Fantasy Vs. Reality

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Okay, picture this:
I (we) just got the kids to bed, Eric is headed down to the Man Cave to study
 and I am sitting on the couch ready to get down to business.
 It is Sunday night, that's an important  part of this fantasy.
I have my laptop and a glass of wine and some bad TV is on mute in the background.
Around me is a pile of cookbooks, notebook and pen...I am ready.
I am planning my dinner menu for the week ahead.  
I am looking through a few of my cookbooks, marking pages and making a grocery list. 
I am so organized.
 Monday morning we will go to the grocery store and do our shopping for the whole week.
I won't forget anything on my list.

Cut to Monday afternoon.
I am in the kitchen chopping, cutting and getting dinner in the crock pot. 
Music is playing in the kitchen and
my bread machine is humming on the counter. 
We will have fresh honey wheat bread with our dinner.
I am getting a head start on dessert...pie maybe?
Since it's Monday, Eric will be home early and we can all eat together. 
The meal is delicious and everyone loved it.
There is no whining. 
I didn't even feel like yelling at anyone while I was fixing dinner because
 most of it was already cooking or half-way prepared already. It wasn't stressful at all.
Remember how organized I am?
I am so impressed with myself.  Damn, I'm good.

It's 4:50 p.m. on Monday.
 We are back home form school pick up, the backpack has been gone through,
 clothes have been changed and we have heard all about the school day by now. 
The kids are drawing in the living room I go put in a load of laundry,
 feed the dogs and come back upstairs to the kids asking about supper.
Ooops. What? Supper. Oh.
I hadn't even thought about supper yet. 
Sadly, that is often my reality.
There are many nights I declare; "Breakfast for supper!"
 complete with homemade waffles, fruit, sausage and orange juice.
There are also the nights that I gaze into the pantry at the
Peanut Butter Cap'N Crunch and wish it could pass as supper.
And don't think for a second that it hasn't come to my rescue before, in a "supper emergency".
Ashamed? Yes.
I am a stay-at-home-mom, I should be able to do this.


I am determined to do better at this. I really am.
And although I am not trying to make excuses, the fact of the matter is,
I am just not that good of a cook. I'm not. Which makes it not so much fun, ya know?
And Eric is a good cook and actually enjoys cooking but just doesn't
really have the time due to school, work, etc.
I can bake though.
I actually really enjoy baking but cooking does not come natural.
And the super-sad and somewhat embarrassing thing about that?
My brother is a Chef.
And he's a really good Chef at a successful restaurant (in our little world) and I can't cook.

Any favorite recipes? Websites? Blogs? Cook books? Ideas?
I really need some good vegetarian meals the kids may actually eat and crock pot recipes.


  1. I feel you... we do lean cuisines. I am a stay at home mom too...I should do better. :( I have a 3 yr old and a newborn. Nuff said. lol. I need ideas and recipes too...hope ppl post lots on the comment page! ;)

  2. I get it....sometimes cereal does pass for dinner here in my one is perfect.....:)

  3. count me in. You know I did it for about 5 years but I can't for the life of me remember how. And then came the rough year (2009) and I lost all my good habits. But now between DH & DS that are such picky eaters I just don't have the energy to plan, shop and cook for meals that get such luke warm reactions. I'm not trying to make excuses just letting you know that you're not alone in this.

  4. Okay, I am NOT a vegetarian and I don't cook that way, however-- girl, you need to learn to freezer cook. I used to think I couldn't do it, could never be that organized, but now I know I can't live without it. A whole ton of planning, shopping, cooking-- ONCE A MONTH. And then it's done, and meal planning is just a matter of pulling something out of the freezer. Seriously. It is how I survive, especially now with the homeschooling. I did a whole post in my blog about freezer cooking a couple months ago. I'm not sure how useful it will be, because every single recipe involves meat, but just in case, here's the link.

  5. you and Eric? are Dan and I.... I'm always telling myself I will be better at it.
    I will put more effort into it... it rarely happens ... sigh!

    and I? i don't even bake, you at least have that! :)

  6. Ha - I love to cook (I am not a very good baker), and I still don't do it. Who has time. Why do you think I make those bento lunches for my little one - at least I know she gets one good meal a day. Dinner so far this week at our house has been: Chinese take out, Turkey sandwiches, Spaghetti O's, and tonight will probably be Peanut Butter and crackers. But we do sit down and eat it together - whatever it is. I have to agree - it's all about planning and prepping ahead, but often I'm just not in the mood to do that. The crock pot is my friend - as are pantry recipes. Luckily my family likes pasta - a lot. You are not alone. I'd be happy to come over for breakfast for dinner - that's one of our faves as well.

  7. I get it. I don't love to cook, either. But I run an early childhood program from my home, and made the decision to eat locally, so I'm having to learn. I love the book "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker." Easy recipes; put them in in the morning; dinner's ready when you are. And I recently got "Feeding the Whole Family," and have found some great easy hits in there.

    And here's the "recipe" for what we had for lunch today--a hit with all 6 kids in my early childhood program. In the crockpot set to high, at breakfast time, I put a cup of dried split peas, about 3 cups of water, a chopped onion, 3 chopped carrots, and some salt and pepper. At lunchtime, hit it with the immersion blender, and it's done. Simple and good.

  8. I hear you on this one. I really, really love to cook...but only when I am organized. It takes so much to plan, shop, prep, cook and clean it all up and start again that it can just suck the joy right out of the whole thing. I dream of a world where I don't everyday have to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

  9. Goodness, Amy, I feel like I shouldn't even be commenting on this one because you know i have a hubby who loves to cook and does it every night!!! Believe me, I KNOW how lucky I am!!!! We do plan meals for the week on Sunday (or Monday morning) and shop on Mondays. He cooks big things on the weekend, that we have as a left over one night during the week. We have easy things on busy nights like spaghetti and breakfast for dinner. The funny thing is, the less effort we seem to put in (breakfast for dinner) the more they love it and eat without complaining. Go figure.
    We love Cooking Light magazine. They are not all vegetarian, but they have a few recipes. Also, my vegetarian friend has the book How to Cook Everything Veg. and she uses that quite a bit. Maybe a veg cooking magazine would help because a new one would come every month with new inspiration???
    Good luck
    Enjoy the day,

  10. I was thinking about this the other day, how many women do not know how to cook. What I realized is that as a mom, you are going to have to prepare a lot of meals over their lifetime, right? So every mom needs a few sure fire meals in their arsenal. A "go to" of a few recipes that they can then expand upon. Good news for you Amy: if you can bake, you can cook! You will have to experiment to see what works best for your family. I am really good at one pot meals & soups. (I could use some of your homemade bread!) The great thing about these types of meals, is that you can experiment & usually have leftovers for another meal. (Read: "less cooking")

    As a kid, my mom made a lean meat, salad & veggie for dinner. Simple & easy & healthy. I would encourage you to involve the kids in some aspect of the meal prep. I did with my kiddos & now my son brings me cookbooks & wants to explore new recipes! All 3 of my kids will leave home knowing how to cook at least 5 meals each.

    You can do this. Take it one step at a time & consult with your bro on some easy recipes (things you can have on hand during winter) to put together a meal. Trust me, your family will be healthier & happier as a result of your cooking!

    Did you pay the library fine? hugs, Cathy

  11. Oh, Amy! This is me too. BSD is the cook here. But he's not home for dinner 90% of the time. The other bad thing...even though I sometimes feel the urge to cook, the girls won't eat it! So, I'm just as lost as you.

    My answer has been to make anything that involves pasta often. If they won't eat the flavorful dish of it, they will eat it with butter and freshly grated parm cheese.

    Are you strictly vegetarian? I have many more non-veg recipes, but if you want an EASY vegetarian soup, I just posted a recipe for one on my blog. I call it Pumpkin chili, but it's really a very thick soup.

    I love Breakfast for dinner. I need to do that once in a while.

  12. And, I see from the pix you have lots of pumpkin so you're halfway there for the chili. :)

  13. I try to share as much as I can with each menu and food post.

    The Ellie Krieger cookbooks are good and have vegetarian options. The Moosewood author has her own website that's really good as well.

    I know our boy Jamie (Oliver) has some meatless meals too.
    You can do it!

  14. Wow, okay, I kinda laughed at the fantasy.
    See, you're not the only one; my mom was TOTALLY not born with a cooking gene. She barely has a baking gene.
    Sad but true. can cultivate it.
    Follow recipes....make sure you try to start dinner ahead of time...
    So, needless to say, with a mother who isn't a kitchen person, my older sis and I do most of it.
    Cooking for 9 people.
    Oh heck yeah, it's fun stuff.
    Sometimes I wonder what the heck it would be like to cook for just....2-5 people.
    Weird, that's what!! Different, but ya know, that's just not my lot in life right now.
    Oh well.
    It's character building, methinks, so whatever.
    I adore Jamie Oliver's recipes, but have only made a few.
    And Smitten Kitchen's blog is a-ma-zing for her pudding --never do any other kind or recipe but hers for (chocolate) pudding. OMG, so good.
    Betty Crocker?? Friends...oh yes we've got a ton of recipes from friends.
    And I prefer easy-to-make ones, though 80-90% of the time, we do nearly everything from scratch.
    Don't ask me why, we just do. We just HAVE. But it's probably saving money, too, somewhere in there. Hehehe:)
    Hope some of the other commenters gave you some hope, too!!
    You can do it, Amy! Being a perfect homemaker is not a talent anyone wakes up with. And if you meet someone was DID wake up with it, let me know. Because I'm gonna come over there something not nice to her. :D

  15. Holy.freaking.crap.
    I am so sorry for the novel I just wrote!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  16. Sorry I can't be of much help, I am like you and rather bake than cook :)

  17. I totally rely on If you need a recipe, they have at least 10, plus ratings and comments so you know if the recipe is good, needs to be modified or perfect the way it is.

  18. I love your bread box! I also don't like to cook but my DH actually enjoys it. We have major issues lately with the kiddos saying they don't want what we cook, they just want pasta every freakin night. Finally I posted a dinner schedule which they can't argue with. Veggie stuff my kids will eat..stir-fry with rice,brocolli,tofu,sweet and sour mix. Homemade mac and cheese with tomatoes, lentil soup with alphabet pasta (they will only eat it with the alphabet pasta). All soup for them must have alphabet pasta...drives me crazy, sometimes I just buy the campbells chicken soup and make another kind of ourselves. My husband and I are vegetarians but my kids do eat meat on occasion. It's hard to come up with a variety of healthy veggie dinners they will eat too. Good luck.

  19. I am so in the same boat with you on this one...paddling to the shore...with just my hands because I probably forgot to put the oars in the BOAT! Okay, vegetarian....check. Kids....check. For me it all begins with the grocery shopping. If I have meals planned to make BEFORE the grocery store, then during the week I will always have the resources to throw something together. I cannot make a menu for every day, every meal and stick to it for the whole week. Stuff comes up, time constraints that make whatever I had planned for Monday night not an option on then my whole weeks menu...poof...up in smoke. So I just make sure I have four solid meals that I know I have the food for in the house, then just see how the week goes. I also come from a long line of vegetarians, my family has a health food store and I write a blog for our store and do recipes every now and again. The recipe Lynette's Patties are great because you can make them, freeze them, consume whenever. They're great just dipped in ketchup but so much better for you than chicken nuggets. Hope that helps in some way or other. Oh the grocery store blog is


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