Monday, October 17, 2005

Saving Dinner

So, as a part of my improve-myself-and-not-feel-like-a-complte-loser-athon that I'm on, I also signed up for the Saving Dinner Menu Mailer service. It basically a friend of the FlyLady who wants to help people get back to cooking dinner by providing a week of recipes and ingredients, so you can just follow the instructions and have dinner. I'm pretty picky about recipes, but a friend said they liked it, so I decided to give it a shot.

So far, I'm not very impressed. I mean, I like that she has different options -- after looking at the sample menus, I skipped over the "regular" mailing menu and went for the Low Carb one. It's more meat-and-potatos sort of meals, as she describes it, and more like the sort of thing I'm used to eating. (Of course, that's probably because my Dad used to be very meat and potatoes and my mom grew up in a house with a diabetic, so we all sort of learned to cook very diabetic-friendly meals. Which isn't so much meat and potatos and meat and veggies. But close enough. Meat is certainly required, and the normal mailer wasn't always giving you a good hunk of animal protein). Also, since I am trying to both lose weight (not in the dieting sense -- just eat well, excercise and watch a pound leave every once in a while) and get pregnant (which requires a lot of protein). And even more, last time I was pregnant, I had gestational diabetes, so I figured I'd plan ahead and try to get a bunch of low-carb recipes, and I'd be ready in case I got diabetes again.

Anyway, to make a long story even longer... I have so say, so far I'm not terribly impressed with Saving Dinner. She tries to make the recipes too simple. I don't have a problem with simple, but you have to pick the right kind of recipe -- don't just make every recipe simple.

And example: Last night I tried the "Crustless Quiche" (though I bought pie crusts so we could have real quiche. I'm not a carb Nazi.) but part of the way through the recipe I just could not do what she was asking. She wanted we to just put the cheese, bacon and raw onion (?!) and flour (?!?!) into it, pour egg over and cook it. Raw onion? Is she nuts? Flour in a quiche?? Why?? So I just gave up and opened up Julia Child's How To Cook, and finished it with her instructions. (YUM!)

The other recipes I've tried involved cooking pork chops and jsut throwing orange slices on top, hoping to make a sauce (it was a bit bitter, and not really that exciting), and something that I guess was supposed to be teriyaki shrimp, but her sauce called for 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, and 2 tbs of brown sugar. I have to say, it was pretty vile once you threw a pile of shrimp in it.

The one recipe I was okay with was the "Burger Salad", but I added buns, and really, it was jsut hamburgers by then. And I made the salsa, but added mangos (I love mango salsa!). And I think I changed a few other things...

I guess it at least gave me the idea of shopping for a week of food, making the menus, and making dinner every night, just like my mom did when I was growing up. And it inspired meto cook things, even if it was never the actual recipes. I also put together a little XML system to track the recipes, complete with ratings, notes, and such, so I can assemble some sort of cookbook at a later time. I'll just gather recipes now -- later I'll assemble the database, maybe a front end, and render it all out as a book and mail it to people or something.

I have cooked every night for a week, except for Saturday -- that's the day we see my parents, and we ended up eating out that night. But that's ok. Just as long as it isn't every night, you know?

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