This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves
to be my disciples. John 15:8

In the Kitchen with Kimberly

>> Friday, October 5, 2007

We are officially into the throws of Autumn around here. I read a lot of blogs of women in the South who are still experiencing the heat of Summer, but not where I live. When the meteorologists have their 7-day forecasts on the screen, they look like one long rain cloud. There are those who would find that terrible, my husband being one of them. He'll say things to Elijah like "We can't go outside today, son, because the weather is bad." That is when I remind him that that is an opinion.

I love this weather. I wait all summer long for the weather to turn and I live in an area of the United States that does not disappoint. I have mentioned in many posts the reasons why I love the rain and dislike the heat, but one of the main reasons has to do with all of the time I get to spend in my kitchen when the weather turns to gray. Because I am not fortunate enough to have Air Conditioning, my oven does not get turned on once the thermostat hits about 85 degrees (and even if I did have AC....why would I spend all that money cooling down my house only to heat it up again with the oven?). This greatly limits the things I can do, culinarily speaking. Even my friend, the Crock-Pot, is not very helpful, because who really feels like a nice, hearty Pot Roast (or the like) if your apartment is thick with heat and humidity? So the summers around here consist of stir-frys and grilled chicken and sandwiches and salads. I'm pretty good about making those things as creative as I can, but they still are what they are, and I get bored. By the end of the summer, I find myself sending Mark to Taco Bell more than I am proud of.

So last weekend, in the pouring rain, I made my way to two grocery stores with a list a mile long. I was gleeful as I thought about all of the things I could make. Soups and Stews, Roasts and Casseroles, Breads and Cookies. I was re-energized! For the first time in ages, I threw things into my grocery cart with little regard for what the total at the check stand would be (notice I said little regard, not no regard). I felt domestic and maternal. I was going to fill my families tummies with delicious, delightful goodies.

One of my most exciting finds this summer was a book called Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer. A friend of mine said she had heard good things about it so we decided to order it from together (so we could qualify for the free shipping!). Last weekend I made four recipes from it and not one of them disappointed. The premise of the book is this: You can use it as a regular old cookbook and it will do you just fine. The intention of the book, however, is to teach you how to successfully multiply your recipe and freeze some of it for later. It breaks the ingredients down for you for single, triple, or even 12 times the recipe! It has an exhaustive section on how to then go about freezing things so that they take up as little room in your freezer as possible and last the longest amount of time. It's recipes include everything from Beverages to Brunch to Beef to Brownies and everything in between. So far I have made a chicken dish (Buttermilk Herb Chicken), two soups (Broccoli Cheese and North Woods Wild Rice) and a baked good (Lemon Bread). All of them have been outstanding! I not only made wonderful meals for my family, I now have over 4 meals on stand-by in my freezer for the days that time gets away from me or I have had an ugly day with the kids and want to be able to put my feet up when Mark gets home instead of making a meal. I highly recommend this book! I am even considering making it my give-away for Shannon's Fall Giveaway Carnival. So if you love cooking as much as I do, but find that sometimes you need a backup plan, pick up this book (or come enter my giveaway when the time comes)!


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