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Change of Plans and a Comfort Food Dinner

November 14, 2012

On Tuesdays, usually we have a sitter who comes from 3-6.  Ryan is teaching during this time, and I usually hightail it to Starbucks to get massive amounts of grading done.  Someone (another person in our English department) told me that after he and his wife had a child, he realized how much time he wasted as a teacher, pre-parenthood.  But, as a parent, he stopped procrastinating so much—putting off grading, grading just a few papers at a time, etc.—because time was a precious commodity.  When he knew that he only had an hour out of the day to get work done, he’d spend that whole hour working really efficiently, instead of checking Facebook or e-mail or blogs every five minutes in between papers.

Basically, the the less time you have to do work, the more efficient you become about getting that work done.

I’m definitely finding this to be true for myself.  I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator, but these days, I’m pretty good about grading my papers or commenting on poems or stories RIGHT when they come my way, as opposed to letting the piles stack up on my desk for weeks on end (not that I would ever do that.  Nope.  Never.).  I’m also forcing myself to really work when I’m supposed to be working—I can grade 8 papers in an hour if I grade with focus, or I can grade about 4 in that same hour if I’m allowing myself to check Facebook…and blogs…and Facebook…and celebrity news…and Facebook…all in that same hour.  More and more, I’m becoming better about doing the former rather than the latter.  BL (before Lila), I could mess around and take my time getting my work done.  But nowadays, if we’re paying someone 15 dollars an hour to watch Lila while I get work done, you can bet your ass I’m going to actually do work during that time.

Anyway.  This is all to say that my plans to do work were flushed down the toiler this afternoon when our sitter called and just about hacked up a lung over the phone.  I told her not to worry about coming in, and just like that, my afternoon plans of grading were traded in with an afternoon of playing, reading, and running errands with this girl:


Not a bad trade if you ask me. Smile 

More and more, I’m trying to take Lila out during our mornings and afternoons.  We visit the park almost every day, and now that I’ve mastered the art of putting her in the Ergo on my own, we’ve gotten into the groove of running errands together as well.  Today, we hit up Michael’s where I picked up some items for a crafting project I’m working on, and we also went to Earth Fare to pick up some stuff for dinner.

Ryan has been really good about preparing delicious meals for me on the nights that I teach, and tonight, since he’ll be teaching late, I wanted to do the same.  Our weather has gotten COLD, so comfort food sounded perfect…and what’s more comforting than shepherd’s pie?

When we got home, I put Lila in her jumper in the kitchen:


turned on the holiday tunes (yep, I’m that person):


and got cooking.  I put on a big pot of water to boil for the potatoes, and then in a separate large pan, heated up 1 tbsp. of butter.

To the butter, I added: 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 carrot, 5 large shitake mushrooms, 1 cup regular mushrooms (all chopped), plus 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup peas, 3 leaves of kale, torn into small pieces.  I cooked the veggies in the butter for about 10 minutes, until they were pretty soft. 


Then, I added 1/2 cup red wine, plus generous amounts of garlic salt, pepper, and herbes de provence (can you tell I love this herb mix?).  I allowed the veggies to cook for about another 5 minutes, until the wine had cooked down.  Then, I turned off the heat and set the veggie mixture aside.

While I was cooking the veggies, I added three large russet potatoes (cut into halves) into the pot of boiling water and allowed them to cook until easily pierced with a fork (about 25 minutes).  I drained the potatoes, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Then, I transferred the potatoes to the food processor, along with the cooking liquid, another tbsp. of butter, and salt and pepper. I pulsed the potatoes until very smooth:


This definitely creates more of a “whipped” potato than a mashed one.  If you’d rather your potato topping be mashed…well, mash your potatoes! Duh.  Smile 

I transferred the veggie mix to a pie dish and distributed it evenly:


…and then topped the mix with the whipped potatoes:



This went into a 350 degree oven and baked for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes had set.  Then, I topped it with some finely grated parmesan:


…and sent it back into the oven to be broiled for another 5 minutes, until the cheese was golden brown:


D. Licious.   Seriously. Vegetarian comfort food at its finest, and nice enough, I think, to even serve at a dinner party.  This was seriously tasty.  Plus, you could easily add meat, or change around the veggies depending on your preferences.


I enjoyed mine with a glass of red wine, a sleeping baby, and a quiet house.  Ahhhhh.

Have a good night!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2012 12:48 pm

    Now that is an amazing looking dinner!!!! Want! I think once you become a Mom, flexibility has a whole new meaning.

  2. November 14, 2012 1:22 pm

    I am a horrible procrastinator. I actually think that I work better under pressure which adds to the amount that I procrastinate.

  3. November 14, 2012 2:27 pm

    Oh yum! Sounds perfect right about now – don’t know about you guys, but our temps have dropped so anything warm and comforting sounds perfect. Glad your evening worked out even if it was upended!

  4. November 14, 2012 5:27 pm

    I’ve totally been listening to holiday music – Michael Buble, in particular, this morning!

  5. November 14, 2012 6:12 pm

    I am making this! I love one dish meals and this is right up my alley! I am also one of “those” people! 40 days till the holidays! Bring on the tunes 😉

  6. Stacey permalink
    November 15, 2012 2:48 am


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