Monday, January 15, 2007

Eat this...

It is trivial and undoubtedly boring to visit the everyday wars that we fight at home. Everyone faces hardships and struggles and everyone knows that there are days when we fantasize, even for a moment, of taking our spouse out in the woods and setting them free. (How deep you go into the woods just might depend on the depth and breadth of your fantasy life, I recommend starting with a three day drive.)

We don’t necessarily fight about food in our house, but we have a snark fest every now and then. I am always frustrated that whatever I make for the spouse will be reviled by the kids and if the kids are happy to have it, the spouse is annoyed. I suppose I could take comfort in the fact that if everyone is happy at one time or another, I’m probably doing OK but frankly, if I hear one more person bitch I will place hemlock in the salt shaker.

I was a vegetarian for quite awhile until my husband’s constant complaining made me switch over to eating meat. I made a few meals that could be divided up near the end and part of it could have meat and the other part could be vegetarian but that gets old.

So we eat meat with the occasional vegetarian dish. I know we don’t eat enough vegetables and fruit but with irritable bowel and interstitial cystitis, there are times when I try to block out the food that makes me crawl into the bathroom in the middle of the night and curl like a snake around the toilet bowl. So I get crusties from the kids when I serve veggies and crusties from the spouse when I don’t serve more.

There are always hints dropped that I shouldn’t be serving pasta. He will bypass on the potato and the cheese and eat more meat. And I always enjoy watching him skimp on the cheese and then eat 10 Oreo cookies for dessert or complain about needing more veggies and then clearing the car out of the multitude of fast food wrappers that he has accumulated over the last week. The high and mighty act can carry him only so far, especially when he dropped this particular bombshell last night:

“Did you know that Golden Puffs cereal is really good with Hershey’s chocolate syrup on it?”

It was an absolute conversation stopper at our dinner table. Even the kids looked at him as if he had just sprouted a third eye in the middle of his forehead.

This is the man that tells me I need to cook more nutritional foods.

Hey honey, broccoli tastes better when you dip it in chocolate syrup too, please make a note of it.

Last night, I made what I call Minestrone soup, but in reality it isn’t. It’s inspired by soup I had at the Olive Garden but it’s also a little different. Call it whatever you want but call me over for dinner when you make it because it is yummy. Warning-I cook like I knit. If you’re looking for perfection or perfect portions, you’ll need to go bye-bye now.

1 lb or so of spicy Italian sausage (Use ‘hot’ not mild, please. Even if you have a MN pussy palate and you can’t eat anything spicier than white sauce because, oh, you might burn your tongue!)
3 leeks (because anytime you get to start a recipe with ‘take a leek’, your mood will invariably brighten) chopped
3 or 4 carrots peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
About 6 cups of chicken broth or stock
2 or 3 stalks of celery
2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans
1 cup pasta (small shells work best)
Parmesean cheese (freshly grated…so help me I’ll slap your hands if you get it from a can or a pouch!)
Salt to taste
black pepper to taste
¼ teas. red pepper
1 teasp basil

Brown the sausage. Do not drain. You want to keep all the spicy nastiness because it tastes so good. Add the garlic. Let it cook for a minute. Add the leeks. Cook, stirring around until the leeks soften. Add everything else except for the cheese. Cook on a low boil for ½ hour or so stirring occasionally.

Add a little cheese to the bottom of your soup bowl. Add the soup. Top with more cheese. Cut some good bread, eat some soup, and keep warm. It’s cold outside today.

Oh, and it tastes REALLY good with Hershey’s chocolate sauce on it.

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