How do you motivate yourself to cook?

It seems to me that 4:30PM (time to start dinner) comes around WAY to fast on a daily basis.  Not only does it sneak up on my most days, but if I didn’t actually thaw something to make BEFORE 4:30, there isn’t actually anything to make!  I did follow advice from a news article and create a year menu plan.  I actually only got half a year done, but I figured I can repeat it the second half of the year.  This has helped!  Whenever I get to the witching hour, I can look to my plan to see IF we have the pantry items to make one of those meals.  Just knowing WHAT to make is a huge burden lifted from me.  I must think about it too much, so when I can’t come up with anything I feel like a huge failure as a wife and mother.  It is my JOB to provide healthy, nutritious meals for my family.  Anyway, what do you do to get the meal to the table every night?  How often do you /can you afford to eat take out?



Pantry Challenge - Week 4

Ok, so I know this post is late, as January is officially ended.  All told we did ok!  Many pantry items were used up and the grocery trips were SUPER scarce.  We ate better than usual too.  In the end, eating out killed the reduced budget, but we still did much better than we normally do.  I am counting it as a WIN!

I am thankful to FishMama @ Life as Mom and Crystal @ Money Saving Mom for posting this challenge.  It was a fun way to spend January.  I bet it will be a reoccurring event!  They are sponsoring a new challenge in February for Freezer Cooking.  Since my freezer is not empty yet.  I won't be participating fully in this challenge.  I love to do freezer cooking, especially when Papa Elston takes our little man out for the day and I can work in peace.  He and I did this before Liam's birth.  It was awesome.  We had 2 weeks' worth of good meals in the freezer and could concentrate on being new parents instead of worrying about food.  Another wonderful thing about having meals in the freezer is your ability to give them away!  In my PTA, we make meals for families in emergencies and with newborns.  How wonderful to be able to give generously to those in need at a moment's notice.
We did do a little freezer cooking this week.  I made the whole box of pasta for our seafood pasta meal.  I figured that the stove was already heated and energy was being used, so why not get 2 meals out of it.  So, marinara pasta bake is in the freezer.  Also, I ran out of pizza sauce for lunch.  I remembered an easy Betty Crocker recipe for it and had the canned goods on hand.  It made more than I needed that day, so I froze 3 bags of single serving pizza sauce.  Papa Elston made up some freezer pizza dough I found online too.  We are set for 3 homemade pizzas in the near future!  It tastes soooo good and costs pennies to make.  You just can't beat that!
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