Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cottage Pie and Advent

So, first of all, that Cottage Pie I made the other night? There are no words to fully capture its magnificence. It was splendid, delectable, perfection in Pyrex.

Those are good words, but even they fall short.

It was the kind of food that reduces you to mere grunts of delight, eyes rolling back into the head and everything. It was better than pub food and this from a girl who thinks nothing's better than pub food.

Not to mention, it was a marvel of making do with what you have. I was Super Mom last night, I'm telling you! I had decided on the dish to use up the leftover beef and mash I had in the fridge, which I thought was rather clever to begin with. But I wasn't able to get to the grocery store as planned yesterday so when it came time to whip it up, I found myself having to be a little more clever than I had anticipated.

I was wiftily (a word which, shockingly, spell-check does not recognize) out of onions, frozen peas and carrots, and gravy mix but managed to find a zip top bag full of onions I had diced for guacamole earlier in the week (another culinary triumph, but one for another day) and forgotten about, a bag of frozen peas I didn't even know I had, and glazed carrots leftover from the roast beef dinner. And as for the gravy mix, I put my thinking cap on and came to the conclusion that gravy mix is for sissies and threw some beef broth (made from a beef base I get at the Mennonite market and some boiling water), flour and red wine into the pot. And don't forget the leftover beef I had cubed and rejuvenated in its own little beef broth and red wine bath.

Remember in cartoons when an irresistible aroma would enter a character's nostrils and literally pick him up off his feet and waft him through the air toward the source? That's the kind of smell we had going on in our house that night. It tore Man-Cub away from his new video game nose first, asking breathlessly, "What smells so good?"

And, oh Man, it was so so good! Silly good! The downside is we wolfed it down so quick there was no time to get photos. And there were no leftovers for lunch. But once again, I saved dinner and saved money and managed to impress my husband which is always a plus!

Secondly, I am still dwelling on Advent and how to change the way we prepare for Christmas. I have felt in the past few years a certain unease about the way we've been celebrating. I had chalked it up to giving into peer pressure and becoming like everyone else (something I generally hate), but I am starting to see it was way more than that. And the answer, I believe, is not so much going back to an old-fashioned way of observing Christmas (though I think that has its merits), but more about Advent.

I've already expounded a bit on this, so I don't want to keep going on about it. But, it's still rolling around in my head so you're bound to keep hearing about it a bit. For instance, I'm wondering, since I usually deck out my blog for Christmas, would it be acceptable to deck it out instead for Advent? Or would that just be the same thing I'm trying to get away from? And if I do decide to do it, how does one go about that, exactly?

Anyway, it's time for me to start the evening bedtime routine. Man-Cub needs to be bathed and put to bed and I still have clothes to fold and iron. Good night!


Amy said...

I may try that recipe! Did you use dried or drag herbs? What kind of wine? I don't have dry red onhand but I have Bisto!

Leila said...

He's funny how these dishes cause one to begin raving! My husband was STILL talking about the meat pie the next day. And it couldn't be more simple.

I'm impressed with your Advent blog decor. You are a whiz! I like it very much and think it's expressing something important. I was in dismay the other night watching that stupid Honda commercial (I think it was) about "25 days of Christmas" --meaning the time now for buying a car.

No. Idiot.

I'm also appreciating how I can read the dark letters on the lighter background (back to blog decor, sorry). Restful. ;)