Any Excuse, really!
Cooking! Ah! I love it, but sometimes I need to dig deep to find the inspiration. And, it's not for everyone. I don't know when my love for making meals and baking began, but I love having fun with simple ingredients and sourcing new ways of making things and creating my own recipes.
I have discovered, time and time again, that everything is easy, if you take the time and realize, that with practice you get better and better. To start with something you love and go from there.
I have three children and a husband who loves to eat. Some of my children can be very "choice-hangry", and what I make, although I think it's delicious they may not think so. This can be very very....VERY frustrating. So, in saving my grace, so to speak, we have created a family menu that is flexible. It only covers our dinners, as breakfast and lunch seem easier and more accepted. We have crafted some of our mains to resemble our breakfasts and lunches and vice-versa which is fun too.
HOW WE MADE OUR MENU: I started by asking my children and husband what they liked to eat. I took careful notes.
And, I admit, although my notes were jotted with care, sometimes they just aren't hungry and don't want to eat the thing they said they "loved sooooo much!" (although my husband loves everything I make so HUGE BONUS). I also try to listen, and try not to get upset making sure they know that I don't cater to making separate meals for everyone's tastes, especially after working on a collaborative menu. But although we created a menu, collaboratively, we also make changes to the menu collaboratively when we need to, as the season changes, etc.
WHAT DOES OUR MENU LOOK LIKE:
1) It's written up on a chalkboard sheet attached to the back of one of our kitchen cabinets. It's not neatly written on, but we can read it. (I'll be sharing it on my instagram feed to showcase it's imperfection and practical existence). FYI: we have dairy and gluten allergies so our menu caters to this.
MONDAY: fish, g.f. rice and vegetables TUESDAY: whole-chicken in a croc-pot with root vegetables
WEDNESDAY: g.f. spaghetti and meat-balls or meat-loaf with vegetables (we make a large batch of homemade tomato sauce every fall, it's an Italian tradition).
THURSDAY: taco-night (nachos and fun topics: df cheese, mild salsa, df sour cream, lettuce or cucumbers, tomatoes, corn---whatever you want on your taco + whatever we have on hand).
FRIDAY: we do a take-out meal every other week and it is usually SUSHI!!! But when it's a week that isn't a take-out meal we do a soup* with all of the left-overs from the week. (I still make a soup over the weekend when it is a take-out week but I freeze it). THE SOUP*: I take all of the left-overs, the rice, the vegetables, the broth from the chicken croc-pot meal and add it to a tomato or sweet-potato base. I add 1 can of coconut milk, some turmeric, Himalayan salt, sauté some leeks and MUAH, delicious and healthy all blended with an immersion blender, and no wasted food.
SATURDAY: g.f tuna-melts or d.f/g.f cheese-melts (sometimes paired with my soup) or g.f. pancakes for dinner, we will use our g.f pancakes and g.f waffles like bread slices and make sandwiches too!
SUNDAY: OPEN, but I like to make a lasagna, or quiche or serve left-overs creatively.
(I don't restrict myself either, I often interchange the days and do what I can or what we have).
GROCERY SHOPPING: is typically done on Monday mornings. And this doesn't always happen, if someone is ill, etc. Flexibility has always been a HUGE key for me. I like routine and making a plan but I know we follow it pending on what the week-to-week looks like. If Wednesday is a busy day we will swap our TUESDAY croc-pot meal, or create two croc-pot meals that week for example.
OKAY! So, this menu, right! What's it really for? Well, it all makes me feel less anxious at meal-time. I feel more prepared and although our menu is flexible and some of the items are swapped on different days pending on what we have on hand- and what is happening that week, knowing that I have this "go-to list" saves me in many ways, and I also love it for my grocery shopping list. Why? Food is very important to me. Eating well is very important to me. Having home-cooked meals is very important to me.
Not everyone feels this way, which I can understand. Our life within our homes is our own sacred space. You do what saves your grace, and what keeps you happy. And so, making a menu, having fresh foods and creating yummy meals helps me. I also bake for the week like muffins and cookies and this happens on Sunday (but not all of the time pending on if it's a busier week then normal, etc.,). I have begun a #josfavrecipes on our twowildheartsthreeloves instagram handle that you can reference. I will be sharing recipes here, on this journal also.
Lastly, we LOVE the SWEET POTATO in the junction! Any excuse to go there, really. It is most definitely one of my guilty pleasures. They have everything we need, that is ethically raised, fair-trade, local and eco-friendly packaged, alongside always assisting us with our dietary restrictions.
So EAT-IT up friends.
More to come...
Love: JO Wildheart