“Do you want to go Grease shopping with me? :)”
This is the text I received this evening as I was reorganizing a pantry that’s taken some abuse the last few weeks and contemplating dinner. Yowza! What an awesome invite! I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Let me back up. My niece is playing Sandy in her high school’s production of Grease. The show opens next week, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I’ve been looking forward to this for about a year, ever since she told me Grease had been selected as her senior year’s musical. She is absolutely perfect for the part, and my aunt-ly heart is bursting with pride. My girl’s going to be Amazing! Yup, that’s right – Amazing with a capital A!
At the mall, we shopped for girl things like make up, a fabulous treat for me, a mother of two boys. Girl things! Oh my gosh. Girl things! I remember girl things! I wanted to twirl around in the stores and sing like I was the one in a musical. I kept it reigned in because I want future invites, but inside I was dancing and singing in a way that would have embarrassed us both.
We sat and chatted in the car for a bit after shopping. Eventually, someone inside her house texted her that her dinner was cold, which wasn’t surprising since it was 9:30. After a few more minutes of girl talk, she went in and I headed home.
“I have to MoFo!” I shouted from the doorway. My nightly MoFo is part of the evening routine now, so while my neighbors might have thought the comment odd, I knew it would make sense to anyone who was home.
“It’s late,” my husband said casually. “Maybe you could just write about something else.”
“But I have to eat! I’ll come up with something!”
He eyed me curiously from his spot on the couch as I raced out to the garage freezer and started clawing through its contents.
When I was growing up, my mom had another “named” meal similar to the Fun Meals I’ve described previously. When things were overwhelming and everyone had crazy schedules, we sometimes had what she called “Find Your Own” dinner. Don’t misunderstand; this wasn’t a directive. Although we didn’t have Find Your Own often, it really was a type of dinner.
“What’s for dinner tonight?” we’d ask.
“It’s Find Your Own,” she’d tell us with a smile before getting back to her current superhuman project.
It wasn’t negative at all. It was more like a challenge and a treat. Find my own? That left the door wide open for anything. My brother and I became masters of throwing things into a pan and making them taste good — at least to us. We were like gourmet chefs, only smaller and without full kitchen privileges. It’s a skill we both occasionally use today.
Tonight I found a package of Don Lee Veggie Patties, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and box of Ian’s Mac & NO Cheese. Alone, not so good; together, a meal fit for a queen!
I defrosted the veggie patty in the microwave for a minute first. Then I put it in a pan with a little olive oil and browned it. While it was browning, I cooked the mac and no cheese in the microwave as per the instructions. I minced a clove of garlic and added that to the pan just a little off to the side. When the microwave beeped, I took the patty out of the pan and dumped in the mac and no cheese. I also poured in maybe a half a cup of the still-frozen mixed veggies. I let those cook, pushing them around with a spatula a couple of times, and chopped up the patty. After a few minutes, I added the chopped patty back to the pan, added about a tablespoon of Braggs Liquid Aminos, and salted and peppered the whole concoction.
Along with my masterpiece, I enjoyed a couple of pieces of toasted sourdough bread buttered with Earth Balance and a small glass of dark chocolate almond milk. I also used a bit of ketchup, but I think it would have been fine without it.
There you have it! Found and ready to serve in about ten minutes. And it tasted pretty darn good.
A wop ba-ba lu-mop a wop bam boom!