“Ummm, Mrs. Minns, I don’t think our camp starts until 10:30 am,” my 12-year old’s buddy says to me as I’m minutes away from dropping the two of them off at cooking camp.
“Oh no, darlin’, it starts at 10am. I’m sure of it. I have it in my calendar.”
It was the first week of summer camps and I had everything timed out perfectly for my three chickens. All of them had camps. All of them needed to be in a different place at a different time and I was patting myself on the back for having the schedule organized and timed out to the minute.
I pulled into a spot right in front of the cooking school. The troops hopped out and headed toward the door. I heard my son’s buddy say under his breath, “I checked the website last night.” but I didn’t respond…so sure of myself and my timing.
We pulled open the door only to be greeted by panic in the eyes of the chefs putting on the camp.
“Well, hello there….ahem….so we’re still setting up. Camp doesn’t start for another half an hour but you are welcome to have a seat over there and wait.”
My son’s buddy smiled at me and I had to smile back. (Darn these kids and their technological skills.) “Oh for crying out loud, let’s go to Starbucks.”
We loaded back into the car, drove across the street to get the caffeine I was clearly in need of and eventually ambled back across the street only to arrive at the camp 5 minutes late.
That is how my summer started and I could never kick out of it.
I would get my daughter to dance rehearsal a half-hour early twice in a row only to get her to the actual show, a half-hour late.
Thought my haircut was an hour later than it was. Missed the thing completely and spent the next week…until I could get in again…looking like Lily Munster.
Thought I had responded to a text message from a friend saying, “Sure I can take your son to Lacrosse camp tomorrow. I’ll be there by 8:30am.” Only to show up the next morning and wonder why she had already taken him. Found the “pending” message the next day and wacked myself upside the head for never pressing send.
When I drove to register my 6th grader for school at the end of August, I was positively jubilant. Couldn’t believe the way I had finessed my schedule that day to include volleyball practices, swimming lessons, football practice, my own work, a conference call and smack dab in the middle of the day, the aforementioned registration. Driving over the speed bumps leading up to the school, I glanced in my rear view window and wondered for a brief moment why there weren’t more cars behind us or in front of us.
“Hey, buddy, can you check the calendar on my phone and tell me what time I have down for registration?”
“Noon to one.”
“Okay, that’s what I thought. We’re all good!” And then thought, “Hmm, strange time to hold registration.”
We drove up to the school. Only a handful of cars were in the lot and the doors to the cafeteria, where registration is held, were shut and locked. My sixth-grader started to panic, saying things like, “I just wanted to see my friends. I can’t believe we missed registration.”
“Not to worry. I’ll figure this out.”
Finding an unlocked side door, we walked in the building and discovered that registration had been from nine to noon.
You can imagine that by the time I got to Labor Day weekend, I was desperate for a break from the constant chore of getting people places on-time…and failing at it. I was clearly out-numbered by my chickens and my brain was busting at the seams. Details were falling out and getting lost by the minute.
We headed to the Oregon Coast for the long holiday weekend and like a child, I was antsy the whole ride. I couldn’t wait to get there. We parked our car in the driveway and didn’t get in it again for three days.
We walked on the beach. Walked to the little coffee shop. Rode bikes. Soaked up the rare, HOT, Oregon sun. Watched the kids boogie board in the frigid ocean. We read books. Took naps. Watched college football. Caught up with dear friends. We barbecued up garlic, lime, cilantro flank steak, ribs with a secret sauce and oysters on the half-shell with butter. We ate tomato basil salad, cowboy caviar, and sweet cantaloupe. We lit a bonfire. Watched the sunset. Roasted s’mores and chuckled at our teens and tweens roaming the beach in packs. We never had to be anywhere on-time.
We weren’t there long but when it was time to head home, my mind felt more settled. The franticness had dissipated…a bit. “Sometimes you just need a little change of pace,” the Rooster commented as we were leaving.
Riding home, I felt like I could take on the first day of school…the next day…which would include getting three different kids to three different schools.
A week into it, we’re not doing too badly. The kids are arriving on-time or on “Minns time” – 5-10 minutes late – which is perfectly normal for us.
We’ll see how long this lasts and when I may need that change of pace again. I suppose my first clue will be when my kids, as well as their friends, start letting me know where I need to be and when.
As always, thank you for reading my friends!
On to the recipes…
When I was camping down by the river back in July, Polly’s older sister whipped up a flank steak marinated in a garlic, lime and cilantro sauce. Wow…”lick the platter clean” good!! As soon as I returned home I tried to recreate her recipe. Now, I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same but it’s pretty darn close….and here’s the thing….I can’t get a picture of it for you. I have made it a handful of times in the past month…specifically to take a photo of it….and it’s always gone before I can take it. Finally, on the last try, I actually had some left-over but I wasn’t in a picture taking mood.
A few days later….thanks to the inspiration of my sweet friend Gia (Thank you, Gia!) I took those leftovers I didn’t feel like photographing and turned them into little meat pocket pies which I did feel like photographing. So, you lucky dogs you, today you get two recipes. First the flank steak a la carte and then, the little meat pocket pies.
|Flank Steak in a Garlicky, Limey, Cilantro-y Marinade||
- 2 lbs of flank steak
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp of olive oil, virgin or not
- juice from 3 limes
- 4 cloves of garlic, or more if you like, peeled and sliced
- a nice big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- Generously sprinkle your steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Mix together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cilantro in a small bowl.
- For marinating, I like to use a shallow rectangular dish for marinating my meat but you can use whatever container suits you. Put your steak in your chosen container and pour the marinade over it. Pick your steak up with a fork…or your fingers…and flip it over a couple time to make sure both sides are completely coated.
- Cover and stick the meat in your refrigerator and let it marinate for 8 hours or overnight. I’ve also made it with only enough time to marinate it for an hour or two and it was still delicious. My preferred marinating time frame is 8 hours or so.
- When it’s time to grill it, pre-heat your barbecue to medium-high heat.
- Pull your meat out of the marinade…I usually brush off the garlic cloves so they don’t burn and turn bitter but I don’t worry about the cilantro leaves that cling.
- Slap it down on the grill, close the lid and let it grill for about 6 minutes. Flip it and grill it another 4-6 minutes depending on how “done” you like it.
- We here at the Minns house don’t like our meat to “moo” at us while we’re eating it so I usually go for the longer time.
- Pull it off the grill and let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, then slice it up and serve it.
Little Meat Pocket Pies
These little pies are the perfect way to use up leftover meat and vegetables. I’ve written down what I used but you could use any combination of leftovers you have in your fridge. You’re going to wrap it all up in a cream cheese butter crust so really…you can’t go wrong. Now, I will admit this isn’t the best recipe for a weeknight due to the dough and all and I definitely don’t recommend making it for the first night of school but a Sunday afternoon…perfect.
1 med onion, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ c of leftover meat, flank steak, roasted chicken, etc.
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ c grated white cheddar, Monterey Jack or whatever cheese you have that needs to be used up
First you’ll want to make your dough since it needs to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or more. You’ll find the ingredients and directions for making it HERE on my Chicken Pocket Pie post.
Next, sauté up your onions for 6 minutes or so. Add in your red pepper for another 4 minutes or so. Add in your garlic for a minute. Then, toss in your meat, cumin, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the ingredients are combined.
Take off the stove. Sprinkle in your cheese. Stir it up then put the whole concoction in the fridge while you roll out your dough and follow the directions for assembling the pocket pies HERE, back on the chicken pocket pie post, starting at “Preheat over to 375 degrees.”
Children love these little time-intensive savory goodies…especially little first graders. Enjoy my friends!
A little note about my less-than-usual posting….
I had the opportunity to participate in a Food Writing Boot Camp of sorts during the month of August. I hope to share my experience with you in a near-future post because the people I interacted with….Wow!!…so much talent and nuggets of wisdom. Needless to say my kids watched a lot of TV in August and learned how to fend for themselves quite a bit. Lots of PB&J and Mac N’ Cheese was consumed. My daughter is now a regular on public transit. And I….well, I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting. Reading and researching. Interviewing and learning. So grateful….