Dinner at Our House

Dinner at our house right now is, well, hectic.

Last winter, I wasn't working quite as much as I am now, so I was home to make an exquisite dinner every single night. Dinner was a lot more relaxed then.

Now, thankfully, I'm working quite a bit, but that does put a cramp on dinner. Meal planning is essential - otherwise we'd be eating eggs and toast every night. I sit down on Friday, plan out dinners for the week, and do groceries. Then, over the weekend, I prep as much as possible. There's always a list on the refrigerator that goes something like this: cook onions, cook broccoli, make cookies, roast beef...and so on. Everything goes into little pyrex dishes, and when I'm really on top of my game, each dish gets a label. Last but not least are the directions. I type up the meal plan and the directions to assemble each meal and post it on the fridge. That way, Mike can fix dinner while I'm on my way home since he usually gets home before me.

Sometimes it works like a dream. When I walk in the door, there's a glass of wine on the kitchen table waiting for me and Mike is just finishing plating the food. On those days, it's amazing. I don't have to think. All I have to do is sink down into my chair and enjoy dinner with my love.

Other days, it's a disaster. The directions aren't clearly written, or I haven't explained what a ramekin is, or where the water goes, and eggs en cocotte turns into mushy green scrambled eggs. On those days, we laugh. I'm so lucky to have found a man who can laugh at himself, although we're always laughing together.

If all this weren't enough, we've finally found a rental house that suits our needs. In fact, it's a bit big, but we're going to enjoy stretching out after being cramped in a tiny apartment. I can't wait to use my kitchen for real (I did use it to make mint chocolate chip ice cream the other day). But all that means is that we're in the midst of a crazy move, there's not enough time in the day, and I can't find the damn frying pan.

Still, wherever we are, we eat some dinner together. Whether we're sitting on the couch, at the kitchen table, or out on the patio, we find some time to sit together and relax. Sometimes it's a fancy treat, like lobster, or a quick and simple meal like pasta primavera. Wherever we are together is home.

Did I mention all our meals are completely gluten-free? They are. It took me a while to get into my groove where I could throw any old thing together and call it dinner. It took me even longer to adapt my old standby dinner recipes to be gluten-free. I have Shauna and Danny Ahern to thank for that.  Reading Shauna's first two books and her blog helped me realize that food is just food, something to be grateful for, something to enjoy. And her writing always keeps me glued to the page. Then there are the recipes - often a joint collaboration - that speak to my sensibilities about food and just plain make my tummy happy.

So I'm thrilled that they have a new cookbook. I can't wait to sit down and read it, cover to cover. I know new dinner ideas are just waiting for me, and when all the dust settles, we'll be sitting on the porch, enjoying our little family dinner.

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