We awoke very early on the prairie yesterday morning, loaded up three sleepy but smiling and fed kids into the Odyssey and drove 90 miles to the big “city” on the prairie but left the camera at home. No pictures to document our chaos. It’s probably better that way. Hunter had an 8AM orthodontist appointment and knowing that I scheduled appointments with our pediatrician for the girls. What I didn’t consider was just how long it takes to get out the door in the morning, winter driving and the fact I knew Nathan had work commitments and wouldn’t be able to join us.
After waiting 45 minutes in a small room at the orthodontist’s office while feeding Miss E two packs of fruit snacks one at a time plus a bag of goldfish crackers to keep her from destroying all of the model teeth displays, I was in need of another mug of coffee and it was not 9AM yet. Mind you that this was my day “off” from my home office work routine and that thought crossed my mind and made me chuckle to myself. I thought days “off” would be lounging days with the kids at home, playing games, reading books and during nap time straightening up my normally always clean and orderly house. Ha. Not so much.
Needless to say yesterday on our day “off” we were all exhausted by late morning but had completed our full round of appointments and Target shopping. Hunter was an outstanding big brother and my ace helper. He had some quality “boy” time in his favorite sporting goods store where he dreamed of all the things he would buy if only his mother would let him. And with some Christmas gift money that was burning a deep hole into his pocket, Hunter did purchase a practical and useful bag to hold all of his basketball items. I reminded him the bag he currently uses (that looks like what he calls “old school” Nike) I bought when I was in high school. So this is his bag for life. He rolled his eyes and smiled.
While on our slow drive on icy roads home, the girls slept, Hunter listened to Rush Limbaugh and I dreamed of making a cozy, homemade supper (dinner for all of non-prairie dwellers) tonight. My friend Roxy gave me my new favorite cookbook from The Pioneer Woman. I don’t know Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman but she is definitely a kindred spirit (as Anne of Green Gables would say) of mine. She calls herself an accidental country girl. That would be me in many ways. I have owned the cookbook for just a few days and I cannot believe how the food is literally exactly created for our prairie life. And it is done with pictures. I am not a written directions person. I am a visual learner.
And so last night I set out to create…The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Parmigiana which was not the cookbook but instead on her homepage of her website yesterday.
I had a semi-disaster (note: be careful when cooking with oil…enough said) but recovered to create this recipe. I even dug out my Williams-Sonoma pasta bowls that were a lovely wedding gift and I am thinking now I actually use them on a regular basis. The bowls are very similar to the WS bowls shown in the above picture.
I stuck to the recipe for the most part and only improvised by adding fresh mushrooms to the sauce, less onions and addedfresh garlic and had to use dried parsley. It was a hit. Nathan and Hunter raved. And Miss E even asked for seconds. I will be tapping into The Pioneer Woman and her cookbook now on a weekly basis. She can turn me into a much improved prairie woman cook and photographer.You can buy the cookbook here or at your local Barnes & Noble, Target or Wal-Mart. No, I am not being paid to promote this cookbook. And you don’t have to be a ranch wife or prairie dweller to enjoy it. All of us have whirlwind days and need a simple recipe that creates a meal to bring our family together at the end of the day. That is just what The Pioneer Woman did for me. And I’m sure she’ll be there to offer a recipe up many more days for me in the future.