My Journey From Supper in a Box to Home Cooked Meals

I have to admit that I am sometimes jealous when I see other moms who are homemakers. It seems as if homemaking skills come easy to other moms. It seems as if everyone I know can make homemade bread or soup from scratch. They can bake. They know how to can their own vegetables. They make nutritious meals for their families every night.

Cooking hasn’t come easy to me. I’ve talked before on the blog about my great lack of cooking skill. It’s been a long road to travel from a mom who drove through McDonalds every day to one who is attempting to plan and cook meals every night, and I still have a long way to go.

At the end of the post, I’m sharing an amazing resource that will help with meal planning. It will only be around for a limited time, so make sure you keep reading.

Help for home cooked meals

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Although I’ve shared some of my struggles with cooking, I wanted to do something a little different in this post. I wanted to share a little of my journey in trying to go from Hamburger Helper suppers to something that is at least partially homemade. 
My hope is that I can encourage another mom who struggles. Please don’t think you stand alone, unable to follow that recipe on Pinterest while all the other homeschool moms around you are baking their own bread and making their own yogurt. Maybe knowing some of the things I’ve done to learn at least a little will help you in your own journey.

When I was first married, I had little to no knowledge of cooking. A processed meal in a box was “cooking” to me. When I began to learn more and more about nutrition from friends and from reading various blogs, I realized that things had to change. I needed to learn how to cook, and I needed to learn fast.

There have been several key things that helped me to learn about cooking and how to make healthy foods. These things are still helping me on my journey as I learn more and try more and- hopefully- become a better cook. (And I keep holding out hope that one of the kids will have a passion for cooking and just take over the job for me.)

Read, Read, Read. 

I began by reading everything I could get my hands on. I read blog posts. I googled “nutrition” and “how to meal plan” and “cooking.” I bought cookbooks that had more than just recipes; they also had tips and instructions. As I read, I began to have a better understanding of what to cook and how. I found recipes from bloggers who would post their monthly and weekly menu plans. These gave me ideas for my own cooking.
I’ve been reading Clean Eating Made Easy from The Food Cop. It’s a great resource that makes feeding your family whole, clean foods seem a little less overwhelming.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Jason, my husband, has always been very supportive. He’s always told me he would eat anything I made. And there have been nights when he really did eat even something I wouldn’t. I’ve had times that a recipe I was just sure would turn out good turned out practically inedible. But I’ve learned to give it a try. There have been times we really did like a meal I was unsure about. Being willing to try cooking different things has helped me to learn.
If you aren’t sure how to even begin to experiment, think about using already created meal plans. These will give you detailed ingredients lists and step-by-step instructions for cooking. I especially love meal plans that have allergen choices since I and some of the family eat gluten free.

Know when to follow the recipe exactly. 

I’ve learned that there are people who know way more about cooking than me. They have tested and tried the ingredients and instructions. Sometimes I think, “What difference does it matter what order I add the ingredients?” It matters. 

I never understood why my pancake batter would be lumpy and Jason’s would be smooth. He finally asked me if I sifted the dry ingredients before I added the wet ingredients like the recipe said. Well, that just seemed liked an unnecessary waste of time to me. Apparently it actually was important.

Know when it is okay to change the recipe. 

Just as there are times that changing the recipe doesn’t work, there are also times that I can tweak the recipe to make it better for our family. The trick is in learning just what things can or should be changed.

For instance, some of my family members aren’t wild about bland food. There have been a few recipes that I tried and found pretty successful- except that they were bland. When Jason told me that I could add some seasonings, my response was, “It isn’t in the recipe!”. Obviously there are times that changing the recipe just a little can work out just fine. I just have to learn when those times are.

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Keep the big picture in mind. 

There are times that I get really discouraged. The recipes that don’t work sometimes seem to outnumber the recipes that do. I try something I think will be really great, and it fails. And I wonder if the struggle to learn more, to do cook better, to plan good meals is really worth the trouble.

But then I look at the big picture. I know that my family’s health and well-being is important. And I know that I’ve made a good bit of progress through the years. And knowing that makes me willing to keep trying and trying and trying.

Learning to cook healthy meals for my family on a regular basis is still an ongoing process. I admit that I still use food out of a box occasionally. You’ll still find convenience food in my freezer and pizza boxes in my trash sometimes. And I’m still pretty unsure what to do with some fresh vegetables. But, I’m learning. And I know it’s important. So I’ll keep experimenting and keep studying and keep growing in this process. (And, maybe, just maybe, one of these kids will learn to love to cook!)

Help for home cooked meals

Are you a successful cook? I’d love any tips you’d like to pass on.

**** Need more help with dinner?

Home cooks all over the world want to simplify mealtimes, put unfussy (but still healthy) meals on the table, and ditch the frantic late afternoon craziness (you know what I’m talking about) of hangry kids, frozen meat, or unsoaked dry beans.

If that’s you, hang on. Your life is about to get a lot easier. 🙂

Last year, the team at Ultimate Bundles unveiled the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, and it checked all your meal planning boxes:
~ Save money and waste less food
~ Thousands of recipes so you’d find ones that fit your family
~ Healthy meal ideas and plans for no-guilt mealtimes

But this year’s edition of the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is even better.

After feedback from last year’s customers, the Ultimate Bundles team created this bundle to have a clickable, convenient index.You’ll find all the recipes in one place, plus you can ignore recipes that don’t fit your family’s diet or preferences, or even find recipes that will help you use up that last bit of produce.

You also get nutritional info for every recipe, so you’ll know the macros, fiber, and fat grams for everything from that matcha tea latte to the crockpot beef stew you’ve been craving to that decadent chocolate lava cake.

They’ve even standardized every single recipe, and put them all into 12 categorized, beautifully formatted and easy to use digital cookbooks, AND made more than 30 unique and practical meal plans to go with them (grocery lists and prep plans included).

Oh, and this is the most unbelievable part: they dropped the price by $10. For just $37, you can get 1072 recipes, 40+ meal plans, meal planners and printables, plus eBooks and eCourses on topics like budgeting, flavor and teaching kids to help in the kitchen. It’s a no-brainer deal.

I was excited to tell my readers about it last year, but the changes this year make me even more ecstatic to share.

If you’re ready to stick to your food budget, whip up healthy meals, and quit wasting food, check out the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle from Wednesday, January 2- Monday, January 7!

Meal planning help

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