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Last week my wonderful wife started a new job as a full time photographer for a local media outlet…how’s that for vague.  This is the first time we have both had “full time” jobs since 2003.  The lovely wife has certainly been working full time the last couple of years, but it was at home, and not a regular 9-5 gig.  Anyway, this has brought some changes to our life, as you can imagine.

I’m at school with the kiddos each day, and in the past, Sarah would pick up the kiddos at the end of the day.  Now, I’ll be taking them home as well, and it has been an adjustment for everyone.  So, last Tuesday, on my wife’s second day of work, I was charged with making the first dinner for the family in our new life phase…

MUST PREPARE EXCEPTIONAL MEAL FOR FAMILY TO PROVE MY WORTH.

I’m not sure why my mind gravitated in that direction, but I think I was thinking several things at once:

1.  Show the kids that this is an awesome new phase in life with nothing to be worried about.  Now, obviously, it is a great new beginning for our family that will benefit us all.  However, it will be a challenge not to have Mom home after school.  A good meal makes everything ok.

2. Show Mom I can handle after school duty.  I think I was trying to show that the children will be fine under my watchful care.  A properly fed family may hide the fact that I allowed them to watch Phineas and Ferb for an hour…A good meal makes everything ok.

3. Reward the lovely wife for a job well done.  I am super proud of her, and didn’t really want her to come home to hot dogs and macaroni.

So, after a long day, I proceeded to make the following dinner:

Broiled hamburgers on toasted buns

Hand-cut pan-fried sweet potato fries

Sauteed spinach with buttered breadcrumbs.

I’m not even sure if this dinner made any sense whatsoever, but I felt at the time it was the right thing to do.       With all that said, I’ll share some thoughts on how this went.  First, I’ll say that the burgers were just OK.  I’ve done better.  However, the sweet potatoes and spinach were the actual stars of the meal.

I found this recipe for sweet potato fries from the greatest cookbook on Earth, The Internet.  First, I made the spice mixture…it called for steak seasoning, but I had Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning, which worked just as well.

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After that I peeled and cut the potatoes.  Once they were cut we coated them in oil then added the spice mix.  My pleasant daughter was kind enough to mix the sweet potatoes, olive oil, and spices together.

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Once that was done, we placed them in the pan and fried them for twenty minutes on medium heat, turning them over every five minutes.  I was honestly surprised how quickly they cooked.

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This is what they looked like once they were done.  A few pieces got a bit charred, but overall it looked and smelled incredible.

Meanwhile, I decided to make spinach as well.  Now, about this spinach recipe.  As a kid, this was my absolute favorite vegetable dish.  I would eat mounds of this stuff.  And for the record, no one could make this dish as well as my Grandma Toedebusch.  It’s super simple and very tasty.

My grandma never owned a microwave, so I’m not sure how long this took her back in the day.  For the modern cook, you can be done with this in 15 minutes.  First, I defrosted a package of frozen spinach according to the directions on the package.  Thanks package.

Meanwhile I took a slice of Bunny Bread (That’s what I said) and toasted it.

After I toasted it…I had the lovely daughter break it into pieces in a small frying pan.

I added a tablespoon of butter to the toasted breadcrumbs and let them mingle together.  After the breadcrumbs absorbed the butter, I added the spinach to the pan.  I added a generous amount of salt, stirred it together and shazaam:  Toedebusch Spinach.

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All the pieces of a lovely dinner had come together.  Tasty hamburgers, healthy vegetables, a nicely set dinner table, way to go Dad!  Look at this fantastic plate below!

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And the lovely wife was stuck in traffic.  So we sat down without her.  The lovely daughter didn’t like the fries.  The amusing son didn’t like the spinach.  I was kind of bummed.

About 20 minutes later, Sarah came home, and she loved the fries and the spinach.  She was very grateful, and the kids were happy to have her home.  All was good.  All in all, I know I didn’t have to try so hard to make a nice meal that night, but I guess it was just my way of saying thanks and I love you to my hard working wife.

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