Lian’s note: this week’s back to school guest blogger is Alison Anderson Holland, a mother/cook/writer/vegetarian who is also a Chaos Crew regular. Alison created notyourchurchcookbook.com to write about food and faith. Her delightful blog is filled with recipes like Zucchini Hotdish, so earthly sounding I want to cry… and eat. It’s a pleasure to welcome Alison to the Chaos Chronicles after reading her great comments for years. Thanks, Alison for sharing our words and that adorable picture of you and your girls. Be sure to click through all the links to read more!
Just as my baby began fussing, demanding some ‘ nutritional needs’ , her darling two year-old sister greeted me at the door with a whiny, “Eat some, eat some.” Arghh. Getting by with next- to- no REM sleep, it was enough to bring me to my knees. Fortunately, my coworkers were working moms with a few more years’ experience perfecting a dinner time trick or two. Here are some of the meal planning tricks I’ve borrowed or cooked up on my own to tame mid-week madness in the kitchen:
Last winter, my supervisor introduced me to once-a-month cooking. A quick internet search will garner tips for any diet — meat eating, vegetarian, gluten-free — you name it. It’s a bit challenging to accomplish juggling kids in your arms, or tugging at your pant leg, but with just one kid-free day at home a month, it’s a great option. Make it a social event with your girlfriends or sisters. Why not? As a life-long Minnesotan, my first try at this in January was heavy on “hot dish,” but burgers and ready-to-grill tinfoil packet veggies are great examples of warmer weather (and likely healthier) options.
When I was growing up, my family leaned toward weekly planning. I’d venture a guess that this is one of the more popular sanity-saving dinner strategies. Simply take stock of your cupboards and freezer, then flip through the weekly ad for your favorite supermarket. Be sure to consider your schedule for upcoming soccer games and PTA meetings as you plan the week’s meals.
Most would call my next suggestion completely impractical, but I argue day-to-day meal planning is just the kind of extravagance a postpartum woman needs to feel a little human again. Take a peek at your favorite food blogs for a little inspiration, then hit the streets. (See Alison’s favorite blogs below!) Stroll leisurely through the farmer’s market or grocery store. Everyone needs a reason to get out of their office or house mid-day. Why not shop for something you need to spend money on anyway? Plus , shopping with the kids is much more fun when it’s short and sweet — a meal or two at a time. If all else fails, employ the onion trick.
Like most things in life, families often find a balance of strategies to work best. No matter your plan, it’s normal to fall off the wagon from time to time. Be kind to yourself. Even the tightest budgets can withstand a take-out night or two.
Alison Anderson Holland
Related posts from Lian:
Alison’s Favorite Food Blogs :