How many times have your kids had fast food in the last week?
After getting held up at the office tonight, it was pizza. Last night Wendy's. And an embarrassing amount before that. I swear, I have a meal in the refrigerator, but could not manage to prepare and keep my sanity both! :tired:
And, we're totally out of bread, the dog is eating cat food, and about 1 more meal's worth of milk! :yikes:
I know I can't be the only one!
No, you are not the only one. I was just telling my sister how awful I feel about not cooking the meals like I used to. I think I have averaged one "real" home cooked meal a week since Christmas! Even my kids are sick of fast food. (I try to alternate the pizza, burgers, Subway, and Chinese food nights) Worse to me is that even when we have dinner cooked in, it is often frozen chicken nuggets or hot dogs -- fast food from home! I feel like the worst mother in the world. And after each set of exams I tell myself that I will do better, but there just isn't enough time or energy left!
I was a stay-at-home mom for years and used to bake and cook all the time, so this is really hard for me to admit, but I am not sure it is going to get much better until summer.
Trust me, you're NOT "bad"!! :grouphug:
Have you tried the crockpot?
It takes a bit of planning, but it's saving me and my darling from endless fish tacos.
Try looking at a few recipes online and buy one of the cookers that you can program. That way it will be done and ready whenever you get home. There's also a service called "menuemailer" somewhere online that will make up a weeks menues and grocery list (the thing I really really hate spending my study time making up!). I've heard good things about it.
We have a minimum of 3 fast food dinners a week. NO lie. One night (chorus) it's Chick-Fila-A, one night (violin) it's Thai, and I instituted Friday night pizza/video night for my sanity at the end of the week. I'm doing a little better with planning (maybe some of you recall my fling with a personal chef last year) so I now cook 2 dinners on weeknights and all meals on weekends except Sunday lunch which my husband does (the same menu every week). I don't have a great solution for this -- we are out of the house until 6 or 630 on those nights, and it just seems too long to make the kids wait since we normally eat around 5 or 5:30 when I cook. Someone suggested I pack lunches for them to eat, but I already pack snacks to eat on the way to activities (healthy ones, to help me feel less guilty about the fast food later). This was all profiled in a Time magazine article recently about how we all have beautiful big kitchens to heat up our take out food in ...
Actually, since I was pregnant for my daughter over 6 years ago, I have done freezer cooking, where you make 30 meals on a Saturday, and they last us about 3 months, with leftovers, and forced eat-out, Friday pizza nights, etc. But, I have run out of most of my food right now, and I can't find the energy to get loaded up again. Making a regular meal takes so much time after a long day of work.
I have been very interested in trying OAMC (once a month cooking), but I have some trouble getting good recipes that freeze well, I could stand to eat that much, and that are fairly healthy (and ideally made without beef or pork). Not to mention keeping my kids occupied while I actually cooked. Can you post some of your experiences and best recipes with it? I have found lasagna (ha ha, healthy? well, slightly better, with low-fat cheeses) and roasted vegetable soup to be winners, but I really struggle for other things.
I've been having luck lately with a perpetual shopping list (make a list of all the usual things you buy, grouped by general location in the store), which helps take the thinking out of keeping certain staples on hand, and my George Foreman grill can actually be pretty useful when I remember to use it (throw some chicken in an easy marinade the night before). Also sandwich bread freezes superbly as you probably know, and freezing it is the only reason we've had a steady supply. But ask me again in a few months ... I'm heading back to third year this summer, and I'm pretty sure all hell will break loose at home.
I've tried crockpot recipes, and there's kind of the same problem there, with finding ones that I like and that have enough flavor.
I've been reading "Fast Food Nation," and it is really inspiring to keep one away from the fast food places and to cook at home instead. It's not like you have time for it, but if you can fit it in, reading that would at least help with the motivation to cook at home. It also has a lot to say about advertising towards kids, which has been very interesting and eye-opening to read.
Trader Joe's can also help, though I tend to use that sort of thing for lunches.
But as I said, my life is going to change dramatically in a few months! I'm thinking about getting a little freezer for the basement to keep some prepared dishes and some staples in, but really, it would probably just sit there with about eight loaves of sandwich bread.
Don't feel bad ... it sounds like you usually do really well!