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Food and Cooking...or lack thereof

Making an effort

So I’m making an effort – once again – to cook more. Bought a new frying pan to help motivate me to cook, but all that did was motivate me to take a picture of my new frying pan. :)
(and I know, heating up frozen chicken chow mein doesn’t count as really cooking, but I decided to break the pan and myself in slowly over the weekend)

I know this is a crazy time in my life to set a goal that has so far been completely unattainable for me, but I have got to get my act together. This is the one area in my life that I feel like I am failing miserably as a wife and mother. I’ve mentioned before that we were blessed to have so many meals brought by friends when I was recovering from surgery. Kenny was LOVING having a home cooked meal when he got home from work and my girls were eating more of a variety of food than ever before. We were also eating together as a family more often (when Kole would allow it). When the meals stopped Kenny was so sad – almost depressed! He teases me and we joke a lot about my inability to cook dinner most nights, but all joking aside, I know he would love coming home to a real meal once in awhile. He is having a crazy, busy, stressful year at work for a number of reasons and he has really carried the load around here lately. First he had to deal with his stressful job, the two kids and an extremely hormonal pregnant wife. Then I had the baby, almost died, and he had to deal with his stressful job, the three kids and an even more hormonal injured wife. He has had a lot on his shoulders lately and I feel like this is one thing I can try to do for him. So I made a meal plan for the week. (yes – that’s right – me – a meal plan) I’m cooking Mon. Wed. and Fri. I spent forever at the grocery store this morning getting everything I needed, spent way more on groceries than I usually do, and then cooked during Kole’s afternoon nap while the girls played (the only calm time in my day). Laundry and cleaning didn’t get done and while we did eat together as a family, the girls plugged their noses and only ate a few bites. Bedtime was pushed back, I’m exhausted and the kitchen is a mess.

Is it worth it to me? No. Would I have been happier with a turkey sandwich or Lean Cuisine and a clean kitchen? Yes. But Kenny quite enjoyed the meal and I quite enjoyed seeing him enjoy the meal and so I will press on! And if it takes buying a whole new set of Williams-Sonoma pans and cooking utensils and really cute, stylish dishes and taking pictures of all of them to keep me motivated, well then so be it! Time to take one for the team. :)

xoxo, Erin
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33 thoughts on “Making an effort

  1. good for you! getting dinner on the table is most often the hardest part of my day too. I just recently got into cooking more and its been so worth it just in my husbands reaction! good luck! If you need some inspiration… tasty is awesome :)

  2. Meal planning is tough and takes time to master (I’ve been working on it for months). And remember that they don’t have to be elaborate meals, but something simple. Ooh and maybe try the crock pot and that way it does all the cooking for you. Good luck…you can do it!

  3. You sound exactly like me! I have two girls, a boy on the way and a very hungry husband! I try meal planning about every 3rd week, barely get through the first week and quit it. After being fed up with not having anything for my fam to eat, I start over. This is something I haven’t gotten the hang of- maybe its because I’m fine with a sandwich or some cereal!

  4. Way to go momma! My suggestion, go for some casseroles! Those are easy to throw together and then let them cook themselves and if you plan ahead, there can even be leftovers!

    And if Kenny ever grills, have him throw on some extra chicken to use in something else that week! Good luck! I have a recipe blog if you want some super easy meal ideas. It is just my means for keeping up with what we like and being able to find it as well as getting some ideas when I feel like we are in a rut!

  5. I needed to read this one — I have totally gotten out of the habit of cooking (it is so easy without kids … not that I was great with kids home, either!). Hope your week goes well.

  6. Stick with it!!! You’ll get the hang of it! Here’s a yummy recipie that’s quick & easy & fun:

    Meatloaf Muffins
    1 lb ground beef or turkey
    1 lb jimmy dean sausage (sage or original are equally tasty)
    1 box stove top stuffing mix (any flavor)
    1 cup chopped up vegetables (optional)
    2 eggs
    1 cup of water
    *Mix all ingridients together and form 12 meatloaf balls big enough to fit into muffin tins ( you can use cupcake liners, but if you don’t have them on hand spraying the tin with Pam works fine too)
    Bake for 45 – 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Pull meatloaf muffins out and baste with a mixture of brown sugar & ketchup and cook for another few minutes.

    These are always so moist and flavorful! Hope you try it and your family enjoys it. Oh, I’ve made these during nap time and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to pop them in the oven for dinner. PERFECT!

  7. You are probably already a Pioneer Woman reader (who isn’t!?) but she just put up a bowtie pasta lasagna recipe that looks really easy and good! Here’s the link. Hope it helps!
    (Don’t be afraid to pick SIMPLE stuff … cooking ahead of time was a GREAT idea! You can do it!! I make a lot of pizzas on Boboli crusts with premeasured sauce … always a crowd pleaser! Just add salad from a BAG! I also recommend crock pot cooking. Here’s my fave crock pot recipe. I’d be glad to send more of my fave recipes your way if you need more help!

  8. I feel the same way about cooking meals. I just don’t want to do it plan and simple. But, you have defintely motivated me to do better with cooking! Your blog is so helpful and I alway tune in to see what I can learn from you. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us. Lacie

  9. It does get easier – I keep a calendar in the kitchen and plan out a simple menu for the month and then grocery shop every week for whats on the menu. Sandwiches are on my menu at least once a week – crock pots are a must have – They make dinner a cinch and there is a lot less clean up — I usually do it in the morning after I put the baby down. Good luck — looks like you have lots of people cheering you on.

  10. I’ve been trying to do better myself in this area and have found having a meal plan really does help. I have a calendar in the kitchen and plan out dinners for two weeks and try to stick to it. One thing I’ve found to be really helpful is planning things that can piggy-back… i.e., I’ll do a roast in the crock pot with chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion (simple!) and the next day make a beef stroganoff with the leftover roast beef. I find most of my recipes online and one of my favorite sites lately is I have made multiple items off their site and every single one has turned out perfect! My husband has been quite impressed with my cooking skills lately and honestly the gals on ourbestbite give you step by step instructions for easy, healthy meals (and yummy desserts too!). Good luck!!

    Sorry this was such a long comment and I promise I am have no stake in the website I mentioned – I just really love it. :)

  11. I’m proud of you Erin! Keep trying, BUT, don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe just try twice a week if you’re overwhelmed. As you know I am big fan of leftovers, that makes life a lot easier. And yes, there are tons of crock pot recipes out there that are way easy, so I don’t know why I don’t use them! I always end up making the same few things over and over and I always say I’m going to have a goal of trying two new recipes a month. Maybe you can motivate me to try new recipes, and then I can motivate you by passing on the good new recipes I find. I’ll try to work on that. :)

  12. I used to make a schedule of what I was going to cook on what day, then I changed to just a list of meals I had ingredients for and I cross them off as I go. It is much easier for me to remember what I have, that way I don’t have to go to the grocery store so often. Don’t get me wrong I like to shop, just not at that place! :) Good Luck!

  13. Ok, Erin. My sentiments exactly. If I could choose between a daily housekeeper, nanny or cook, I would take a cook HANDS DOWN!!! How happy would I be to have someone cook healthy delicious meals for me each day??? I may just have to work on that one! :)

    I am proud of you. You are a good wife to Kenny and I would like to say it gets easier but, well, that would be lying. My kids still turn up their noses (at least one of them), the kitchen is still a mess but we have to do it!!! So press on and it really is worth it!

  14. oh and the meatball muffin recipe above looks delicious!!! I am going to try it. I think you should do a post and have all your 170 readers send in their favorite recipes! seriously!

  15. Rachel Ray has some great recipes in her 30 minute meals books, and the crock pot is a great suggestion that I saw posted on here several times. And I am with you….having cute dishes, towels and tools is a MUST !!

  16. One of my weaknesses too, especially being 9 weeks pregnant with #3 and having all-day nausea. Tonight I made the effort (an afternoon in front of the Food Network is inspiring!) and we had tricolor pasta with grated cheese and mushrooms, and steamed broccoli/cauliflower. Really felt good to have something to offer my long suffering hubby after his hard day at work.

  17. I am a random reader of your blog and really appreciate your honesty with life as a mother. Here’s just a suggestion: have you heard of The Food Nanny? Her name is Liz Edmunds and she has a cookbook out (I highly recommend it – the recipes are all easy and fantastic). She also has a show on BYU t.v. She highly advocates dinner around the table as a family, menu planning, and making a shopping list as you shop to simplify the process. Check it out and best of luck :)

  18. I love to cook, Erin! We should’ve been neighbors. But…hey way to have good attitude about this new adventure!!!:) Keep going! Kenny will definately appreciate it and feel appreciated. Sometimes Matt is the only one I cook for, but it is worth it when I see him happy and full!

  19. Good for you! It can be hard to do all that “not so fun stuff” for the famiy everyday. I wish you the best of luck and share some of your recipes – please! More motivation for you to cook, right? :)

  20. You crack me up!! I’m proud of you for “taking one for the team!” Once you get into a routine as far as meal planning and shopping goes, it gets easier and more fun. I PROMISE!! Check out my cooking blog if you ever need dinner/dessert/drink ideas. You can’t believe how much i refer to it myself! There are A LOT of easy, non-complicated, kid friendly meals on there. GOOD LUCK! And have fun :0)

  21. I have “made over” more Costco meals — and then, the only way to get my kids to eat is to put everything on a toothpick and let them eat with plastic sandwich baggies on their hands like Costco sample servers. Whatever works :)

  22. Hi Erin. I’m not sure how to get ahold of you other than this way. Would you want to host a giveaway for me? Let me know your thoughts….I’d be happy to send you your own custom piece as well for the trouble! :o)


  23. Stick with it. With more practice you will get quicker and your kids will learn to like what you make. Also, cooking dinner is way more cost effective than quick meals or take-out. Take that money and spend it on something fun for yourself and then it’ll seem even more worth it. Plus, it’s so much healthier for your family. I’ve been cooking for so long that it’s quicker to whip something up than to get McDonald’s.

  24. I stumbled across your blog and saw this post, and couldn’t help but comment (hope you don’t mind!). Anyway, I found this recipe blog with pretty easy & yummy recipes – it’s at

    Heck, if I can make cashew chicken from scratch and have it turn out good & tasty…anyone can! :)

  25. I’m new to reading your blog and so far I’m a big fan! I’m gaining lots of inspiration on your organizing, Project Life and honesty as a mother. I’m new to motherhood myself and can totally relate to the struggle of making a “home-cooked meal” for the hubs. One site that I check out often is:
    Many of the recipes are easy and the ones I have tried are really yummy.

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