Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013: From the Station Kitchen

From now until the end of 2013, I'll be wrapping up the year with some of the most popular posts of the year. Today I kick off the Best of 2013 series with the top five most popular recipes.
Freshly Baked Spritz Cookies
Bringing everyone together at the dinner table to share a home-cooked meal proved more challenging in 2013 than I had originally thought. I ended up cooking and baking less in 2013 than I had wanted to. But, I'd like to think that the meals and sweets I did share with my family made up for the lack of desired quantity with quality.
Coffee Break: Pecan Toffee Bars
Are your favorites here?
What recipes do you like making for your family?


From My Mom's Kitchen: The Beef Stroganoff Incident

Until I started writing this post and thinking about the home-cooked meals my family shared when I was a kid, I'd thought my mom had been able to accomplish the fete -- not easily -- but more consistently and with less stress. Then I remembered the Beef Stroganoff incident.
The Beef Stroganoff incident you ask? Well, let me tell you. If you're not familiar with Beef Stroganoff, you need to know that one of the key flavors in it is nutmeg. Nutmeg looks similar to cinnamon. If you don't cook or bake a lot, you've probably seen a comedy sketch or two where salt is mistakenly swapped for sugar -- both are white crystalline substances. Nutmeg and cinnamon like salt and sugar have very different tastes.
On the night of the Beef Stroganoff incident, my mom had accidentally switched the nutmeg with cinnamon. I was quick to point out this mistake, and was not too tactful with my delivery either. (Back then, black was black. White was white. There was no grey. Facts were facts. Something was either right or it was wrong. Effort didn't count. Only results mattered.)
Looking back my mom had obviously had a long day and dinner not coming out right was just another thing she didn't need. She was probably overwhelmed and exhausted, like I am on the days where I'm juggling work, trying to get a project for the blog produced, and chasing after Gates all at once. I don't know if she even remembers that dinner; the end result was that I got to eat the cinnamon-laced stroganoff while she grabbed everyone else's plates and dumped them in the trash. I may not have even had to eat the whole plate; in my memory the injustice of the incident was that I pointed out a flaw and was the only one who had to suffer for it.
As 2013 wraps up, be nice to yourself. Don't beat yourself up for where you think you fell short compared to others. And, if you remember trying your mom's patience, give her a call, send her a note, tell her you're sorry. Because effort counts. And, she, like you, was/is giving it her all.
See you tomorrow when I continue the Best of 2013 series with the top five most popular DIY projects.
Bon Appetit!
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P.P.S. Want the recipes for the Spritz Cookies and Pecan Toffee Bars pictured in this post? Head over to A Girl Named PJ for the recipes!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.