Monday, September 21, 2009
Back to school means getting back into a routine, which for me has meant, in great part, getting my cooking act together. All summer long we ate well but whimsically. Lots of travel meant lots of eating out. Lots of visiting with family meant lots less cooking for me. Grilling also took me off the hook because Patrick handles that. Once a week we dined at the pool, and weekends were an endless stream of restaurants. I had it pretty good there for a while.
But for the last few weeks I feel like everything has been about food. As in me being responsible for food. And the adjustment has not been easy. Planning, buying, cooking, cleaning. I wake to make lunches and follow that with breakfast. As soon as I clean up it's time to start thinking about dinner. Then, three weekdays out of five CC and I are both home, so we eat lunch. The afternoon brings requests for snacks, more cleaning up, dinner, and still more cleaning. This can all get pretty boring pretty fast, though it's nothing a little zen thinking and organization can't help. Now breakfasts, snacks and lunches are pretty fun and even varied.
Still, I needed to up it a notch and make dinners more fun for myself and for my family. We had fallen into a rut of making the same four things over and over again, and while everyone was eating the Pan fried Salmon, Pasta Bolognese, Lemony Chicken and London Broil with whatever vegetable I happened to have on hand, we were all getting bored of cooking and eating the same stuff.
Time to get inspired. I had several things going in my favor. I love fall and find the cooler weather totally inspires me to cook. I have adventurous eaters, so my efforts are usually rewarded. I totally believe that feeding my children well is my duty and privilege as well as an expression of my love, really a kind of replacement for breastfeeding, which I still sometimes miss. I have a little more free time now that CC's in preschool and Sabrina is in full day kindergarten. Finally, I dig the praise I get from Patrick for a good meal... let's face it, it's pretty much the only part of my homemaking efforts that really gets his attention!
Perfect timing then to join Joslyn's Raising Foodies Cooking Group, in which once a week for members will try new recipes and write about them. I've looked through several years' worth of Everyday Food and many cookbooks and selected about 50 recipes I want to try before the end of the year, including some baked goods and fun snacks. I like nothing more than a structured way to be creative and challenged, so this should be fun for all.