Updated 2011-10-16 17:14:26 ID=655:0

© 2011 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

Surviving Grape and Walnut Harvests and a Puppy Too!

Several weeks ago, my five year old German Shepherd died, which threw me into a tailspin, so what did I do? Found another puppy to love! But putting up with all the escapades of another young German Shepherd during the peak of Grape/Wine Harvest and Walnut Harvest is proving to test my mettle and cooking style.

"Woe is me!" I think to myself each morning when the alarm rings at predawn and hubby has to take off for the vineyard or walnut orchard to help harvest with the small-numbered crew. "Woe is me" when my puppy who knows that he gets fed soon after that alarm rings, wakes up and starts counting down the minutes until his first feeding by whining every couple minutes. Worried about BOTH males, I jump to task of making sure my husband eats his breakfast and doesn't leave without his packed lunch. I hurriedly get him off then turn my attentions to my four-legged male.

While I am rushing around the kitchen (where I "feed" my husband) and the Mudroom (where I feed my pup) I start thinking to myself that this wasn't such a "bright" idea timing-wise to take on the extra chores of "manning a new puppy 24/7" when I have so many other responsibilities this time of year!- BUT any later in the year would have collided with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays --not a good time either, plus THIS puppy would've been "gone" by then! So what do I do and how do I cope?

First of all, if you haven't guessed yet, I don't get much uninterrupted sleep! - It's been many weeks since I was allowed "the luxury" of sleeping through the night! And since I'm not all that rested, my energy-level is getting pretty low now, so I'm more-or-less on "autopilot" cooking-wise.

Now DON'T get me wrong-I still LOVE to cook--and do so daily- but my "adventures in food" are a bit more restrained right now! I now think FIRST of "how many dishes it will make?" And WHAT I actually cook-up- if it's on a night when I can pace-myself more easily. (i.e. preparing most of the ingredients a little earlier in the late afternoon when I'm still relatively alert and less pressured. - After my pup has had his 2nd feeding and done his "major business" for the day and my hubby is on his way home!)

Honestly, if I didn't know HOW to pace myself, I'd probably be a "goner" right now - marriage and cooking-wise! If I couldn't pace myself, it would be too hard to entertain and cook for friends and family, clean my house, or run errands and be home on time!

Pacing yourself really has advantages! What really helps making "involved recipes" simple is to break the cooking into steps.
For instance, in our recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Romantic Table Style , I also use my recipe for Basic Marinara Sauce , which I make a day or two ahead of time. The day that I make the marinara, I serve it that evening with some ravioli or tortellini.(Cooking it ahead of time also improves the flavor of the marinara-allowing the flavors of the ingredients to meld!) Then the day that I want to serve the Eggplant Parmesan, I just have to prepare the eggplant and put the two recipes together to make another creation!

I LOVE to cook! But try to "cook-smart!" --That's usually the only way that I can easily "pull-it-off" in these hectic-scheduled times. If you can cook smart, it REALLY takes the pressure off and allows for some extra fun in the kitchen without turning it into a chore. Then if the food turns out well, you're likely to get some added "help" in the kitchen cleaning-up AFTER dinner!

Latest Blog Posts

Henrietta the Uninvited Free Range Chicken that Flies

2015-03-06 18:04:33
© 2015 The Romantic Table

Early Fall Food Cravings

2014-09-28 12:14:50
© 2014 The Romantic Table

Day by Day Getting back into the Kitchen's Swing of Things

2014-09-03 16:44:57
© 2014 The Romantic Table

Fruitcake - A Christmas Baking Tradition

2014-10-20 14:53:16
© 2013 The Romantic Table

Fall! The Years Most Perfect Palette of Foods and Spices to "Dance With!"

2013-10-13 21:13:06
© 2013 The Romantic Table

What Your Immune System Needs to Guard Your Body of Winter Ills

2013-09-24 23:09:13
© 2013 The Romantic Table

As Summer comes to a close we must enjoy and savor the best-of Summer's produce and transition-in with some new favorites!

2013-09-02 21:08:59
© 2013 The Romantic Table

Santa Maria Style BBQ -A Barbecue Tradition Unique to The Central Coast

2013-09-02 23:32:13
© 2013 The Romantic Table

After a Long Illness, I'm Finally Back!

2013-05-17 19:50:35
© 2013 The Romantic Table

Living Well With Calcium

2012-05-05 21:35:53
© 2012 The Romantic Table

Past News and Article Archive Directory

A tip from Sue!

Choosing a pot

The first thing you to do is get decent cookware. Nothing is more serviceable than stainless steel, that’s what the pros use and is mandated for all commercial restaurants.

Save yourself a lot of trouble and get the best quality stainless steel that you can afford. A few basic sizes will take you a long way!