Making Good on My New Year’s Resolution
I can’t believe a month has passed since I made my one new year’s resolution to cook more. Time flies, as they say!
I am happy to report that I might just have inherited my mom’s love of cooking after all. Who knew? Certainly not me. I’ve had some mishaps, for sure – like the roasted pork loin and squash combo I tried to pull out of my behind last night. Each fine in their own right, but together? Not so much! My four-year old summed it up nicely: “yuck mommy, this is GROSS!”
Every week I have made dinner from scratch at least 6 out of 7 nights, if not 7 out of 7. I haven’t punted the ball and cooked mac & cheese out of a box once, and I’ve stayed away from the frozen aisle completely.
I even made Sally Lunn bread (my favorite as a little girl) one night! It was good, if quite a bit denser than I remember. I have much to learn on the bread front, I’m afraid.
Ok – enough crowing about sticking with my resolution. How’d I manage that after years of failing?
Three tricks that have kept me on track:
• I developed “themes” for each day of the week. This was actually advice that Tamra Davis shared with me while I was writing the chapter in our book about getting organized to make home-cooked weeknight meals a reality. Mondays are Meatless, Tuesdays are Tortellini (i.e. pasta), Wednesdays are Wokky, and so on. From a practical standpoint, it made putting a monthly menu, something I’d never tried before, idiot-proof (doing a weekly one used to take me a good hour). It also provides a nice bit of routine for the kids. Will, who is at least old enough to tell me, likes Mexican Monday best.
• I created a monthly menu. Since I had the days of the week themed, all I had to do was sit down with a couple of cookbooks and my computer and come up with 4 meatless menus, 4 pasta menus, etc. It took me about 45 minutes and I did it while camped out on the floor of the playroom with the kids going full tilt. I also made note of key ingredients so I’d know what I needed to buy and I wrote down the cookbook & page number of each recipe I included so I could find it later. I loved that when I woke up every, single day I already knew what was for dinner! So simple, and yet, surprisingly easy to put off. I always told myself “I don’t have time” or couldn’t get past one week. The themes proved to be the magic solution.
• I wasn’t afraid to fail. I told myself going in that there were going to be nights that were doozys. And there have been. But on the whole, my family and I have been very happy with the results. When an evening meal is a FAIL, we choke a few bites down and everyone gets dessert no matter how little they’ve eaten.
My favorite recipe so far: chicken w/lemon sauce & capers from the Six O’Clock Scramble cookbook. My husband literally got teary and thanked me for throwing myself into this whole cooking thing.
There’s no better motivation than that, I tell you!