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A Lot of Cooking

Indio, California: I remember several years ago arriving in Merced for a visit with DT's Mom and she had made reservations for dinner. My Mother-in-Law is a fantastic cook. For years she turned-out gourmet meals for a husband and four sons in a kitchen about the size as one found in a luxury 5th wheel. (She refers to her cooking space as a "one-butt kitchen". Finally, my Mother-in-Law decided she was just tired. It wiped her out to cook for us all when we visited. Plus, three of her four sons (not naming names but I married the non-chef) - and all of their wives - love to cook.

Will this ever happen to me? Will I cease to want to cook for those I love? Will all that time in the kitchen just make me too tired? Even though I run 15-20 miles per week, a day on my feet in the kitchen is very tiring for this old lady. 

This week in Portland I prepared:

Wednesday:  We flew to Portland and I baked a take-and-bake pizza and tossed a ready-to-go salad for DT and myself. Heaven. Easy. Delicious.

Thursday:  I baked two different cheese crackers, Madeline cookies and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread and then prepared Chicken Enchilada Meatballs and steamed rice. Lenny had seconds, so any and all work on the meatballs were worth the (RV-easy) effort.

Friday:  Two big mac & cheese casseroles (one plain and one loaded with onions, garlic, jalapeno and green peppers) and I made a tossed green salad with roasted yellow beets and walnuts for our family and guests. At least I was smart and purchased a fruit pie.

Saturday:  Woody and Kathy fed us at Kari and Billy's wedding. I only had to whip-up waffles for breakfast.

Sunday:  I made a breakfast hash with Yukon Gold potatoes, turkey-sage sausage, peppers and onion and served the potatoes with cheese, salsa and a huge platter of watermelon. Lenny again had seconds! Score! Dinner was chicken parmesan cutlets served over a bed of arugula and cherry tomatoes, dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Also on Sunday I made Salmon Gefilte Fish and Beef Brisket for Passover, roasted a lamb shank for the Seder plate... plus cleaned and prepared for our Seder.

Monday:  Turkey and Swiss Panini to get rid of all bread in the house before Passover began at sundown. Haroset. French Asparagus Salad. Warmed the brisket and thickened the gravy. Set the table. Polished the silver. Made mashed potatoes. Lisa made a mushroom-matzo pudding and mushroom gravy for the vegetarians attending our Seder. I served a purchased Passover Matzo Cake for dessert and Lisa's Godmother brought homemade coconut macaroons.

I'm sure I made a whole buncha other stuff (salads, sliced fruit, appetizer trays) that I can't completely recall, but all the Brownie Points go to My Driver who followed behind me emptying the dishwasher and taking out the copious amounts of recycling and trash in the wake of my food bomb and Our Daughter who was cooking next to me in the kitchen for the Seder.

Leo was also a great help... as you can well imagine. My sister thinks Leo will take after the "those who cook" side of our family as Leo's favorite "toys" are pots, pans, funnels and measuring cups. Oh, please, let this be true! Being with Leo for six days was wonderful. Lisa and Lenny really try to keep him on a schedule, and we all cooperated as much as possible with so many activities and visitors over the week. Bubbe's house is not baby-proof and it is an old rambling place with many rooms and doors and stairs and cupboards. The Baby must be hovered-over constantly. Leo loves to push the buttons on the printer, washing machine, TV remotes and dishwasher. I think my printer exploded and possibly the same load of dishes were washed more than once over the course of the past week. Leo loves to hang-out in the pantry and the broom closet. My spices and dried chilies have been reorganized and who knew sweeping, mopping and swiffering were fun activities? Leo never did understand the "feather duster" concept and thought it was a hat. Whatever.

In the middle of all this, I really have found myself in a pickle. My right knee has been giving me fits for weeks and it started acting-up again and is now very swollen. Covering over 10,000 steps in the kitchen yesterday didn't help the situation. Flying today made it swell even more! To put the cherry on the sundae: I have been taking Advil and the tablets are killing my stomach! 

Dang. I am old.

Somehow, all the above sounds like either bragging or complaining, yet I am doing neither. Just stating facts and wondering when I will (one day) answer "What are you making for dinner?", with "reservations". Dear Reader, have any of you reached this point?

We are now back in Indio. I froze the left over brisket and brought it in my (checked)  baggage for our dinner tonight (along with a few potatoes!). Lisa, Lenny and Baby Leo are safely back to their home in Los Angeles.

Lenny sent this photo of Leo on the plane:

I miss him so much already.

So I am going to see him on Friday.

Happy Passover!

Until my next update, I remain, your puffy correspondent.

LET'S MOVE IN MARCH! I have challenged y'all to get out there, lace up your sneakers and walk or jog (or the exercise of your choice) at least 30 minutes - five or six days a week in March. I'm doing this for charity and my prominent backside.

I can barely walk. My right knee is super swollen. All that food and not much running and I lost three pounds this week. Odd. How's it going for you? Please comment below.

Pedometer: 6,613 
Miles jogged for the day/month: 0/65

RV PARK:  Motorcoach Country Club - The Crown Jewel of Motorcoach Resorts. 400 sites, three pools, three spas, fitness center, golf, bocce ball, tennis, 2-mile waterway, fine-dining restaurant, bar, security, planned activities, perfectly maintained. Sites for sale or rent.