Tonight was a full out disaster zone.
Troy was hit with a sudden almost migraine headache and had laid down for a bit, which was a little weird in itself. And then I'm not the world's best nurse by any stretch of the imagination. Troy may have done himself a bit of a disservice by being such a great daddy and husband, that I feel like I've lost an arm when he's down for the count.
But this evening I really tried to see if there was anything I could do to help him feel better; water, tried to facilitate quiet. Max was asleep and the other three were playing so nicely in the boys room, putting together a play for the rest of us. Since all was well I decided to take on some 'real' cooking for supper (as opposed to my usual two to three step meals, like fish with a lemon thrown in the oven and cut veggies), and started not just one, but two meals. I had ground turkey sitting in the fridge I had planned on using, so started a shepard's pie to eat this evening, a favorite with the kids, and a turkey veggie chili to freeze.
Just when I was committed, potatoes on, turkey browning in the pan, beans and diced tomatoes simmering in the pot, that's when it all went down.
First Max woke up. He's not feeling well today. A teething, drooly, cranky boy, his face is a rashy mess, and he has the same head cold the rest of us have, eyes and nose both running. He wasn't excited about sitting on the kitchen floor to play while I chopped veggies.
Then the big kids came down, excited to have me come up to watch their play. I might as well have in hindsight. But I declined regretfully, starting to wish I hadn't taken on this project, wishing I didn't have my hands full so their imaginative play I was so happy with could be rewarded with an audience.
Then they started to dig in the fridge and in the cupboards for something to eat. Which I shooed, telling them supper would only be half an hour. That never works.
The boys brought out a game to the table. Max was wailing on my hip by this time, as I tried to spread the now mashed potatoes onto the shepard's pie, I just had to get it in the oven! Claire was on the table, pissing the boys off by hoarding their game pieces. A tired Seth started to cry that Thane wasn't giving him a turn. Thane stomped off mad, leaving Seth and Claire to throw punches. While Max yelled on.
I soon woke up poor Troy, giving him Max to entertain so I could 'just cut up the veggies and get them in the chili'. Oh yeah, can you also break up the brawl at the table?
It was evident Claire, like Seth, was feeling her regular evening unreasonable exhaustion, as she demanded a banana and then promptly threw it on the floor. Only to loudly declare she must have another one.
Thankfully, supper was now served. All would be alright now right? This too shall pass, I chanted in my mind while taking deep breaths.
I sat down to feed Max his long awaited meal, only to watch Claire continue to bawl on her bench for no apparent reason at all (besides the obvious exhaustion), Seth refuse to try a meal he generally will at least try, and Thane declare he's not hungry, his throat hurts. This is his absolute, hands-down favorite meal. Troy is trying to eat and appreciate the meal, but is mostly sitting at the table with his head in hands, obviously in pain from the headache, not to mention all the noise. In the middle of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, Max can't settle in to nurse (no wonder really), and bites me. Exit Troy stage left, the noise has broken him, he has to go to bed.
Trying to figure out where to start, I put Claire to bed. At least that goes easily, as she collapses gratefully into her bed (apparently her day was a full one, battling a cold doesn`t help). At least now I can hear myself think. And nothing's being thrown.
By her or me.
I give up and give in, Thane and Seth get sandwiches and peppers sent in their direction, where I maybe should have began. Max and I rock and read a few books and point at the pictures, and then with clean jammies on he finally settles in to nurse, reading a little about Egyptians for Seth, a little Harry Potter for Thane.
Now, I sit. Alone. With some fine chili. It's a good thing it tastes good.
I may have never stepped foot in the kitchen again.
So maybe a bit of good will come out of this evening, here's the recipe for the chili we love so much. A recipe handed to us by Troy's mother, who got it from Weight Watchers I believe. I plan to replace the canned ingredients with fresh soon to up the whole food goodness even more, just haven't evolved there yet. If tonight was any indication, I'm not ready anyway.
It's delicious, wholesome and hearty, comforting, and healthy. I call it a mix between turkey vegetable soup and chili.
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Carolyn's Turkey Veggie Chili
1 lb. lean ground turkey
8 stalks of celery
4 lg peppers (any color, I use red, orange or yellow)
3 med. onions diced
2 cans mushrooms diced and rinsed
1 15 oz. can kidney beans rinsed
1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed
2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 tbs. chili powder
It also says to add one can of tomato soup, salt and pepper, and 1 tbs. vinager, but I generally don't. I also don't use as much onion, and often have this six-bean medley on hand instead of the black beans. Maybe that's why I like this recipe, it's forgiving.
Brown your turkey, put everything in a large roaster, pot, or crock pot. Cook at 350 for two hours, bring to a boil and then simmer on med-low for a couple of hours, or slow cook all day, whatever works for you.
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Funny enough, my copy of Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair just came in the mail today. As excited as I am to peruse it, it's a bit ironic that it's my book of choice this evening. ;)