Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Either REALLY smart or totally INSANE

A while back I talked to a few of the mommy friends I have about spending the day cooking with me.

You see, I came across this site where you are GIVEN menus, grocery lists, directions and recipes for how to cook a bunch of meals for your family in one day.  Essentially, you cooked 8 different dinners (4 of each - so 16 meals for you and 16 for your partner in crime), 4 lunches (again 4 of each - 8 lunches for you and 8 for your partner) and 3 breakfasts (4 of each - 6 for you and 6 for the other crazy person who decided to spend all day cooking with you).

A few of them looked at me like I was crazy.  A few of them seemed interested but they weren't really ready to commit to it.  I had one friend who seemed as interested as I was but life kind of got in the way (as it usually does) and I never really did anything about it.

Then the twins turned 2.  Dinner time around this place turned into a nightmare.  I couldn't get anything done and everyone was crying and miserable.  I was ready to run out the door and straight to the nearest bar for a glass (or three) of wine as soon as Jerry got home - not that I ever did . . . but MAN was I tempted a few times!

So, I started thinking about once a month cooking again.  I started thinking about how much easier it would make that crazy time between 4 and 6.  I started to really like the idea of not rushing around and trying to think of what to make because I forgot to thaw out the meat the night before or never made it to the store to get that one missing ingredient.  Then I started thinking about my friend, Christine, and if she was REALLY as interested as I thought she was.  I figured if she was interested then I would take the next step and start planning with her - if she wasn't or couldn't do it for whatever reason (trust me . . . I know how reasons pop up when you have as many children as we do!) I was going to chuck the idea and just start buying cases of wine instead.

She was interested.  In fact . . . she was excited!  We talked back and forth through emails and picked a date, a menu and discussed who was purchasing what for our big cooking day.

Here's what we picked:  September 2009 Menu @ Once A Month Mom  

Here are some pictures that Christine took of our big cooking day - which was this past Sunday:
This doesn't include any Dairy, Meat or Produce that we used.

This is without any of the meat, dairy or produce we used.  It was A LOT of stuff!!!
The good news is, though, that we spent under $150 a piece on the whole venture!  16 dinners, 8 lunches and 6 breakfasts for under $150!!!
My first time making muffins from scratch - I usually use a mix.  They are really good, too!!!

I was so excited when I finished these - the first time I've ever made muffins from scratch and not out of a box!  They were good, too!!!

Mmmm ~ Baked Ziti

Christine had this for dinner tonight and said her family gave it a thumbs up - she did warn me that it has a kick because of some added Red Pepper Flakes but I can only think of one little girl in this family who will complain about that!

  They tasted a lot better than they look

 I smoked up Christine's house making these . . . but the one we sampled was REALLY yummy!

  Dividing a giant pot of liquid into 4 ziploc bags is a lot harder than you would think!  Great Job, Christine!!!   ;)

 Seriously . . . you can't imagine how tough it is to put liquid in a ziploc without making a mess...

  The first time I ever made an honest to goodness cheese sauce!!

 This might be what's for dinner tomorrow night . . . it looked interesting enough and I learned how to make a cheese sauce for it! :)

  Smelled amazing  :)

 We had this for dinner tonight and 3 out of the 4 kids liked it - Jerry and I enjoyed it, too. We paired it with some leftover grilled chicken breasts! It worked out great!

It was a lot of work but we are already planning our next big cooking day.  I had a wonderful time getting to know Christine a little better and I feel like I gained a ton of experience in the kitchen!!  I also feel great knowing that my family will enjoy eating warm dinners that won't drive me to drink!

I betting it isn't for everyone, though.  Don't let my excitement fool you . . . it was HARD work!  We put in a 10 hour day and only stopped for about half an hour to eat Subway that Christine's wonderful husband, Jim, brought home for us for lunch.

  However, I think we picked the perfect time to start doing this because fall always makes me feel like cooking and the cooler weather definitely makes it easier to be in a kitchen all day.  It is really hard not to sample, though!!!  :)

I'd love to hear stories from anyone else who has tried something like this.  I'd love any tips or suggestions that you think we need to know as we continue on this journey.  I will say that I'm sure we will cut some of our time down once we start to figure out how things go a little better.

I'll keep you posted!  Now . . . off to bed.  My newest venture -

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starts on Thursday and I'm not sure I'm quite ready!!!