Monday Night: Getting Started

Day 1- Monday 13th January, 2014

Lamb Chops with Snow Pea Salad and Roast Potatoes.

As everybody knows, Monday is always D-Day. No! You can’t change your life or turn over a new leaf on a Tuesday, a Wednesday or especially a Saturday. No! Everybody knows that your new life can only begin on a Monday. If you forget to get started, slip up, break the rules or totally crash and burn, everybody knows that you have to wait a full week before you try again. It’s an unwritten code…an understanding. A new life can only ever begin on a Monday.

I learned these life principles going on “diets” and have since discovered that the Monday rule applies to all life changing goals.  Monday is a new day…a clean slate. It’s like you somehow become an entirely new person and all your weaknesses and foibles are gone. You can do anything and even achieve the miraculously impossible. Scientists might disagree but I’m sure there’s even some change to your very DNA but only on a Monday.

Well, this Monday my “Teach the Kids How to Cook” project went into full swing after a bumpy introduction or preamble over the weekend.

Our first dinner was going to be relatively simple:

Lamb Chops

Salad

Roast potatoes

Roast Sweet Potato

A cutlet smile from a cheeky lad.

A cutlet smile from a cheeky lad.

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of cooking lamb chops. That’s straight forward although we did add some rosemary from the garden. It was the kids’ job to go and pick the rosemary and this provided them with a bit on an introductory lesson on herbs. There are a couple of huge rosemary bushes here so we are rather blessed with vast supplies which we can generously add by the handful.

The focus of this cooking exercise was making the salad. It is summer time here in Australia so it is essentially salad season. Learning to make any kind of salad has been an extensive learning curve for me over the last couple of years. While I did grow up with coleslaw and a rather exotic (at least for the 1970s) mandarin salad which my grandfather made, salad was an iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber drowned in some kind of dressing. I haven’t really mastered lettuce. I tend to feel that I look at the stuff and it shrivels up and dies. Consequently, our salad was based more on snow peas which we strung and sliced into thirds. It was challenging getting the kids to string the snow peas and having to work in slow motion to explain where to find the string and how to pull it off. As adults we do all these things on auto-pilot but for the kids, these activities need to be broken into much smaller nibble bites so they don’t just give up with an “I can’t do it”.

Our avocado was perfectly ripe and ended up becoming a sort of dressing over the snow peas.

Cherry tomatoes were cut in half and added to the salad.

At home I would have added some balsamic vinegar but we didn’t have any and with the avocado, the salad didn’t need it.

Both kids asked for more salad and were fighting over the dregs. That is very encouraging. My kids are not great eaters.

We also had roast potatoes. I boiled up about 6 potatoes in their jackets for 10 minutes in the microwave. At home, I would then squash and roast these in the sandwich press or waffle machine with a minimal amount of oil but I was a bit naughty and fried them up in the chop pan with more rosemary. I was using a special griller pan with a ridged surface where the fat drains away from the cooking surface so it wasn’t perhaps as unhealthy as it sounds. I cut each potato in half and roasted the skin-free side. Yum.

While I was in a chopping and roasting kind of mood, I peeled and diced a sweet potato and roasted it at 200 degrees in the oven with some rosemary and crushed garlic. You can spray the tray with oil or drizzle with olive oil and I usually use baking paper to reduce cleaning. Our kids don’t like sweet potato and I don’t always push the point. Tonight, Geoff and I had ours hot with a bit of honey drizzled over the top. I made a mental note that macadamia nuts would also go well with this. The idea with the roast sweet potato is to keep a container of it in the fridge to add to salads and Wednesday night’s pizza. I love such quick and easy nutrition.

Congratulations Rowena and kids. You have passed the Monday test. You can proceed to Tuesday…Atlantic salmon and salad.

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