Dinner, again? You mean that I have to come up with yet another concoction that is nutritious AND tasty?
I used to love to cook. Scratch that. I still love to cook. I just hate to HAVE to cook.
I know it might blow some people's minds that I have a bit of a problem finding time to be creative in the kitchen. Yes, I spend 24-7 in this house. BUT I work full-time (equals 40+ hours a week) and am a full-time, in-home momma (equals 168+ hours a week), and I am lucky if I have time to go pee during the day. When it comes to dinner time, I struggle.
Yes, I would love to say that my husband and I are locavores (for the non-hippies, this means that you eat foods grown/produced without extensive shipping, and thus lower gas consumption, fewer preservatives, blah, blah, blah). I really would love to be able to say that.
When it comes to our protein intake, we are about 85% local. Our family eats mainly venison obtained either in our own backyard or our friends' property down the road. We also purchase chickens that are grown locally, and about 10% of the eggs we consume in a year are from friends and family. I am very proud that we don't depend on the grocery - and mysterious meat sources - so provide our meat. Very proud. It's what helps me get through the late fall and winter when we're butchering deer on our kitchen table. Talk about a labor of love...
We also have a garden, and during late summer we're hip deep in tomatoes and peppers. We froze whole tomatoes, and have been using them for chili. Fresh herbs are fantastic, and I hope to expand my herb garden this year. Last year, we had fresh dill, parsley, oregano, and sage. YUM! Of course, since I was busy being hugely preggo, I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to freeze or dry the herbs for later use. Damn... This year, I hope to be better about spreading the bounty into non-garden months.
Oh, and I SO can't wait until the farmer's market opens back up this year! Whoooo doggie, thems good eatin'!! Fresh veggies, homemade jams and jellies, maple syrup, Amish-made cheeses, fresh breads! YUM!!
So, I would love to say that we're 100% reliant on our local food sources. I would also love to say I only purchase whole, unprocessed foods when I do have to go to the supermarket. I would love to say that I feed my family only the purest of foods - void of added preservatives, dyes, artificial sweeteners. I would also love to say that I'm a size 2, that we won the lottery, that I exercise an hour a day, and that I can sing like a meadow lark. Shit in one hand, wish in the other - see which hand fills up first.
Life happens, and I do my best. Oh, and I'm also too attached to my pizza rolls, diet mountain dew, and nerds (yes, the candy - what am I 10 or something??) to go completely Puritan with my foodsumption.
Anyway, I've lost my food mojo. I go to the store and buy the same things every time. I need inspiration. I read food blogs (my absolute favorite is ... promise you'll still read my blog if I refer another ... Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree does a lovely job of describing her recipes - with lovely, mouth watering pictures to boot, but they're often complex and take time that I don't regularly have).
I need simple, toss in the crock pot type recipes!! The whole-er the foods, the better! The more inspired the spices are (especially if I can grow them myself!), the better!!
I can make pot roast, but I never can get the seasoning to taste like more than beefy water.
Every once in a blue moon, I end up with energy AND time and try to make things and freeze them ahead of time. It's like Christmas in the freezer when I am in need of a quick dinner fix.
What are your favorite spices to use for cooking? Do you have any go-to dinner recipes that you make when you're in a pinch? Any foods you make ahead of time and freeze?
Please, add your recipes, herbs, and tips in the comments below or email me!
Help a sister out!!