Monday, July 8, 2013

How Are You Hungry Yet Again?

What to eat, what to eat?

Lots of people love to cook for their family. They see it as a way to be creative, try new ingredients, perfect certain dishes, experiment with new techniques, and nourish their families with nutrition and love.

To be honest, I dread it.

Sure, there are some great meals where I present a beautiful, rustic meal that nourishes both bodies and souls.

I know my husband is guffawing right now.

For some reason, I am totally baffled that four people need to eat at least three times every day. My two little girls can put away what seems like more food than a high school football team, and that's just for snack. You mean you people need to eat again already?? Can't you just graze off the floor with the smorgasbord of tasty morsels that rival a Las Vegas Buffet?

I can get adventurous in the kitchen, and I would say I do know cooking basics. Mind you, I'm not applying for Master Chef and definitely have less than edible outcomes, but I can keep my family fed. My husband is not picky at all and kindly suggests changes and tweaks to recipes. God love him; he's a great sport to put up with me when it comes to meal planning and cooking. The girls aren't even that picky. The problem I have is twofold: 1. I see it as just another task I have to do where I don't feel I can devote concentrated time to it, where dinner prep always seems like a circus to me, and 2. I never know WHAT to cook despite all these Pinterest boards I have, menus I've found or have access to of healthy foods, cookbooks, etc. I am always cooking something totally different and rarely repeat recipes. If I'm trying to keep everyone fed on time, lose weight, and stick to a budget, those things seem to totally overwhelm me. I just want someone to swoop in and feed my family healthy food without me having to do anything except eat the leftovers.

I've already thought of strategies, some I've implemented and others not yet, to eliminate the fear and anxiety of cooking food. My husband and I would like to take cooking lessons together. I could get the kids involved in food prep, even if it takes 1209320 hours longer. Setting aside some time over the weekend to prepare ingredients would save tons of time. Rock out with the crock pot. Husband grills and I cook quick sides. Extreme coupon for staples like beans, brown rice, etc. Only shop specials each week. I can even just pick a 2-week meal plan from countless of resources I have, like the 2-week gluten-free menu, complete with a shopping list, from this book I perpetually have checked out from the library called Once A Month Cooking: Family Favorites, anything from 100 Days of Real Food, anything from back issues of my Clean Eating magazines, and of course, my ridiculous Mostly Healthy Food Pinterest Board.

But I always freak out! Someone throw me a packet of ketchup for the waaaaaaaaaaamburger!!

Knowing that I'm trying to lose weight and that I can't just feed my family on horseradish mustard and dry barley, I decided to see what exactly was left in the cabinets, freezer, and fridge. I built meals around that and went through some recipes to get a game plan for this week.

I spent $85 this week on food items, but I had those pantry/fridge ingredients. Here's what is on the menu for this week (and beyond, honestly) with mostly vegetarian recipes to try to fit in the budget. I linked recipes for what I could find online, and the rest are scribbled on pieces of paper I found while cleaning out an end table this weekend.

Main Meals:

Food I have available to me not already designated for a recipe: Greek yogurt, blueberries, celery, hummus, cucumber, tuna, string cheese, baby carrots, green peppers, almonds, tuna, green grapes, spinach, bananas, kale, walnuts, cashews, raisins, Applegate Farms organic turkey, half a bag of frozen cauliflower, almond/chia/coconut milk. 

Instead of counting calories, right now I'm just doing a clean eating, gluten-free thing. I feel like I'm just getting used to no gluten; I still have temptations and cravings, but the effects most likely would be disastrous! 

NO excuses for take out, last-minute questions of what to eat and is it healthy and affordable, freaking out about having to cook it, and hopefully not feeling overwhelmed. 

What are your go-to meals that do not involve processed foods? No condensed soups, anything with high fructose corn syrups, artificial flavors, etc. please :-) How do you view cooking foods for yourself or your family-do you like it or loathe it? Do you have a meal plan down pat, or do you just go willy nilly down the aisles like Supermarket Sweep? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. i know you said you have looked around and different options, but what about the diet or GF/DF OAMM menus? i know at the end of the summer, they are moving to a platform where you can pick and choose recipes from different menus and it will consolidate all that into your shopping and menu lists without the fuss it would be now

  2. That would be a great idea! Do you know if you have to pay for the service?

  3. We tend to stick to lean meats and a vegetable in our house. Keeps it simple and non-processed. Thanks for linking up to my Mustard Chicken thighs recipe! That is a great one :)

    1. Oh, how exciting! I love your recipe!! It's soooooo good and really affordable. We paired it with roasted cauliflower.

  4. we do chicken packets and fish packets a lot, Lucy, 375 oven, sheet pan, foil squares, fresh or thawed frozen veggies of choice, chicken or fish, we do a bit of oil, vinegar, italian herbs, garlic, salt, pepper toss with veggies and drizzle some over meat choice and then let sit for 30 minutes, put a meat piece down, top with veggies, make packet from foil, place on sheet pan--fish cooks for 20-25minutes, chicken for 30-40 if it's boneless, longer with bone in...
    make your own pan sausage (I'll have to look for the recipe mark likes)
    crustless quiches in your muffin pan works for a fairly easy/quick supper--add veggies and/or cheese of your choice if you're eating eggs and dairy beans and rice only not "rice" we found a few recipes for "faux" rice and faux fried rice using steamed and then sauteed grated cauliflower that were pretty good.

  5. and, my kids want to eat ALL freaking day, it's a chore, it drives me insane. Last night P ate 2 whole bowls of chili with ranch dressing in it, then less than an hour later she wanted ham, then goldfish, then popcorn...I finally just cut her off and said that there was no way she was still hungry and it was time for bed.

  6. Hey Lucy,

    Thanks so much for linking to my mustard chicken thighs recipe. I am glad you like it! I eat a strict gluten-free diet and my husband does too by default. Every meal we make is usually a protein (turkey, chicken, steak, or fish) with a vegetable. Sometimes we do salad. A really easy meal that I like to do is salmon with Asaragus. I put the salmon in individual pieces wrapped in foil with a little ghee or coconut oil and spices. Serve it with asparagus and wa-la. Easy meal! If you need more ideas, let me know!

    Lindsay (from