When you are always on the go with two little kids, and life in general, it is easy to get in a food rut, particularly at dinnertime.
Last year I challenged myself to try some new recipes - see the "Adventures in Cooking" tagged posts - and periodically I would look through some cookbooks & magazines, pick a recipe and make something new. But 95% of the year we remained in our food rut rotating between about 10 proven favorites, a few "once a month" special meals, and kid-pleasing "fast dinners".
This year I am attempting to do even better. Inspired by a new grocery list pad I found at Target, I am sitting down every weekend, picking 6-7 meals, making a list and going to the grocery store. I know shopping with a list is not a novel concept, but when you are in a food rut, you don't need a list to go grocery shopping and buy the same thing every week!
This is the second week, and so far it is going really well. It is hard to believe how much stress has been reduced at dinnertime. Now that I have a list with exactly what we are eating for dinner, and which night we are having it, I don't have a mid-afternoon "What do I take out for dinner?" crisis. Or a 5:00 "I just got home and don't have anything thawed" crisis.
We have had several new recipes, some crock-pot recipes, some "Fun Food" kid recipes, and some old standbys. The kids have had a few moments of "What is that?!?" or "I don't like [insert food here]!" but overall all the foods have eventually been consumed by both kids.
I have also started a new shopping routine. I have been going without the kids between 9-11pm. I will probably get back in the routine of taking the kids with me, because they like going and I like including them in some of the choices, but while I adjust to my new plan I have decided to simplify the process. The grocery store is actually quite peaceful at night.
So far, so good. I still have to get better at adjusting the recipes to the quantity of food that we need, but we have been doing pretty well with eating the leftovers :)
10 months ago