Kevin and I shared a moment of absolute hilarity yesterday.
Last year, I had lots of time on my hands after retiring in August 2013...so I made all kinds of cool crafty things to keep me busy before we started skiing, camping and kayaking.
I have thought about a weekly menu for a long time, but while I was working at the church it never seemed to work out for us. I worked late many nights and on the weekends, I decided on the spur of the moment to make something for dinner that sounded good. I've never been that organized with menus, so I thought it was just a passing fancy.
This year, I was determined to have a weekly plan. It's made life much easier for me. One of the crafts that I created last year (and I have to say, it is my favorite) is a canvas chalk board that I keep in the kitchen. It has the days of the week and I make a menu on Mondays. I really like to see what is up for dinner- and it helps with weekly shopping. If we put something on the menu Monday that isn't in the freezer or fridge, I have to get to the store in time for the scheduled dinner. Sometimes, I scan the freezer and pantry for dinner ideas and other times I look through my many cookbooks for ideas. It makes for an interesting and internationally inspired week of dinners!
Kevin suggested last week that we reserve a day to smoke a hunk of meat. We have had a Bradley smoker for a few years now and we just love to experiment with different cuts of meat, poultry and fish or vegetables in the smoker. He wanted to try using a 'flavor injector' that is sold at Sportsman's Warehouse. I agreed, and we did some research. We decided to smoke a chuck roast and inject it with Cajun Butter. I also decided to rub the roast with a nice dry rub of seasoning, since we like a flavorful crust with a smoked meat.
It seemed simple enough to 'inject' the beef...load up the little syringe and pump away. Uh, huh. Not so easy. It might have been a little easier if either of us had read the directions.
I carefully poured enough of the sauce into the syringe and tightened the head on the needle. I poked it into the meat and promptly squirted Cajun Butter all over the counter. Kevin almost spilled his beer because he was laughing so hard. I was getting more and more frustrated as the brown gooey stuff dribbled all over the pan, the counters and my hands. He decided he could do a better job than I could do, so he took over the injection duties.
He stuck the needle into the jar of Cajun Butter to try and draw more up into the needle. I said that I thought that didn't look like a good idea, because he would be introducing bacteria from raw beef into the GIANT jar of Cajun Butter. He said, "Oh, I didn't think about that." Great. Now we had to use the whole jar. He said very smugly that his friend told him that there were two holes in the injector needle and you had to very carefully and slowly inject the sauce into the beef. As he said that, he slowly pushed the plunger into a section of the beef and promptly let a giant squirt of Cajun Butter onto his shirt, the counter, me and about 3 feet of the kitchen floor. I laughed so hard I was crying!
Anyhow, we eventually read the directions on how to use the thing and got the beef injected, rubbed and into the smoker.
It was delicious!!
Now, why am I telling you about this?
In Advent, it is difficult to wait. Sometimes we think we know that Christmas is coming, and it will be the same as it's always been, and we have our plans...and then, the beauty of the season and unexpected treasures of the season pop out in all the wrong places and make us laugh.
So, be prepared...but also, be prepared to be surprised.