This is true… sometimes.
Sometimes I love skipping into the kitchen with my apron on (actually I never remember to wear one… my clothes get very mad at me 😉 ) and whipping up fantastic meals that taste pretty decent if I do say so myself!
Other times I drag my feet into the kitchen, look in all the cupboards and fridge and freezer, declare there is absolutely nothing worth eating/nothing I can muster the energy to cook (or so my tired perspective tells me) and I turn my attention to the pile of coupons on the counter. Pick one guys – there will be no cooking done in this house tonight!
*Unless Josh is home and feels like taking over in the kitchen. And once in a while the oldest son will work his kitchen magic. They love cooking sometimes too :)*
Through the years I’ve gone back and forth between having a tried and true menu plan for the week/month, and just winging it with whatever ingredients need to be used up first.
There are times when life is so busy and my brain is full of anything but what’s for dinner. In these times a menu plan works great and I do a big shop for ingredients that we use up over the next few days/weeks. This is when I know exactly what we’re eating for each meal for quite some time ahead.
Then there are times when I’m sick of cooking the same old-same old and need to be a bit more creative with upcoming meals. So I buy a few standard staples, brace myself for having to go to the store a FEW times that week for any last-minute ingredients (I don’t like shopping much) and see where the mood takes me each day.
Since our move a few weeks ago, I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions when it comes to cooking.
At first I couldn’t wait to get back into a kitchen that didn’t need to be spotless for house showings at any time of day. I took out my old menu plans and visited the local grocery stores and started to restock the pantry, fridge, and freezer. This took some time, and it was so weird being in a different kitchen! But I calmed down after a while and feel much more comfortable in the new space.
Josh has been in there canning peaches and applesauce already too… I like when he goes in the kitchen 🙂
After a little while of sticking to the menu plan I noticed the skipping had ceased and the dragging had started.
I knew it was time to let go of the old plan for a while and see what the days brought in the kitchen for a while.
This is when I use a different method – browse the flyers, buy whatever is on sale for meat and veggies that week, pitch it all in the fridge/freezer after it’s bought, see who feels like cooking that day, and leave the rest to chance. It’s freeing, and gets the creativity flowing in the kitchen.
I’m sure that after a little while of “free”, when the Christmas season is approaching, and life gets much busier again, the menu plans will resurface and I will love their predictability and consistency.
No matter what your kitchen style – be it planner or freelancer – there are a few ideas to help keep it simple in the kitchen…
- Eat in as much as you can muster. This saves an amazing amount of money and it’s great for your health. Restaurant coupons might save you money but they won’t save your health. As much as we want it to be true… it’s just not… ah well… back to the kitchen!
- Use the same ingredients as much as possible, but in completely different ways. This way you keep the grocery list simple, and decrease the amount of space needed in your home for all sorts of ingredients you rarely use. This will also reduce the amount of ingredients going in the garbage – good for the globe!
- Keep the kitchen gadgets to a minimum. This keeps the kitchen clutter-free and leaves more room for creativity and kitchen helpers!
- Eat what you love (and is pretty healthy). Don’t try to make yourself eat foods you don’t enjoy just because the latest craze says you can’t live without them. But do find healthy foods you like – I had to sort through alot of ever-changing media hype about certain foods, and go back to basics – healthy foods I love are carrots, celery, bananas, and applesauce. I eat these 4 things almost every day. Also throw in some berries in smoothies alot of mornings, and some broccoli or peas or corn or cucumber or lettuce or tomato or mix of a few at dinner, and I’m good to go! I try to remember what all my guys like, and give them foods they enjoy as well. Sometimes we all have to eat foods we don’t love because others in our family love them, but we also don’t hate the foods, so it’s all good. I like to eat less meat than my guys so I’ll take BBQ salmon instead of a burger/sausage, or hummus, etc. I also throw beans in with the meat in some recipes – to boost the protein without loading up on meat.
- Cook what comes easy. For the life of me I can’t figure out the BBQ, or French toast, or pancakes, or soup. I wish I could master all these things, but I’ve tried folks, and I’ll leave these creations with someone else. It’s either than I burn, or it’s mushy, or I just don’t like cooking it at all. So I’ll pass those along to others who can manage them. Odd, I know, they all seem so simple, but turns out I definitely have my limitations in the kitchen!
There’s a few thoughts and tips to get me (and you) back to cooking – which I don’t always love, depending on the busyness of the season I’m in.