Gratitude

Gratitude. It's a lost art. We get so wrapped up in our own little world that we forget to put ourselves in another's shoes. We're in a hurry and don't pay attention to inconsequential details like our server's name, or even what they look like. When our food comes out wrong we assume whoever is cooking it must be an idiot, not that staff hours have been cut so far back that the line cook is doing the work of two people so sometimes that special request (in the hundreds they get a night) gets overlooked. 

Tonight when you're headed out to dinner with your favorite partner in crime, plot out a not-so-random act of kindness because today is special. It is National Food Service Worker's Day:

Thank the host for seating you and maybe even hand them a tip.

Ask your server their name and use it.

Ask whoever delivers your food if they have a prayer request that you can lift up when you say the blessing.

Leave a ridiculously large tip.

Ask to speak to the manager and compliment their staff in both the front and back of the house.

Send a note back to the grill cook.

Any of these could make a big difference in how their shift goes, and those positive vibes can have a ripple effect among the whole staff and even the patrons. Let's all make a point to appreciate the people that make, serve and clean up after our meals. If you've ever worked in the food service industry, you likely do these things already (if you don't, use this opportunity to remember where you came from...don't be that customer).  And, if you haven't ever known the joys & trials of the industry, be extra grateful! 

What's your favorite way of showing your appreciation for food service workers? For those in, or have come through, the food industry, what's the best act of gratitude you've experienced? 

Give Yourself Permission

permissiongranted-someecard.jpg

Give yourself permission...

  • to put aside the to-do list. 
  • to truly enjoy a game of tickle monster.
  • to use paper plates.
  • to not do it all.
  • to not feel bad about not doing it all.
  • to hire help.

There are a million blog posts about these permissions that we should give ourselves. Most of them tell you what you should give yourself permission to do/not do, but don't offer many solutions on how to do/not do that. I'm here to offer you a solution: me. 

I saw a post not long ago that said we should give ourselves permission to not feel like we have to cook a gourmet, organic, unprocessed, kid-friendly meal every night of the week. I'm totally on board with that. I'm also on board with the "not feeling guilty about that" part of it, but that's easier said than done. What if you could feed your family a homemade, organic, unprocessed, kid-friendly meal most of the time and not have to cook it?

You hire McDonald's to cook for your family how many nights per week? What casual dining restaurants to you frequent, paying them to feed your family? Some of these occasions are celebrations, but by-and-large, most of these occasions are because of lack of energy, lack of planning or lack of time. 

Hire me. Give me permission to do the planning, to use my energy and spend my time to cook your family what you really want to feed them and what they really want to eat. Give me permission to come into your home, to cook your meals, to clean. your. kitchen. 

You don't have to use my meal service for an every night solution. We can come up with a plan for fresh and/or frozen meals to fill in the gaps for when you haven't had the focus to plan, the energy to shop, or the time to cook.  I know what you're thinking, but you can absolutely afford a personal chef. How much is dinner for your family at McDonald's? My family of four will easily cost $25, and double that if we take them to a decent sit-down dinner. Add appetizers and soft drinks (or kids that don't eat from the kids menu anymore) and you've racked up a $100 food bill for ONE DINNER. I have meal services that range from $5-$20/serving. My 5 meal/4 servings meal plan costs just $100 for the groceries. The rest of my fee covers the meal planning, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning. of. your. kitchen. 

Take notice in the next month of how much time you spend meal planning & grocery shopping. How much money do you spend at the grocery store? How much frustration did you endure with the toddler asking for every brightly colored package and the tween asking, "Are we done yet? Can we go now?" (insert the obligatory eye roll) How many meals do you cook with that food you paid/went through so much to get? How much money do you spend eating out? How much food do you throw away? 

I put every ounce of effort into crafting fresh meals, with love...love for real food, love for your family, love for your health, well-being and happiness. 

Once we go over your family's taste preferences, I'll come up with a menu that makes everyone happy. And as an added bonus, my friends and family will attest that I have vastly expanded their palette. You may find that your kids (and you!) aren't so picky after all. It is truly a joy for me to feed people good, real food. And taking away the "mom guilt," that is the homemade chocolate icing on the not-from-a-box cake! 

So give yourself permission to not do it all. You and your family need healthy food, meals together and time to do so many other things you'd rather be doing. I'm in the kitchen so you don't have to be!

ROASTED CORN, AVOCADO AND TOMATO SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING

prep 20 min   cook 10 min   makes 6 servings

source  adapted from fortheloveofcooking.net and onceuponachef.com

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado (a little give, but not mushy), diced
  • 2 ears of fresh sweet corn (or 12 oz frozen sweet corn*)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, minced (if pan-roasting frozen corn*)

Honey Lime Dressing:

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

If you're using corn ON the cob, remove husks from and grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning 1/4 turn every few minutes. Remove from the grill and (once it is cool enough to handle) stand cob on it's end and use a knife to cut off the kernels.

*If you're using frozen corn: Add about 1 tbsp of oil of your choice to an iron skillet and heat over med to medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add frozen corn and minced onion. Spread corn and onions into one layer and toss/stir occasionally, cooking for about 10 minutes. Corn and onions should start to brown and soften.Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Slice the tomatoes in half, using this quick method.

Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Combine the salad ingredients and honey lime dressing and mix gently, so as not to smash the avocado, until veggies & beans are evenly coated. Let the salad sit for 30 minutes in the fridge to let the flavors come together. Enjoy!