With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve got several awesome giveaways today from Coupons.com. When they asked me to share how I simplify my life as a mom, I knew I had plenty to say because that is the name of the game at this house. I’ve had so many readers ask how I get it all done, and the answer is that I don’t. I do really, really simplify as much as I can. And while I have a lot I could share, today I’m sharing three ways I make things easier in the kitchen.
As a busy mom of three busy kids and almost three busy businesses, I have learned that the more places that I can simplify, the better. I am trying to let go of some expectations that I have of myself, because I know I just can’t do it all. I used to think that I loved to cook. At one point back in the day I considered culinary school! And while I do enjoy feeding my family good food, I have realized that I can just do simple. I don’t need to try new recipes all the time or find ways to use exotic ingredients. That just isn’t me. Meal prep almost never looks like this. (I only have a photo like this because the one time it happened deserved recognition!)
Life usually looks more like this. Especially because until last week we were without a working dishwasher for 6+ months. (Bowls and spoons are hard to come by when the dishes don’t get done more than twice a week!)
So how do we eat relatively healthy, while keeping things simple? I’ve figured out a few ways.
1. Have a Go-To Meal List One way I have simplified is having a relatively small list of go-to meals. I almost always have those ingredients on hand and they are either recipes that only take 2-3 steps, or I have made them enough times that I can do it from memory. Cooking from close to memory is key! Those meals include parmesan fish with rice and veggies, grilled fish with rice and veggies, chicken with a noodle and veggie side, beans and rice, homemade spaghetti, tacos, chili and cornbread, chef salad, and a few others. I try to swap out different fruits and vegetables, and on the weekends, I will often cook slightly more elaborate meals like Thai food or a whole roast chicken.
2. Shop Big Once Another way I simplify is that I try to do a big grocery shopping trip once a month and then only buy milk, bread, and produce on a weekly basis. It doesn’t always work out, but on the months that I do it, I am SO glad to have a stocked pantry and freezer to work from.
3. Take Short Cuts The third way I simplify is that I do use some convenience foods to get me halfway there with a meal. For example, I never make chili from scratch. But I do doctor up the Hormel canned chili with tomato sauce, beans and corn. We also eat a lot of frozen veggies. I usually mix in frozen edamame with a bag of mixed vegetables and we’ll eat that side at least once a week. Sometimes I will buy the flavored minute rice or noodle packets and serve those as a side with fresh produce and chicken or fish. We do frozen pizza almost every Friday night, and once every few weeks we do pancakes (from the mix) with a green shake for dinner. I frequently use frozen Rhodes rolls and boxed muffin mixes. None of these convenience items are necessarily healthy, but for me it is all about balance. Every time I use a convenience item, I will balance it out with other fresh items in the meal.
While I believe in cooking from scratch most of the time and I want my family to eat a healthy and varied diet, I don’t have time or energy to make that my main focus. Thankfully I’ve found I can do that without overcomplicating it. A simple meal prep routine helps me make room and time for everything else required in this SAHM and WAHM gig.
Now onto the giveaway!
Phew! I know that was a long post – but I had to get my two cents in along with all of the giveaway info. I really hope one of you wins! You deserve it!