Saturday, June 26, 2010

A milestone of sorts

I think it's well known to family, friends, neighbors and probably even you my blog readers that I don't exactly cook if I can help it.  Wanting to avoid Father's Day crowds at the restaurants last Saturday night I suggested to Bryan that we think about cooking dinner instead of buying it.  We had eaten some form of take out or restaurant food every day that week (not uncommon for us) and I was getting fed up with the lack of variety.  We pondered what to make for dinner for a little bit after the kids and I returned home from Mass and decided to try and replicate our two favorite dishes from Olive Garden.  Making dinner required us to go to the grocery store and get some necessary ingredients.  While preparing dinner alongside Bryan I began to realize that this cooking thing really wasn't all that bad and it was saving us a lot of money.  The food turned out to be pretty close to what we get at the Olive Garden and we had not only saved money, but we had also saved ourselves about an hour of travel time.  This meant we could take a longer walk with the kids and just enjoy time together as a family.

I was struck by how much we had simplified our life by making our dinner instead of eating out.  I knew we'd be eating at home on Sunday since we had my parents and brother coming over for Father's Day.  Enjoying the luxury of another simplified day, I decided to see if I couldn't keep it up for the rest of the week.  Instead of running to McDonald's or Chick Fil A for lunch with the girls, I made all of our lunches at home.  For dinner we tried to work with the foods that were currently in the house and once again we succeeded.  I did make several food buying trips during the week to add some variety and in the end everyone was happy.  Bryan and I decided that we are going to be a one dinner household.  The days of me being the short order cook for the girls are done.  As we contemplate adding to our family the prospect of one day cooking four or five different meals for one dinner seems nothing short of insane.  I really expected the girls to give us a hard time about having to eat what we serve but they've been very good about it.  In fact, on Thursday the kids happily told me that I'm a good cook and that they like all the food I've been making them.

By cooking all week I've learned a few things.  Preparing food ahead of time when I'm not feeling a time crunch works great.  I've also discovered that with some thought, leftover ingredients can be turned into a lunch or dinner component for the next day.  In the past I've been notorious for wasting perfectly good food.  Food preparation isn't all that difficult when I take the time to plan ahead.

I'm feeling pretty good about our decision to eat at home.  If all goes well this will become and stay our new normal.

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