We go out to eat less than four times a year. Seriously.
John and I might go out for our anniversary, a grandparent might be in town and take the whole family out to dinner a couple times a year, and we sometimes remember to dress up like cows for Cow-Appreciation-Day at Chick fil-A and get a free meal.
Part of the reason we rarely eat out has to do with money, because it is very expensive to eat out, but the primary reason we do not go out to eat is because of health. There are very few restaurants in our area that serve healthy food. We have one or two local restaurants, tons of chain restaurants, and no restaurants that cater to people wanting to have fresh, healthy food that isn’t full of unhealthy fats, chemicals, and sodium. So we skip the restaurant meals and I cook 362+ nights a year.
While I normally plan my meals in advance, there are times like last week where I had to take three kids to the doctor on two different days, stand in the line at the pharmacy forever, and got home later than I expected. I still didn’t swing by a restaurant though, because I knew I could put a healthy meal on the table in no time flat.
Here’s the funny part. On my way home from the pharmacy, I decided to make stir-fry vegetables over quinoa because that was fast and filling. I already had applesauce muffins that I made the day before, and we had salad greens. All good – right?
I got home, grabbed the quinoa from the container, rinsed it, and set it on the stove to cook. In the meantime, I quickly sliced vegetables and threw them in the pan to cook.
The quinoa looked a little weird. Kinda whiteish on the top and the water was milky. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I probably mismeasured the water/quinoa ratio.” I kept looking at the quinoa, gave it a few stirs, turned up the heat, stirred it again. Hmmm. Still didn’t look quite right but the veggies were done, the salad was washed, the table was set, and eight people were in the kitchen ready to eat.
So, I dished out some quinoa on the first person’s plate. It was soupy. No problem, I threw it back into the quinoa pot, rinsed the whole thing under hot water until it looked more “right” and dished some out onto each person’s plate. I then added the vegetables. Here is what it looked like.
Looks pretty good – right?
Well, we ate dinner and I thought the quinoa tasted different but I was in a hurry, a bit frazzled from the whole cooking experience, and just ate it up. So did everyone else. Toward the end of the meal my oldest son looked at me and said, “Mom, are you sure this is quinoa?”
I said, “Yeah, it’s the organic quinoa I got from our bulk foods co-op.”
He said, “Are you sure it isn’ t steel cut oats?” I looked at my plate again and started to laugh. Sure enough, he was right. I had grabbed the plastic bag that was nestled inside the quinoa container thinking it was full of quinoa, but no, it was steel cut oats. On the right hand side is steel cut oats and on the left, quinoa.
No wonder the cooked product looked soupy and milky. I cooked steel cut oats instead of quinoa and then put vegetables on it. I laughed so hard I cried and all the family laughed too. We dubbed the new dish Oat-WAA and I promised I would never make it again.
My husband said, “Well, it tasted different but you are always serving us different stuff so I figured it was good for me and just ate it.” That’s a good sport for you.
I learned that my family is used to getting served strange looking, healthy food. I learned to check my grains twice before cooking them. And I learned that cooked, rinsed, steel cut oats aren’t terrible as a base for vegetables.
Have you ever had a funny kitchen mishap? How did it turn out? Diane