Hi All. It's been a very long time since I posted here. I think more than a year. Heidirk, thanks keeping this forum alive! I'm curious to know how old it is, going back to the first thread.
Originally Posted by kfillmore
Wow, I wish I found this post a while ago. I always write posts in my head when I am stressed out. I have many things to say.
However right now I really need HELP on feeding my family (especially me and DD) I struggle with meal planning, cooking, DOING anything I have planned etc. I mean this is a serious issue that only other ADD moms can understand. There are days we barely eat at all because I can't manage, seriously! My DD is 2, by the way.
What can I do? HOW do I do it. You probably know that advice you get from magazines, other people just really isn't helpful. Yah, I know I should meal plan but how on earth do you do that?? It only occurred to me the other day I didn't need to plan 21 meals right away. Although I haven't used that info yet...
tell me how you manage, please
I manage this better than I used to. I'll never master it. If you're like me you will get better at this, simply with practice. I had to become a better cook, for one thing. My kids are 16 y.o. and 11 y.o., and I'm 43 y.o. So that's 16 years practice at cooking for a family. I make lots of mistakes, I waste food, but I've gotten much more efficient, much faster. More capable.
So, you are actually feeding your 2 y.o., right? Are you eating out more than you'd like to? Eating late? Are you eating cold cereal at 8pm? No biggy, you'll get there.
Coming to the realization that you did, above, is a big help! Don't feel like you have to do a huge shopping trip once a month, spend the weekend cooking and feeding the freezer. Do that if it appeals to you, if you feel capable of it. What helped me was to cut way back on expectations and ambitions, and to pat myself on the back when I managed, like, 2 days in a row of 'planned' dinners.
Get good at 3 or 4 simple dinner dishes. Don't feel bad about repeating things for a while. You have a partner at home? So there are basically 2 and a half of you eating at home. Make enough of any dish for 4 or 6 people and you'll have left overs to eat for the rest of the week. I know some people don't like eating anything leftover, but I think you have to get passed that. That gets expensive and wasteful, otherwise.
Things that I cook a lot of:
Pasta with meat sauce.
Chili- onions, ground meat, beans, chili 'seasoning'
Stew- I've gotten good at one, simple recipe- in winter
Chicken soup- same as the stew- good in winter
Big salads- hard boiled eggs and beans, cut-up veggies, cheese cubes
Any of the above can be served with a crusty bread from the grocery store, or dinner rolls or corn bread from a mix. I got good at making cornbread and buttermilk biscuits from scratch, but it took 12 years. Any of the above can be served with prebagged salad. Or prebagged green veggie of your choice. I've gotten fast at chopping up fresh broccoli, or green beans or asparagus, and cooking it in the microwave, serve with butter, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon (we inherited a lemon tree when we moved here). Or just raw cut-up veggies served with ranch dressing.
Have big sandwiches for dinner.
Have pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit for dinner. Or eggs, toast and fruit.
We have take-out pizza or delivered pizza about once a month but it used to be much more often. It is what it is. Pizza makes leftovers for lunch the next day. Or breakfast. =)
When I'm really ambitious and organized I cook a bunch of chicken pieces at once and we have baked chicken for a couple days in a row. Once the chicken is baked it's easy enough to cook a box of rice mix, mac n cheese or whatnot, and a veggie.
Near East brand couscous is miraculous. Boil the seasoning packet in water, dump the couscous in, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes. It's done! A side dish done in less than 10 minutes!! My family loves it.
Stock up on frozen dinner that you like. Stock up on frozen pizzas. It's food! Yes, they're not as healthy as they should be. Yes, they're more expensive than making it from scratch. But give yourself a break. You're learning how to do stuff, and in the mean time your family needs to eat.
Edited to add a word about timing: One thing that helped me was to severely anchor dinner time with dh getting home from work. It helped that he gets home roughly the same time every night, at around 5 or 6. So an hour before I expect him home (or 30 minutes or 20 or 15 or 10 minutes) I get started on dinner (the stew I listed above needs to be started 3 hours ahead ). In truth it's no biggy if we don't eat till later, but it really helps me to have this deadline cemented in my head.
Edited again because I didn't particularly address shopping ahead of time. One reason we eat that particular chili dish a lot is because it's really easy to keep the ingredients on hand. I use canned beans, none of this soaking dry beans for hours ahead of time. Things that I always have on hand: Pasta and bottled spaghetti sauce. Cans of beans (pinto, red kidney, black beans), canned chopped tomatoes, chicken and beef broth. Chili powder, cumin powder and dry oregano. Onions and garlic. Carrots, celery and potatoes. Frozen chicken breasts and trays of ground meat: beef and turkey. Frozen mixed veggies, frozen peas, corn and green beans. Sauteed onions, carrots and celery are the base for both the stew and the soup. Add meat and broth of your choice. Add canned beans to soup. Add frozen corn or peas.
I've gotten faster at peeling and chopping veggies, and you will too. Carrots are wonderful, they come peeled. I can get carrot and celery sticks prepacked at the grocery store, so all I have to do is chop them into bite-size pieces. You can buy onions and garlic fresh and pre-chopped.
Edited by journeymom - 5/19/11 at 10:19am