I Think This Means I Actually Need to Cook

When you take a good, long look at your budget, sometimes you are horrified by some of your habits. I’m not a shopper, so my money generally doesn’t go there. (Except for makeup. I could buy makeup all day long, every day of the week.) But when I took a look at how often we ate out in April and May? I was appalled. Like, really embarrassed and THEN appalled.

Listen, we all know that my life is crazy. When you don’t get home until 7:30 or 8 at night, cooking is the last thing you want to do. And even if we did cook something up, then we’re not eating dinner until 9. And, well…a 9pm dinner time is embarrassing, too.

So today I was thinking about what I can do to change this bad habit. I know that it is ultimately up to me to get things going. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is. The great thing about my family is that they’ll all jump on board and help out with whatever we decide. I just have to get the ball rolling.

And so here we go:

Starting today, June 1st 2013 I’m going on a mini-spending freeze for the entire summer. The. Entire. Summer. From now until at least September 1st there will be no eating out for my family of four. Now. Full disclosure: We do have some special occasions to celebrate and a few things on the calendar that will take exception, but other than that? NO EATING OUT AT ALL STOP ASKING ME YOU KIDS.

For some of you, this might be pretty ridiculous. And maybe it is. But sometimes, just surviving and getting through each day and practice and insane work projects and other such scheduling nightmares is all you can do. And sometimes that means you pick up Thai food on your way home from a game. But I don’t want it to be like that this summer.

Summer is probably the easiest time for me to try this spending freeze and make it a habit. We won’t be rushing around quite as much (although, still SOME) and so that makes a little bit more time to get dinners on the table at a reasonable hour. Plus, living in CA we have so many options for fresh produce and good stuff, it almost makes meal planning a no brainer. And if we’re home more to cook, then we, theoretically, have more time together as a family. Yeah, yeah, yeah…cheesy, yeah.

I’m going to pretend that I don’t hear your heckling.

So. A game plan.

I don’t totally have that all figured out yet, but I’m going to take some cues from my amazing Sarah. She’s an absolute genius who does food prep for the week all in one day. Like chopping all the veggies that she’ll need for the week. I think she even prepares the sauces that she’ll need. Grill several chicken breasts and the like so that SOMETHING is always read. BUT YOU HAVE TO SET ASIDE SOME TIME. This is going to be a huge deal for me. I’m not going to lie to you, finding a specific time that works every, single week is near impossible. But if we plan well, I really feel like we’ll be able to do it. It just might not be the same time every week.

And that’s ok. Because this will definitely be a work in progress.

I decided that saying/writing this out loud is the best way to start keeping me accountable. Because I really, really want to do this. I just need to be really, really consistent and be better at planning.

Welcome to summer everyone.

Don’t you dare ask me out to dinner.

8 Replies to “I Think This Means I Actually Need to Cook”

  1. I am SO proud of you! Don’t give yourself super narrow parameters when it comes to food prep. While doing EVERYTHING on one day is my ideal, it actually happens only occasionally. I find myself doing bits and pieces throughout several days, but it makes it so there is ALWAYS something I can grab. Seriously, it’s LIFE CHANGING. Also, I have a piece of paper on the fridge that I change out once a week that says: THIS IS IN THE FRIDGE. Then I list the raw and cooked proteins and raw and cooked veg and any misc. stuff I’ve got in there as well. That way I don’t even have to open the fridge to know what I can throw together. Things get crossed off and added throughout the week and I find it super helpful. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!! 😉

    1. Thanks, mama…you have been on my brain a lot as I think about what you do. A LOT. I even have a list of “available foods” on my fridge already. Mwah!

  2. Speaking of crock pot Taco meat. Taco meat and trader Joes are my best friends. Taco Meat can go over eggs, hotdogs or lettuce, cheese, tomato and salsa for taco salad. Cooking fish always scares me so I buy the flash frozen from trader Joe’s. I have a couple of recipes that use the big bag of quinoa and brown rice from Costco. Email me if you want them and I’ll share. The summer is the best time to do this. I am in awe of your effort. Good Luck!!

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