I stole inspiration for this post from my friend JoLynne’s post on her current season of basic cooking at Musings of a Housewife yesterday.
I’m in the basic home cooking season.
My husband and I used to be in the season of gourmet cooking and eating out at our favorite restaurant, Paolini’s in Bryn Mawr. I remember my husband spending hours on a Sunday afternoon making a dinner you could only find in a four-star restaurant. He still does from time to time. We have relatives who give us meat for Christmas sometimes just for him to cook dinner for them. Hmm, a bit self-serving, but it’s okay.
Sometimes I forget that basic cooking is where I’m at right now. I find a fabulous recipe which uses several bowls or pots and a few ingredients that we don’t normally buy because the kids don’t like them very much, and I cook the recipe, and my husband and my 16 year old are the only ones who eat it. And rave about it drowned out by the chorus of I don’t like my carrots soft, Mom, I don’t like gravy, Mom, I don’t like the texture Mom. Which is why, by the way, we remind them to take a thank you bite because someone spent time thinking about you and making you a delicious nutritious meal.
How I Stay Sane with Basic Home Cooking
Basic Home Cooking is Comfort Food to me. I love it, though I get tempted by more involved recipes. The key is appreciating the simplicity of basic home cooking. Learning to do the basics really well, like rice.
1. Save the more involved dishes for the weekend.
If you have time on the weekend, do spend the day or afternoon cooking something magnificent. Don’t forget to do up the table to reflect the masterpiece which will be on it at the end of the day. Include the kids in the process if you have the time. If you don’t, don’t sweat it. There’s always next time.
2. Learn the basics. Learn them one at a time until you can make the recipe and share it with a friend.
Learn to make a basic roux, a basic bread recipe, a basic biscuit recipe. My 8 year old son tells me all the time my bread is the best. Just a few simple ingredients to produce this idea of comfort and stability in his mind.
There is something in watching a roux come together. Flour, water, milk, how can this be? I worry every time that I’ll burn the flour. Yet, it all comes together and does its thing.
3. Make food ahead, and make the simple ones.
Yesterday, the 4 year old pricked the sweet potatoes for me (lots o’ pricking!), and I popped them in the toaster oven to bake. Then, we made 2 batches of bread with the bread machine which I love doing because the machine does the work. Before lunch, I baked a butternut squash in the oven, and mixed and baked 2 batches of a new recipe for almond butter bars (need to tinker with the recipe a little). It may sound like a lot. I could do it all because I was in and out of the kitchen all day in between writing sessions. I asked my 4 year old to help. I picked simple tasks and made sure I had time to complete them. If I don’t have time to puree the butternut squash and sweet potatoes, they’ll be fine in the fridge for a day or two.
Rice can be made ahead and frozen. Veggies can be prepped Sunday afternoon for the week. I rely heavily on sauteed veggies in my menus because I have the ingredients prepped ahead of time.
I think the key to being a mom of 5 kids in this season is to relax and enjoy cooking. I can nourish my desire to cooking while providing my family with nutritious meals if I focus on good enough every night.
How do you handle being a busy mom while providing your family with tasty, nutritious meals? What are your kitchen secrets?
Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to:
The Mommy Club, Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, Empty Your Archives, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Fresh Foods Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest, Good Tips Tuesday, Fat Tuesday