I took the overripe bananas off the kitchen counter and whipped up some banana bread. Once I had both loaves in the oven, I told myself I would use that 35 minutes to clean the kitchen. 35 minutes and not one minute more.
I've never moved so fast in my whole life, but I got it done! And I have yummy banana bread as a reward.
Cooking dinner sometimes seems like a big, gnarly task to me, too. Oh, I can cook but I have a tendency to migrate toward the same foods, the same meals, the same recipes over and over again especially when I'm pressed for time. But I get out of my rut by hopping over to AllRecipes, a nifty little website I've been using for years.
Anyone can submit a recipe for this site, so some are better than others. I've found some spectacular recipes here (Shredded Brussel Sprouts for one. . . oooh - and Lavender Tea Bread) along with some just okay ones (Apple Pudding) but I've never, ever found one I thought was awful.
But here's what makes AllRecipes a cook's best friend:
AllRecipes has a recipe for whatever you have on hand.
Think about it. It's Thursday night. You've had a crappy week, your head hurts, everyone is cranky and hungry and looking to YOU to put a Giada-worthy dinner on the table in oh, say five minutes.
AND it's the day before you do grocery shopping so all you have in the house is a can of mushroom soup, some macaroni and a couple wrinkly tomatoes.
Go to AllRecipes and click on "Ingredients" at the top of the screen. Type in mushroom soup, macaroni and tomatoes under "Ingredients I Want" and click GO.
Tonight you're going to wow your family with Fanny's Italian Casserole.
It's as easy as that.
But wait - it gets even better.
What if you HATE mushroom soup? (Hand up here.) Or what if you're allergic to peanuts or shellfish?
There's also a place to list the ingredients you don't want to use.
AND. . .with the click of a button you can adjust the ingredients for the number of people you're serving, save it to your very own Recipe Box, get nutritional information and even have AllRecipes make out your shopping list.
If you have an iPhone, there's even an AllRecipes app, but then that doesn't surprise anyone, does it?
While I've been typing this and waiting on my banana bread to cool, I ground up some Dunkin Donuts coffee beans and brewed my first cup of the day. Mmmmmm. . . my sparkling kitchen smells heavenly so I'm off to have breakfast.
What's that you say. . . ?!?
Banana bread is great for breakfast! It's bread and bananas. Also, bananas are fruit and everyone knows fruit is good for breakfast.
But first, here's the Charlie video. A little background: Charlie is the snuggliest, squishiest little bundle you'd ever want on your lap. But as much as he loves to be picked up, he's never quite figured out what he should do when you reach for him. Usually he just ends up just rolling over on his back and goes limp, which means picking him up is a little like picking up a furry octopus.
Awhile ago, I discovered that I could make him roll onto his back just by talking him. If you have a low tolerance for baby talking, you might want to turn down your volume.
I know we should both be embarrassed.
But we're not.