Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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An unintentional domestic goddess

Ten years ago, I was a new mom and newly minted healthcare professional on a mission to save the world. The thought of being a domestic goddess, or *GASP* stay at home mom was about as foreign to me as someone talking to me in Chinese. I never would have even considered it. I spent too much blood, sweat, tears and money on my education.  I was very happy the way things were. I thought everything was the way it was supposed to be: harried, hectic, and wonderful. Dinners most nights were a whirlwind of something out of a box and a can and augmented by some fresh chicken or beef and a salad. And although it sounds tasty, it was, um, bland is a good word to use. I felt like I was turning into, *gasp* my mother! AAAAAAGGGHHH! She was a working mom and had a fairly limited number of recipes that made their weekly appearance on our dinner table, boring is the best way to describe them. The most colorful name of all her dishes was ‘Shit on a shingle’. MMMM Appetizing, no? ‘Mom, can I have more of that shit?’ funny, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as, ‘Mom, can I have another piece of the bacon wrapped chicken in the white wine cream sauce?’

Of course, we enjoyed eating out, seriously, who doesnt? At one point, my favorite thing to make was reservations. But, it gets expensive really quickly. And then, when you only frequent a small number of dining establishments because of time, as in it’s too late to go all the way to the north side, or wherever, because it’s too close to junior’s bedtime, it is no better than whipping up the shit on a shingle I was making on a regular basis!

What to do what to do? Life went on this way for a few years, something like this: I’m off @ 6, pick up my boy, zoom home, throw something together, eating dinner at 7:30, kid’s off to bed at 8, I’m off to bed at 9. sounds terribly exciting, doesn’t it??

Looking back at it now, I can’t believe it. Things are so different now and definitely for the better. When our precious girl came along a few years later, I had what I thought was a random, fleeting thought about life. It terrified me and I thought there was no way in hell my husband would go for it. Ha ha! Once again, the universe laughed at me! The first two times, well, it’s a long story for another post. So I sort of vomited this idea on his lap. I say vomit because, well, that’s really kind of what it felt like. I was nervous and frightened all at the same time. But I decided I wanted to be the one raising our children, not an underpaid daycare worker who was too overwhelmed with children to give them the attention that I would want them to have. (No offense to daycare workers, but you get my meaning) To my complete astonishment, he said yes! Go for it! He was actually happy that I wanted to do it.

Now life is not the harried, hectic place it used to be. Well, maybe not the same, harried and hectic yes at times, but better. We now have dinner at a respectable hour with time to play after eating. I have found a really insane love of trying new recipes. I jokingly call myself the friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker! I truly enjoy making things, and not just food. This blog is another. If we dont’ have at least two new recipes a week, I must be ill. Or solo. If my kids are gone, I don’t cook much. Although, they were gone earlier this week and I made a new dish, Italian sausage w/peppers and penne. OMG it was soooo good! Will I ever go back to work? I don’t know. All I can say is even though this may have been an unintentional route on my journey, it has been wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for all the rice-a-roni in the world!

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It’s Christmas in March!!!

Ok, so, I know I have a problem with cookbooks. I can’t explain it, and I never in a million years would have thought I’d have a thing for cookbooks, but I do. Funny. Ten years ago, if you had told me I’d give everything up to be a domestic goddess, I’d have told you that you really needed to seek professional help! No way was I going to put my long and arduous education on the shelf to stay at home with my children and become the friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker. I was going to heal the world, not be another stay at home mom. My children would be fine in daycare, I was sure of it. Millions of kids are, why would my children be any different? Well, that just goes to show what happens when you speak of what you know not of.

Now look at me, six years as a domestic goddess and enjoying almost every minute. I say almost because, well, there are parts that I don’t care for, but I’d have to do them no matter if I were working or not, you know, the manual labor involved in keeping house. ugh.

Anyway, I got an email for $5 cookbooks from Taste of Home. Being one who has a hard time resisting a good deal, I ordered three. I didn’t expect them to be as nice as they are. They are hard-cover, approx 300 pages with about 4 to 5 recipes and pictures on every page. It’s like Christmas for me! I bought an ultimate chicken, a healthy cooking and a Pilsbury annual recipe book. I just flipped through one quickly, and OMG! I will be solo for a couple of days next week and now I know what I’ll be doing! Yippee!

Go ahead, you can say it, I’m nuts, I know it. I get excited over odd things, a new sweater from Eddie Bauer, a good sale at Children’s Place, new cooking magazines and cookbooks. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. But hey, the next time you’re over for dinner, there’s a good likelihood you’ll get to sample a new recipe! And don’t be surprised if I use my standard disclaimer: It’s a new recipe, if it sucks, it’s not my fault!

Bon appetite!

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The Domestic Goddess Strikes Again!

Yes, it’s true! The DG was in my kitchen last night I am happy to say. How, you ask? Well, I had some ideas for dinner, but nothing solid and couldn’t find a recipe that I liked, so I just flew by the seat of my pants and the results were fabulous!

I had some orzo that I wanted to make as a side, and since the recipe I have for the orzo calls for parmesan and garlic, I decided it needed to be Italian. Love Italian food. Or what I think is Italian anyway. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Italy yet, so authentic may be way different from what I’m used to or make. But…I wanted to make a chicken parmesan, but couldn’t find a recipe that really looked good.

Oh, and I had what I call ‘free’ bread crumbs. Since most people in my house don’t like to eat the heel of a loaf of bread, I throw them in a freezer bag and toss it into the freezer. When it gets full, I toast the bread in the oven til it’s nice and crisp, then put it in my food processor to create the crumbs. I put the crumbs back in the freezer bag and back into the freezer to keep them fresh. Voila! Free bread crumbs!

I pounded out three chicken breasts to approximately the same thickness and dipped them in an egg wash. The bread crumbs I mixed with Italian seasonings, onion flakes, dried minced garlic, grated parmesan, and salt. From the egg wash, I dipped the chicken, both sides, in the crumb mixture and then sprinkled some shredded Italian 5 cheese blend on top and popped the tray in the oven @ 350 for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime I made the garlic/parmesan orzo, TDF! And a tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, yet more garlic, and a bit of salt.

I topped it off with steamed broccoli and some red wine. When my husband came down for dinner, I warned him about the garlic! there was a lot. I use fresh garlic when I can. I have a garlic press that I love and doesn’t require me peeling the little boogers, so it’s super easy. There’s nothing like fresh garlic, in my mind. And my other thought about garlic, too much is just about right!

Wow! I really impressed myself. The chicken was tender and juicy and the crust was nice and crisp. Of course, the orzo and tomato & mozzarella salad were wonderful as well. You know, I don’t cook like that every day, but when I do, I really love it! Feel free to try out my recipes, that’s why they’re here! But if you do, you have to tell me how it turns out!

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What makes me a domestic goddess?

You know, I guess I never really put it into words, how I managed to come up with this title for myself. Six years ago when my daughter was a baby and I decided I needed to be with them more than I needed to work, my journey began. The term that I’d heard bandied about at that time was ‘Domestic Diva.” However, that one just didn’t work for me and here’s why. The term “diva’ to me connotates bitchy, aloof and demanding, not necessarily something I would strive to be. Goddess, on the other hand, I picture a beautiful woman, who is graceful, elegant, and in control. I liked that much more.

Initially, I was really not much of a cook. Most of our meals consisted of something that came out of a box or jar and augmented with spices, vegetables or meat.

My house was a constant mess because I had a three-year old who was full of energy and an infant, which mean I had no energy.  Toys and books were strewn about the living room causing many an accidental injury from someone stepping on or tripping over them.

Laundry would be done once a week (probably should’ve been done more frequently) and it would take at least that long for me to get it folded and that much longer to get it put away.

These days, it’s a bit better. My house is fairly tidy, not perfect, we live here. Laundry is still done once a week, but I at least get it folded and put away mostly the same day. It’s not unusual for me to cook a meal completely from scratch. I also love trying new recipes. I have become much more daring and adventurous in the kitchen and have a standard disclaimer for the new recipes. I’ve used it many times, but only a couple was it really necessary. Are you ready? Ok, “It’s a new recipe. If it sucks, it’s not my fault.” Please, feel free to use it at any time. I also have what I call “Happy accidents’ in the kitchen. Here’s my problem. I read a recipe, write down and purchase the ingredients, and begin cooking, without re-reading the recipe, or not reading it carefully enough. I start cooking and then read the recipe, only to find out that I have taken it in a completely different direction. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s horrid, others, it’s absolutely wonderful. So, I say to you, if you start cooking and realize you’ve made a mistake somewhere, just press on and see how it turns out. If it comes out good, write down what you’ve done so you can recreate it in the future. If it’s awful, pitch it and start again. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the kitchen, unless you know it’s something you know you or your family will absolutely not like.

I also have found I love to have parties. Never would’ve thought that either. My parents never entertained guests. The house I grew up in was rather small, which doesn’t necessarily preclude parties, they just didn’t. I really enjoy getting our friends together for food and drink and the occasional game.  Although, even though it’s not true, we have been accused of reading the cards for Trivial Pursuit. We have to play other games now, no one wants to play with people who always win. Sorry, my brain just retains random, useless tidbits of information. I can’t explain it.

A domestic goddess to me, is a woman who is happiest when she’s at home with her family, doing things she loves, whether it’s cooking, hosting parties or playing with her children. Most women I know are part domestic goddess. They may love cooking and playing with their children, or some variation, but work outside the home. Being a full-time domestic goddess is not for everyone, and that is just fine. We are all different and have to find the right balance for ourselves and our families. June Cleaver I am not. My house is not perfect. Most days my hair and makeup are not perfect either. And I certainly don’t wear heels, a skirt and pearls to do my housework. But I love my family and will do everything I can to make sure everyone is happy and healthy. That makes me happy.

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Cookies for Santa

Yes, my blog is titled “Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess.’ I never realized I had hidden within myself and Rachael/Martha/Betty wannabe. The past few years, she has been fighting to escape the confines of my brain and shows herself on a fairly regular basis.

Case in point: Last night my son’s best friend was here for a sleepover. Today is Christmas Eve and of course, we must have cookies for Santa. I think he would be tremendously offended if we neglected his midnight snack. So, with my son’s friend (and my extra son) here, we made gingerbread cookies. I thought I had a man cookie cutter, but couldn’t seem to locate it so we made Santa, Christmas trees, stockings and snowmen and had agreat time decorating them with frosting and loads of sprinkles. I think Santa may have a belly ache by the time  he leaves my house!

It really was so much fun doing it and watching them. My son’s friend is a really good kid and I like him a lot. I am very happy that they live two doors down. It’s very convenient, I like his parents, and he’s a good kid to boot. Jackpot!

He was so funny, he wanted to watch me roll the dough and cut out the cookies. I guess his mother doesn’t cook much, no matter how many easy recipes I give her, she just doesn’t enjoy it at all. He told me what a good cook I am, and that really made me feel good. Sweet kid.

I called his mother to ask a question and told her what we were doing and she said, ‘Oh, I”m so glad he gets to do that with you. I guess no matter how much I don’t want to do it, I really should, just so we can do it together.’  That really made me realize that not everyone has an inner Rachael/Martha/Betty dying to get out. I hope she will do things like that for him. He really seemed to enjoy it. In the meantime, I’ll continue passing on easy recipes for her to try in hopes she’ll discover her “Unintentional Domestic Goddess”!

Merry Christmas!

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A Domestic Goddess is Born

Twelve years ago, while I studying to be a chiropractor and preparing to marry the man of my dreams,  I had absolutely no intention of being a stay-at-home mom.  Are you kidding me?  If you had any idea the amount of work and truly blood, sweat, and tears that went into getting my degree, not to mention student loans,  you would agree.  Why do all that to just stay home?Wouldn’t it have been easier, and cheaper, to just get married and start cranking out kids? 

Well, the easy answer to that is yes.  However, most of us know we really don’t know what’s in store for us in our futures.   Now, nearly 12 years and two children later, here I am, a stay-at-home mom.  What I really prefer to call myself is a Domestic Goddess.  Even if my house is less than perfect most of the time.

It’s funny how our priorities and desires change as time goes by.  When I was walking that stage wearing my funny hat and robe, if you had come to me and said,  ‘Hey!  Guess what!  In ten years, you’ll be staying home taking care of your children!’  I would have given you a look and walked away.  I was going to heal the world.  That was my plan.  Well,  HA HA!  The universe had other plans for me.

One day a thought casually danced through my sleep-deprived brain when  my daughter was nearly 2 months old.  Soon, it was more than casual, it was hammering away. I was fearful, but I took a leap and told my husband about this thought that refused to leave me alone and he was very enthusiastic about it.  I expected some debate, as we normally do when making a major decision.  Not this time.  I decided work could wait and that my children needed me more than the patients did.  They can always find another doc, but this is my one chance with my children when they are young.

It was difficult at first, to go from being a professional healthcare provider to a professional diaper changer/burper/cleaner.    But I made the transition finally.  It took probably a solid six months for me to really adapt to it.  I felt isolated and cut off from adult conversation.  As time went on, I got better at it.

Looking back now, I’m so glad I did it.  I took the plunge and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’m here to tell you, if you are considering making this change in your life, it can be tough, but you will make it. Especially if you have a supportive partner.

I started this blog to share my experiences, tips and tricks.  And also some recipes.  I have a lot of them now, and many of them are what I call ‘Happy Accidents’.  They started out as something else, and my inability to properly read the recipe has led to some really great creations that I never thought I could do!

Let’s have some fun.  It’s not all about house-work and drudgery.  I want to enjoy my life and my time here.  I want to matter to my children and others, whether it’s by being a good friend, sharing recipes, or being a voice of experience.  If you like what you read, let me know.  If there’s something you’d like to see, tell me that too.

We’ll see you on the flip side!

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