I am Thankful That I Can Cook

Growing up, both Cort and I had moms who were mostly stay at home and able to put a home-cooked meal on the table during the week.

I say “mostly at home” because they both worked part time jobs here and there, but for the most part, they were home through our young growing up years.

By the time my mom was working full-time, I was old enough to read a note that said, “put ham in the oven at 350 at 4:30” and actually do it.

So even through high school, my mom always made sure that the five of us had a hot meal Mon-Fri.

The meals she made us were familiar.  There was a rotation of meals that regularly graced the kitchen table and very seldom was it that a new recipe was tried.  Meatloaf (ick), chicken (yum), ham (ick), lasagna (yum), some sort of meat my mom referred to as “cube steak” (super ick), steak on the grill (yum), the list goes on.

Some of those meals I could have lived without ever eating again (boiled hot dogs? Blech), but some felt like home (homemade veggie beef soup with homemade giant cinnamon rolls).

I remember thinking we were so weird to be sitting down as a family five nights a week at five o’clock on the dot.  None of my friends did this. In fact, some of their mothers didn’t even cook much.

Now, though, I realize why those family dinners are so great.

And it makes me even more happy that I can put together meals for our family a few nights a week.

I don’t have time to make anything that takes more than 45-30 minutes to do after work, which means that lately I have become a giant fan of make ahead meals and my crock pot.

Because my life is so different than my mom’s was when she was a newish mom, I haven’t found my “rotation” of meals yet.  There are somethings that I know will get a YAY from both Cort and Eddie (pretty much anything with noodles and sauce), and of course there are things that Eddie will only eat the required “one taste” of just to be able to be excused from the table before bedtime.

I’ve tried lots of new recipes, gotten lots of feedback ranging from “Yum, babe! You can make that again!” to “I done yike spinch, mom.”

I love that I enjoy being in the kitchen and making nutritious meals for my family.

Sometimes I wonder if my kids will come home from college or come over with their families for dinner and request certain dishes from their youth.

I know sometimes the meals I make are an attempt to grasp something from my kidhood.  I make my mom’s veggie or chicken soup when I need comfort.  I make her lasagna when I want to see happy, full family members.  I make cheesy potatoes when I want to remember Sundays at my grandma’s house.

Sometimes I wonder if, since this blog is a record for my children, I should include some of those recipes here.

I’ve listed a few things on occasion that we have enjoyed.  And of course I shared the Veggie Soup recipe and my YUM meatloaf recipe (it is truly yummy…it actually converted me to a zero tolerance meatloaf snob into a lover of meat in loaf form).

I am not a food blogger. Not even close.

I don’t know how to take awesome pictures of food or make my posts “pinnable”.

In fact, that doesn’t matter to me.  But keeping certain foods we love on record seems like a good idea.  I mean, the veggie soup recipe is not even really a recipe.  I wrote it down, but usually it’s just throwing stuff in a pot.

But without writing it down, it would be lost with my mom and me.

One of my motherly talents is feeding my people.

And I am thankful for that.

one bite

On Sunday I was a big braggy pants over on instagram (go follow me! I’m ksluiter, naturally.) that I had not only done all the grocery shopping for the week, but that I was meal prepping for the entire week too.

Thanks to a little thing called pinterest, I had looked up 3 meals that would get us through the week–most of which I could make on Sunday.

This is my favorite way to organize meals for the week: do the grocery shopping myself on Saturday (after I clean out the fridge), and then do the cooking during nap on Sunday.  Unfortunately, this school year has been so busy, this was the first week since August that I could pull off this plan.

And I took full advantage by tweeting and instagramming my progress!

After people were all curious and wanting links to the pins, I decided to put it all in one place for you…here!

So this is what my Sunday looked like…

recipes out, 100 things going at once.

So what did I make?

Well, on Sunday I baked this yummy bread.

Cort’s comment: “It looks fake. That is how good that is going to be.”

I baked it to go with a Pot Roast Mushroom Soup that I made Monday when I got home from work.

good, but it needed…something.

I made a roast the week before, and in an attempt to use it before it needed to be thrown out, I made soup. The soup was Ok, but it had too much thyme for my liking and not enough…I don’t know.  Something.  I added salt and pepper and I still felt like it was missing something.  Just a tad too bland.

It also wasn’t as hearty as I was hoping.  It’s a good thing I made the bread to go with it, because on it’s own it didn’t fill us up.  But it would have been a great starter to a meal or with a nice Club Sandwich or maybe a BLT.

Tuesday’s dinner was much more filling….

Spinach lasagna rolls. YUM!

I put together these Spinach Lasagna Rolls completely on Sunday and stuck the whole pan in the fridge until Tuesday. When I got home from work Tuesday, I popped them in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes and Ta Da! Dinner! (and delicious as left overs, I must say).

For Wednesday I prepped a crock pot meal.

Chicken tacos for the win!

I used a Cilantro Lime Chicken meal that can actually be frozen and used waaay later, but I just tossed the whole thing in a gallon zip-loc and threw it in the fridge for a couple days. On Wednesday I dumped the contents into the crock pot before work in the morning.  When I got home, all we had to do was cut up the tomatoes and avocados for the toppings and shred the chicken and boom! Easy, quick pre-trick or treating meal!

So three wins and a “meh” from pinterest this week.

The best part to me is that I was able to use almost all fresh, real ingredients.  So I know each meal was healthy for my family.

I’ve got my eye on a few other things I would like to try next week, so if you enjoy this post, maybe I’ll do another one.  Or not. I have to be honest, my blogging is sporadic at best lately.

But I thought it should be documented that I DID COOK during this time in my life.

(Also? I am NOT a food blogger, nor am I a food photographer.  I think that is evident, but I’m just sayin’.)

I’m happy to say that Eddie tried each of these things. The lasagna was his favorite, although he gave the spinach the stink eye and did not seem to believe me that it would give him big muscles.  But he did try it, so that was a win.

I have to give Eddie credit. He will always at least try one bite of everything on his plate.  Sometimes he likes it and eats more. Otherwise he pulls a face and about gags it out, but he always tries it.

And that is all we ask in our house: try one bite, and then if you don’t like it, don’t eat it.

Most nights plates were cleared this week, so yay!  Cooking win!