I have a confession.
To everyone participating in this year's Season's Eatings: You should all have received the email with the name and address of the person that you will send a gift to. If you haven't, please let me know ASAP!
Back to my confession.
I hate to clean.
I avoid cleaning at all costs.
The very best thing about being part of the 'briefcase and hose brigade' was having a weekly cleaner. Like magic, every Thursday night I came home to a clean house.
it was wonderful! Sigh…. (Allow me to wallow in the memory a moment.)
I realize that I could reclaim those feelings by cleaning my own house every week.
I had a good example. My mother cleaned her, already immaculate, house, top to bottom, every Friday. When she went back to work it was every Saturday.
The last time I cleaned my house was in July.
Oh, I do get out the hoover from time to time, and the broom, and a dust-cloth….
But that is what my mother would call a 'lick and a promise'. (what a bizarre saying!) rather than actual cleaning.
I have excellent excuses (note the plural).
I live in a construction zone. It gets a bit dusty. Every day.
We heat by burning wood – both in a stove and in a fireplace. It gets a bit sooty as well as more dusty. Every day.
I have an old dog that is getting more and more incontinent… Every day. Use your imagination…. But I'm very glad we have no carpets.
All that being said, I do have my standards…. Such as they are.
It's getting near the time to decorate for the holidays. I would never dream of decorating a dirty house.
Time to bite the bullet and clean.
Now I run into my other problem (they say confession is good for the soul – whoever they are).
I get carried away.
I start, for example, in the bedroom. I do an extremely thorough job: washing windows, cleaning out the corners on the ceiling, scrubbing the floor on my knees…..
Needless to say, it takes longer than expected.
I go on the the next room, the bathroom. I still do a pretty decent job but use the mop on the floor and skip the window.
Still longer than planned for.
I do a fair job in the living room, but then we keep it closed off so it doesn't get very dusty. Still, after 5 months, it needs attention.
I get to the family room and decide to only dust the surfaces one can see easily, give it a quick hoover and head to the kitchen.
I now have 20 minutes to clean the most used, most abused, dirtiest room in the house. I've been cleaning all day and, frankly, I don't care. I pour a glass of wine and sit in front of the stove….. thinking about the clean bedroom.
You see my problem.
I decided today to play to my weaknesses.
Since I do such a good job for about 2 hours – before I get bored with the whole cleaning thing and quit caring, I divided the house into sections and will do 2 – 3 hours of cleaning every day for 6 days.
Admittedly, there will not be a point when my entire house is 'clean', the first section will be dusty by the time I'm finished….
But it's better than nothing; it is what it is; and any other cliché you want to add.
On the 7th day I'm tucking into a bowl of stew and resting.
I'm following an excellent example!
And I do love stew!
3/4 cup lentils either Lentils du Puy, tan, brown lentils or a combination.
1/4 cup red or coral lentils
2 1/4 cups beef stock
1 green bell pepper
1 rib celery
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs oil
1 tbs paprika, smoky or sweet
1 can whole tomatoes, 15oz (450gr)
1/4 cup red wine
3 bay (laurel) leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
Pick over lentils in case they missed the odd stone. Put green or brown lentils and beef stock in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until lentils are done. They should absorb most of the stock. Don't let them dry out. Drain any remaining stock when done.
Chop onion, pepper, celery. Mince garlic. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add paprika and sauté 1 minute. Add onion, pepper and celery, sauté briefly. Then add garlic, sauté a few minutes longer. Open and drain tomatoes, reserving juices. Roughly chop tomatoes. Add tomatoes, red lentils, all reserved juices, herbs and wine to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until meatballs are done, turning meatballs and stirring sauce periodically, 20 – 25 minutes.
12oz ground beef (350gr mince)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs ketchup
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
In medium bowl lightly whisk egg. Add breadcrumbs, mustard, ketchup, wine and herbs, mix well. Add beef and mix well. Form into meatballs, about 1 1/2 " (4cm) in diameter.
To serve: Add drained lentils to meatballs in skillet. Stir well to combine and serve.
In addition to the Stew for the week of November 26 we have Bacalao a la Marinera, Chicken and Cauliflower Savoyarde, Pork Chops with Ginger Caper Sauce, Hash Browns….
Thyme for Cooking is a Weekly Menu Planning Service focusing on healthy, seasonal foods.
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