Friday, February 1, 2013


I know what you must be saying I don't have time to plan meals, I barely have time to get them on the table.  Well this really isn't true.  Meal planning does not take a lot of time and in the end actually saves time.  How you say?  Well did you ever try to make a meal and find out that you are missing an ingredient and then have to start over with something else?  Did you ever just stand looking in your refrigerator and gaze mindlessly hoping something jumps out at you telling you what to make for dinner?  Been there, done that and not very well I must say.

It is very frustrating and wastes more time not only in decision making but in running around finding ingredients and maybe forcing you to make another trip to the store or deciding on a quick take out meal instead.  Not really saving any time right?

This doesn't have to happen if you plan ahead.  It is only a matter of taking maybe 10 minutes one night a week and deciding what meals you'll have the following week.  If you know Monday will be busy with soccer practice and you'll eat later than usual, you can plan something easy say tacos, write your shopping list at the same time so you'll have all the ingredients for tacos and move on to the next  night.  When you look at Monday's menu, you see tacos and know ahead of time what you'll be having and maybe brown the meat earlier in the day, grate the cheese or whatever prep you can do ahead of time and lo and behold when soccer practice or the game is over, you'll be able to have the meal on the table in no time.

You can do this for the whole week and make you grocery list as you go along.  Calendar in hand as to activities coming up and decide what will work with your schedule.  A lot of prep can be done on the weekends if you know ahead of time what's on the menu.

Once you establish this type of meal planning and preparation, it will be second nature and you'll find you are less stressed, your family will eat healthier food and mealtimes will be pleasant and more enjoyable.

We as moms need to set the mood in our homes.  If we are stressed and irritable, it will transfer to the family and  you'll find that the children will be more difficult to handle, more chaos will fill your home and things will get out of control.  Ever wonder why things seem to escalate when you are at your worse? 

Planning is the key to many things in the home and meal preparation is one of them.  If you add up all the meals we prepare as moms, it will blow your mind.  It is not worth the stress if you can find a solution.  I challenge you to give it a try for one month and see if it makes a difference. .

As moms, like I said before, we set the temperature of the home and when we feel frustrated and frazzled, our family will feel the same.  Mealtimes should be pleasant and unhurried.  Children should feel safe, loved and free to express themselves, not uptight and tense.  If they see mom is hurried and is slamming pots and pans, shouting at the dog, raising her voice, then they will worry something is wrong.  We certainly don't want that.

Menus don't have to be elaborate to be good.  Choose foods that are quick and easy.  There are so many good cookbooks out there and even websites available for meals that can be made in 30 minutes or even 15 minutes or less.  Remember it takes longer to go through a drive-thru, order food, pay for it, drive home, and set it up than it does to prepare some quick healthy meals.   It is also much healthier too.
I have some great recipes that I will share with you for healthy meals that don't take a lot of time and I also have some that take longer which are good for weekend meals. 
Another way to ease the burden is to double or triple your cooking process.  You can brown several pounds of ground beef or ground turkey and separate them into Ziploc bags (I use my Food Saver), label them and you'll have it ready for future meals.    When you do, just defrost them and you will have half the meal already done for meatballs, sloppy Joes, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, tacos or anything that requires ground meat. 

Photo courtesy of

I'll be back in further posts with other ideas for making meal time easier and not such a stressful, frustrating time. 

If you are looking for a comfort food, especially a sweet desert, this recipe is for you.  It has been a little colder than usual here in California so I decided to make this and boy was it good and
SOOOOOOOOO very comforting too.




2/3 Cup enriched white rice (not converted or instant)
3 Cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon vanilla

In the top of a double boiler, combine rice, boiling water and salt.  Cook covered over medium heat about 40 min or until rice is tender.  Water in bottom of double boiler should be boiling and more water may need to be added before rice is done.  Do not drain rice.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and butter.  Cook uncovered, stirring frequently until slightly thickened about 20 min. 

Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and pour into serving dishes.  Yummmmmmmmmm.

If you make this pudding, let me know.  I sprinkled cinnamon over the top.  I absolutely love cinnamon and I think it gives it that extra zing.  You can leave it off if you want.  Also some people like raisins in their pudding.  I don't so if you want you can add them with the vanilla.  I would add about 1/2 cup. 

So get in the kitchen and make something special for your family.  Put on that attitude of joy remembering that they are watching you, listening to you and taking their queues from you.  Set the tone of peace and harmony even if you don't feel like it.  A grilled cheese sandwich made with love and tenderness is better than a steak made with frustration and bitterness.  It is not what you make but how it is made.

Until next time......remember you can do this, you can change the way you do things, learn new ideas and start saving time in the kitchen.  Put on a positive attitude and give it a try.  It takes time and practice but having less stress is always better for everyone.



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