Saturday, February 28, 2009

Food Fun

One of the biggest struggles I've had since becoming a mom is getting dinner on the table every night. This didn't use to be a problem for me at all - when Jeff and I were first married and for several years afterwards, I was an avid reader of Bon Appetit and other cooking magazines and used to try interesting new recipes and cooking techniques almost every night. Of course, I also had a lot more time for cooking...something that seems to be mysteriously lacking in my life these days!

One thing I have learned about myself is that for dinner to happen, there must be a plan. I adopted my mom's system of doing meal planning and grocery lists, and as long as I can manage to make a plan for the week and then actually get to the grocery store, things work out OK. But planning is very time consuming, and many weeks it just doesn't happen. Then we are forced to scrounge for dinner, which I hate! I find it so tedious to have to think every night about what we're going to eat, and try to put something together out of what's in the house. We are pretty good about keeping the freezer stocked with meat staples, but I'm not great at replacing what I use out of the pantry, and of course fresh vegetables are difficult when you haven't been to the store in awhile!

I was speaking last night with another mom from Amanda's preschool and we were laughing about this – it seems we have very similar "desperation meals" for when groceries are running low – some kind of meat (often Shake 'n' Bake Chicken) with a pot of rice and vegetables from the freezer or a can. At least I know I'm not the only one! No, technically there isn't anything wrong with a meal like this, but I sure get tired of having it any more often than once in awhile.

Since Sam arrived, we've struggled to get on a regular schedule of meal planning and grocery shopping, and our energy, waistlines, and budget (from far too much eating out and picking up) have been evidence of this! In the last couple of weeks I've been slowly getting back on track and we've been eating pretty healthily for the most part. We all do feel much better when we're eating at home most of the time, and with fresh ingredients rather than the "pop in the oven" pre-made foods that were a staple for those first few months.

As a kind of motivation to keep going with it, I thought I would post once in awhile about what we've been eating. Definitely not every night, but as a reminder to ourselves of the kinds of meals we all enjoy! Plus, maybe it will serve as inspiration when I'm in the midst of meal planning and nothing sounds interesting...

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