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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, January 15, 2016

Meals in minutes


Kay's Cooking Corner



Kay Bona

Getting back into the routine of life can be so rewarding. The rush and stress starting around Thanksgiving and not easing up until after New Year’s Day can be quite unnerving.

Most everyone has office parties, church socials, school classroom parties and programs, and family get-togethers; all require your presence and usually a dish or treat of some type. This alone can make you spin in circles.

To add to all of that, our precious family has three December birthdays: One on the first, one on the 19th, and one on the 29th. Usually the one at the end of the month falls over into the new year. Luckily, that child, our 10-year old granddaughter Paige, is a happy-go-lucky sort and does not mind at all how her birthday is celebrated. She is always joyful and very appreciative of whatever happens.

So in the month of December, I travel to Memphis and back – a lot. (This past year more than most.) I did attend the birthdays, the school parties, which thankfully were on the same day, and squeezed in attending a doctor’s appointment for one of the younger children. It was a very busy December, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

My daughter has since decided to give up her “stay-at-home-mom” job and go to work, although really, she is just adding another title to her name. We all know a mother’s work is never done. And through a strange turn of events, she is now employed.

Blessed as she is, the job literally landed in her lap. She is in the medical field and during the doctor’s appointment I was attending with her, the doctor started inquiring about her medical background.

He explained that he was looking for an assistant, and previously had two temps that just did not work out. He was impressed with her medical knowledge and how she was handling the problem, so, much to her surprise, he popped the question! It just so happens she had been praying for a job.

The stranger thing is that she almost did not go to this appointment. Things (life) had just gotten in the way, and she almost cancelled it. Had it not been for me going to help her with the other two children, she would not have gone.

But we did, and boom! The job was offered, she accepted and she starts immediately. God does listen to us and answer our prayers!

My daughter has not worked outside the home for the last nine or ten years, so needless to say, this is a major adjustment for their household. The first thing she has concentrated on is meals; mainly school lunches and dinners, a constant dilemma that all working moms share – which brings me to my recipe.

April found a website that has frozen crock-pot meal recipes. Actually, there are many such websites. However, in her search for quick and easy dinner solutions, she did find one that she really likes, a blog called New Leaf Wellness. The website is: www.newleafwellness.biz. This one is different in that the author simplifies the meals, yet focuses on healthy.

One of the problems at the doctor’s appointment I attended was that Gwynn, the 5-year old, is allergic to all meats. About two or three hours after eating, she complains of a stomachache and then usually throws-up her meal. And sometimes, if she has had a meal with several things she is allergic to (meat, dairy products, mustard, potatoes), she breaks out in an angry case of hives.

Even though Gwynn has seen and been tested by an allergist and is on several different medications and two inhalers, he never tested for food allergies. This doctor, however, did and found that her food allergies are worse than her environmental allergies. So now, April is challenged with finding foods (other than chips and salads) that Gwynn will eat, without causing her any problems. One redeeming factor is that she can eat small amounts of turkey and chicken – the two least meat allergens.

Well, I really didn’t mean to get into all of that, but it all kind of relates to the recipe. You want quick? You got it! You want healthy? Here it is! Nutritious? Check it out! It’s a great solution for working moms. Maybe you can even carry a dish to your next party or family get-together!

On the weekend, make up two or three of these freezer meals, then pop them in the crock-pot before you leave the house. Here is one of my favorites!

Slow Cooker Beef Roast and Carrot Recipe

2-pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast

   (No substitutions! This is the best cut of meat for the slow 

   cooker!)

1-2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1  seasoning packet (We love the McCormick mesquite and

   chipotle seasonings) or 3 tablespoons of your favorite homemade     seasoning mix

 Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on “low” setting for 8 hours until beef shreds easily with a fork.

To Freeze and Cook Later: Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Cook on “low” setting for 8 hours, or until meat easily pulls apart with a fork.

 

Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.