Where do you draw the line?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I would not call myself the 'queen' of homemade, but could easily be the 'princess'. But you know what? It's hard to wear that title, every single day. Even only some days.

When it comes to meals, especially dinner, most of the time I wish we could just live on air.

The planning, prep work, cooking, serving, cleaning...........by the time I get finished with the planning I'm ready to go to bed!

Because this is my dilemma: I want my meals healthy. And to me that means your biscuits don't come out of a can, your burgers don't come from McDonalds, and your spaghetti sauce you cooked yourself. Without sugar. Without added oils and salt.

That means you cook from scratch. You grow a garden and you put up as much as you can. Heaven forbid we owned actual property I'd probably be tempted to grow and process chickens! And cows!

And because I want my meals healthy - or my version of healthy - I tie my hands behind my back too much of the time. I want chicken pot pie for dinner. But by the time I cook the white sauce, saute chicken, dice vegetables and let's not forget the pie crust.......my kitchen is a wreck and I no longer care what or even if we eat. There are shortcuts to this. But they involve soup out of a can as a base, and store-bought crust of some sort. Plus really, it doesn't taste as good.

There are things I don't worry about making homemade - I've found store versions of some key products (like bread) that are whole grain, minimal ingredients, and tasty. And I don't own a burr mill so I can't grind my own flours........

I need to find ways to make truly healthy meals that are easy to prepare, don't take half a day to prep, don't require odd-ball ingredients I'll never use again, and go beyond a casserole or crockpot! That are interesting to eat also.

When is it ok to use pre-prepared items, and when should you pass it up at all costs?

The older my kids get, with more after-school activities & homework, the harder it gets to spend much more than an hour, tops, preparing dinner. Besides which I've already spent the morning making sure everyone has an actual breakfast - they get cold cereal about once a week - and their lunches - nobody eats that cafeteria junk, they don't want to, so everyone gets a sack lunch.

And then I don't want to prepare yet another meal. Compared to breakfast and lunch, it's the hardest one to make healthful and nutritious. I think in part because it is expected to be the biggest meal of the day, with meat and starch and veggies. Everyone has a higher expectations of what dinner should be.

I need to find a way to smooth this out.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree it's a lot of work -- especially if you are working during the day. Have you seen that cook once eat all week series? There's many variations on it. But basically you set aside a couple hours when you have time, and cook enough food to make several mix and match meals throughout the week, or month or whatever. That certainly saves time and planning -- and crockpot meals! Those are my go-to time savers, as I don't want to have to think about what I'm eating for dinner while I'm driving home from work... because chances are I'll talk myself into something less healthy because I'm tired. Good luck!
    1905 days ago
    I use virtually no prepared foods--cake mixes in those rare cases, and canned beans--but I make everything else from scratch and have for many years. I don't find it that much of a challenge, truthfully. When I was working, so I had less time, I made simpler dishes, unless I had extra time.
    1905 days ago
    Sounds like a lot and it is. Finally, my baby is 16 (I have 4) so I get it--been there/done that. What I use to do is leave dinner up to hubby oftentimes since he had the privilege of getting up and off to work whereas I was the breakfast preparer, then off to the corner to wait for the school bus and lastly, drop off the baby. Dinners can be as simple as a protein with a salad or dishes that go into the crock pot. Of course a good old roast beef with veggies comes to mind. Everyone might not be happy but I find that taking care of yourself and trying to lose weight sometimes means one must be a little selfish. You only need hubby's permission, everyone else will have to fall in line. Making lunches/sandwich duty could be delegated too. I hope you find a niche that works. Just make sure you include self first.
    1905 days ago
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