Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back to the basics - crazy food lady

Sunday Family Meal NightI'm going to spend the next couple of posts discussing some of my "back to the basics" lifestyle habits. No, I don't mean trying to live lightly, growing my own food and the like. You already know about that.

What I'm talking about are the things we do that are somewhat the antithesis of modern America. Primarily, we don't watch TV. The kids don't watch TV at all and only the occasional movie from our collection of maybe 8 DVDs. They just don't like watching TV for whatever reason. And we don't exactly push it. They weren't exposed at all the first two years of their lives and that probably set the stage for finding other things to do instead.

So, we need something to do to fill all those extra hours that are freed up. To start this discussion, I'll tell you about what I call "Sunday Family Meal Night" wherein any family member in the area is welcome to come over for Sunday dinner. I love to cook and this gives me a great excuse to try out new recipes from my favorite cooking magazines and books, integrating my principles of local and organic eating. This is when we set up the formal dining table, making the night seem more special than the average dinner.

At the very least my mom is in attendance. She's the gorgeous lady in the photo above. No, not the one stuffing her face in the corner - that's me. When my brother-in-law was in town for two months earlier this summer he made most of the nights. He's the one drinking the enormous beer. He recently joked after coming over that it was liked visiting the Amish since we pretty much hand-made or grew everything served.

Hopefully, my brother and his wife will be joining us occasionally once their schedules calm down a little. I suspect there will be times when it will just be my husband and the kids and me, but that's okay too.

I really look forward to these nights. It's not like we need to celebrate anything in particular to get everyone together to reconnect and enjoy each other's company. I also enjoy the planning, shopping and preparations involved. It's not so overwhelming as having a holiday, birthday or other celebration, so it's much more relaxed.

This is a great, casual way to keep in touch with people and it doesn't need to be just for family. As long as people let you know a few days in advance whether or not they are coming, it can be rather stress free. And, if you have last minute guests, they can always bring their own food, too.

By the way, I realize I dropped the ball on The Perfect Meal. I've spent many a sleepless night wracking my brains trying to figure out how I'm gonna wing this one. I didn't want to cheap-out with a vegetarian meal with just grabbing crops from the backyard and stealing some neighbors' fruit. But I don't fish, I don't trust shellfish and the thought of shooting something is beyond my grasp. I'm still working on it though...

Tomorrow, in the Back to the Basics series -- reading. (I know, what a surprise.)

7 comments:

Turtle said...

Crayfish don't require a liscense and all you need are a couple of yogurt containers and you've got your fishing gear. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever made pasta?
You could make fresh veggie raviolis....or grill a pizza with garden veggies on it.

of course you might have to buy your cheeses - unless you have a cow hidden in the yard.....

Cheryl said...

What a nice tradition you've started, I'm sure your kids will have fond memories of your Sunday dinners.

Danica said...

Oh, I love the idea of having one meal a week when anyone is welcome to stop by. I hope you don't mind if I adopt it at my house. We could call it Crunchy Dinner Night in your honor. ;)

Rechelle said...

We didn't have a T.V. for the first four years of our marriage. During that time I got a call to answer a survey from the Neilsen ratings people. So how often do you watch t.v.? Never - How may shows a night do you watch? - none. How many hours a day do you watch t.V. zero...etc, etc... Now we have one, but no cable so the kids are stuck with PBS and fuzzy network tv. We watch movies and they have a few video games. We often discuss getting rid of it again. Glad to hear of a family that is going without. Stay strong! We will be over for dinner next Sunday!

Sarah said...

Yeah! No TV!
When I moved out to go to University (four years ago) I didn't have time for a TV, the money, and I didn't really want one. I've since gotten married, and neither of us care for a TV. We watch movies on our computer, but most of the time we hang out, read books, and play board gards. It's much more refreshing than sitting infront of a screen!

Crunchy Chicken said...

turtle - I think there are some crayfishy type things around here, so that's an idea.

anonymous - I have made my own pasta and it's phenomenal how great it is when I do spend the time on it. Nope, no cows (yet :)

danica - "Crunchy Dinner Night" has a nice ring to it!

rechelle - Come on over! I hope your kids like prosciutto.

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