Welcome to my first of what hopefully will be many posts. I have been mulling around the idea of blogging for a while now, and really just needed to find the time and inspiration to do it. I wanted to write about something that I enjoy and feel passionate about. I have a long history with writing and also write some fiction (that’s another blog, still to come) but this particular blog will be more about “real life,” more specifically my real life in the kitchen. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pick up some tips, tricks and recipes along the way that you enjoy and I hope you’ll feel free to share with me as well. That’s half the fun of the blog, isn’t it?
A little about me – I’m 44, been married for almost 19 years now, and we have an 11 year old son. I spent many years working in the retail field, including managing a small shop for several years. It was a lot of fun and a lot hard work, but I enjoyed it immensely. In 2008, some family circumstances came up and after discussions with my amazing wife Michelle, we decided I should leave my job and take care of them. I became a part time worker from home and a full time, stay at home dad. In 2009, I contracted an illness that left me hospitalized and in a coma for 6 months. It was a horrendous experience (what I remember of it, anyway), I spent many months doing physical, occupational, speech and breathing therapies, and have mostly recovered by this point. The illness has left me with some small disabilities as far as walking and breathing, but thanks to the love and support of my family and friends and some hard work, I have mostly been able to work through them. I still work part time, from home, as a freelance proofreader/editor for some web media companies, take care of our son Sean every day, and also watch my one year old nephew Liam 4 days a week. It seems pretty busy some days (throw in that we have a puppy as well), but I enjoy every minute of it.
Anyway, enough about me. my circumstances have afforded me the opportunity to be home every day, take care of my family, and it gives me the opportunity to do something I really love – cook. By no means do I consider myself anywhere near being a professional cook, I just really like to do it and I am sure there are many other people who feel the same as I do. It’s a chance that not many dads get to have, and maybe some would rather not have, but hey, it’s not for everybody. My dad was a great guy, worked hard, provided well for us, but to be honest, he couldn’t cook a lick. He never had to since my mom took care of it most of the time, but beyond pancakes and occasional attempt at the barbecue, dad stayed away from cooking. I, on the other hand, have embraced my chance and love to do it.
I’ll be honest, I don’t cook every day. Like anybody else, there are days when after working, chores, homework, puppy and infant duty, that it’s too late in the day and I have no energy left to do anything. But I am trying to minimize days like that now, and I think this blog will help me do that. I’ve decided to try and schedule things out a little better, cook some things on the weekend for the whole week, use leftovers more effectively (or just plain use them! What’s the point of putting it in the fridge if you’re going to throw it away in 2 days?) and get the family more involved in choosing our meals for the week.
And that’s the point of this blog. I’ll let you in on our meal plan, post what we’re having and the recipes I am using, and give you some of the hints, tips and tricks I use to help out in the kitchen. Hopefully, you’ll do the same for me and let me know if you have ideas that work better, recipes to use or just what works best or doesn’t for you. I’ve been posting on Facebook for years about things I cook (you can see my Facebook page by following the link on this page) and have had friends suggest that I should post something regular, so here’s the chance to do it. A few words of caution – I don’t eat pasta or cheese, but I do use it for cooking things for the rest of the family. I modify recipes sometimes to eliminate the cheese, but that’s just a personal preference. Secondly, I have a number of friends who follow gluten-free or vegetarian diets. I’ll try to make suggestions on modifications to the recipes to adapt to this, but those of you that follow these eating plans may have better ideas or suggestions to use. I encourage you to add them so we all can benefit from your expertise.
I am going to take the first couple of posts I do to give some advice and input into things I feel are a big help to me in the kitchen (utensils, equipment, pantry items – there are some great items that won’t break the bank that are good to have or use) and some websites and cookbooks that I use on a fairly regular basis for ideas and inspiration (I have already put links to some of them on this page). After that, starting on Monday, January 16th, I’ll start posting my meal ideas for the day. Like I said before, some days I don’t cook, but on those days where I don’t, I am still going to post something – ideas, tips or just some random thoughts about cooking, family and friends.
When I was growing up, the kitchen was always the most social room in the house. Everyone seemed to congregate and chat in there while the cooking went on, whether we were at home, my grandparents’ home, or my aunts and uncles’ homes. The room was filled with lots of talk, laughter and plenty of cooking, and that’s how I want this blog to be. So come in, sit and relax, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea (and let me know what your favorite is, I love coffee!) and take a few minutes to enjoy our little “kitchen” on the web.
January 13, 2012 at 10:59 am
Absolutely looking forward to your blog! You know that I am simply tired of eating the same old things and on most nights cook for just 3. Being that I do lots of the cooking on Sunday, I can’t wait to see some of your ideas for planning for the week. But Mike, the Hauser children like on pasta, cheese and stewed tomatoes!!!!
January 13, 2012 at 11:19 am
No problem Chrissy. Just because I don’t eat it, doesn’t mean I don’t cook with it. Michelle and Sean both love pasta and cheese, and part of the meal plan we are devising has one day devoted to either a pasta or vegetarian meal, so we will be using it. As a matter of fact, this coming Monday’s dinner will be a pasta meal.
January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm
I really love the idea of vegetarian meals! Eric Thomas doesn’t eat much meat and it is becoming harder to get enough protien in his diet. Meatballs are always an option for him but so time consuming and of course the turkey meatballs that we used to get at BJ’s are no longer sold. They were a great alturnitive because they had no preservatives or hormones and a short list of ingredients.
Would I be pushing my luck if I asked what your thoughts are on changing up the lunch box choices? Also, no longer able to buy their favorite bread and we just haven’t found another bread they will eat. We do have thermos containers for hot lunches but we’d more ideas.
January 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm
I just made some Minestrone soup with chicken meatballs in it that might work for you. I saved some leftovers for you and I’ll bring it down tomorrow. I am sure I can do some postings on lunches as well. We actually use a lot of leftovers for lunches for me and Michelle; Sean is kind of a stickler and basically wants the same sandwich all the time, but I do have some lunch ideas for kids that might work for you.
January 13, 2012 at 11:20 am
Hi Mike, I really enjoyed your blog and love the title. Looking forward to seeing more. Love, Mom
January 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Emily Malone Godwin
January 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm
I can’t wait to get some great ideas. Just thinking of it makes me hungry:)
Kerry Geraghty Keating
January 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm
Awesome! I’m so glad you are doing this!
January 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm
Well hopefully it will give you some good ideas!