Yum. I love to eat some good food. There are so many delicious things to try, and this time of year, there are so many amazing things to be found at the farmers’ markets, too. The colors of fresh produce, the smells of fruit and herbs, all enticing my taste buds and exciting me with the possibilities of fantastic dishes I whip up in the kitchen…
And then I get home, grumble a bit about needing to find space in the fridge to put it away, grumble a bit more about prepping it for some other day in the week to eat, grumble a bit more because I’m tired and the kids are whiny and hungry and all I want to do is sit and eat a cookie but we have no cookies and I should set an example of healthier food choices anyway. But pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies would certainly satisfy the baking cravings, as well as be a fun way to use up fresh, in season, local produce… (note to self: get thee to the farmers’ markets ASAP for pumpkins!)
I need help. Help to be a better home cook and streamline my time and energy, as well as make the most of the real food I buy to prepare nourishing, yummy meals for my growing family (read: growing does not equal me being pregnant. It means my kids are growing.)
Here are my 7 quick takes, all about food, what I love to eat, what I’m going to do about being more efficient in the kitchen, etc.
Last night, we had 5 cadets from my husband’s squadron here for dinner. You know, college kids. They were delightful. I needed to make a huge meal, that was delicious. College kids always love some home-cooking, so I wasn’t about to cheat and grill burgers and hot dogs. Besides, where’s the fun in that? Fence and I decided on fajitas.
Our favorite recipe is based on Fr. Leo’s Funky Fusion Fajitas. These are a-mazing. I have my tweaks, such as I use chicken and less sugar than the original recipe. Also, I cook it in the oven. SO SIMPLE. So delicious. Such a winning recipe. It’s one of favorites.
It’s about time I set myself a deadline for collecting our family favorites into a master list, creating a master pantry list, and then using those as staples in my meal planning and shopping. It will make life a whole lot easier. I’m also going to go through my printed and clipped magazine recipes, sort out what I’ll never actually make, and organize that binder so it’s more usable. My plan? Trash the recipes I won’t use or didn’t like enough to make regularly. Sort by food type the rest of the recipes, and maybe even label them so they are easier to find. Next, make a list of our favorite dishes, create a master panty/shopping list, and then when I plan, use those things and one or two “new” recipes so that cooking is more of a no-brainer and less of a “kids stay out of the kitchen I need to focus on this new recipe because I’ve never made it before and I don’t know if you’ll like it but I hope you do…” stressful event.
You know what I love about being Catholic? All the reasons to celebrate though the year! Feast days, different liturgical seasons, feast days…and what celebration isn’t made better with food? I mean, Christmas cookies? Easter egg dishes? Cultural dishes from a saints’ homeland? Fun and yum. Sometimes my ideas for celebrating a feast day totally flop, and sometimes I don’t have my act together in time to even think of celebrating. Great book to the rescue! Haley from Carrots for Michalaemas has a delightful book about living the liturgical year. She writes, “when observing the Christian Year we want to honor the ancient and global aspects of our faith while also celebrating the bounty of good food God gives us.” Why should you think about getting this book? It has real food recipes. It has seasonal recipes. It invites you and your family into living the Christian year in a tangible way. There are stories about the saints and notes on the changing liturgical seasons through the year. Get it now, and you can look ahead to beginning the liturgical year with Advent (yes! I can’t wait and I’ll be prepared!). You can learn about saints you haven’t “met” yet, and try new dishes. I am putting this along side my other favorite cookbooks. Highly recommended.
Today I have grand plans for doing some meal prep and cooking ahead. Shocking, I know. I am typically the person who makes a nice plan, and then promptly forgets it and finds herself at 2pm with no meat thawed and nothing else but leftovers, eggs, breakfast, or pizza for dinner. Yes, really. It is all an illusion that I’m organized. I just play pretend. However, I am going to try more regularly to prep meals ahead of time, and even freeze meals. This will ideally be a great help for me when we’re busier with school and activities. So this prep-ahead and store in the freezer plan? It has always scared me. I mean, HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO BUY? What recipes to use? HOW? All the other times I’ve explored this idea, I have not been excited about the suggested recipes. They just sound dull and gross. Or, if I found a book which sounded like it would be a help to me, either it was on a very long wait list at the library, or more $$ than I wanted to spend on a book I couldn’t guarantee liking. But then I read through the “Guide to Freezer Cooking e-book by Money Saving Mom” and I feel less intimidated and more hopeful that I can make this work for me!
Does anyone else have daydreams about food-related things? I would love to have a fabulous, thriving garden which provides a harvest good enough to eat and to preserve. Also, one day, when we settle down somewhere for more than a few years, I would like to try raising chickens. And having a larger garden. Maybe even goats…and then I think I’m crazy and getting my daydreams mixed up in things waaaaay beyond me.
In all complete honesty, we could do a lot better with eating healthier and preparing more “real” food meals. Everyone except me still loves their cereal…and we go through so.many.boxes each week. I’ll admit that it is easier, because when I wake up, I’m not really interested in cooking up eggs and bacon and muffins every day for breakfast. I’m still tired and yawning! It’s so easy for the boys (the early risers here) to grab their own cereal and I’ll make a smoothie for them later. It’s easier. Not healthier, just easier. That’s just one example. At some point, there has to be a balance for me to maintain sanity and everyone else to be happy about what they’re eating. So…I work hard on dinners especially being real, wholesome foods, and do my best with the other meals. Lunches at home are easier than when the kids go their enrichment days at the homeschool academy. Snacks are hit and miss…I need to stop buying yogurt and start making it again, focus on fruits and veggies and less on pretzels.
We’re a work in progress.
I promise to not talk all the time about buying the healthy living library…BUT please do think about it. It is only offered through September 15, and then it is gone forever. Look through what is offered, and think about 5 things which appeal to you–books, courses, bonuses. Even 5 things at $29.97 is a great deal…PLUS anything I earn from my affiliate commission will be donated to Cameron’s fund for a diabetic alert dog, so your money is really doing double duty. You get great resources, and you also help a little boy in need. WIN WIN WIN. That is over now…so only 6 quick takes remain.
Alright. The End. It is time for me to, you know, think about that meal prep I mentioned in #4…