Thursday, February 25, 2010
While I'm posting this on a Thursday night, it was actually our Saturday dinner. This is a little too involved for a Thursday night. Not so much on the preparation end, but the clean-up was time consuming! We ate this for our family night meal. When I was growing up, family night was a fun tradition. A board game, a Disney movie, possibly an outing. I have to admit that into my teenage years, I didn't look forward to this time-honored tradition as much. It started interfering with my precious social life, darn it. With three busy teen-aged girls in the house, I have to hand it to my parents for upholding the tradition and moving family night around to accomodate our schedules. We may have approached those family nights in our adolescent years with feet dragging and eyes rolling, but once we were in the moment, we couldn't deny that we were having fun. It's one of the things that made us a family, built unity, even. I look back on those "family fun nights" fondly and I am grateful that my parents wanted us to know how important we were and invested the time.
Now that I'm all grown up and have daughters of my own, family night has been re-instated! With two young children, I could argue that every night is family night here. Evenings are consumed with the dinner routine, baths, bed-time stories, etc. However, are we really being present? My husband and I are doing these things at the same time we're taking and returning calls, checking e-mail in a spare moment, picking up toys, washing dishes, paying bills, making household repairs, and lately...shovelling the walk (go away snow!). Of course, there are fun moments mixed in, but sometimes, I hate to admit, it's just the day to day "drudgery".
On family fun night, the phones go off, the lap top stays shut, the dishes stay in the sink, and we focus on being a family. My oldest usually dictates the agenda. (Ahh. A chip off the ol' block.) Days before the anticipated night, she begins planning "a schedule of events", which I am required to write and post on the refrigerator. Examples include: Watch a movie, play games (duck duck goose...we're all good at that one), make up stories and act them out, dance, snuggle, stay up late.... you get the idea. I also let her plan the menu. It's pretty predictable (Pizza!). However, last week when I asked her, she beckoned me closer then whispered in my ear, "Steak and Shake". Sure, we could have gone to Steak and Shake, but it was way more fun to turn our kitchen into Steak and Shake.
I'd like to take a moment here to mention the FISH! Philosophy. Years ago, the school that I was teaching at studied the FISH! Philosophy as did many businesses across good ol' Corporate America. Books were purchased, meetings were held, banners were hung. Initially, I approached the FISH! Philosophy in much the same way I regarded family night as a teenager...feet dragging and eyes rolling. Then I realized the benefits. Eventually I swallowed this philosophy...hook, line, and sinker. Ha ha. Here are the principles of the FISH! Philosophy.
The FISH! Philosophy includes four simple, interconnected practices:
Be There is being emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.
Play taps into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” It’s a mindset you can bring to everything you do.
Make Their Day is finding simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life, not because you want something out of it, but because that’s the person you want to be.
Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Once you are aware that your choice impacts everyone around you, you can ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”
Consequently, the FISH! Philosophy is also effective when applied to family life. Hence, the re-instatement of family night.
Now on to the food!
Steak and Shake has distinctly thin fries. In my attempt to re-create their fries, I attached the coarse shredder to my new KitchenAid mixer and ran a few potatoes through. They were finer than the Steak and Shake fries, but I didn't have an option for a larger cut short of doing it by hand.
Then I fired up my griddled and slapped down some "steak burgers". Okay, so they were really just hamburger patties. They came from my freezer. I promise that no one complained. Well, almost. As dinner was just about ready, my husband inquired, "Aren't these supposed to be steak burgers." I just gave him "the look". No further discussion.
Here's my small scale Steak and Shake work station. Burgers on the griddle, fries in the hot tub.
Um, yeah...so the fries look more like hash browns. I assure you that it didn't effect the taste.
Especially when smothered in cheese sauce. My husband picked up some Cheesy Ragu Double Cheddar sauce from the corner store. It tastes just like the stuff they serve at Steak and Shake. Lucky pick!
With the burgers off of the griddle...
the buns could "get their toast on".
Time to make the milk shakes. My daughter chose the ice cream flavor, her favorite: Chocolate chip mint. She really is a mini me, this was my favorite when I was her age too. This was super easy with my Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender Still lovin' it!
I threw a summer patio tablecloth over our little kitchen table because honestly, we're all ready for a little sunshine around here. Then I hauled out some leftover paper plates from an Elmo-themed birthday party. We all gathered 'round the table for our Steak and Shake feast.
My burger got "the works". Ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle...calories don't count on family night.
Oh.My.Goodness. Those hashbrowns....umm....I mean fries!
And dessert. Don't forget the whipped cream and cherry!
There you have it, a completely healthy meal for your family. Okay, maybe not. But my oldest did say, "Mommy, this is THE bestest meal that we've had since I can remember!"
Ahhh. Family night.