A Beautiful Flower Painting and a Mealtime Dilemma

"Hydrangea Portrait"  watercolour on paper, 6" x 11"

I've been wanting to share this hydrangea painting for a while now. Hydrangeas are a favourite of mine, and the classic ball shaped kind don't really grow in my northern region. We're Zone 2 or 3, depending on who you ask. I love this little painting, the sunlit feel and the details in the leaves that don't contradict the looseness in the blossoms.

I'm making supper right now - chicken tetrazzini, and I'm feeling totally rock star because I'm doubling the recipe and freezing half. I did this a few weeks ago for shepherd's pie, and it really takes the pressure off to know you have a backup meal in the deep freeze.

For at least a year when the kids were tiny I did the menu planning thing. It was great. I would sit down on Sunday night and plan my meals for the week. Sometimes I even planned a whole month! I did my grocery shopping on Tuesdays, and things went really smoothly, meal-wise. It felt good to be able to know what I was making each night, to know what to defrost each morning, and when to start cooking, based on how time-intensive that night's meal would be to make. So why don't I do it anymore? No reason, really, except not sticking with it. I started putting together a database of recipes and ingredients in the computer, got about five weeks done and ran out of ideas. I'm not beating myself up over it though. I'll be making supper for my family for many years to come, and if not every meal is inspired at least no one is starving. And I can feel good about remembering to double up on freezable meals and being able to throw a meal together on the nights when I have nothing thawed and no ideas. We don't eat out as much as we used to.

What's your favourite family meal? I could use all the ideas I could get. Bear in mind that my family doesn't eat fish or anything too "ethnic." (One of the highlights of my summer was going out for supper with two girlfriends to the local curry place - no kids or husband along so I didn't have to worry about sensitive palates!)