Paint my world colorful and wonderful.
Saturdays are a unique kind of day. We look all week, Monday through Friday, to that day we can ignore alarms and pray the dogs sleep in, or the kids entertain themselves as we linger an hour or two longer with our dreams.
As we slip from our beds, the reality is, this day of luxurious rest will be filled with errands, shopping, soccer games, dance lessons, cleaning, washing and meal making. Saturdays have not changed that much since my childhood or that of my children. Even in retirement, Saturday’s seem to be that, ” junk drawer day.”
We start out on Monday planning a rest filled weekend ahead and by Friday we find that we have managed once again to only make a “junk drawer” of our Saturday. All those little nagging jobs we didn’t get to on Tuesday, we moved to do on Saturday. Wednesday’s rain kept us from stopping and getting that extra gallon of milk, we’ll do that on Saturday! Not picking up the dry cleaning on Thursday was an oversight, not to worry, we’ll get on Saturday! Friday is a given, to rush home and decompress. What ever we needed to do or meant to do, we’ll do it Saturday!
I remember chasing all around town with mom, as she picked up extra food for Sunday dinner. Stopping at the cleaners to pick up and drop off. Early Saturday baths with hair washing and curling for Sunday church. Often there would be a pot on the stove simmering with a delectable scent filling the house. It wasn’t a pot filled with left overs, but a delicacy each household member looked forward to on Saturdays, especially in the fall and winter months.
Mom worked her magic with a bit of ground meat, tomatoes, a veggie and pasta. Usually macaroni. We began to call it our Special Saturday Satisfying Supper! A pot of goulash fit for royalty!
With hair wrapped in torn strips of rags, to make the “banana curls” mom liked me to have and clean jammies, we would enjoy our dinner and talk of plans for next weekend when we would not have so much running to do and perhaps have time for just fun things!
With fresh linen on the beds, mom would tuck me in and turn on our radio for me to listen to as I drifted off to sleep. I heard her cleaning the kitchen, which included her mopping the floor before she would allow herself a well deserved hot bath and a time to rest. Mixed with the scents of the fresh bed linens and the freshly mopped floors was the lingering delightful smells of mom’s goulash. We had such wonderful “junk drawer” days that I prayed they would never end.
Every time I make mom’s special Saturday supper I know our special “junk drawer days” have not ended and never will! We are only human and we all have a junk drawer or two somewhere!
Recipe for mom’s Special Saturday Satisfying Supper:
1 – pound ground meat
1 – yellow onion diced
1 – green pepper diced
2 – cloves garlic minced
Small container of white mushrooms, cut up
1 − 141/2 or 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 − 4 oz can of tomato paste
1 – cup frozen corn or vegetable of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 – beef bouillon cubes
A pinch of sugar to taste
2 – cups dry pasta (macaroni, shells, twists) Cook pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet brown the ground meat. Drain off excess grease. Return to meat to skillet add onions, peppers and garlic. Allow onions to become opaque and pepper slightly soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add can tomatoes, undrained and tomato paste. Mix well. Add bouillon cubes and about a 1/2 cup of water. Stir. Add mushrooms, stir and season with salt. Add cooked pasta, stir well. Cover and turn burner to a low simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes. You can add more water if you want your sauce to be thinner. Taste sauce and if too tomatoey add about 1/8 teaspoon of sugar to cut the tomato taste.
Serve with a nice salad and fresh crusty bread. I always have enough to freeze for a second meal during the week.
Enjoy this hearty filling and satisfying meal any day of the week and continue to plan for those wonderful weekends. Enjoy your “junk drawer” days too!
Well, it seems that October has decided to stick around a few more weeks! At least another 30 days!
Promises to go from cold to hot and return daily to cold! Isn’t that just a comforting thought? NOT!
Oh! And to delay sunrise later every day while speeding up the arrival of sunset! What’s with that?
She may or may not bring us tons of rain and could even send us running for snow shovels before she leaves!
Speaking if leafs, she said that there will be a display of rainbow painted trees, but to act quickly as she will not promise to leave them longer then needed. Like a day or two, before they are covering the ground and bringing the incessant droning of leaf blowers and scraping rakes! Check for the peek color in you area at Fall Foliage.
She also promised to have us howling at the moon like a banshee before she is through.
Guess we just have to accept that again Mother Nature is in control and we are her captive audience.
Have a great October! Enjoy her majestic show and know you are loved every second of every day!
Life is like a bowl of oatmeal!
This very morning, the dawn of the first full day of fall, the chill in the air gave me a craving for hot oatmeal. That was a 6:30 a.m. but as I stood stirring the oats into the bubbling water the clock was reminding me that three hours had elapsed before I begun to feed my craving.
Pouring the oats as I tried to gently continue to stir, keeping unwanted lumps to form, I was totally lost in memory of standing stove side and making the same motions as a young child ready herself for school. The mornings, in this replay, were as crisp as today’s, 39 degrees and hopes of reaching the mid to high 60’s.
The conversation was so clear. “Mom, can I wear my shorts to school today?,” came the clear question of hope from this small feminine child with the rough and tumble “tom-boy” edges. “We are playing soccer at lunch and I want to be able to run,” she added with stronger hope that this explanation would get her the positive reply she was in need of hearing.
Not even looking at the window thermometer do confirm a rise in the chilled air and being a hall of fame member of the “Meanest Mother Club,” my response was of course to the negative. Handing her a clean pair of jeans and allowing her choice of t-shirt cushioned this blow a bit, yet the pout could still be seen when looking into her angelic face. Soft brown eyes, slightly rimmed with a light mist almost soften my cruel mother’s heart but quickly my attention was drawn back to the bubbling brew on our stove.
What was only seconds of exchanged opinions and lost concentration of the cooking meal managed to produce some unwanted lumps. Adding an extra dab of butter and reaching for the whisk a futile attempt to beat the lumps to a smooth more acceptable bite. Resigned to a less than perfect bowl of gruel and adding milk in a continued hope that it would aid in smoothing out unwanted lumps.
Spoon and bowel set before her, encouraged to eat up so we won’t be late, I grab the hair brush and quickly pulled two symmetrical pony tails (pig tails) high above her ears and grab the keys for the car. “Hurry, we can’t be late,” part of every mother’s morning mantra, gabbing book bags and lunch bags out the door we flew.
Silent morning ride until within sight of school. “Hope you have a great day,” I meant this from my heart, I always want her to have great days.
“I will mom, even with the lumps!,” she imparts her unrealized knowledge of life to me. Humbled by this reply, I try to apologies for any trauma getting the clothes right for the early fall weather that can go from chill to burning heat in just a New York minute, but how I need to keep her as warm and healthy as possible.
“I know mom, I was talking about my oatmeal, it was really lumpy today but I eat it and it was still good!”
Lesson 1 learned: Life will be full of unexpected lumps. Like chilly mornings, when you want to continue wearing summer’s threads, having a plan B that can support the coolness of pre-dawn and see you through the heat of mid-day sun.
Lesson 2 learned: As smooth as we wish to make life for out offspring, it just comes with lumps sometimes and nothing we do can beat them smooth. Releasing them to taste the lumps of life to see which ones will be bad and which ones can be a mouthful of delight and knowing it is their taste buds and not ours that need to decide the future palate that will flavor their life, is a hard lump for most of us moms and dads to learn.
Seeing her today, 30 some years after the memorial lumpy oatmeal, I see a woman full of grace, able to decerne bad lumps from good lumps and not to panic when on some of the oatmeal days the lumps may seem bigger and not so good tasting. The next batch just may bring you a bowel of a smooth and creamy delight to fill you soul with a warm dose of love.
Yes, some days, life is just like a bowel of oatmeal. Lesson learned!