|Stouffer's––"Every dinner should feel this good."™|
[And yes, the box is huge: 9x13, give or take an inch.]
I am usually just happy to go along for the ride, as the driver, and pick up my own list of things (however, saving most room for their prodigious amounts!). Today I was delighted to find cases of Progresso® Creamy Mushroom Soup for $1.25 a can at Big Lots™so I bought 2 cases for the pantry. It's great in casseroles and there is no MSG and also ingredients you can read (and big chunks of mushrooms). It was at Walmart™for a short while last year and then wasn't any more so you get these things where you can find them [and do you find that once you really like a product that they discontinue it on you?].
|Epiphany in Frozen Foods––The Lean Cuisines and Banquet frozen dinners, and even Marie Callender, just parted out of the way, lighting the path to culinary truth from the Gods!|
I also went on a hunt for six sympathy cards (at middle age I find that people I know are dying, or parents of friends and even friends of friends: it is a sad, but inevitable, phenomena). These cards are unbelievably maudlin and sappy and just come off as mawkish. And yet, it is hard to find words for such occasions. So, I try to find the right words in my own heart and hand. [There's an untapped market for the greeting card industry: just the right sympathy card.]
So, two things off the list. I made very few impulse purchases today and that was useful for the budget. I haven't been shopping in ages and now with four hogs ready for the freezer, a bull about to go to the butcher, various canned and frozen items still to use up, our own eggs (2 dozen a day now) and a pantry that is still full to bursting, we only really need fresh food, milk, and the occasional deal.
Well, enough blather about my day in town. What is so exciting is that, in our long day, I realized that I needed to make dinner upon return home (not having thawed anything out or planned ahead, either). I love vegetable lasagna and am still seeking the perfect recipe. There in the freezer section at Walmart™was a giant "Party Size" tray of Stouffer's® vegetable lasagna! I was beside myself. I hadn't had Stouffer's in ages and quickly looked around for my old childhood favorites like scalloped apples, corn soufflé and spinach soufflé (no such luck). I still recall with fondness the occasional sentimental convenience foods from my childhood: after all, I was born in the era of these foods.
As I write this, the lasagna is in the oven. It takes 1 hour and 55 minutes if it's frozen. That means we will eat dinner at around 9pm. That's OK because the boys and Temple are moving some pregnant cattle, feeding three calves (another mother is not interested) and all of this after bringing two puppies home (more on them later). It is never a dull moment around here and that's what I love about our lives on our Kentucky farm. Once spring starts, we're on a tear until winter again.
On the way home my friends and I all spoke of life, and death––as someone in their community has just been diagnosed with stage four bone cancer––and how we might cope with such news ourselves. I appreciate how fatalistic my Mennonite friends are because they truly believe that we are all in God's hands. That is a liberating belief as much as it is a comfort. I still rationalize everything or try to figure it all out in my mind, to get to the bottom of things or just try to suss it all out. At the same time, I appreciate the mystery and the joy of each day, especially in springtime.
|Yes, kids, there are no surprises in this household! If Mama don't make it, you sure will know it!|
And then we all marveled at the pageant of pink in the redbuds which now dot the green landscape along highways and byways. We spoke about our emerging heirloom tomato plants and what each of us would be feeding our families upon return from our day out. One thing is certain: life goes along each day and there is always dinner at the end of it. And my family can delight in the fact that this is the very first time––and possibly the last time––in nearly 15 years of marriage, that I've prepared for them a frozen, pre-made Stouffer's dinner: but hey, it's cheaper than a pizza or a bucket of chicken.
You come back when you're ready!
UPDATE––No lasagnas were harmed in the making of this blog-ad, no endorsement was taken from Stouffer's®, and neither was permission granted. They are, however, welcome to pay me, any time. Except there could be a problem with that because Eli and Henry both said, "Mom, we like yours better...you know, the stuff you make with the meat sauce." There was also a sodium overload as I'm still guzzling lots of water tonight before bedtime.