Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Menu

Welcome to a very special edition of Monday Menu! I'm in one of "those moods" today. Actually for the last week. It's not that I'm tired of cooking, although sometimes I am. It's not that I'm tired of coming up with what to cook, although sometimes I am. Right now I'm just tired of cleaning my kitchen. It's just so cyclical. I get it all spiffy and clean, and then it's time to cook again and get it all messy. "I'm over it", as my friend Shelley would so eloquently rant. So in having a conversation today with a dear friend who can totally relate, she encouraged me to post about the following family pleasing meal. And I kid you not, my kids really do love to have the following meal. For dinner.

Yep. It's a real crowd pleaser. And the best part for me, is 5 bowls and 5 spoons straight into the dishwasher and the kitchen is clean! If I'm feeling especially generous, I may pull a knife out and slice up some bananas or strawberries into the cereal. Better yet, pour frozen berries straight onto the cereal. They love that, and if you pour carefully and don't spill, there's zero clean-up! Sometimes I will allow toast with peanut butter, just to throw in some protein. But, again, that requires using a knife, so generosity is required. I have been known, however, to get very annoyed if anyone thinks they need a plate for their toast. That's what paper napkins are for, for crying out loud! So, on nights when I've given the busboy a night off, this is what you may find on our table for dinner.

And, since the Mother Guilt is usually not far behind a meal like this, I would advise being slow to put those bowls in the dishwasher. Rinse them out, dry them with a new paper napkin (as opposed to the toast-crumb covered napkins), and use them for the dessert below:

And I must children were harmed in the preparation or consumption of this meal. They are thriving quite nicely.

I learned this lesson on thriving when Beth was about 2 weeks old. It had been one of those days with a newborn. I know I hadn't even brushed my teeth. I may not have even gone to the bathroom. Alex and Brenna had their basic needs met, but nothing more. I was so worn out, and dinner could not be put off any longer. The other 2, annoyingly enough, needed to eat and were not old enough to take care of it themselves. And there, sitting on the counter, was a most glorious 2-layer chocolate cake. Someone had brought it to us, and in my hormonal, sleep-deprived fog, it looked like the perfect dinner for my 2 hungry children. I cut them each a very large wedge of cake, added ice cream to make sure they met their daily calcium quota, and called them to the table. Their little faces were priceless. "Dat is ow dinna???" They were so very grateful to me, the most wonderful mother they had ever had. They thanked me over and over. And for literally years, they would say, "Remember that time Mommy fed us cake and ice cream for dinner??" It was such a good lesson for me. On the inside, I felt like I was "failing" to provide for them that day, and in their minds I could not have blessed them more. We've done that on purpose a couple times since then. And they've had cereal for dinner on more than one occasion. And yet they are all happy, healthy, intelligent, well-adjusted, non-picky eaters.

So, there is my Menu recommendation for the next time you have one of "those days" for whatever reason! Show me a little camaraderie here, and let me know the next time you have cereal (or whatever!) for dinner!


  1. Love it! Life is all about balance. After all, don't you have times when you cook a fancy type of breakfast? Weeeelllllll, the trade off is times when you serve breakfast cereal for dinner! I was just talking to a friend who was saying how when her hubby was deployed and the kids were little, she regularly served cereal for dinner... then the mother-in-law came to visit. The said mother-in-law cooked real dinners. We joked with her about how you could have two shelves in the pantry... one for breakfast cereals and one for dinner cereals! [Ellen, are you there? :-)]

  2. Leanne...a girl after my own heart! Yes...I love cereal for dinner. I wish I could convince the boys of that now that they are older. Somehow it just doesn't fill them up like it used to when they were little.