Searching for Motivation in the Kitchen

I'm needing some serious motivation in the kitchen people. It's been hot (and then not so hot) and we've been low on charcoal so I've been less than eager to pull out the crock pot, bake a lasagna, or get creative in the kitchen. But I think the tides are turning because they need to. The man would be perfectly happy to go to dinner 3-4 nights per week, but financially there are so many other things we could spend money on if we saved a bit in the dining department.

I blame this on laziness. Manfriend likes the ease of either opening a can of chili, pouring a bowl of cereal with milk or slapping pb & j on bread rather than taking the time to prepare a few items for a healthy, well balanced meal (like chicken, veggies and rice). So if he's in the mood for a real meal he's eager to suggest one of our many fabulous restaurants in town, and I'm a pushover (and enjoy getting out of the house).

But what I know for sure is that when I plan meals, we're less likely to spend $ on food. Besides, with so many hobbies that cost $ (and my goals for the remaining summer weekends), some extra cash couldn't hurt. So this week, my goal is to get back into the cooking routine. Plan out some meals, look up some recipes, and get the goods.

For my cooking inspiration, I often look to Joy the Baker (although she does a lot of baking), We Are Not Martha, Iowa Girl Eats, the Food Network, my go to recipes and a few of my fav cookbooks! What about you? Do you try new recipes or just stick with your standard favs?

On the running front, things are good. I attempted a 9.5 mile run yest and succeeded! I took the ipod just in case (bc it's been a while since I've run more than 6.5 miles) and used it about half the time. Surprisingly, the legs didn't get too tired and I didn't have to stop like I had expected. Woohoo! Afterward, I was rewarded with a fabulous brunch with all the runners full of fabulous eats, sunshine and a great view from D's deck!


I'm a total creature of habit, so I make the same things over and over and over. If/when I have a boyfriend, that will need to change as I am sure the monotony of my diet would drive most people crazy!

My go to's are recipes of my mom's. And food network. And Cook's Illustrated. And a couple of Gluten Free bloggers, but I have yet to bake anything as GF baking scares me - I have this problem where I think I am going to ruin any new recipe, esp when it has tons of ingredients, like GF baking recipes tend to... I need to get bold & try to make some banana bread sometime this month!
Karena said…
Lately I've been making some trusty standbys for dinner...only because I've been a bit lazy. Have you checked out Rec(ession)ipes? There are some fun, wallet friendly recpies there.

We do the plan ahead meal thing too, but I've found that we always end up straying. Best to plan for 3 meals or you run the risk of going crazy ;)

I've been known to do grainy salad bowls in a pinch (brown rice, lettuce, ground chicken/turkey w/taco seasoning, beans, salsa, cheese is one of my faves) b/c they're filling and super fast.
Amber said…
Eric just gave me a little lecture yesterday on how we spend too much money on food, ours isn't on eating out though, it's on GROCERY SHOPPING! I'm obsessed with grocery shopping and go 3-4 times a week sometimes. Our fridge/cupboards are JAM packed!! So, I need to get creative and start using up the stuff I have to save some money!

I've been making some delish/healthy meals off of sparkpeople lately!
Tyrese said…
I've been trying to cook more at home as well, and it's hard because I'm just cooking for one and am easily bored. For me, it's just a matter of trying to get used to the idea of eating the same thing several nights in a row. Bizarrely, I've recently gotten really into cooking as soon as the weather got super hot - I really like throwing together a casserole from and eating it all week. Their recipes are good, and don't have tons of ingredients. Keeping it simple keeps me from being overwhelmed and making a beeline for the takeout counter!

Foil packets on the grill (if you have one) or in the oven are a great solution too in the summer.
Here's a good article from the Food Network Magazine

Women's Health magazine also has great, simple, healthy recipes. For example :
Thanks for the comments and great ideas ladies!

Lisa-oooh, banana bread. So awesome. You'll be happy you tried the recipe!

Karena-Thanks for the heads up on Rec(ession)ipes. I'm checking that out now!

Amber-I'll have to check out sparkpeople. I've never even heard of it!

Tess-Yes, grill packets are easy, healthy and awesome!
Britni said…
We try new recipes all the time, and getting a produce box has been my newest motivation. It definitely gets you thinking about new recipes to use the stuff you get each week.
Anonymous said…
I've been slacking in the kitchen as well! It is WAY too easy to spend money eating out when you live IN the city - meet up for lunch, happy hour, brunch with the group, etc. UGH. I'm right there with you - I'd rather plan a healthy meal and save the $$. I browse blogs for ideas sometimes and also search some of my favorite recipe sites - Cooking Light and Kraft Foods Healthy Living. LOVE THEM. :)
Kerry said…
I have all kinds of winter recipes, but found that I had a lack of summer recipes. To rememdy the situation I've been pulling quick recipes out of magazines for inspiration (I usually stray from the recipe, but it provides a framework). I also keep all my recipes in sheet protectors in a binder so I never have to copy them down. Just pull them out and stick them in. Some people like their recipes to be tidier...I think they are easier to find when they are unique.

Anyway, last night we had a really easy dish that my dad found somewhere a long time ago.

Cooked whole wheat long pasta of some variety
Topped with:
sliced olives
diced tomatoes
diced chicken (if you like)
black beans
fresh salsa (this is the "sauce")
Parmesan or something similar

Salt and pepper at the table.
Laura said…
I very rarely repeat recipes - my source for new ones is just I like that you can put the ingredients you want to use into the search engine and then it tells you what recipes you can make. It's great for either using up ingredients I already have or indulging a craving for certain foods!

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