Clean Correlation

I find that the cleaner my kitchen is, the more enthusiastic I am about cooking in it. There are four stages of cleanliness. Stage Four is bad enough that I refuse to serve dinner in it, and everyone must fend for themselves, or they have to clean off the table so that we can eat take-out. Stage Three  involves some clutter on the table and countertops, and dishes in the sink, but the floor is swept. Stage Two is that the dishes are in the dishwasher, and the table is wiped off; there are just a couple of cereal boxes to be put away, and the counter is only ten minutes away from decluttered and cleaned. Stage One is a tablecloth on the table with a centerpiece, counters all cleared and disinfected, dishes done and the ‘messy counter’ (seriously, that is the name of this particular two square foot counter) has been tidied up and everything is in a nice neat pile. I love cooking in a Stage One kitchen, and I even clean up after myself as I cook, in order to keep it that way longer. Sadly, my kitchen hovers somewhere between Stage Three and Stage Two  ninety percent of the time. I’ve noticed that the messier the kitchen, the less complicated dinner is. I don’t want to add to an already overburdened workspace or overstuffed dishwasher. So here is a record of some recent meals and their correlating kitchen Stage.

Friday Supper: Stage Two: Homemade Beef Stroganoff and I toddled off to supper with friends and scapbooking. (Chipotle Beef Burrito!)

Saturday Breakfast: Stage Four: Hostess donuts and milk

Saturday Lunch: Stage Two: Grocery shopping, Ramen noodles

Saturday Supper: Stage Three: Beef and Noodles with carrots and dip (opened a can of beef and stirred into hot cooked noodles. Salt and Pepper to taste.)

Sunday Breakfast: Stage Two: Breakfast Burritos

Sunday Lunch: Stage Three: We ate cheese and crackers and grapes in the living room.

Sunday Supper: Stage Three: “Mouse Ears” The boys don’t mind cooking in a Stage Three kitchen. Of course, once they were done with the meal, it was a Stage Four.

Monday Breakfast: Stage Three: Bowls of cereal all around.

Monday Lunch: Stage Two approaching Stage One: frozen pizza (Jeno’s Crisp and Tasty!) As I approach Stage One, I will be canning apple slices this afternoon. Supper will probably be broiled salmon. If I get the kitchen back to Stage One after canning, then I will also make Alfredo noodles to go along with the broiled salmon. Otherwise, it will be salmon and bagged salad.

Here’s hoping I can get my kitchen up to scratch, so I can start cooking from scratch.

Breakfast for the Girls

DH gets up EARLY and takes Dale to early morning seminary and Kevin to school. I get to sleep an extra ten minutes, then I get the girls up for school. Breakfast is always a challenge. The usual choices are prepared cereal and milk, bagels with or without cream cheese, depending on the time of the week, toast or hot cereal. But, the girls usually say no to almost all of the above. Fun. So then we play a game called, ‘Mom gives me food ideas and I shoot them down one by one’.

Here is a list of some of my common breakfast ideas: PB and banana bread or toast, jelly toast, jelly bagel, hard-boiled eggs, American cheese slice, brownies, leftover birthday cake, chocolate chip cookies, whoa. Looks like my list degenerated into a dessert list. It just occurred to me that I often spout off about nutrition by the week. With a list like that, I’ll have to forcefeed the kids fruit and vegetables all on one day. Anyway, I really am pretty relaxed about breakfast. If there is a tray of brownies on the counter come breakfast, (it does happen, believe it or not), then everybody gets a brownie for breakfast. A milk chaser, and we’re done. I think I must be the epitome of laziness. But only at breakfast time.

I actually feel really good about the breakfast I gave the girls this morning. Aldi sells these packages of pre-cooked frozen sausage patties. Each patty takes one minute in the microwave. The girls loved them! I would say’ Hallelujah’, except I don’t know if I’m spelling it right. I also stirred up OJ. All in all, it was a good morning. I’m trying to decide if I should save the remaining patties for tomorrow’s breakfast, or scarf them up myself. They are really yummy. If I had brownies, then there wouldn’t be any question.