Thursday, August 06, 2009

What's For Dinner?

It never fails that my family is hungry at 5:00. I try to ignore the signs and avoid the inevitable but they always want dinner! I don't like cooking in the summer...or spring or fall or winter. It's just a lot of work and I don't know what to make.

I used to hope that Mike would magically show up with pizza or suggest we eat out. As our family got larger there was no way we could eat out and I ended up spending my afternoons in the kitchen. Afternoon is already the hardest time of the day. Everyone is crabby and I'm tired. Add to that the stress of trying to figure out what on earth everyone was going to eat and it wasn't a pretty sight.

At some point, I was convicted that providing good food for my family was part of my service and love to them and something I should take seriously. Dinner time is important for more than just nourishing the body. It's vital to sit around the table at night as a family as much as possible. Many, many studies show that.

When Grant was little, we lived in a tiny little trailer. Our living room and kitchen were pretty much one and the same. We watched TV while we ate. And usually it was reruns like The Simpsons or Seinfeld. As he started getting older we realized that needed to change. Now it's the best time we have to sit together and connect with the kids. It's at the table we find out what's going on at school or with friends.

In my quest to make dinner easier, I tried the cook ahead for a month method. It was great to know what you were going to have but it all started tasting the same after awhile. No one was too excited about the food.

I have a new love: the crockpot. It's so nice to have it going and frees me up in the afternoon to be with the kids or run to piano lessons. It doesn't make the house hot in the summer and it smells so good.

The problem is what to put in the crock. I have a crock pot cookbook but there isn't a great variety of recipes. My kids won't tolerate eating stew every night. Last month I stumbled on this blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. There's a lot of variety, healthy choices and normal ingredients. The author of the blog is also thrifty which I love. Tonight we had Chicken with Pesto and Sweet Potatoes. There was some resistance to the green pesto and gags at the sweet potatoes.

I'm working my way through some of the recipes and made a list based on them so I have the ingredients. I love not wondering what's for dinner. Work needs to continue on side dishes, ambiance, and presentation. It would be nice to get through a meal where everyone keeps their clothes on, we don't spill milk all over the food and no one makes a gagging gesture when you put the food on their plate. But, you know, we are building to something.

Proverbs 31:14-15
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

1 comment:

Bonny said...

I love that site!

You know ... I think that we're blessed even to have ramen around the table together sometimes. On paper plates.

I found some really great pics of you from jr. high youth group - when I get my computer back I'll share them. :-)