Kitchen on Wheels

One especially crazy weekend I made fruit salad in the car.  I had overextended our family with too many commitments.  At this point in the weekend we were on our way to a family function.  My contribution was fruit salad.  With barely enough time to go to the store for the ingredients, I was going to be hard pressed to assemble the side dish before arriving at the party.  We were running late…as usual.  I knew everyone would be eating by the time we arrived.  It was bad enough that we would be late; I didn’t also want to be unprepared.

 

Fortunately, we had a 45 minute drive and I just happened to have a paring knife in the car.

 

(I’ll let that sink in for a moment.)

 

So, I proceeded to chop strawberries, kiwi and grapes while my husband drove.  (You may be saying,  “You didn’t make the fruit salad AND drive?”)  I am a multi-tasking, overachiever.  But I left the driving to my husband.

 

As he drove and I cut I had time to think.  I knew there must be some life lesson that needed to be realized. (I did tell you I’m an over-achiever, right?  I can’t just leave it alone without looking for the moral to the story.)  And, I’ve been a follower of Jesus long enough to know that He will use the silly, little stuff of life to make us more like Him.  I also knew that others who passed us on the highway must have either pitied me (fellow-mothers), thought I was losing it (women yet to be mothers), or didn’t even notice (men).  My husband was part of the last group. He barely made a comment about my traveling kitchen.  (This was one time when ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ was an unfortunate thing. It really would have come in handy.)  Maybe my wise husband was choosing to be discerning and not row into unpredictable waters.  I’m not always kind and patient when questioned while under pressure.

 

So, anyway…a lesson.  Somewhere.  I guess on the surface it’s obvious, right?  Don’t try to do too much.  Use some wisdom in scheduling.  We really don’t have to do everything.  Why do we make that our goal?  Our ridiculous, totally impractical goal.  Some days I just can’t get it through my brain that I am not a super-mom.  And, uh, you’re probably not either. (Hugs.) With all the love I can muster…you don’t have it all together.  Can we be honest with each other?  Live real?  It’s so hard.  I know.  We want to appear put-together,our lives in order.

 

We are not, have never been and will not ever be super-moms.  It’s a lie and only creates anxiety.  You may be able to keep all your plates spinning for a time, but not forever.  I’ve tried.  So let’s choose wisely.   Set priorities.  When given a choice let’s decide if it’s in line with our priorities.  Learn to say no.   We’re on the same page, right?  We agree that we don’t have it all together?  I do know someone who does.  God.

 

It’s very simple.  Well, simply said, but harder to do.  Choose real, vulnerable weakness, so God’s strength will be obvious.  And this is when the lesson gets below the surface.  And, as with any other area of our lives, this isn’t something we’ll do once and it will stick.  It will take work.  Day by day.  Moment by moment.  But what freedom and joy there can be if we just grab onto this idea!  To shed the idea that we need to have it all together.  A little closer to that abundant life.  Not only will we make our lives more bearable, but those around us will breath a little easier.  Let’s chose what has eternal value, not over-commit and allow ourselves some vulnerability.

 

Oh, and, remember…it’s not safe to use a knife in a moving vehicle.

 

 

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Noodles!

IMG_20160807_182403523

Homemade noodles are one of those foods that make me think of my childhood.  In my memory we ate them often…and always with chicken.  My mom would buy the whole chicken and cook it until it was fall-off-the-bone tender and yummy.  Add to that some gravy and pour over homemade noodles or dumplings.  Comfort food, for sure.

Also in my memory is that we had chicken often.  A lot.  Or at least my child brain and taste buds thought so.  How could I ever get tired of chicken and noodles?   Pretty sure I bought my mom a chicken cook book for Christmas one year.  Guess I was looking for some variety.  Now I’m a mom.  Head chef and menu planner.  I’m a bit sensitive to constructive criticism when it comes to the meals I’ve prepared.  Sorry, Mama.

Back to present day.  I like winging it when I cook.  I don’t always follow recipes exactly.  And I often like to change ingredients to see if I can improve the finished product.  So, par for the course, I changed this recipe.  I browsed some noodle recipes on Pinterest and got the main idea of noodle-making.  I decided to sub some of the regular flour with some potato flour and cornstarch.  Just aiming for a little more fluff.

IMG_20160807_163458008

IMG_20160807_161435012IMG_20160807_162132978

(Milk didn’t make it into the group picture.)

IMG_20160807_161811472

Mix together dry ingredients. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer.

This recipe can also be mixed by hand.

IMG_20160807_161552344

Make a well in the middle.  Ready to receive the eggs and liquid gold.  Uh, butter.

IMG_20160807_161738349IMG_20160807_161645776

Lightly beat eggs.  Whisk in melted butter.

IMG_20160807_161902629

Pour egg and butter mixture into waiting well.

IMG_20160807_162044467

Using paddle attachment, mix dry mixture with eggs and butter, until combined.

IMG_20160807_162052232

Add milk slowly.  Again, mix only until combined.  Don’t overmix.

IMG_20160807_163057377

Here’s is my finished dough.  It was pretty soft and a bit sticky.  Be prepared to flour often as you roll.

IMG_20160807_164102710

Flour counter and dough and get rolling.

IMG_20160807_164431005

I was aiming for about 1/8″ thickness.  See the holes?  Somewhere between 1/8-1/4″ is great.

IMG_20160807_164513570

I decided to cut the rolled dough in half to make it easier to transfer it to parchment paper before cutting in strips.  This move will come in handy later.

IMG_20160807_164727901

Once transferred to parchment paper I cut each half into 4 sections…for shorter, more manageable noodle sizes.

IMG_20160807_165320749

Slice away.  Perfection is not the goal here.  I was aiming for 1/4″ wide.  As you can see, no two noodles are alike. Just get your pizza cutter going and cut lots of noodles.

IMG_20160807_165441109IMG_20160807_165457885

This is where the parchment paper goes to work.  Slide a baking sheet under the paper and lay a cooling rack on top.  The tricky part is to flip over the whole thing: baking sheet, parchment paper, noodles and rack.  The aim is to end up with the noodles on the rack alone so they can rest and dry.

IMG_20160807_165612861

There are goals and there are results.  They don’t always match up.  But if you never set a goal, where will that get ya? So I lost a few during the flip.  No fear.  Just gather them up and put them on the rack with the others.  Unfortunately, some fell on the floor.  Very sad.  One less mouth full.

IMG_20160807_170047477

Moving on!  Once all (well, most) of the noodle strips are on the racks, let them dry for a bit.  Some recipes say to let them dry for hours.  Hours?  Really?  I’m just not that good.  Most days.  I have my moments.  Today was not one of them.  So, let them dry as long as you can.  Mine sat out to dry for about 30 minutes.  Now…you could make them a day ahead, let them dry on the counter for a couple hours, then store in the fridge overnight.

If you like to do that kind of thing.

Back to business.  Gently loosen the noodles from each other.  They’re a tight knit bunch.  At this point in the post I could have added a picture of a pot of boiling water and noodles.  Use your imagination, people.  It was past dinnertime.  Kids were asking when we would eat.  There is no picture.

Fill a large pot with water and crank up the heat…medium high is about right.  Once it starts to boil, add the noodles.  I cooked them in two batches because I was worried they would come out as one big glob.  Unless you’re using a small saucepan for cooking the noodles, it should be just fine to cook in one batch.  One big, happy noodle family.

They should boil for about 5 minutes.  Go ahead and test a noodle at that point.  Once they are cooked to your liking, drain the water.  I added butter, salt and parsley to our hot, drained noodles.

IMG_20160807_182403523

Oh, and we didn’t eat them with chicken.  Nothing against chicken.  We love chicken, but this night the meat on the menu was Swedish meatballs.  Let me just say that the Swedish meatballs I make should have a post of their own.  The recipe is from my mother-in-law.  They are one of my husband’s favorites and his most-requested meal.  So delicious!  Paired with homemade noodles…yum!

IMG_20160807_182348611

Just so you know, I was about ready to bite in to my meal when I remembered to snap a picture.  You’re welcome.

2014-04-12 16.35.03

These two ladies are my favorites.  My mama and mom-in-law.  This meal made me happy because it made me think of both of them.  Thank you, lovely ladies.

Noodles!

IMG_20160807_182403523

Homemade noodles are one of those foods that make me think of my childhood.  In my memory we ate them often…and always with chicken.  My mom would buy the whole chicken and cook it until it was fall-off-the-bone tender and yummy.  Add to that some gravy and pour over homemade noodles or dumplings.  Comfort food, for sure.

Also in my memory is that we had chicken often.  A lot.  Or at least my child brain and taste buds thought so.  How could I ever get tired of chicken and noodles?   Pretty sure I bought my mom a chicken cook book for Christmas one year.  Guess I was looking for some variety.  Now I’m a mom.  Head chef and menu planner.  I’m a bit sensitive to constructive criticism when it comes to the meals I’ve prepared.  Sorry, Mama.

Back to present day.  I like winging it when I cook.  I don’t always follow recipes exactly.  And I often like to change ingredients to see if I can improve the finished product.  So, par for the course, I changed this recipe.  I browsed some noodle recipes on Pinterest and got the main idea of noodle-making.  I decided to sub some of the regular flour with some potato flour and cornstarch.  Just aiming for a little more fluff.

IMG_20160807_163458008

IMG_20160807_161435012IMG_20160807_162132978

(Milk didn’t make it into the group picture.)

IMG_20160807_161811472

Mix together dry ingredients. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer.

This recipe can also be mixed by hand.

IMG_20160807_161552344

Make a well in the middle.  Ready to receive the eggs and liquid gold.  Uh, butter.

IMG_20160807_161738349IMG_20160807_161645776

Lightly beat eggs.  Whisk in melted butter.

IMG_20160807_161902629

Pour egg and butter mixture into waiting well.

IMG_20160807_162044467

Using paddle attachment, mix dry mixture with eggs and butter, until combined.

IMG_20160807_162052232

Add milk slowly.  Again, mix only until combined.  Don’t overmix.

IMG_20160807_163057377

Here’s is my finished dough.  It was pretty soft and a bit sticky.  Be prepared to flour often as you roll.

IMG_20160807_164102710

Flour counter and dough and get rolling.

IMG_20160807_164431005

I was aiming for about 1/8″ thickness.  See the holes?  Somewhere between 1/8-1/4″ is great.

IMG_20160807_164513570

I decided to cut the rolled dough in half to make it easier to transfer it to parchment paper before cutting in strips.  This move will come in handy later.

IMG_20160807_164727901

Once transferred to parchment paper I cut each half into 4 sections…for shorter, more manageable noodle sizes.

IMG_20160807_165320749

Slice away.  Perfection is not the goal here.  I was aiming for 1/4″ wide.  As you can see, no two noodles are alike. Just get your pizza cutter going and cut lots of noodles.

IMG_20160807_165441109IMG_20160807_165457885

This is where the parchment paper goes to work.  Slide a baking sheet under the paper and lay a cooling rack on top.  The tricky part is to flip over the whole thing: baking sheet, parchment paper, noodles and rack.  The aim is to end up with the noodles on the rack alone so they can rest and dry.

IMG_20160807_165612861

There are goals and there are results.  They don’t always match up.  But if you never set a goal, where will that get ya? So I lost a few during the flip.  No fear.  Just gather them up and put them on the rack with the others.  Unfortunately, some fell on the floor.  Very sad.  One less mouth full.

IMG_20160807_170047477

Moving on!  Once all (well, most) of the noodle strips are on the racks, let them dry for a bit.  Some recipes say to let them dry for hours.  Hours?  Really?  I’m just not that good.  Most days.  I have my moments.  Today was not one of them.  So, let them dry as long as you can.  Mine sat out to dry for about 30 minutes.  Now…you could make them a day ahead, let them dry on the counter for a couple hours, then store in the fridge overnight.

If you like to do that kind of thing.

Back to business.  Gently loosen the noodles from each other.  They’re a tight knit bunch.  At this point in the post I could have added a picture of a pot of boiling water and noodles.  Use your imagination, people.  It was past dinnertime.  Kids were asking when we would eat.  There is no picture.

Fill a large pot with water and crank up the heat…medium high is about right.  Once it starts to boil, add the noodles.  I cooked them in two batches because I was worried they would come out as one big glob.  Unless you’re using a small saucepan for cooking the noodles, it should be just fine to cook in one batch.  One big, happy noodle family.

They should boil for about 5 minutes.  Go ahead and test a noodle at that point.  Once they are cooked to your liking, drain the water.  I added butter, salt and parsley to our hot, drained noodles.

IMG_20160807_182403523

Oh, and we didn’t eat them with chicken.  Nothing against chicken.  We love chicken, but this night the meat on the menu was Swedish meatballs.  Let me just say that the Swedish meatballs I make should have a post of their own.  The recipe is from my mother-in-law.  They are one of my husband’s favorites and his most-requested meal.  So delicious!  Paired with homemade noodles…yum!

IMG_20160807_182348611

Just so you know, I was about ready to bite in to my meal when I remembered to snap a picture.  You’re welcome.

2014-04-12 16.35.03

These two ladies are my favorites.  My mama and mom-in-law.  This meal made me happy because it made me think of both of them.  Thank you, lovely ladies.