I don’t mind going food shopping, I really don’t. With kids it’s fun and without it’s like a mini vacation. I need a full fridge and a full pantry to feel like an adult, much more so now that I am a parent. Truth is, I get really anxious when we’re down to one box of crackers. This is perhaps why you can find boxes and bags of things tucked away in my pantry (that sometimes fall on my head and feet) and why I am at the grocery store a minimum of 3x a week. Did I also mention that I hate to waste food? I’m not afraid to make a concoction of whatever veggies and flash frozen proteins we have to tide us over until we can hit TJ’s or the Farmers Market.
I wish I could be one of those organized moms with a tidy “to-buy” list at the store (although I am OCD enough that if I have to give my husband the shopping list I give him turn-by-turn directions for the grocery store “turn right after the fruit and you’ll see the cereal aisle!”) but in reality I do a version of “meal planning lite.” What I do is stock up on my family’s favorite fresh stuff every weekend and then just cook through the week. We get lots of fruits, veggies and specialty items at the Farmer’s Market, staples at Trader Joe’s, and all fresh meat, toasted nuts, and more at the local Kosher market. This ninja warrior level shopping means I always have staples in my fridge and pantry so it’s easy for me to make one of my go to recipes or even experiment with something new. I usually have everything I need and if I don’t, I make a quick stop to get a missing ingredient. I am a big believer in making a protein, starch and veggie (or an all vegetarian meal), but it always is balanced. For the most part the kids eat what we eat, but naturally I am not immune to making the additional quesadilla, hot dog, french fry, pasta…etc. Being the normal, working people that we are means that we also have to resort to supplementing with frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s. However, we very rarely do takeout or buy pre-prepared foods. I’m not opposed to it, but just not that into it. I prefer concocting a meal from a few frozen favorites and complementing it with a fresh vegetable or salad.
But my favorite meals are our “Caterpillar Family Dinners” (you may recognize that winner from Daniel Tiger)—this is when we all sit down and eat together. I try to do it 2x a week but it’s so hard, especially with a 17 month old who eats like an old man in Florida (at 5pm) but my 4 year old loves eating with us so we try to make it happen.
Bottom line is that I love to cook and my fondest memories of childhood are of sitting around the table with my family eating. Nothing makes me happier.
- Whenever I make a meal I always leave out a little extra for leftover purposes and immediately pack it up in my Béaba Clip Containers. That way they are ready to go for tomorrow’s lunch on the go. Huge time saver.
- I am a big believer in making and then flash freezing. So for those nights when I’m desperate for dinner and am too lazy to deal, I always have some spare meatballs or soup in my Béaba Multiportions™ container.
· We spend every weekend out of the house (it’s the key to keeping sane) and I always pack up snacks in my Formula and Snack Container and my clip containers. I lay out all of the options on a park bench and then the kids can look at the array before them and make healthy choices. Saves plastic / paper and also gets them interested quickly. Then they inevitably use the empty containers as sand toys. Go figure.