Audience Participation Requested

So here’s the deal. My goal next month is to make at least three (or four) decent, healthy meals a week for my family.

But Kelli, don’t you already make meals for your family?

You had to ask, didn’t you?

Yes, alright?! I make meals for my family. Every day, in fact. Well…every day that I’m not reheating a meal for my family, which if you think about it, is simply heating up a meal that I already prepared, so it’s kind of like double preparing a meal, which clearly shows double the love, right?

Who says I’m bad at math?

A typical dinnertime hour in our house usually involves me flying around the kitchen like a crazy lady, trying desperately to defrost meat or chicken and popping open cans of vegetables that I know my kids won’t eat, but I’m going to prepare anyway because a well rounded dinner plate involves vegetables. I will whip together a decent, if not all that coordinating, meal in less than thirty minutes and will plop those plates in front of wide eyed cherubs who will ultimately turn up their noses in disdain.

Unless that which I plopped in front of them happens to be chicken nuggets or Mac and Cheese, which I rarely buy because I’m fairly certain there is neither chicken nor cheese in either of those items.

But I digress…

I will watch them smother their meat in ketchup or Barbeque…or Frank’s Hot Sauce for Landon because the child was born without taste buds, and they will choke down the required number of bites before pushing their plates away and declaring how NOT hungry they are.

This is usually followed by an immediate request for a snack, which leads me to shoot flaming daggers from my eyes as I huff around the kitchen and boldly declare that no one will eat snacks before bedtime because I had to throw away so much food.

And sometimes I throw in a side of guilt by reminding them of children in Africa with no food, which is basically lifted straight from the Mother’s Guide to Driving Your Kid’s Crazy.

So all that to say…cooking isn’t my forte. It’s not that I can’t cook. It’s that I seem to be allergic to planning ahead. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I coach Tia’s gymnastics class, so I generally try to put something in the crock pot those days so the boys aren’t left to eat cereal for dinner, but other than that, I just tend to prepare meals on the fly, which leaves very little room for creativity and has left my children with less than adventurous pallets.

So part of my 31 Days series, was to plan out and ffeed my family a week’s worth of real meals. The kind that you plan ahead and prepare for and that require fresh ingredients and what not. Since Octobre is almost over, I’m just going to push this plan to next month. I put it off because…well, because I’m scared, quite frankly. I mean, you read what I wrote above, right?


I am writing this post in faith knowing that I will need plenty of encouragement along that way, because friends this is one thing I don’t believe I am capable of.

I need to believe in my ability to cook a decent meal for my family and to start planning said meal before 4:30 in the afternoon.

So how can you help?

I did not make this meal. My friend Wendy made this meal. I ate this meal. It was delicious.

If you have a favorite recipe, or a meal that your kids really enjoy, please leave it in the comments.

If you have a link to a pin on Pinterest with a killer recipe, leave the link. I’ll pin it to my board (if I can figure out how…I’m a Pinterest newbie) and I’ll stockpile a few good recipes from the internet to try out.

There are a few guidelines, though:

Don’t go too easy on me. I want to try real recipes – nothing canned or boxed. I need to prove to myself and my family that I can make real food from time to time.

No fancy ingredients. If the recipe calls for Gouda or shallots or any obscure fair that can only be found in the fresh market section of Whole Foods on Fridays and Tuesdays between 9:00 and 9:22 am, then there’s a really good chance I will never make that meal.

Nothing that involves pasta sauce, because my children don’t like pasta sauce. Can you believe it? I birthed children who don’t like spaghetti! Or frozen pizza! Sometimes I wonder if they’re really even my children…

– Crock Pot recipes are my friends. I am fairly convinced that whoever invented the Crock Pot has been granted a special place in heaven because if I can toss all ingredients in a big pot in the morning and POOF! At 5:00 dinner is ready? Um…yes, please. Yes. Please. 

Other than those simple rules, the sky’s the limit. Lay it on me. What is your favorite dinnertime recipe? Who’s gonna help a slacking sister out?!


Pretty please?

Kitchen Adventures: A Guest Post

So I think it’s safe to say I won’t actually have posted 31 times in my 31 Days Series. I felt very…shaky this weekend. I was a little stressed and jittery and just needed a few days away from the screens. I needed to step back, take a deep breath and simply remind myself that I can.

I can do this.

I can survive this (adoption paperwork).

I can step away if I need to.

It felt so good.

Today, I get one more day to breathe. I’m going to let Shay talk to you instead. Shay and I “met” over the phone about a month ago when I did a bit of social media consulting for her. She has taken the advice I had to offer and run with it and I couldn’t be more impressed.

Shay is pretty newly married (she’s been married a year *sigh*) and, well she’s just adorable. This post made me laugh out loud because, um…I was so there. No joke, I once turned the wrong burner on on our stove…the burner with a tupperware of cookies on top of it.

Have you ever tried to get melted plastic off of an electric burner?

(hint: it’s impossible)

Shay is sharing her own kitchen adventures and what she’s learned in this first year of cooking for two. Make her feel welcome, will you?

Hi there, I’m Shay, popping over from The Pocket Buzz to join Kelli for 31 Days of Believing I Can. Last month, my husband Adam and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It was a great year, and as you can imagine, we both learned a lot about ourselves and each other.

Before getting married, I’d been at college and on my own for about six years, so I’ve had some time to experiment in the kitchen. The reality of it is, though, Adam is a better cook. It comes more naturally to him; thankfully we make a great team. And in the last year, our kitchen has produced some great meals (mostly his doing), and it’s also produced some great memories.

For example, to celebrate Adam’s birthday I decorated the house and made french toast from scratch. The decorating part, I seem to have a handle on. The cooking part…not so much. I turned around for one split second and the dish towel sitting nearby somehow leaped into the gas burners on the stove and caught fire.

How’s that for birthday candles?

I was really trying to out-do myself for this birthday and make an angel food cake (his fave). What I didn’t realize about this particular cake is that it rises quite a bit. As in…they can nearly double in size when you don’t have an Angel food cake pan. Now I know. And to this day, we still have a bit of angel food cake batter in our oven.

Last week, we made lasagna to take to a friend. It’s a tried-and-true family recipe of Adam’s that’s beyond delicious. As I went to put it in the fridge, something came crashing down on me. Unbeknownst to me, there was a huge glass serving bowl sitting precariously on top of the fridge. (Mind you, I had set it up there.) It hit me on the head and fell to the floor. I was in shock and Adam was just glad it wasn’t the lasagna. I had a good headache after that one.

Now, enter Pinterest–where thousands of people post anything and everything. My saving grace has been the recipes with photos, and often step-by-step instructions. Finally, I just decided that if I wanted to be a better cook, I was just going to have to cook. And recipes on Pinterest helped me see that I could.

It’s been a journey. And I still have mess ups. But now I have a whole repertoire of recipes that we go back to again and again. It’s also given me the guts to try new things. I just have one piece of advice: before you cook for a family gathering, make sure you’ve tried the recipe at least once. Otherwise you may end up with only once-baked-potato casserole instead of a twice-baked one.

Trust me–it’s not nearly as good.

If you’re not on Pinterest yet, I’d highly recommend it. One thing I wish I’d done to start with is to be make my categories more specific. Instead of just a Foody board, I now have a Breakfast Board, one just for Sweet Treats, and an Actually Made This board for the recipes we’ve really tried.

And if you want to trust this kitchen-novice to give you some recipes, here are a few that have worked really well for us:

Crock pot Chicken Tacos Three Ingredients + a Crock pot = my kind of meal (we actually served this for a mexican dinner with friends. It was a hit.)

White Chicken Chili is great for a cold day. It makes great leftovers, too. (We served this as an afternoon snack on Christmas Eve last year. Success.)

French Dip Sandwiches are also made in the crock pot. These were a hit, too.

Thanks for humoring me today and letting me share my kitchen stories. Surely I’m not alone. Here’s to another year of continuing to learn that I can, in fact, cook!

Take some time to hop on over to Shay’s blog, The Pocket Buzz, where she shares all her techy tips and tricks and gives you a heads up on some great deals! You can also follow her on Pinterest where, clearly, amazing recipes await you.

And if you’re interested in consulting with me on how to grow your blog and your social media presence, or if you would like to guest post on Minivans Are Hot (indeed), feel free to shoot me an email! kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com.