Leftover Tacos

I’m sitting here trying to decide if I should order Arturo’s Tacos.  Tonight they are $1.00 each, and they are amazing! The problem is that last Monday I ordered 12 (it’s the standard order for our family…I get 2, Kaitlyn gets 2, Chris gets 3, and Carson gets 5 and then eats a bowl of cereal, 2 pop tarts, and asks for Skoops because he’s still hungry) but because no one is ever really home anymore, last Monday I sat and stared at those 12 tacos until 9:00pm and then shoved them in the fridge (actually there was no shoving because there really isn’t anything else in there).

That’s the thing with this phase of life…I have to admit that it’s a bit lonely.  It’s not really anyone’s fault. In fact, right now life is filled with so much good.  Chris is coaching baseball, and Carson hangs out with him at the gym until 8 or 9 at night.  Every day he insists that he has no homework, which I totally believe (not really, but it’s way too much work to actually check online) and Kaitlyn’s time is filled with babysitting and track and gymnastics and boyfriends (not multiple boyfriends…there’s actually just the one) and youth group.  And the truth is, I wouldn’t want it any different for them.  They are doing what they love.  And I love watching them do what they love.  But sometimes it’s lonely.  And sometimes I get stuck with 12 tacos.

Getting stuck with 12 tacos isn’t all bad.  In fact, last week Tuesday I decided to challenge myself to turn my leftovers into a great family dinner, and because I am practically an expert at watching Chopped on the Food Network, I figured that I would be an expert at making dinner out of leftovers too.  So, I took all of the meat out of those tacos and cooked it up with some black beans and salsa, rolled that up into some flour tortillas that were in the cupboard and created a lovely enchilada sauce out of a can of tomato soup, ketchup, brown sugar and a packet of fajita seasoning…to be honest, by the time I made the sauce I was imagining that Alex Guarnischelli and I were pretty much best friends. I poured the sauce over my enchiladas and topped them with some shredded cheese, and by the time 8:30 rolled around, the rest of the family had made their way home from their various places and we were able to sit around the table and enjoy those 12 tacos…just in a different way than expected.  I mean, we did have the following conversation:

Kaitlyn: Ummmm…this enchilada sauce is a little sweet
Me: But good, right
Kaitlyn: Yes…but sweet
Chris: Babe, these are great!
Me: Thanks, I made the sauce out of tomato soup
Kaitlyn: Like I said…
Me: You don’t have to have any dinner tonight.
Kaitlyn: These are great!

Overall, my Chopped challenge worked out, and those tacos-turned-enchiladas were one of the best dinners we’ve had in awhile (I mean…there’s not really much competition because our other typical dinners come from Papa Murphy’s or the D&W Deli).  But it made me realize that I’m feeling a little bit like those leftover tacos right now…they’re great, but we’re not really in a phase where we have time for them anymore.

The unplanned Chopped challenge also helped me realize that leftovers aren’t all that bad.  Spending time on my own as my family is running around being awesome is giving me the opportunity to see what God has for me next, how he can use me, and what can he do with my life beyond just being a mom, and yet, even as I write this, I’m getting texts from my oldest.  She needs stamps.  And a prom dress.  And dinner.  And me. So I’m going to go ahead and order those tacos after all, and when everyone gets home they can dig in…or not…because if they end up in the fridge I can always change it up and make something special out of them tomorrow…because really, leftover tacos make some of the best family dinners.

Lots of love from a slightly lonely, but looking-forward-to-tomorrow Small Town Girl