Week 14 was interesting. As I mentioned, last week we got kittens. Needless to say they are a lovely distraction from all things, including remembering to take photos of my food! Also, my lovely daughter Katie came home for a few days, so I was double distracted. She has been quarantining in Wisconsin with her boyfriend and his family. She came home for five nights, and it was great having her around. She then flew to Colorado to see her father for her birthday coming up on the 3rd. When she returns, they are going to do some more serious quarantine for a couple of weeks, so probably back in Wisconsin, since he won’t have seen his family for a bit, and they have more space to themselves. I’m hoping for a more permanent return after that!
Thursday (6/25), we decided to get takeout from Rockwell’s Neighborhood Grill. It’s one of our favorite places, and we are not sure how often we’ll be willing to even get take out again as the state and city allowed restaurants to open for indoor seating the 26th. The entire reopening process in Chicago is happening way to fast for us, especially with the numbers continuing to be as high as they are and especially among young adults. I had my newest favorite on their menu, the Dixie Chicken sandwich and the black bean and corn salad. The husband had their burrito with chorizo, which he loves.
Friday (6/26) Katie arrived! Okay, the boyfriend came too…Anyway, I made pasta carbonara for dinner. I had some bacon I had smoked Thursday morning. I used Tyler Florence’s recipe from Food Network Kitchen. It was delicious. I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement between the kids being home and the kittens.
Saturday (6/27), Katie did the cooking for brunch. She used some crepes I had frozen and made a savory filling with scrambled eggs, jalapenos and a Gouda cheese sauce. I take all the credit for her great cooking skills. Okay, Food Network and even the food magazines I bought her as a kid get some credit.
Dinner was another take out night. Katie and I had talked about take out from Rockwell’s before she came home and before we knew they were opening for indoor seating. Since I am not comfortable with any of us walking in there now that they have indoor guests, and based on the mask wearing habits I have seen on patios and walking in or out of restaurants in the area, we needed an alternate. I suggested Paprika, and her eyes lit up. They are open for take out and delivery only, as they are a very small restaurant. The samosas were a little different than we remember, but still excellent! The chicken korma was amazing, as always. Again, I forgot to take any photos…
Sunday (6/28), I had a whole chicken which I had planned to smoke. However, in conversation with the kids, the subject of fried chicken came up. They seemed so excited by the concept that I just had to make it. So I cut up that chicken and fried it up in my Dutch oven. I made roasted baby potatoes with garlic and rosemary in my instant pot for a side. Yes, this was a super healthy dinner. But there were no left overs, so I guess it wasn’t too bad.
Monday (6/29) was a weird day. The husband woke up not feeling well. He has a lot of anxiety normally, so pandemic and all the drama that comes with shared custody and blended families is a lot to handle. Anyway, I ended up taking him to the doctor who decided tests were necessary and, given the current situation, the emergency room was the best way to get them. He ended up spending about three hours there, and they ran every possible test they could think of. In the end, his blood pressure was high, so they gave him some medicine for it and told him to monitor it and follow up with his primary care doc. After all of that stress, we needed dinner to be simple, but I still wanted something good. So, I pulled out a corned beef I purchase in April and tossed it in the instant pot. I cooked it on high pressure for 45 minutes. After it naturally released 15 minutes, I released the remaining pressure, tossed in some baby potatoes and then set it to cook another 4 minutes. It made an incredibly satisfying dinner. No, I did not let the kitten eat off the plate.
Tuesday (6/30) was a bit of an adventure day. Katie needed some clothes for her trip. Between size changes and sister clothes stealing and a lot of her stuff being in Wisconsin, she just needed some basic items, like shorts. So, we got up early and we went to the thrift store. We all agreed before on our procedures for sanitizing our way in and then upon exit. We also agreed we would leave if anyone wasn’t wearing a mask. Luckily, the employees were wearing masks, and there were maybe four other people in the store. Upon leaving, we sanitized our hands and arms heavily. We also had to pick up an online order from Target. I went in but only had to go as far as customer service. Everyone I saw had masks, and thanks to automated doors, I didn’t have to touch anything. When we got home we brought everything directly to the laundry. We then all showered and changed, just to be safe.
After the stress of all that, I had a pork shoulder roast that had been thawed and definitely needed to be cooked. I was not up for the grill, as it was really hot and muggy out, and our back deck gets super hot on days like that. So I used the instant pot to roast it. I rubbed it with Za’atar seasoning mixed with olive oil. I also cooked some cheddar mashed cauliflower and sauteed Brussels sprouts and bacon. I was not disappointed in that roast. It was so tender and juicy.
Wednesday (7/1) started with taking my daughter and her boyfriend to the airport. Yes, the airport! I have all kinds of feelings about it, but she really wanted to spend her birthday with her father in Colorado, so off she went. When we got home, we slept a little, since we had to get up at 4:30 am to take her. Then, I made scrambled eggs with the last of the most recent batch of homemade bacon and some Colby-jack cheese.
I tossed some farfalle noodles with spinach, cherry tomatoes and Romano and Parmesan cheese for dinner. It was one of the few times the kiddo really has eaten on a weeknight. But she had a tummy ache and hadn’t been eating for several days at her mothers, so we were pretty happy to see she was hungry. I deliberately made a dish that would not really challenge her in the “try new things” department, but still incorporate some healthy vitamins.
It was great getting to cook for our middle daughter and her boyfriend this week. They will basically try anything, so it allows me to just go a little nuts with the menu. Katie is also always so appreciative of mom’s cooking, so that it is a very emotionally rewarding experience to cook for her. I really look forward to having her home on a more regular basis.