Our Month of Eating In: Week Four

We’re coming to the end of our school semester — full of stress and tired of using our brains.  This is usually when we make frequent trips to our favorite BBQ joints in lieu of cooking, but alas, there’s still one more week left of eating in.

This past week was difficult.  We’re both balancing big projects, and we’re anxiously looking forward to a short break for the summer.  The big thing I’ve realized this week is that being the sole cook for a season can make you feel like you never stop giving.  Although I’m an amateur, and my meal planning (see Chicken Week) has a little less bravado than I would like, I still feel like I’ve taken on another part-time job just to account for the amount of thought that goes into this.

Enter friends.  Friday night, we headed over to a Good Friday service, dragging our feet from the house, to the car, and into the church.  We were so tired.  During the service, I couldn’t turn off the part of my brain that accounts for all the ingredients I forgot to pick up for Shepherd’s Pie.  My focus was gone.

Lucky for us, we have some good friends who suggested we band our resources together and make breakfast for dinner.  One of our friends is a stellar hostess — so good, in fact, I take mental notes around her. (See below.)

Lesson: If you’re going to eat in most of the time and pour yourself into renegade self-sufficiency, don’t forget how wonderful it is to receive.  If someone offers to feed you, avoid getting all stuffy with your own month-long creeds.  Relax and be gracious.

Another lesson: When you do receive, avoid sentimentality, which is often just a degenerative form of love in its truest sense.  Real love is frank, forward, and not at all gushy.

Along that vein, here is my unsentimental (albeit completely appreciative) tribute to our hostess:

“Hashbrowns a la Aspen”


  • 4 Potatoes, peeled and chopped into small, thick spears
  • 1/4 of an onion, chopped
  • Handful of spinach
  • 2 or 3 chopped Roma tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs. oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Pour oil into heavy pan and drop in chopped garlic and onion.  Cook on medium heat. Stir and sizzle until slightly brown.  Drop in potatoes and cook until they begin to give a little, slightly increasing heat to medium high.  Add spinach, Romas, and parsley.  Cook until potatoes are soft (but not mushy).  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Happy Easter, everyone!

{The pretty iris photograph is courtesy of my dashing husband, taken during our honeymoon in Canada}


  1. Whoa! I’m here! Courtney, you are very sweet (and very observant). I think there is nothing better than impromptu neighborly meals. Really. I’m amazed that you watched me throw all that stuff in a pot and remember it all! (The only thing you missed was some diced onion thrown in with the garlic at the beginning.)
    Thanks for a great Easter Shepherd’s Pie, and company! You two are great. I am often inspired by your homemaking thoughtfulness. It seems like we could keep a great cycle going.


  2. I don’t know where all these exclamation points are coming from lately. I’m afraid.

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