Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 1: Life and Baked Macaroni and Cheese

If anyone knows me, they know that I don't like to write. Or type. Or do anything with words. I am a numbers person. This is so out of my comfort zone that I thought I would do my blog about something that I am completely comfortable with: food and cooking. Of course, there will be little bits and morsels about my life interspersed with my ponderings of food, but they won't be the main portion of my musings...for now...

My kids are very picky about their breakfasts. Cereal. Always cereal. With creative negotiating on my part, I can sometimes convince them to partake in pancake sausages, eggs, bacon or, on occasion, cinnamon buns.

For lunch, its almost always something with bread or crackers and cheese. Lunchables go over well, and if I let them, they'd eat them for every meal. But they have resigned themselves to the fact that they can only have them twice a week. They love bread and cheese sandwiches. Cold or grilled. Always whole wheat bread. Always American cheese. Always. They do eat fruit with it, usually grapes. I think we single-handedly keep an orchard in business with the amount of grapes we eat. I prefer mine frozen. For some reason, it kind of makes them taste like white chocolate. I'm still puzzled over that one.

Dinner. I LOVE dinner. We all sit down together and I get to show off my culinary talents. I never repeat a meal within a month, and I only repeat a handful of them the next month. The large variety of meals makes my kids very adventurous in their eating, at least during dinnertime and whenever we venture out for a meal.

I plan my meals for the month and create my monthly shopping list off that plan. Shopping once a month can be overwhelming, but I think I have it down to a science. When I first started, from the moment I sat down with my pen and paper or laptop, whichever tools I chose to use, until the time I put my completed shopping list in my purse, the entire process took me 4-6 hours. Now I have it down to about an hour. I also create weekly lists of produce and other perishables to buy at our local grocery store. I believe that buying for a month is achievable for anyone, given that you can create a system that works for you, and you stick with it. It's also a very good money saving tool. Before I started shopping monthly, our grocery bill was about $800 a month. Now it's down to about $500. Five hundred dollars may seen like a lot to some people, but consider this: Every week we have 2 days of chicken meals, 2 days of beef, 1 day of pork, 1 day of seafood, and 1 vegetarian meal. If you wanted to cut down on the grocery expense, you could cut out the seafood and add another vegetarian meal. Or get rid of one beef and add another chicken. I just use that combination because it offers my family the most variety and keeps everyone happy.

Back to dinner. Tonight was Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Delicious. Elbow macaroni, cheddar, milk, egg, and breadcrumbs. So easy. So good. My kids ate 2 helpings and also had an enormous amount of salad. That's one of my rules for their dinnertime eating. Eat at least some of the vegetables, and at least some of the meat. Tonight we didn't eat meat, so they had to eat at least some of the grains, but normally I don't make them eat the starch. If they try it, great, but if not I don't force the carbs. Rice isn't usually a problem for them to eat, but the pastas and potatoes aren't some of their favorites. If they don't follow the rules, they don't get snacks or dessert later. It's as easy as that. You'd be amazed at how well your kids eat when you set rules and stick to them.

Well it's time for me to sign off for now. Up tomorrow: Sweet and Spicy Chicken!!


  1. You should take a picture of the finished meal and post it :)

    Also might be fun to post the recipe as well... for the more complicated dishes :) Can't wait to read more!

  2. oooohhhh good idea!!! can i go back later and edit my post? cause its a pain in the butt to get pictures to my netbook so i'd rather do it like once a week.

  3. I understand the netbook thing! totally.