Friday, September 5, 2008

Kiss the Cook

Some say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but that doesn't mean I want to spend all my afternoons there.

I enjoy baking and cooking, but I think that I started the week off wrong. Tuesday I was in the kitchen from 2:30 to 7:30, and yes, supper was in there too, but 5 hours was too much! Mom had stopped by to watch H while I got groceries and helped with with some food prep when I got back. I did get a casserole made for supper, cleaned chicken breast, made some into bacon wrapped chicken, left some plain, flash froze them, and canned 9 pints of pickle relish. Although I will probably give some to our families since it would probably take us 3-4 years to use all of the relish.

A while ago I learned about once a month cooking, and have considered doing it for a while now. I think I've put it off because it seems overwhelming, but I've been meaning to try once a week cooking. I've been slowly making some changes in this direction, like making double batches of some meals and doing prep work for later meals while making a supper earlier in the week. When starting out, I'd like to keep it as simple as possible, like all chicken recipes, and I don't know if D would be real impressed with that - he's already complained about all the new recipes lately.

I do have to say I've made a lot of progress since H was born. Instead of having 5 meal ideas for the week and sometimes having produce go bad by the time I got around to making a meal, I started assigning meals to days. It doesn't matter what we're in the mood for anymore. :) After a few weeks of doing that, I realized I often had partially used ingredients that would spoil because I forgot about them, so now I'm taking that into account when choosing meals.

A while ago I was at the grocery store and realized how much my habits have changed over the past few years. I used to stop at the meat counter, get 5 lbs. of their ground beef and continue shopping. Now I get 1-2 lbs. and not even every week. I'm not a big meat person, and thankfully D doesn't have an issue with me using half the amount of meat called for. I've even managed to use 1 lb of ground beef for 4 meals.

I've also noticed my "path" through the store. I hit the produce section, grab 1-2 loafs of bread, maybe some dressings, condiments, and a few canned goods, get a decent variety of meats at the meat counter, go down the pasta and baking isles, hit the dairy section (maybe a little too hard), grab some frozen veggies and I'm good to go. I'm always amazed when I stand in line and see so many moms with carts full of packaged and processed foods. Granted, I have afternoons off and I am not judging anyone for taking advantage of convenience items, but wow. Although D does often complain that I don't get enough "snacks," meaning all that packaged, processed stuff. I bake something pretty much every week - I can't help it he has like 4 bars at a time and doesn't care for fruit (more for me!) as a snack.

My goal a while ago was to cut back on meat and dairy and increase the amount of fruits and veggies we eat. I've done pretty good at scaling back the meat and getting a better variety; I definitely have more fruits and vegetables, but I can't force them down D's throat. But dairy is a little harder. We both love milk, and I don't see a problem with that, and I think we've both cut back a bit on cheese and sour cream and the like, which is funny because I've never mentioned anything to D about trying to cut back, so he must just be following my lead. :)

Right now my goal is to try a "mini" cooking session, and then just spread the meals out so D isn't stuck with chicken for a week.

As far as last week's goal, I've been to work by 7:30 once last week and once this week. Better, but plenty of room left for improvement.

No comments: