Pantry Cooking Project, Day 3

What to drink when you don’t want to buy drinks at work.

Growing up, our beverage choice at dinner was usually water or water. We drank a lot of water in our house. Sometimes there was juice or milk at breakfast or lunch, and in the summer, Country Time lemonade or instant Nestea iced tea (you do know to boycott Nestlé, right?), but usually, it was water, and it’s still my favorite beverage. Preferably cold with no ice, but I’m pretty flexible. Am I the only one who sees people using a garden hose and wants to go over and get a quick drink? Yeah, probably the only one over the age of seven.


These days, I still mostly drink water, but I’ve gotten in the habit at The Best Job Ever of buying a drink in the afternoon: usually sweet, usually caffeinated, usually cold. Today, it’s jasmine and honey iced tea with lychee jelly. Delicious. But I want to see about moving to homemade drinks for my afternoon treat. One of the main reasons I don’t do that is that I don’t want to deal with washing out a container, but maybe I can find one that’s wide enough that I can just wash it the way I would a drinking glass. I’ll be on the lookout.

Possible afternoon bring-along drinks:

ice water (feels like more of a treat than just water from the tap)
sweet iced tea
chia lemonade or other chia drink
V-8, tomato juice, Clamato (all faves, but in hot weather, they don’t tend to satisfy thirst as well for me)
[your suggestion here]

Food today:

Breakfast was delicious. Frozen O’Brien potatoes fried in oil; eggs over easy; a little sriracha; a cup of V-8; some yellow pepper strips.

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Lunch was an embarrassment of food in packets. I had taken some ham out of the freezer to make sandwiches with, but it wasn’t thawed yet when I went to make my lunch in the morning, so I just grabbed some stuff to take.


Dinner was some really amazing cheeseburgers, with those awesome homemade buns. Mom often thinks we’re not eating enough meat, so she sends us boxes of meat from Omaha Steaks. These are their burgers, topped with melted Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. Usually, I eat half my burger and give James the other half, because I’m just not all that into big chunks of meat, but this time, I ate the whooooooole thing, and it was just. so. good.


Money spent on groceries today: $0
Money spent in restaurants today: $2.99 (project total $11.52)
Food gifts received today: $0 (project total $17)
Things we’ve run out of: Mayonnaise, ice cream, milk, hamburger patties

Mom’s kind of burger

Classic American burger.

Just a quick post today. The burgers I made would make my mom’s mouth water. Rare, lean beef. Toasted buns. Lots of veggies. (Cheese on James’s, but not on mine. I don’t usually do cheese on burgers.)

SO delicious. The kind of food I grew up on. Just a quarter pound of lean ground beef for each burger, sprinkled with salt/pepper/garlic and seared in a hot pan. Served with oven fries (from fresh russets, tossed in oil and roasted in a single layer in a 400°F oven) and plenty of ketchup to dip the fries in.

cheeseburger, oven fries, ketchup


Testing, testing: Beef Burger with Spinach, Roasted Poblanos, and Caramelized Onions

Update: This burger made Editors’ Pick at Food52!

This will be my last post before the blog officially launches on Sunday (August 1st) and I tell my mom about it.  I wouldn’t be posting at all, because I’m working on writing next week’s posts, but something fun is going on, and you may be able to help and have fun along with me.

burger 1

When Food52 asked for our best beef burgers, I knew I’d love to participate, because wow, does my family love burgers. Me, though, I’m not a huge meat-eater, so I wanted something with a little bit of veggies, too. The kid had a light-bulb moment, brought on by the fact that she was still feeling rhapsodic about the Bayless chicken.  Why couldn’t I, she asked, make a burger with the same flavors as the yummy chicken, only use beef?

So I did.

burger 2

My burger (Beef Burger with Spinach, Roasted Poblanos, and Caramelized Onions) is on their list of Editors’ Pick Candidates — see it there at the bottom of their call for testers?  (Here’s a direct link to the recipe.)  I’d love to see some of you test this, or any of the other burgers on the list.  It’s fun summer food, that’s for sure.

And now the summer is essentially over for me.  I have tomorrow, Friday, completely off, and then Saturday, the work year starts for me, and it’ll be June before I get another extended leave from work.

This year, I hope, will be a stellar year for The Mom Food Project. If I play my cards right, I’ll test and post about ALL the foods on my own Mom Food list (approximately 85 items), and get a chance to share your Mom Foods (and Dad Foods, and Grandma Foods, and so on) with you.

Updates will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Mondays I’ll be participating in Meatless Mondays, which you’d think would be a challenge considering how much my mom loves and cooks meat, but she also loves veggies.  Latkes are vegetarian, after all!

Every Wednesday will be full of recipes, menus, cooking tips, and lots of photos of my Mom Foods and all your contributions.

Friday is Follow Friday, which is really a Twitter thing, but I like the idea, so here on the blog (and on the Project’s Twitter feed, @momfood), I’ll point you to others who are celebrating the concept of feeding our families lovingly.

Thank you all for taking this leap with me. I’ve already found such support and so many great new friends in the month that I’ve been working on this project. I’m very grateful to you all for being so open and loving with me, and for believing in the healing power of food served with love.