I’ve mentioned this before, but one thing I am actually really liking during this time is the increased ability to have real, home cooked meals together as a family.
Our “normal” schedule is unfortunately just not conducive to this. Typically, Ivan doesn’t get home until after 6 pm from work. Asher usually has swim practice many/most days from sometime between 5:30-8, depending on the day. During soccer season, we have had stretches where Asher would practice from 4:30-6 and then Ethan from 6-7:30 (on the same days). Other days they have activities right after school, like on Thursdays when they have piano from 3:30-5, so IF I’m even done with work by then, I can’t cook during that time – and then someone or both usually still have a practice later in the evening!
Between my work hours and then driving kids around most afternoons and evenings, it gets super challenging to get dinner on the table in any consistent fashion. I am just literally not home for a long enough stretch at any given time to cook any “real” meal most nights! It is nearly impossible to get all 4 of us in the same place at the same time to eat a meal together most nights too! (I do manage to pull something together most or at least some nights each week, but it tends to be a big stressor for me and just always feels very chaotic).
So, it has been really nice (from that standpoint) to have nowhere to go in the evenings. I have been able to cook pretty much every night (REAL meals!) and instead of eating in shifts, we can all eat together.
|I wish I could say I have some cute little color coded meal planning system in place. But alas, I do not.|
It has made me want to re-visit the idea of meal planning. I used to do this a lot more when the kids were little, but have been really bad about it lately. It definitely can be so helpful, and I think some days if I were better about planning ahead (even on our normal, “busy” days), I could find little windows of time to do some prep ahead which could make the actual cooking go a lot faster.
Another meal time issue we have been running into lately is that apparently every member of my family has decided that if one person likes something, the others must hate it. Seriously, this is driving me insane!! Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
Asher won’t eat zucchini. Ethan loves zucchini. Ethan loves sweet potatoes. Asher hates them. Asher loves any kind of eggs, Ethan practically has to be force fed to eat an egg. Ivan doesn’t really like chicken, but now Ethan suddenly doesn’t like pork anymore either. Asher loves raw carrots, but doesn’t like them “warm”. Both kids hate brussel sprouts, the adults love them. Oh, and did I mention Ivan strongly dislikes most meats or meals that have been prepared in a crockpot (or casseroles)?? The list goes on.
Both of my boys are pretty good, varied eaters on their own, but NONE of their preferences really line up with each other, which makes it so challenging to find things everyone will eat. It has gotten to the point that I just want to throw my hands up and say FEND FOR YOURSELVES!!!!
I saw this post on Instagram on the Edit Your Life page from one of their readers, and it really made me re-frame this whole dilemma:
I thought this was great advice! I think I have been stressing too much about trying to make sure everyone likes what I’m going to cook. So what if they don’t?! They eat plenty. They will not starve! So maybe they have to round out their meal that night with some crackers or a yogurt if they don’t eat enough of the real meal. Oh well! I am going to work on adopting this mindset a bit.
I also decided to write out a little meal plan for this week, just to dip my toes back into the meal planning world….I eat a lot of leftovers for lunch and we will probably spread these out into the weekend too.
*fish tacos + rice + sweet corn
*dry chicken tinga (shredded chicken sauteed with tomato, onion, jalapeno strips) served on tostadas with refried beans and salsa
*broccoli and shrimp alfredo pasta, garlic bread
*corn and zucchini chowder + salad
* ground turkey with potatoes and beans simmered in spicy salsa verde or roja (served with tortillas)
We had the fish tacos last night and they were an absolute HIT! Everyone loved the entire meal. I joked that we will now be having fish tacos, white rice and corn every night for the rest of eternity. 😉
I am grateful for spicy food. Ivan and I both LOVE spicy food and it makes me so happy to eat it! I am really grateful that we both love spicy food too, since it would be really sad (not to mention pretty complicated) if we couldn’t enjoy it together. The majority of our meals end up with some kind of spicy element, be it a salsa, diced or sliced chile peppers or even just red pepper flakes on pasta.