Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making Dinner When You Really Don't Feel Like It

After a long day of work, I often find myself standing in the kitchen at about 5:30 with a darling toddler at my feet, thinking, Oy.

I know, I know, make a meal plan, have something in the freezer, I know. There are so many great sites and resources and plans out there for this. But when I haven't gotten it together, and I haven't got a plan, my husband and I usually share a knowing glance to admit defeat and start discussing carry-out options.

Now, carry-out is great! I can't imagine life without pizza and other good dinners cooked for me by a professional. But after 3, 4, 5 nights in a row, it starts to get old and we start to not feel good from eating less than healthy food. And even fast food can quickly add up to a major monthly expense if you're eating it every night.

So what to do? When I can, when I can muster the physical and emotional strength, I borrow the old Nike phrase and just fricking do it. Even though I don't feel like it, even though nothing sounds good and the kitchen is likely a mess, I just take a deep breath and dive in. I move dirty dishes to the side or out of the way, wash out my favorite saute pan, take out any wilted vegetables that need to be used and grab something--anything--from the freezer, and maybe some pasta or grains from the pantry and then start hacking away at putting SOMETHING on the table.

Nine times out of ten, within 30 minutes we've eaten something (protein, starch, veg, dessert) and have moved on. We've saved $20, a bunch of calories, and used something that needed to be used. It feels great!

And yes, sometimes, it doesn't really come together. A sandwich plan can fall through if we don't have bread. A breakfast-for-dinner plan can quickly become toast and pototoes if I find we're out of eggs once the hash browns are already frying. But it's easy enough to laugh and head out after giving it the old college try, right?

My new motto: Dive into Dinner!

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