It was a Cooking Day in the Kitchen

10/10/2011 09:50:00 AM

Not my kitchen . . . but Christine's!  Go ahead and click on her name to see what she had to say about our cooking adventure yesterday.  I feel kind of silly writing a post about it because you could just go and read her post to see how I feel about our day yesterday!  It was another exhausting but amazing day.  I learned how to make scones . . . I haven't tried one yet so it remains to be seen if I am any good at it!  I also made quesadillas and smoked up Christine's entire house with only a complaint or two from her girls before they went to a less smoky room.

I made such a mess!  

I also made (or helped to make) Homemade Applesauce!!!  The boys ate it for breakfast and LOVED it!!! I'm probably going to go out and get some more apples and make another big batch of it!  

At one point, we had 4 crock pots going - 

The far one has the Crock pot Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup (which has quite a kick, Jerry even said it was HOT and the kids probably won't eat it . . . heck, I doubt I can eat it!)  The next one has Beef Stew and the closest one has Beef Stew - there were so many ingredients we needed 2 crock pots.  The one in between the Beef Stews is the applesauce.  Oh . . . and those yummy stacked muffins are the Pizza Muffins Christine made.  She's right . . . they did smell like pizza flavored Combos!

We use the Once a Month Mom Traditional Menu for our cooking day.  Yesterday, we did the September 2011 menu.

I know that a lot of people like the idea of not having to cook dinner but also think that the planning for an all day cooking day would be too much.  I also know that a lot of people have a hard time imagining spending the whole day cooking.  It isn't for everyone, that is for sure.  Here are a few suggestions if you are thinking about giving it a try.

  • Find a good partner.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have found a partner who will let us cook at her house (her kitchen is much more conducive to this kind of venture than mine would be) and is incredibly easy to get along with.  She also is willing to split the work - although, I do feel bad she did more prep than me this time!!!  We've had no trouble with how we split up the lists and who buys what each month.  We also are both easy going enough that when little things come up . . . like not enough chicken cooked or black beans or too much corn . . . we just make a decision and go with it. 

  • Start early, if you can.  For both times we cooked, we started planning at least 3 weeks ahead of time so that we could try to buy things when they are on sale.  I still ended up getting the majority of my list's items at Aldi but we were able to get the beef we needed BOGO and last month we got the chicken when it was only 1.99 lb!

  • Don't be afraid of the work...don't let it discourage you.  I thought about cooking like this probably 6 months ago but didn't take the first step (making the commitment that I was going to cook with Christine - so I couldn't back out) until about 3 months ago.  The thought of getting all the ingredients together, spending the entire day away from the kids (I didn't see them at all yesterday) and spending a whole day cooking stopped me from getting serious about it.  I was pretty sure that I would never be able to do it.  This is where having a good partner helps - you don't have to do it alone!  Plus, it helps to have someone going through the same thing as you.  Several times yesterday we both checked with each other to just make sure we were doing okay.  I think it was at those times when we, ourselves, were getting helped to get a smile from my partner that not only said, "I'm okay" but also "I feel ya!"  

  • Don't make any other plans that day.  We actually have fun for most of the day - it goes a lot faster than I thought it would.  But plan on cooking all day.  I was gone for about 13 hours . . . if you factor in that I had to go to Giant Eagle for some last minute stuff and we took little breaks to eat - Christine's husband did a great job of "babysitting" us and making sure we ate lunch and dinner!!  (McDonald's for lunch and some really awesome Pizza for dinner . . . I brought Donut Connection donuts for breakfast.  :)

  • Try it once . . . remember you don't HAVE to make a lifetime commitment just go one month at a time and if it isn't for you then be honest.  I know that Christine and I both feel like we will want to keep doing this every month but we did start out saying we were going to try it out one month and see if we thought it was worth it.  We think it is.  It was also easier the second month than it was the first.  I think you will get hooked if you get through your first month but take it slow...maybe you only want to cook once every other month.  You could do that, too!
I also don't know if we would have been able to do it without Once a Month Mom.  To be honest, we are too busy to do all of the planning involved.  The site has been such a blessing!  We are thinking about maybe coming up with our own menu down the road . . . but for now we have been enjoying trying new foods and having a lot of the work already done for us!

I'll keep you posted on how we like this month's recipes and let me know if you are giving once a month cooking a shot - I'd love to hear what you are doing and how it goes for you!

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