Sometimes I really struggle with figuring out what to cook for my family for dinner. I work full time. My husband works full time. By the time we all get home and we have food ready, we end up with about an hour to eat and enjoy time together before we start the bedtime routine. Our days are long and our evenings can be pretty hectic. Sometimes, I really envy the moms I know who start the evening meal in the morning or mid-afternoon and can serve a healthy, homemade, well-balanced dinner to their families.
We eat out more often than we should. It’s too expensive and it is too easy to get trapped in unhealthy food choices. But at the same time, everyone orders food they want, there isn’t time spent on food preparation, and no one has to clean up the kitchen afterwards.
In addition to the time crunch, I struggle with my own emotional connection to food and what making dinner really means to me. I recently blogged about it- and about the solution we came up with.
With all of that in mind, it makes sense that I got excited about the new FitCity Indianapolis Recipe Exchange! If you haven’t heard about it, please click over and check it out. Send an e-mail of your favorite recipe by Oct 15 and you will get a copy of all submitted recipes. Send a recipe that includes kids helping in the kitchen, and you will receive a free copy of First Lady Cheri Daniels’ new cookbook, “Family First.”
I am a member of Indianapolis MomsLikeMe.com. One of my favorite forums is Recipes, Meals, Snacks. And one of my favorite daily threads is the What’s For Dinner thread. Moms share their plans for that night’s meal. Some are complicated. Some are simple. Some are leftovers. Some are “I give up and we’re ordering pizza.” I get ideas and I also see that I’m not alone in my need for some creativity or my throwing in the towel due to stress. I can read through that thread and get ideas on what to do with the chicken breasts I cooked Sunday night. I can get inspiration to try flavors or foods I’ve never tried before.
Between FitCity and MomsLikeMe, I have also found a multitude of ways to get my kids in the kitchen more often. I have used the FitCity recipe archive to make snack mix with my kids. I have shared my own kid-friendly recipes on MomsLikeMe. I’ve blogged about cooking and baking with my kids. Having these resources to connect to, moms who face the same struggles that I do, helps me and keeps me focused.
Much of what I know about cooking comes from my mom- and she learned from her mom. Having the internet really opens up new doors. It used to be that you learned how to cook from your family and the Joy of Cooking and a school or church fundraiser cookbook and that was about all the outside resource you had. Now, there are blogs dedicated to food and cooking. Have you been to Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen or visited FoodGawker?
There is no end to the cooking resources available to families these days. The bottom line is that eating at home is healthier and less expensive. Yes, it requires planning. Yes, it requires time and energy and clean up. But the pay off is so worth it- my family eating together, my family being part of the meal being served, my family being nourished.
How about you? Where do you find ideas when you need a creative boost in the kitchen? Have you sent in your recipe for the Recipe Exchange? Do you have a group of people you talk to about what you’re cooking?