Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Joy of Cooking

We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. I never cared though. As long as there was food in the house, a hot meal on the table for dinner, I was content. I still feel like that. When my pantry and refrigerator has food in it, I feel good. When I make good food, I feel good. The fall weather in combination with good food, is by far the best. All of this in addition to the effects of pregnancy...I want to live in the kitchen.

I posted a while ago about needing to find a way to get dinner on the table faster and I turned to.....dun dun dun...boxed meals. We tried that for a couple of weeks. Ick. Bleh. Not worth it. It tasted terrible and we were eating garbage (a ton of sodium, ground beef, high fat...). I didn't feel right about it. Even if it did save us some money.

This week I've been making real food. With some planning and do-ahead prep, I've managed to put some good meals on the table, quickly. I've even spent some evenings (after baby is in bed) in the kitchen baking. I feel really good about it. I love to cook and bake. There's something therapeutic about following a recipe, step by step in a formulaic way. Then to have successful results....confidence boost!

Cooking really is a joy (even if my son throws it on the floor...) and it makes me happy. I think I've found a way to make a hobby be part of our daily lives. Yay!

I'm really into the blogs, and They inspire. I've discovered you don't need a ton of wacky and expensive ingredients to make awesome food.

My schedule is really tight getting home at 5 and needing dinner no later than 6. Here's how I make it work:
  • Prepare a menu for the week along with my shopping list. Everything. Breakfast, lunches, dinner, snacks. Important: Read the recipes. I need to know what I'm getting into before I commit.
  • Do my shopping for the week. This way I'm not running to the store after work.
  • Post my menu on the refrigerator so I never forget to defrost something.
  • Look at the menu each night (after baby is in bed) to see what I can defrost, chop, marinade or take out of the pantry in order to be ready for dinner the next night. This is the biggest help. With as much prep done as possible, I can throw dinner together quickly.
  • If I have a night with a lot of energy, I use it to bake up stuff to freeze to have on hand.
  • If I'm too tired to do the dishes, I leave them until the next night (gasp!)
Don't give in to the boxed meals!

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