This is the most exciting step in the whole process. This is where all your hard work and preparation pay off. This is when you see smiles from those around you, and you know that what you are doing is worth it.
The phone rings. You answer it. It's the missionaries, or your husband, or your mom. They are coming by or bringing someone for dinner. NO SWEAT.
Remember the other half of the lasagna that your froze. WA-LA. Dinner is served. Everyone rants and raves over how delicious it tastes, and you smile because you were not in the kitchen all day. You didn't have to run to the store, it did not effect your plans for the day.
You look at your calendar. Oh no, it is your neighbors birthday. What can I do for her?
You took the time to prepare some mixes ahead of time. (I recommend Make a Mix cookbook) You have a cookie dough mix already prepared. You tie a bow on it, and WA-LA; you have a gift. You made someone in your life feel special. You should feel good about that.
Your son has baseball tonight. You have to be there at 5:30. How will you have time to prepare a meal for the kids between school being out, and the time you have to leave.
Oh wait, you prepared this morning, and put something in the crock pot. You may have to eat a little earlier, but now your children won't be wandering around the ball field hungry. You know your son will be playing on a full tummy, and you can feel good about that.
The phone rings. It is a nice woman from your church. A mother in your church has been put to bed, "would you be able to take them a meal?"
SURE. I have a pizza crust ready to go. I have all my salad ingredients cut and ready to go. I can throw something together in 1/2 hour. You feel good because you were able to serve someone you love, and it wasn't a burden on your time or finances.
You forgot that you have to take a snack to pre-school. NO PROBLEM.
You already have a brownie mix made up (make a mix cookbook) or google mix ideas. You set your daughter to work finishing them. She takes them with a gallon of milk, and some apples. You feel good. You sent something that looks like you spent time on. Your daughter feels even better because she helped in the kitchen.
You are tired. You have been running around all day. You are prepared, but you just want a night off.
You buy a pizza, and eat it with the kids on a blanket in the yard. It's okay, everyone needs a night off. You enjoy it, and so do your kids. You are making a memory. Your kids know that eating out is a special occasion, so you make it one.
It's 5:30. Your family is home. You call them to the table. You have it all set with your nice dinnerware. You made chicken enchiladas. In fact, you made two pans; one for later. You dish up. You talk about your day. You hear, " mom, that was great; thank you."
You say, "you are welcome." You feel good about your day. You just shared a meal with the most important people in your life. It wasn't about the food; it was about the time and the moments spent together around the dinner table.
Being Prepared in the kitchen really has helped our family become closer and more unified. I feel satisfied with my efforts. I am less annoyed, distracted, and irritated at meal times. I understand this is when my kids are teachable.
Set some goals for yourself.
Will you eat at the table 3 times a week?
How many crockpot meals do you need a week?
Will you share a meal with someone once a month?
How many times would you like to take a treat to someone?
If you are looking for the rest of this series.
I will leave you with my cookie mix recipe.
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. shortening
2 C. chopped pecans
2 Pkgs. chocolate chips
In a large bowl combine the first 5 ingredients. Cut in shorening until crumbly. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Store in rubbermaid containers for six months. It will make two batches. 7 cups per batch.
TO PREPARE COOKIES: In a bowl, beat two eggs and vanilla. Stir in cookie mix until well blended. If dough is too dry add 1-2Tbsp. water. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.