Friday, March 9, 2012

Home-Style Cooking

I'm thrilled about life today! Not to say that I ever feel particularly tired of living, but today is just such a wonderful, beautiful day that I can't seem to get enough of life! I accomplished a lot, played extra with my kids and have great plans for tonight! I think in part it's the weather; after getting loads of snow dumped on us this past week (I was expecting to see my tulips pop up soon, but now there's 3 feet of snow on our front lawn...), it's refreshing to have it warm enough to go out without 5 layers, and the clear blue sky just makes everything more enjoyable! But besides the weather, I think my enthusiasm for life has to do with the weekend. Being a stay-at-home mom I rarely care that much about the weekend, except for the time my husband gets to spend at home with us, but I spent so much time this week actually working, mainly on taxes, that I'm thrilled for the break.
I am determined that this shall be a weekend fill with fun! Tonight we'll go to the fish store, which is one of Gabe's favorite pasttimes, and I'll do a bit of baking, which is one of my favorite pasttimes. Then tomorrow, bright and early, we'll load up in the van and drive to Calgary to visit my sister and her brand-new baby boy. I'm bringing them breakfast, so we'll probably be leaving here by 7 and since they're still adjusting to home life, we'll probably be heading back home by around 1:00. The rest of the weekend will be filled with fellowship with our church family and relaxing time with our kids. Sigh. I'm so happy :)
Perhaps one reason I'm so prone to being content right now is the amazing smell filling my house. I know that typically when I talk about food it's some culinary treat with fresh ingredients and occassionally a complex cooking method. But this time, it's none of those. This time, it's good old-fashioned, home-style cooking. The kind of cooking that reminds me of cold winter days when I was young and the comforting aroma of the meal my mom had lovingly prepared for our family. Oddly enough, this isn't even a meal my mom actually ever made, but there's something familiar about the smell that still feels like home. Tonight I'm making Coke Pork Roast. I had pulled this roast a couple days ago and had decided to try a different roasting method than I usually use. Typically all my roasts are done the same way: season and brown the meat, deglaze the pan with some wine, make a roasting rack of carrots, celery, onions and garlic and add some spices or herbs. There are subtle differences with all of my roasts, but 'subtle' is the key word. My poor husband probably can't tell the difference (remember, he thinks salsa tastes like salsa - not like tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices). So it's really for his sake that I'm mixing it up tonight. Well, that and the fact that I've got half a flat of coke downstairs that I want out of the house - without having to drink it all.
So the roast tonight started with a recipe and ended with me winging it (are you surprised at all?). I dug up a recipe online that called for coke, brown sugar and ketchup, which I thought was a good start, but that's where the recipe ended. Since my favorite 'flavor' is 'je ne sais quoi', I threw in a bit of cider vinegar and chopped up some red onion. I still seasoned and browned my meat, and I also deglazed with white wine, but this sauce is a wonderfully tangy/sweet/savory combination that I am so excited to eat in about 40 minutes. Like almost all of my meals growing up, we'll have a side of potatoes, and as a treat I'm going to steam up some cauliflower and whip up my mom's oh-so-yummy cheese sauce (a medium white sauce with a big handful of grated cheese and a few spoonfuls of Cheez Whiz). Sometimes it's nice to eat comfort foods. But don't worry, this too shall pass. I'm sure I'll be back to my pretentious meal offerings in time for a potluck with our church this Sunday! (mmm... maybe I should stuff a salmon for that?)

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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