The culinary palate of toddlers is fascinating to me.
Last night our four year old asked for grape jelly on her bbq chicken sandwich…I obliged (I was curious to see what would happen) and she ate two entire sandwiches.
Across the table from her, our three year old sat happily licking just the butter off of his bread.
Next to him, our 18 month old devoured everything on her plate in less than ten minutes.
Some days, my children love being adventurous and trying new foods.
On other days, they would prefer to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In reality, I’m not much different than them. When it comes to making meals for our family, some weeks I feel excited to try new creations and a variety of meals. Other weeks, it’s chicken and a veggie for every meal because I have no new ideas when it comes to food. Sometimes, cooking feels like a sweet way to love my family. Other times, it feels like a mundane, never-ending cycle of meal prep, meal planning, and grocery shopping.
As we finish up this blog series on glorifying God in the seemingly mundane tasks of motherhood, I am reminded of the importance of doing all things to glorify God…not just the glamorous or exciting things. The Proverbs 31 woman spent her days doing a variety of tasks. Some of these tasks were glamorous and visible (buying a field and running a business), and some of them more mundane and unseen (caring for clothing and buying food for her family). As I trust God to give me joy in the humble and unseen tasks of my day, I’ve also been implementing practical things to help me be diligent in the task of providing meals for my family:
Keep it Simple
I have cut down on meal planning time significantly by keeping our meals simple and consistent. Most days of the week, we eat chicken with a veggie for dinner. The veggie may vary (baked french fries, roasted zucchini, canned green beans etc.), but by keeping most of our meals consistent I am able to cut down on the time I spend cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping. I may try one new meal a week and one old favorite meal to add some variety without feeling overwhelmed when it comes time to start cooking. When we have people over for dinner, we always do tacos. Tacos are delicious, able to accommodate a variety of diets people may have, and make it easy for me to always have a group meal on hand that I know will be tasty!
Because a car seat and four small children take up most of the room in my grocery cart, doing grocery pickup is my route of choice for grocery shopping. It saves me time because I can order groceries during nap time and pick them up when it is convenient for us (without having an all morning grocery adventure with the littles). It saves me money because I know exactly how much my order will cost, I can easily cost-compare and make the most of my coupons, and there are no impulse buys! Some stores have a minimum purchase amount to get free pickup, but if I take time to be diligent in my meal planning I never have a problem meeting the minimum and avoiding the fee.
Learning the Tools of the Trade
A few years ago a friend recommended to me a cooking technique book that she enjoys (Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat). Learning more about easy, basic ways to become a better cook gave me confidence in the kitchen and was a lot of fun! All of a sudden, cooking basic chicken was a lot more exciting because I could try out the things I was learning. The library has a plethora of cooking technique books (I check them out online and do a book pick-up from the library closest to our home) that can help you learn new ways of cooking that you can apply right away!