936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Cheese Races are just one of my family’s quirky yet brilliant traditions we have adopted over the past years, integrated into our week-long celebration of Thanksgiving, otherwise known in my family as “Turkey Pallooza”.
Now I know, we’re about a week out from Christmas and I am just now making my Thanksgiving post, what’s with that? Well, with this little being growing inside of me and concurrently embezzling all of my energy, everything around here gets accomplished a bit slower these days. Well, except for entering rooms. Thanks to my ever-expanding babybump I now enter the threshold of rooms a nano-second quicker than the rest of my body. Now that’s productivity!
|Grayson adds an addition mystery ingredient, cheetos.|
|Zeke helps Grandpa mix ingredients|
After receiving our mystery ingredients, we again pull knives, this time to discover a number written on them. Proteins are then revealed to us to choose according to our number pulled. Some of this year’s proteins included veal breast (which I chose), beef bacon, ground lamb, and frozen breaded corn dogs–again, some desirable, some not so much. It’s always interesting, and a bit frightening, to observe which proteins get paired with which mystery ingredients. This year’s strangest pairing would have to be my brother-in-law Mike’s fare with marshmallows and beef bacon.
We then have a day to research, make a meal plan and purchase any additional ingredients we may need. On Saturday we have meal time and judging set for 4:00pm. There is usually a slow hum in the kitchen all day long, but at about 2:00pm, things begin to buzz as competitors grasp, wrestle and grapple for available pots, pans, tools and stove burners.
My mom was the wisest one in this arena, as she obtained a small electric burner and set-up kitchen camp in a back hallway, staying clear of the chaos and confusion in the main kitchen. Although, she did look a bit suspicious in the dimly-lit stairway cooking, well, who knew what!
What most concerned me this year during the competition was the fact that Mike, who had ended up with marshmallows and beef bacon, had completed the preparation AND cooking of his meal the night before. As each of us rushed around and pushed our way through the frantic kitchen on Saturday, Mike sat and enjoyed some beer, his meal long accomplished. It wasn’t his efficiency that scared me, it was the idea of a secret dish comprised of beef bacon and marshmallow hidden somewhere within the house, requiring no refrigeration or heating before being served. Sick.
|The action intensifies as 2:00pm rolls around. Andi almost sets her hot oil on fire. A recap of her oil fire from a couple of years ago during the same competition…|
|Now Gray gets some kitchen tips from Zeke|
|Ian prepares an array of veggies for his Chicken Fried Rice with Wasabi Peas Two Ways|
|Dad re-hydrates his frozen breaded corn dogs….spreading a bit of concern throughout the kitchen…|
The past two years I have had to plan more strategically for my cooking time in the competition, in order to assure no needy toddler (wonderful as he is) at my feet as I readied my ingredients and hustled around the workspace. And so I very carefully planned Ezekiel’s nap time for 1:30, when I could begin prepping my veal breast to slow-cook in white wine. After rubbing the veal in salt, pepper, and a savory spice mix, I browned it in its own fat trimmings (hey, all wholesome eating is off for this competition!). I then slow-cooked the roast for about a hour in white wine. I was pleasantly surprised, as I had never before attempted to cook veal, to find it quite tender once finished. I wrapped the roast in tinfoil and set it aside, and then began to cook down the white wine and veal juices, adding my pomegranate vinaigrette to make a new dressing all my own. With 5 minutes left on the clock, I sliced my veal roast, laid it atop a bed of fresh spring mix, and topped it with some smoked Gouda cheese, fresh pomegranate pearls, and my pomegranate-infused dressing. Beautiful, and done on time!
No one left the table hungry, which is a good sign that most of the food was indeed edible. Actually, it ends up I come from a family of very creative chefs. Each year I am impressed by the display of artistry and ingenuity displayed in how each person utilizes their ingredients into a surprising and, most of the time, pleasant dish!
Just some of this year’s completed dishes included: Fried ravioli with meat sauce dipped in Baked Brie, Lamb burgers with a spicy Tiki Massala Curry Sauce, Chili with Fried Gnocchi Fritters, and Inside-Out Fried Dumplings.
Sadly, the Lynums did not place in the top rankings this year. I blame it on my rusty cooking skills due to the pregnancy and not having touched a pot or pan in the weeks leading up to this great competition. Grayson and I indeed ended up on the bottom half of the ranks. There’s always next year–and I’ll be ready!
More surprising, however, was that Mike with his pre-prepared beef bacon and marshmallow concoction claimed first place! And it was the first-ever attempt in our cooking competition history at a dessert! It may have been the pregnancy, but the bacon-hot sauce-infused fudge layered atop the rice crispy with chunks of beef bacon bits, all topped off with a toasted marshmallow left me picking left overs from others’ plates.
The traditions lend their necessary fun and nostalgia to our Thanksgiving celebration, and year after year we are building a legacy. A legacy of family. My parents first decided to make Thanksgiving so big and extravagant so that this holiday could be our family holiday–one to come together and simply enjoy one another, enabling us without any guilt to go then and enjoy Christmas with our other families. It’s their gift to us. Yes, a gift that I’m sure digs a bit of a hole in their pockets around November, but one they freely and eagerly give to see their family blessed, to allow us to know one another even now that we are separated by miles. It allows me to look back and remember years past growing up, sitting around a table surrounded by those dearest to me, recalling to mind the innumerable blessings God has bestowed on us. Looking forward it gives me vision for my own family–to create memories, to invest time in those we love, to take every opportunity to know my kids, and inspire them to enjoy life.
Thanks mom and dad.
|Ezekiel’s Great-Grandpa reading him a story|
|Gram with her great-granddaughter, Hanna|
|Ian and Andi help mom begin baking her array of pies for Thanksgiving (She makes one for each person)|
|Zeke hanging out with his second cousins who came to visit for a day|
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!