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March 14th 2014 documented a momentous day for me, not only because it is my beautiful sister Nicole’s Birthday on that day but I started to write down on a calendar what we ate for dinner every night.

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I do not know why I thought this would be a fun idea or what the purpose was to document what I cooked each night. But I am glad that I did it, I learned some very important things about my family’s eating habits.

 

What I noticed as I was going through the recipes that I made, was that for the most part I stuck with the same recipes over and over again. In fact I was more adventurous in my cooking adventures earlier on in the year than later on in the year when I basically did the same kind of meals over and over again.

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I think the reason why I did this was because my boys would literally fall apart at the table when they saw something that was different.

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This next year I will be braver and not care that they refuse to eat my meal after slaving over it for hours!!!!!!!

 

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This has also been a big cooking year for me. I have cooked things I have never cooked before!

 

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This is the year where I cooked a turkey for the first year by myself (This was a traumatic experience, and I happened to get the flu on the same day…coincidence I think not!)

I cooked chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks, and got brave enough to even cook a whole chicken!

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This was the year that I learned how to use our food storage that I had acquired seven years ago after Zach was born, and then moved it to Michigan, and then to Canada. I now know how to cook dry beans! I am still suspicious of dry milk, and starting to grind our own wheat….starting!

Making Lasagna is not a big deal like it used to be. My husband Timmy would ask me to make lasagna for his birthday every year, and I used to dread it like the plague. So many steps were involved, it seemed so overwhelming. Practice does not make my lasagna perfect, but it has become a more doable task.

I have had a mostly hate relationship with yeast, until this year. Thanks to my love of pizza and dream of making some awesome cinnamon rolls, I have actually started working with dough.

I am starting to use my Kitchenaid for the first time ever, and whenever I do my kitchen looks like this.

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I have turned on the oven more times than I ever have done in my life.

I credit this breakout cooking year too…Maybe growing up? Recording it in my accountability calendar? Who knows, but I am starting to like to cook!

This quote comes to mind…

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What I have learned about myself:

I have learned that I am not a meal planner. Nothing makes me more mad than someone bossing me around…so when I write down we are having spaghetti that night, I immediately do not feel like eating spaghetti and will make something else!

I love not knowing what I am making until the last possible second. Perhaps it helps me have some fun in what can be a mundane job, or my version of living on the edge:)

My method of madness is that I will have the meat already cooked or thawed in the fridge, and then I will Pinterest what type of meat I have and then just stare at the amazing pictures and pick one that looks AWESOME!

What is on our meal plate:

Since meat is the most expensive part of the meal, and since my boys do not think a meal is a meal without meat, we portion out the meat to each of the boys, and then we fill up the whole plate with the filler, fruits and vegetables. Once they finish everything on the plate, then they can have more meat. That is how much my boys love meat, they will do anything to get MORE! We are literally a vegetarian’s nightmare!

What I use for sides, otherwise known as the filler:

Potatoes, rice, rice a roni and pasta

I realize that this is not super healthy, so I try my best at using brown rice and wheat pasta. Maybe one day I will try sweet potatoes. Baby steps!

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Fruits: Applesauce, apple slices, oranges, grapes, watermelon, pears, peaches, kiwis (whatever is in season)

Vegetables: We really need to work on this area in our family! My boys refuse to eat carrots, celery, brussel sprouts, lettuce, cauliflower, etc. I guess what I should focus on what they will eat, broccoli, green beans, peas and corn. This is the area I want to work on this coming year, how to cook appetizing vegetables.

We usually drink water for meals, but every so often have juice and soda pop, but we mainly drink water with ice of course:)

So without further ado, here is the list of recipes that I used this year. I listed each of the meals into categories, the numbers tell you how many times I cooked that meal this year.

I gave you the links to the recipes I used via Pinterest. I am so grateful for Pinterest, there are so many talented people out there!:)

Breakfast: 6x

Breakfast Casserole – 1x
Bacon, and pancakes – 2x
Ham and Eggs – 1x
Waffles with Cheese and Ham = 2x

International: 11x

Fried Rice – 4x
Beef and Broccoli – 1x
Chimichangas – 1x
Quesadillas – 3x
Wonton Soup/Dumplings – 1x
Dahl with Fried Chicken – 1x

Soup: 15x

Ham and Bean Soup – 2x
Mountain Beef Stew – 3x
Ham and potato soup – 1x
Cream of Chicken noodle soup – 1x
Tomato Basil Soup – 1x
Tortellini Soup – 2x
Potato Soup – 2x
Zucchini Soup – 1x
Turkey Soup – 2x

BBQ: 31x

Hamburgers/Hotdogs – 23x
Chili Hotdogs – 1x
Pigs in a blanket – 3x

Homemade Pizza: 31x

Recipes that I used:

Dinner a Love Story: Wheat Pizza Crust
The Best Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

BBQ Pizza – 2x

Eat Out: 35x

Pizza Nova – 1x
Costco – 7x
Fish and Chips – 1x
Little Caesars – 16x
Cafe Rio – 1x
KFC – 2x
McDonalds – 1x
Mr. Grande Pizza – 1x
Rousseau House – 1x
Dominos – 1x
Pizza Pizza – 1x
Harveys – 1x
Lunchable – 1x

Leftovers: 43x

Tacos: 47x

Pasta: 57x

Lasagna – 6x
Bacon Carbonara – 1x
Cream Cheese Chicken – 14x
Mac and Cheese with Keibesa – 1x
Alfredo – 5x
MORE – 2x
Ham and noodle Pasta – 1x
Spaghetti – 15x
Chicken A la King – 4x
Spaghetti with Pizza muffins – 1x
Pepperoni with cheese pasta skillet – 1x
Pasta Night – 5x
Spaghetti Casserole – 1x

Meat and Potatoes: 95x

Broccoli Divine with Turkey – 1x
Swiss Chicken – 1x
Trout with Potatoes – 1x
Chicken pillows – 1x
Italian Sausages and Potatoes – 1x
Chicken Potato Casserole – Zach Special – 1x
Chicken Pot Pie – 1x
Turkey – 7x
Pork Chops – 10x
Stove top Crockpot Chicken – 1x
BBQ Pork 1x
Ribs – 7x
Ham and Rice – 5x
Chicken Drumsticks/thighs – 13x
Chicken tenders – 1x
Bacon and chicken with soy sauce – 1x
Roast Beef – 11x
Meatball Subs – 2x
Foil dinner – 1x
Chicken Salad Wrap on Crescent – 1x
Rotisserie Chicken – 9x
BBQ Brisket – 1x
Grilled Chicken – 2x
Chicken Rice Casserole and pierogies – 1x
Chicken Patties – 2x
Pierogies – 2x
Swedish Meatballs – 1x
Fish and Chips – 10x

This graph shows the categories of each one and the percentage of the year that I made that particular category.

Slide1I hope this meal plan helps!

Tales of the Shop:

Family dinner has always been an important part of our day. This is the time of day where my boys will sit still and talk to us. We have learned a lot of interesting things that have happened at school, on the bus, etc that we might not have heard if we did not have this moment to sit down at the dinner table together!

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After Jamesy Boy was born I asked my husband, out of all the things that I was supposed to do like cleaning, doing the laundry, doing the dishes, cooking, what was the most important to him? He said Cooking! My boys love to eat, on every Mothers day card, or Thank you card, it always says something about food.

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So I guess I will keep on cooking as long as every once in a while I get smiles like these:)

DSC_0707 DSC_0512We were featured on:

Joyful Homemaking – Thank you!

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