Put JTM on a plane to New Zealand and Australia for two weeks yesterday - Half the time he will be in Brisbane presenting at at conference, but the other half is a much-planned and anticipated solo visit to New Zealand. I'm so, uh, HAPPY for him!!!!
So for the next fortnight it's just the lads and me left to fend for ourselves. The chauffering and form-signing and keeping-in-line shouldn't be too much of a challenge - they're growing up and have become pretty independent over the years, and they're good guys and really good company.
But it's the COOKING that's got me in knots! I used to love cooking - and I'm pretty good at it, but over the years it's become necessary to give up control of something - I just couldn't do all the household stuff on my own once I went back to work - and JTM's developed a real passion for cooking, so he's now the head chef in our kitchen (he's been gone for less than 24 hours and there's already a dozen of his cooking shows stacked up on the TiVO). We usually consult briefly on the weekend about the menu for the week, and I make sure we have everything needed for school lunches (still my domain), but that's about it. Most nights I arrive home from work and meal preparation is already in full swing.
So I've put together my own very kid-centric plan for the next several days, and we'll see how it goes. I figure the most appropriate thing is to focus on making nutritious versions of what they like and then figure out how that fits into my own eating plan. Shouldn't be too tough since my plan involves grazing my way through the gargantuan box of spring mix JTM bought the day before he left, garnished with some kind of ultra-lean meat, and snacking on celery and Gerolsteiner on my way to the gym to work out. I'll mostly be just sniffing at their food as I jog by.
I can just hear everyone at Weight Watchers tsk tsking at this approach, telling me that I should be making the kids eat what I eat, and that a restrictive eating plan is not sustainable...well pfft! This two-week period is a great opportunity to really clean up and simplify the eating, and knock off a few extra pounds. And YES I will get in my oils, and my milk!
Today I'm making slow-cooked beef curry for Roti, and Shepherd's Pie with extra lean ground beef - it has more vegetables in it than the lads will ever know (finely grated carrots add to the volume without calling attention to themselves), along with a generous splash of red wine that gives it an incredible richness - it might be the very best thing I make. Yesterday was home-made macaroni and cheese. I make it with Catelli Smart pasta to give it some fibre, and I cheat by using cheese sauce mix from a packet, along with several types of grated cheese - not a ton, just enough to give it a little gooeyness. It's the topping that makes it though: lightly buttered and seasoned panko. Sometimes I put in peas, but this time I just steamed some broccoli as a side. I made enough for a small army so there are two more meals in the freezer now.
Note: the monotasking and list-making is not going so well; I'm still spinning in circles, trying to keep everyhting in my head while flying off in all directions at once - OUCH - but the laundry is still caught up!