Sometimes I am really surprised at the joy that comes to me when I am in my kitchen. I didn’t grow up with a love of being in the kitchen, only with a love of the food that came out of the kitchen. I baked sourdough bread for the first time and my mom posted this on facebook: You’re amazing! You would almost think your mother was a gourmet cook and handed it down!!! HA-HA!!! In her defense, her mom wanted to teach her about the kitchen, and she wanted nothing to do with it. She wished to invent a pill for each meal, as she thought the preparation and cleanup were just too much for the enjoyment of the meal. I remember being in high school and looking through a recipe book to make grilled cheese…. and reveling over the time that I made my first tuna noodle casserole in college… and the fact that I have a photo documenting the meal I cooked for Eric when we were first married, in our first house (pasta from a box, frozen green beans, and mild in wine goblets).

Those were my humble beginnings in the kitchen. And although I truly enjoy being in the kitchen, baking bread, making yogurt, etc, I still have a difficult time with regular meals. I don’t have a box of old recipes that I love or favorites from my childhood (I’m OK with never eating chicken and spaghetti again), and because I’m fascinated with food, I love finding new recipes. I really treasured when I worked part time and could work on a meal throughout the day without feeling the 5 o’clock rush. Now that I’m back working full-time, meal planning has taken the joy out of my time in the kitchen. I’m still browsing new recipes, yet I’m finding that it’s still difficult to create those meals on our average weeknight. Eric gets to come home for dinner when he works, yet it can be anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30. Most often it’s 5:30, and with getting out of work at 5, picking up Charis, and getting into the house, it barely leaves me time to boil water, let alone have a meal ready by the time he’s home.

I tried out a new meal plan subscription (yes, I have tried several meal plan subscriptions- definitely at least 3 before this last one) a couple weeks back and I enjoyed it. It’s called Make 5 Dinners in One Hour and the idea is that you go shopping for all items you’ll need for the week, prepare all the meals in one hour, and then they go into the fridge or freezer. On the day that you cook the meal, follow the instructions, and voila, dinner is ready. We all enjoyed the meals from the first week, and since this is an area of stress for me, I figured that I would sign up for the subscription ($15 for 3 months worth of meals).

Part of me is really excited that this weight is lifted off of my shoulders, and the other part of me is sad, feeling like I will have to give up my recipe hunts and totally from-scratch cooking. But alas, that’s what the weekends are for. Like when I made yogurt yesterday in the crockpot (so easy!!!)- it makes me feel like I can be a full-time working momma who has a big heart for homemaking. 🙂

UPDATE:
Grocery shopping: 17 minutes
Preparing 5 dinners: 43 minutes
Peace of mind and an evening playing with Charis: Heavenly!!

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