“Wouldn’t it be good if we could live without a care?”

I was listening to a few coworkers in the break room one day talking about how difficult it is to balance extra-curricular activities and after-school schedules with meals at home or cooking dinner each night. Everyone seemed to be lamenting the fact that there’s little time between work and when sports or whatever starts, and some days, families aren’t sitting down for dinner (although out here everyone calls it supper) until well after 8. When I got home from work, I was telling Jay about it, and how I was a little skeptical that it’s truly that difficult to get any kind of meal on the table each night. And maybe I’m wrong–The bambino isn’t even in school yet, and not involved in any activities, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, and it really is too hard to balance family dinners with after-school activities. Even still, Jay and I decided that we might want to try and buck that trend once the bambino is in school.

And it’s not that I’ve always got a home-cooked meal on the table at 6 o’clock sharp every single night. If I don’t plan ahead, there are nights that I’m scrambling to come up with something to put on the table. Leftovers, or whatever I can pull out of the pantry. And I’m really not that great at whipping up a quick meal from 4 ingredients, so I do better if I plan ahead…And when I remember to take things out of the freezer to thaw!

But even still, I think sitting down to dinner together, even if it’s just whipping up some pancakes and tossing 8 different nut butters on the table because you’re out of syrup, is better than nothing. It’s better than hitting a drive-thru, or popping some frozen entrees in the microwave.

And tonight, I did just that. Made pancakes, that is. Because I went to Katie’s Saturday night and got home later than I planned (we spent the evening talking and drinking wine and before I knew it was 11, and then midnight, which was my cutoff, because I am old), I was a pile for most of Sunday morning. And we went to Jay’s folks’ for lunch, so I didn’t get started on laundry until about 2:30. Plus, I decided to tackle the mini-cupcakes again. This time, I think they turned out fine:

Sometimes, there’s something comforting about a plain vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting. And sprinkles always make everything better.

Sweet little cakes of goodness. And because I was just wiped by the time I got the 3rd load of laundry in the dryer, I told Jay we were ordering George’s because I just didn’t have it in me to cook. Buffalo chicken pizza to the rescue (and a hamburger for the bambino)!

I got a taste of having to get dinner on the table ASAP–Jay had to go and cover a school board meeting, which meant he had to be out of the house and on his way by 5:45. So pancakes it was. I usually make them whenever the bambino and I are on our own for dinner, but they’re also pretty quick. And I’d originally said I was going to make pancakes for breakfast yesterday morning, but the bambino and I ended up eating granola bars. However, Jay decided that he was going to eat after his meeting, but I got started right away anyway. I decided in the interest of time that I was going to cook some bacon in the oven. Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to do that again.

It got stuck to the baking rack. Perhaps I should’ve oiled it first, but really, isn’t bacon greasy enough already?! If I pan-fried it, it would deep-fry itself! Oh well. I’m more irked about having to scrape bacon off that rack than anything else.

I experimented a little with the pancakes too, although these turned out pretty well.

Because we’re a little low on regular milk at the moment, I subbed half almond milk. I also cooked them over lower heat than I normally would, and they turned out better than I was expecting.

And after dinner, I started on some cookies that I’d wanted to make yesterday instead of the cupcakes.

Happy Jacks Cookies, from Flourtrader. Buttery, crumbly shortbread cookies with chocolate chips. And super simple to make!

I sampled one (quality control, of course), but I’m going to take the rest to work tomorrow–I have a meeting after lunch, and since I was in the mood to bake again this evening, I offered to bring in some treats. No one objected!

Melissa brought me a treat today:

My first-ever macaron! She went to the Twin Cities this weekend, and brought it back for me. Unless I’m missing someplace in Sioux Falls, I don’t think the macaron craze has hit SoDak as yet. It was light, airy, ganache-y, and everything I hoped for! Now, if I’d just work up the courage to attempt making them at home…!

Sharing is caring!

12 Replies to ““Wouldn’t it be good if we could live without a care?””

  1. I often bake bacon. I spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray, then lay the strips out. I flip them over halfway through the baking process. I’ve never had any trouble with them. Sometimes I’ll use a broiler pan, to let the grease drip away from the bacon.

    I must be living in the Stone Age, because I’ve never heard of a macaron. What is it?

    • I should’ve used some non-stick spray but I wasn’t thinking!

      That’s okay–I thinking I’m showing how behind the times & uncool I am for not having jumped on the macaron bandwagon sooner! It’s some fancy French cookie that last year, swept the foodie/food blog world by storm. It’s made from almond meal & egg whites, and the filling is ganache of some sort. They’re good (at least the one I had was), but I gather they’re extremely “fussy” and difficult if you make them yourself.

  2. We always sit down and eat dinner together. My family did that growing up. Sometimes you ate dinner at 4:30 if someone had to leave for soccer practice and sometimes we ate at 8 pm if we waited for my dad to get home from work. But Mom always scheduled dinner when the most people could be together. I do it to we eat together and then go around the table and talk about our days. I hope they carry this habit on in their lives as well. Its important.

    • I agree it’s important–If nothing else for connecting with each other. And it’s a way to teach manners and some socialization. I have family members who don’t eat dinner together regularly, and it’s fairly obvious with some of the social skills they’re lacking.

  3. Hi Rachel,
    All I can say is you will see how hard it is once you get there. School, activities, homework, housework, cooking, shopping, cleaning, and more is very challenging to balance and I agree with your workmates.

    I hope you can do it better~! LOL

    • Well, hello stranger! :) You indeed may be right…I’ve been trying to remember how things were when I played volleyball, and other than it was my dad who took me to all my practices and games, I don’t remember a whole lot. Sadly, it was over 20 years ago, so that might be why!

      • See I still pop by!
        I think we don’t know until we know. Kind of like having kids. You can tell someone who doesn’t have them how it is, but there is no way then can know how it will be for them until they do.
        Same with cooking, etc. There are some days, I heat up a frozen mac cheese, with some grilled chicken from the weekend and open a can of veggies.
        We always eat at the table, but it is always just quick as can be and there is a lot of drama AND it is a chore no matter how easy because there is just so much to do. Sometimes I am whizzing around in there so fast I get dizzy! ;-)
        But it might be diff! That is why I stopped blogging, too much to do! Even with one kid who can pretty much do for herself. 12.
        Nice to see you!

        • Good point. I’m not at that point yet with my family, so I might’ve just shot off my mouth & might need to eat my words later on! :D

          And I understand it being a struggle with blogging and having a life too…There’s no way I could do it every single day–Or for multiple meals!

  4. Bacon in the oven… I line my pan with foil (EASY clean up), lay out the bacon (no spray), put it in a COLD oven and set it to 400. I check it in 15 minutes, and it’s usually done by 17 minutes. I turn it over after I pull it out and let it sit a few minutes to finish. Perfection!

    • I’ll give it a try–I don’t mind pan-frying bacon, except for the fact that it takes so dang long! And it’s messy. And I don’t trust cooking it in the microwave, unless it’s microwave-specific bacon!