It’s finally here! October is the beginning of my favorite time of the year- which is basically October thru Christmas! It’s the month I switch my menu from salads to soups (although I got really tired of salads and skipped them in September this year). It’s the time the weather usually starts to really lose it’s sweltering heat. It’s the ramp up of college football- actual conference games. It’s my birthday month. It’s the birthday month of 6 of my favorite family members as well. To me, it’s totally the start of the “holiday season,” even if that’s not technically correct.
I have planned some really beautiful meals for this month. Large, hearty meals on Sundays; soups on Mondays; slow-cooker meals on Tuesdays; make-over of Sunday’s leftovers on Wednesdays; a full month of Halloween themed desserts on Thursdays; more breakfast foods for dinner on Fridays; and some fun, kids friendly foods on Saturdays peppered with other events like football games and 4-H dinners.
Please, take this menu and make it fit your life. Use it as inspiration to skip the drive-thru from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t cook at home every night, but strive to cook one more night per week than you were doing before. I don’t think you’ll regret it. The results could be awesome!
You can print this one: October 2018 menu
And you can find recipes here: October Menu
Last week I blogged about family dinners and how important they are to child development. Today I read a blog, and subsequently, a study that had been published in the New York Times from 2014. It painted home-cooked meals as a bad thing that suppresses women, and it absolutely broke my heart. This study basically told the reader that we should begrudge cooking dinner. It is difficult and time consuming and our families won’t appreciate it anyway. Seriously?
Does cooking dinner take time? Yes, of course. But it doesn’t have to take hours! It takes planning. I have blogged before about my meal planning formulas. You can read about that here. I plan my dinners a month at a time, but I don’t plan them all in one go. I take 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there and I take a few weeks to plan the next month’s dinners. Some arguments to this process include “I might not want what I planned when it comes time to actually eat it” or “I don’t know what I want to eat for dinner a month from now.” Well, if you do it my way, that’s just something you have to be okay with. There are times I call an audible, and I change our dinner plans at the last minute. Or today, for example, I was making the grocery list for the coming week (using my menu I put together last month) and I decided I didn’t want rootbeer floats for dessert on Thursday. If you make your menu plan and then change your mind, change your plan!
I also plan my menus using my calendar. I know we are home most Sunday nights, so I take my time cooking on Sundays and I make a larger meal that can be used for something else later. I know my girls have dance on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I plan meals I can actually get done in a very short time, or using my slow cooker for those nights. Use what you know about your own life, your own schedule, your own kitchen equipment, and your own cooking skills to create menu plans that fit your own family! Don’t feel like feeding your family is a horrible burden. It doesn’t have to be hard. I often search the internet for 15 minute meals so that I know I can get dinner on the table on busy nights. If there are nights you absolutely know you will not have time to cook, plan a drive-thru night. No biggie. The thing is, be intentional. Do things on purpose. Ask your kids, spouse, or partner for help.
Cook dinner at home. At least some of the time. It’s healthier. It tastes better. It’s good for your family. Enjoy it!
In today’s world of Social Media comparisons, it is very easy to become envious of someone else’s life and/or opportunities. To combat this, one fun idea is to create a gratitude jar. Take a pretty vase, pitcher, jar (or an ugly one) to hold your gratitude. There are printable cards you can find on the internet or you could make your own. Once a week, write down something you are grateful for and put it in the jar. Read them all on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Bask in your blessings!
There have been numerous studies that show children benefit from eating family meals. When we hear (or read) “family meals,” we might think of the stereotypical 1950’s family, sitting around the table every night at exactly 7:00 pm, or whenever Dad gets home, to eat a full home-cooked meal. Today though, this is simply not possible for many families.
Many moms work outside the home now. Kids are involved in a number of after-school activities and sports, resulting in parents spending a much larger amount of time chauffeuring kids from soccer to dance to music lessons most nights of the week. BUT this doesn’t change the fact that we know kids benefit from family meals.
Think beyond dinner.
If evenings are too hectic at your house, consider other meals for family time such as a weekend brunch or even afternoon snack time.