Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This was the big day...company coming over for dinner! With a house to clean, shopping to do, and dinner to prepare, I thought we had better start the day out right.
Oatmeal. While I love the texture of steel-cut oats, they take too dang long to make on school mornings. I keep a canister of rolled oats handy for mornings like this. Not the instant kind, though.
I'd like to take a minute to talk about the merits of buying bulk at PCC (my favorite "natural" supermarket). From flour, sugar, and oats, to rice, lentils, granola, or nuts, dried pasta, and trail mix...they have it all. You can buy just as much as you need (like the one cup of brown sugar I bought for 50 cents). The best deal are the bulk spices. Last Christmas, I saw a "Harry & David" type catalog selling 2 vanilla beans in a canister for more than $9! What a rip off!! I can buy them for $1.33 a piece. It's the best when a recipe calls for a spice you don't often use. You can literally buy 1 tsp of it (for like 8 cents) and not $5-6 for a bottle full that you'll never use.
Okay, so I made o. oatmeal (1.25), garnishing it with a pinch of butter (paid), o. cinnamon (.12), o. brown sugar (.25), and o. raisins (paid). Topped with a little milk (paid) and finished to the last creamy bite.
Lunch was a freebie of leftover pizza and veggies plus some apple slices (1.00). The kids snacked on pretzels (paid), bananas (1.00), and apples (.50). The baby ate an o. kiwi (.79). I had a slice of my bread with jam (paid). The baby also had some leftover brown rice topped with leftover bean soup (from last week, but she's a hungry baby who doesn't know I'm on a specific food schedule!).
After cleaning and arranging my house,
I trekked the neighborhood for some beautiful spring blossoms to spruce up the house. They're so fabulous right now.
While I was out, I foraged some thyme from a bush I planted at my old house (now one of my neighbors lives there). Then back home to prepare the roasted chickens. With five people in each of our families, I decided that it would probably take two chickens to feed us all. Check out my "how-to" video that I made a while back for the recipe. Regarding costs...two chickens (10.00), lemon (paid), butter (paid), thyme (free), garlic (paid), parsley (1.99).
I was really excited about the vegetable dish for tonight. It was inspired by these golden beets. The celeriac I bought awhile back, plus some sweet potatoes. Peel and chop into uniformish chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. You can use Herbs de Provence, but I left mine simple. I roasted them in a separate pan but in the same oven with the chicken (at about 400 for an hour). The beets (2.99) were delicious, the celeriac (2.00) a little tough (it may have been too old!), the sweet potatoes (1.00) yummy. Oh, and I roasted 3 red potatoes (2.34) with the chicken.
And thank goodness my husband mentioned dessert, because I almost forgot to make anything! He suggested my Lazy Daisy Cake. Good call. I even had all the ingredients. Eggs (1.79), flour (.70), sugar (.68), vanilla extract (do I really have to count 1 tsp??? maybe .15), butter (paid), milk (paid), brown sugar (paid), shredded coconut (.86 in bulk). It was popular as usual!
Hospitality doesn't have to break the bank. I only added $5 onto the cost of a meal alone for that extra chicken. Totally worth it. And now we have some new friends. Who are you going to invite over next week? Everyone loves a dinner invitation...even for spaghetti.
The chickens are transforming into stock as I write.