Friday, January 25, 2013

Adventures in Cooking

Cooking has never been a strength for me. I stress out if I don't have an EXACT recipe to follow, I can't tell if meat is cooked all the way through, and I usually feel like the meal turns out badly after hours of effort. But I decided that since the kids are getting older they should  need to eat more than hot dogs, mac and cheese, pasta with parmesan cheese, scrambled eggs, and fruit snacks.

My aversion to cooking really has nothing to do with a lack of good foods available, it's mostly the fact that I've always been surrounded by good cooks. I mean when your husband can make an amazing meal out of random odds and ends in the pantry and fridge, why go to the trouble of finding recipes and stressing over cooking?

But when I realized just how much I worried over Sarah's picky eating, I got to thinking. Maybe it was less Sarah being finicky and more that she usually gets fairly limited choices. Sure she loves all those foods above but I think that's because when she was littler -and refusing to eat table foods or anything other than crackers and puffs- whenever I found something she'd eat I would immediately stop searching for other things to feed her. I'd found the "it" food of the week or month or whatever. She was eating and that was all that mattered.

I want her and Andrew to develop good eating habits though, so I decided to make a desperate plea for recipes on Facebook and I browsed Pinterest forever. Lucky for me, my friends came through and really so has Pinterest. Here's a few things I've learned on this endeavor.

  1. I love my crockpot. Something that does all the cooking for me? You bet I am more than okay with that.
  2. If I let Sarah "help" me cook, she's way more likely to eat whatever said food is. It's not always easy to find a task that a 2 year old can help with, but even if it's stirring up something or adding potatoes wedges into the crockpot, she'll feel like a useful part of dinner prep. And then most likely will brag to Daddy about how she made such a yummy dinner.
  3. Letting all the organic, natural, anti-GMO talks get into your head is a bad idea. At least for me. Yes I realize that all of those things are good. However, I am friends with a few people on Facebook that only post about how you are slowly killing your kids if you don't follow an organic, real food diet. Personally, I really don't think the occassional fast food meal makes me a bad mom, just a hurried one.
  4. If we as parents set good examples the kids will follow. I realize it's easier said than done. I love some good junk food, but when all the kids see me eating is junk, guess what they want. JUNK. So if I switch it up and make better food choices, they are more inclined to do the same.
  5. There's bound to be some flops. A bad recipe, an overcooked piece of chicken, burned bread, bland rice, etc. It's okay to have failures or recipes that you won't go back to.
  6. Meal planning make a world of difference. Honestly if you have a list of meals for the week, you are far LESS likely to go out and impulse buy at the grocery store every other day.
  7. Timing is key. You may have a quick and easy taco salad planned, but if the corn bread takes 25 minutes, you should start that first...
  8. I enjoy baking much more than actual real food cooking. If only we could live off of cupcakes and brownies. Well, without suffering from numerous health problems.
As I learn more or have a funny/embarassing/horrible experience story to tell, I'll have some more blog posts about our meals!

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