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Food and Cooking...or lack thereof

Questions answered

You are all too kind!  Really.  Some of the sweetest comments yesterday!  On a post about my fridge of all things!  Seriously, I had a long day with my kiddos yesterday and I can’t even tell you how much your sweet comments cheered me up last night.  I was too tired to post so I just read my comments a few times and then went to bed with a smile on my face.  :)   Because several of you asked some really good questions after my organized fridge post I thought I’d answer them on the blog for anyone else who may be interested.   
So basically what I’m saying is that I’m rambling and I’m about to ramble some more.

{A few questions and answers}  

“Hi Erin – I’ve been wondering with your not cooking much thing, what do your children and Kenny eat for dinners?  I’ve picked up from previous posts that you eat Lean Cuisine meals quite a lot and you feed the kids early before Kenny gets home?…”

K.  I get this question a lot.  It makes me laugh.  Because it’s a really good question!  What does that crazy lady who hates cooking feed her family!?  :)  Well.  I’m going to be totally honest with you.  BRUTALLY honest.  And I am NOT saying this is what anyone else should do.  In fact, when it comes to food and cooking you should just do the opposite of whatever I’m doing!  But here’s what happens around here.  Kenny spends his lunch hour most days at really fancy restaurants wining and dining clients on the firm.  (Poor guy, right!?)  He eats a big meal for lunch so he never wants to eat a big meal for dinner (Kenny and I both try to stay healthy and maintain our weight).  So most nights, he actually prefers that I don’t cook a big meal (true story).  He usually comes home from work late, reads to the girls and tucks them in bed and then eats something simple like a bowl of oatmeal or cereal with yogurt.  That’s when I have my Lean Cuisine and some salad.  I like to eat later when he’s home so I can actually enjoy my meal and visit with my husband.  (Dinner time with my kids at the stage we are in is NOT enjoyable – I’m too busy serving everyone, cleaning up all of the food Kole has thrown across the kitchen, and forcing the girls eat their veggies.  No time to even think about eating myself!)  I feed my kids around 5:30 because they all go to bed at 7:00.  My girls are picky eaters so we have several simple meals I make them.  They probably aren’t the healthiest and I’m sure I could be feeding them a better variety, but it is what it is right now.  I’m doing the best I can to survive most days with Kole and food is NOT my strong suit.  Here is what I often throw together for the kiddos:

– Cheese tortilla (Quesidila)
– Pasta (sometimes with a little Prego sauce, sometimes with just a little butter)
– Spaghetti (pretty similar! – noodles and sauce)
– Ramen noodles
– Mac & Cheese
– Pizza (we usually order pizza on Friday nights)
– a variety of little snack foods (some turkey, apple, cheese, broccoli, etc. – they like to eat this meal with toothpicks :)
– dinosaur chicken nuggets, strawberries and corn on the cob (a favorite)
– grilled cheese sandwiches
– waffles
Eating Right Chicken Chow Mein

Like I said, not always the healthiest.  But I do always add a fruit and vegetable.  Mostly to ease my guilt for not cooking a big healthy meal!

I was wondering what your family eats??  I’m all for fast easy dinners if you have suggestions!

Despite the fact that I despise cooking, I do realize that I’m the mom and a big part of my “mom role” is to feed my family.  So I do try to cook.  I cook a real meal at least once a week.  Sometimes twice if I’m feeling especially domestic!  I’ve posted recipes of several of the meals I turn to when I’m feeling like I really should cook something.  These are all simple and fast and pretty kid friendly!

Mexican Chalupas
Pepperoni Pasta
Cashew Chicken
Tri Color Pasta
Creamy Chicken Enchiladas (I found the recipe for the Enchiladas I recently posted about!)

I have a few more staples and I’m sure I’ll get around to posting them at some point!

You should do a post on what you pack in the girls’ lunches!  I have the hardest time figuring out what to pack for my kiddos!

This is a great idea!!  For somebody else to post about!  ;)  I struggle with this too.  Here are a few things I often pack for my girls lunches but it is nothing special and I’m always looking for new ideas.

– bread & turkey (they like them separate, not together like a sandwich)
– pasta (just like at dinner – with some sauce or plain with a little butter)
– always a fruit (I rotate apple slices, grapes, peaches, a nectarine, or strawberries)
– always a veggie (usually carrot sticks, celery sticks or sugar snap peas)
– yogurt
– string cheese
– jello
– some type of cracker or pretzels
– ice water
– princess fruit snacks  :)

Most days I add a note on a napkin with little drawings.  My girls love the drawings!

“I LOVE the idea of prepping everything as soon as you get it home!!  May I ask how long do most things keep when you prep them?  Also after you rinse them do you dry them before storing them in the fridge?  I know that sounds like a simple question but I have never done this!”

I think that is a great question!  I don’t dry the food.  I just rinse everything off really good in a drainer and then toss it in some Gladware.  It stays pretty fresh and keeps for most of the week.  I don’t know exactly how long because we usually eat it all within three or four days and I’m back to the store for more!

“I love that you seem to have learned to embrace the “not cooking” part of you instead of apologizing for it.  There are so many things we can have mommy guilt for and think we need to be perfect.  It’s always refreshing when people show they don’t do everything and are ok with it, and just excel at what they do well at.”

That was a obviously a comment, not a question, but I included it because I loved it so much (thanks Marianne!).  And because I think that is such an important thing to remember.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  Focusing on the things you are doing great as a mom is always more productive than worrying about what you aren’t doing.  I don’t excel in the food department and I’ve always made that clear.  It’s something that I don’t enjoy and quite frankly am not very good at.  And that’s ok!  I can organize my food like no one’s business!  ;)    My girls may not eat a wide variety of home cooked meals, but they feel my love in other ways.  And at the end of the day, that’s what matters, isn’t it?  That our kids know how loved they are.  Thanks Marianne for reminding us all how important it is to not feel like we need to be perfect.  Trying hard to do our best is good enough.

SO SORRY that this post turned out to be a book.  I was totally out of my element so I don’t know if this was at all helpful to anyone.  Crossing my fingers that your next questions will be about Container store products or Project Life solutions!  ;)

xoxo, Erin
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22 thoughts on “Questions answered

  1. i swear our lives are kinda parallel…well, except if my husband came home at 7, that would be an early night! LOL! now that DWTS is back up, our nights here are very very late…but he gets catering on the lot and it’s always gourmet, and he never wants to eat when he comes home. so he eats a frozen meal, and I eat the oatmeal or bowl of cereal. ha! :-)

    i also feed my kids the same kind of stuff! :-) my oldest is super picky, so I make her food specially and then my younger daughter eats a lot of quesadillas, turkey, strawberries, and banana bread! :-)

  2. I was thinking the same thing about your not “apologizing.” Love that! I think that is why alot of peeps enjoy your blog! Your attitude towards yourself is infectious to us all….and you CAN organize that fridge girl!

  3. I “cook” about as much as you and both my boys are picky. I struggle daily with what to feed them and our menu is very similar to yours. I’m glad there’s other moms out there feeding their kids the same “crap” I feed mine. I too try to add in a fruit or veggie, but it’s not worth the fight if they don’t want to eat it. I feel so much better about my mothering now, thanks to you! :)

  4. I love how honest you are with your routine and how things go with food – and it makes this working Mama feel so much better about how I do things as well! Much like you, I do not eat with my children most nights – it’s too hectic, by the time everyone is served, they are done basically! Never fails! I typically let my oldest kind of choose what they eat for supper nightly – he knows what I always have on hand. My boys’ ultimate favorite meal is honey ham, cheese, grapes and crackers – and it’s SO easy for me! My husband is one of those guys who doesn’t care what he’s being fed, just as long as he gets some food, so that makes it simple! I typically end up eating salsa and chips after the kids are in bed! ;) Works for us! Much love!!

  5. I have to add my voice to those saying I just love you for your open and frank attitude toward cooking.

    I’ve always hated cooking, and I’ve been ashamed of that fact and felt a lot of my value as a mother was tied to relishing the idea of spending hours in the kitchen. It resulted in many tearful conversations with my husband where he basically told me, “Look, we’re happy. Nobody’s complaining.”

    When I first began reading your blog, I had one of those “hallelujah” moments where I saw, hey, here’s a happy, vibrant woman with happy, vibrant children who’s saying it’s ok to feel this way and that it doesn’t diminish one’s worth. It’s probably silly to have such an epiphany from a blog, but there it is.

    So I just need to give you an enormous thank you and virtual hug.

  6. I don’t relish the cooking part either, but realize that we do have to feed our families hopefully healthy food. I found that if I focus on how much this is going to bless my family by fixing a yummy, healthy meal it changes my perspective greatly!

  7. I do cook most nights and usually fairly healthy stuff, but my kids totally eat more “junk food” than they probably should. We always have snack stuff in our house. You just do the best you can! I think as moms we are way too hard on ourselves. Plus it seems to me like woman are often very judgemental of one another. I think that often makes it hard to be honest – the fear of how someone else is going to react to my choices. Thank you for being so honest! It is refreshing. And it sounds like you are doing just fine in the food department.

  8. I too have to tell you that you are a breathe of fresh air! I love your attitude towards family and life and enjoy reading your blog because you are honest and not trying to impress anyone. I don’t know how I stumbled onto your blog but always tune in daily for an update, oh and I love your sense of humour! You always crack me up! Cheers from Australia :-)

  9. Hi Erin. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year. I always get such great ideas from you. I pretty much feed my daughter the same foods you feed yours. I like to cook, but don’t have the energy or time :)

  10. Erin, I think your not giving yourself enough credit. You do cook, the meals are just simpler, but you do prepare and think out dinners for your kids and you feed them a varity of meals. So okay your not a gormet chef every night, but tell me what mom is?

  11. Erin – I really like this post because it makes me feel better. I have a year and a half year old who is super picky (well at least at home) and I am not a cook. If we have a home cooked meal, my husband makes it and that is usually after my little one eats. Even if I was a cook, I don’t know how I would get it done in time for him to eat since I work and he wants to eat almost as soon as we get home. He does eat fruit and green beans so I feel a little better. Anyways, it just makes me feel better to know I am not alone (though your meals are probably healthier then the ones I “make”..Yes, my child thinks that putting chicken nuggets in the oven and hotdogs in the microwave is cooking.)

  12. Hi
    I love you blog and your post was fabulous…
    I agree when said that you should focus on what you are good at and not feel the guilt for what you are not….

  13. Thanks so much for this post! I love seeing how other moms do things, especially other moms who have late working husbands like mine!

    I love that you draw on the girl’s napkins too. I do the same thing and I think I have more fun with it than they do! :)

  14. I love your blog! I love your honesty and your attitude on life. Have you ever checked out this blog? It has given me so many ideas for my kids lunches. She posts pics of her daughter’s packed lunches daily. She uses all kinds of neat foods and containers in her lunch. You might get some ideas from it too.


  15. Erin-Ok when you said you did a photo shoot, I thought you just meant 3 people—-not a WHOLE FAMILY!!!! AHHHH! You did a great job though!!!!

    And you cut your hair! It looks great.

    Gorgeous fridge. For as much as you go to Vons, I am really shocked that I don’t run into you more because I am definitely there everyday too. We need to start coordinating our trips so we can talk up and down the aisles! :)

  16. Thank you so much for answering my question Erin! I feel so special : )

    And the answer was great and so informative. I feel better already because our household runs pretty much exactly the same way as yours: Daughter has dinner at 5pm-ish; husband gets home late – sometimes we eat together sometimes separately.

    I probably only cook a ‘proper’ meal about 2 or 3 times a week! I am trying to either get better or let go of the guilt! I do the exact same thing as you where I cook my daughter something like noodles but then add some vegetables on the side to ease the guilt!

  17. Anonymous beware that boys don’t love those little notes like girls do! My boys beg me NOT to put them in my lunch because it’s embarrassing! Just my experience :) (I still do sneak them in occasionally though)

  18. Hi
    I love your blog , I am going to add you to my side bar…
    Can I give you suggestions regarding how you can make the kids lunch box and dinner healthy; with whatever you are already doing…I feel you are doing good with the fresh fruits and veges that you are giving them…
    you can boil some veges like carrots, corn, French beans,peas which are finely cubed in a pressure cooker or stove top…
    you can sneak them into your pasta sauce,pizza or your noodles …so you know they are getting their required vit and minerals..
    you can make some healthy cakes with whole wheat flour and veges like carrots zucchini etc to make them more nutritious
    for eating with the waffles or pancakes you could just blitz some frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries in a blender with a little lemon juice and icing sugar the kids love it and you give them the fruit…
    you could incorporate some scrambled egg into the mac and cheese..
    I learn so much from you thanks!!!!

  19. ok so i know this is really old, but a super quick and tastey meal. one can of pork n beans (if i’m being super healthy or i got the wrong kind of bean it’s been know to have ranch beans diferent taste but they still ate it), one can of chili beans, 1/2# ground cooked beef, and small can of tomato sauce (optional – doesn’t make too much of a difference really). mix all togather, serve when warmed thru out!
    and i do luv ur attitude about it all! thank you!

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