As a bit of a detour from my usual material, I wanted to share something I’ve been doing to reduce stress in my life. I absolutely LOVE cooking and always have, however, since having Ripley, and having to cater to his allergies and intolerances with such limited time, and budget, it’s become a huge chore. We cannot buy anything prepared for him at all, and even though I’m no longer feeding him, we still eat the same meals together for dinner at least. I’ve never really been able to get into meal planning, but I knew a lot of people raved about it being really helpful.
I realised that I was trying too hard, looking for recipes online, with complicated ingredients and trying to have too much variety. So instead, now on a Tuesday morning when Ripley is going to daycare, I get out a couple of my trusted cookbooks (MamaBake and PWMU cookbooks) and flick through. I choose 7 meals that I know I can make for dinner (with a lot of ommissions and substitutions) and write them down. Then I make another list with the ingredients I need grouped into categories (meat, dairy/alternatives, vegetables, etc) and then I write down our usual things like the fruit we buy etc. I can do that in about 10 minutes and we then have 7 meals planned.
Then each day I just choose one to cook for that evening, and viola, no stress. It’s actually made a huge difference to how I feel about cooking dinner every day (it’s pretty much exclusively me who cooks in our house). For me, it feels like an easy and minimalist approach, but without being overly structured.