A Good Problem to Have

Over the course of the summer, I may have forgotten how to cook, or at least misplaced my passion for cooking.  I'm happy to say that it is on its way back, and I think that my family is happy for the return of home-cooked meals.  You know that it's getting a little out of control when the response to going to Runza for supper is, "...AGAIN????"  As we continue to settle in and develop new routines, we're finally starting to find our way back to the family table for more than just hot dogs and mac-n-cheese!  I can't say that it has been without challenges...part of the challenge is just finding the space to stock food and the space to spread out and cook. 

My trips to the grocery store are much more frequent since I don't have big shelves and a second refrigerator to store more than what we will probably consume in a week.  I can't tell if this method has an effect on our grocery budget or if the effect is more the growing bodies and appetities of those residing here!  Fresh fruit is something that we run out of regularly.  We have always had a bowl of fresh fruits sitting out, and fortunately we found a great place for it in this house too.  Moments after emptying the grocery bags, our fruit bowl that sits in the dining room is heaped high.

...after about 4 days, the bowl is not so full anymore!  I'm pretty sure we go through almost 30 pounds of fruit a week.  That sounds like a lot, but the above picture is 20#. 

Depending on the day, I can be really stingy about what the kids eat, because I'm positive that if allowed, they would never stop eating.  I'm pleased that they reach for a piece of fruit.  Note, I did not say "a piece of fruit OVER a cookie or candy."  That is not very likely, but they often do both!  It's not a bad problem to have.

Several weeks ago, we hung our first piece of decor on a wall.  It was a big framed chalkboard that used to track who was winning the latest foosball or pool game.  It's home is now in the dining room, and inspired by a friend's chalkboard menu in her home, it reveals our weekly breakfast and dinner plan.  I say plan, because it is totally subject to change.

The entire family finds it entertaining to sit and read what the next day's meals will be.  Suggestions are welcome, but no one is allowed to erase but me.  We have had to occasionally modify due to an unexpected shortage of ingredients to make something posted.  For instance, the Nutella French Toast slated for Wednesday happened this morning because someone ate all the Nutella and strawberries, and the caramel apple oatmeal for Thursday happened yesterday, but was Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal instead because someone ate all the apples!  The French Dips moved too because  I  someone forgot to take the roast out of the freezer, so Papa John's stepped in and delivered!!  (One of the forgotten benefits of living IN the city vs outside of it...delivery can happen!)  There has been a request to add a snack column.  Thinking on that...not sure if I'm ready for that level of commitment.  Snacks tend to be a "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" kinda thing!

The entertainment value of the board is lovely, but the resulting organization for meal planning and preparation is priceless! I'm looking forward to the next level of actually returning to a week's worth of brand new, never-been-eaten-by-us-before meals.  Baby steps.  There have been new things...the french toast this morning was fun...

The kitchen challenge is being overcome with each meal created...

I think for the most part, meal prep and execution is never going to be a spacious event, but it gets done...and it gets cleaned up...and it all gets eaten...so it's not a bad problem to have either.