Family Magazine

Getting Organized: Food Prep Day. No, Seriously.

By Mediocremom @mediocre_mom

So I’ve been gone. Hi, smiles all around! Goo felt that it would be super awesome to get a fever for two weeks, which led to miserable ER visits, lots and lots of needles and medicine, and very little sleep.

Related: I hate cancer.

Also related: It’s good that I hate cancer, because she is beating it like a freaking boss. We are on week 16 of treatment. Week 15 is the 1/3 way mark, so Goo had an evaluation where they told us the best thing ever: It’s almost gone. Like 90% gone. Then they told me the bester (yes I meant to type that) thing ever: What’s left might actually just be scar tissue, and she/chemo/Jesus may have obliterated that sucker already.

So. There’s that.

Also, Make A Wish is sending us to Disney World when she’s done. So there’s that. (I’m totally playing it cool right now, but I cried, and laughed, and squealed like a little girl when it all went down. Because DISNEY WORLD!)

Now that all the feel good fuzzies are covered, let’s move on to important things, like how I’m getting better at this whole Mom thing. No, seriously.

A friend of mine started this group on Facebook where I spend far too much time where moms swap healthy habits and encourage each other that even though our thighs still jiggle, we’re totally awesome and on the road to being healthier for ourselves and our families (I took some creative liberties with that last part). I’m all about that. Not just because I have jiggly thighs, but because I’m super into real food.

If you waste too much time on the internet – which you obviously do since you’re reading this – you’ve probably heard of these insane women doing “prep day” with their home cooked meals. It’s where you plan your meals and set aside a chunk of one day to prep a bunch of stuff for the rest of the week. You spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen, but every meal after that is cake. Well, not literally cake, but it’s easy.

Side note: It would be so awesome if it could actually be cake.

Anyway. I hated the idea. I thought the idea of spending hours in my kitchen, making a huge mess, then cleaning that huge mess, was utterly preposterous. Then I tried it.

Prep day, where have you been all my life?

It is so. much. easier. to cook and eat healthy meals when it’s just sitting there in the fridge. Look, I did this:

2013-06-05 15.49.56

That’s two frittatas, kale pesto (for pasta), quinoa (for veggie and shrimp quinoa paella), pimento cheese spread from this website, and ground beef with peppers, onions, and homemade taco seasoning (for nachos, obviously). Both frittatas have kale and this Irish Dubliner cheese that I could eat by the brick, then I added mushrooms to one and red bell peppers to the other.

I also made 36 from-scratch cupcakes for Punkin’s 9th birthday (gasp!) but they weren’t frosted yet so no picture.

You guys. This makes my life so much easier all week. Especially with cranky kids who poop everywhere except the potty (ahem – Smush) and make messes all day long. This is how I do it:

  1. Check your local flyers. What’s on sale? I use that information to meal plan for the week. It’s annoying and a bit time-consuming, but if you put in the effort, you can stretch your buck and buy way more organic than you thought possible. And given that one of my kids actually has (had?) cancer, I have no qualms about being obsessive with not feeding my family carcinogens. You can read more about all the junk in grocery store food at http://www.nongmoproject.org. I heart them.
  2. Plan your meals. Frittatas are easy, you can use whatever produce is local or on sale, and they keep well, so that has been added to my weekly repertoire.
  3. Buy your groceries. Clip coupons if that’s your thing, make a list (otherwise you’ll totally forget important things like toilet paper and cantaloupe).
  4. Get cooking! I budget about 2 hours of kitchen time for cooking and clean up, but at the end, it’s so worth it. Breakfast is ready every morning. Dinner is as simple as boiling some pasta or cooking up some veggies when the other stuff is prepped. It’s glorious.

Other tips:

  • I also like to use prep day to make a big batch of marinara in the colder months. I use it in a myriad of dishes, and it’s the best thing ever to have it on hand. Especially since Goo will actually eat it.
  • If your kids aren’t weird like mine and insist on snacking on fresh fruits and veggies in their whole form (no cutting allowed), you can also cut up fresh produce for easy snacking throughout the week.

Hey look, I did something useful! Let’s all relish in this moment while we prepare for this week’s Parenting FAIL Friday, where I decide that I’m pretty much going to be shunned out of our neighborhood.


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