I have to give us a pat on the back, my husband and I. We love to eat out. We were not properly taught by our parents how to meal plan or cook (that last part is mostly me, my husband thinks he cooks just fine, and I'm not saying he doesn't but he could expand his cooking repertoire). Eating out was zapping our budget each month. We knew we had to make a change... it took a long time getting there. Two steps forward. One step back. Anyway, I'm proud to say that we eat out on average of once a week now versus the 3 times a week that was going on forever. Despite the fact that I'm proud of our vast improvement, I still have my gripes about cooking at home biting the big one.
1. Dishes. There's more of 'em to do. It was never ending before, but now I sorta realize that part of paying for take out or dining out is paying for the luxury of not having to do dinner dishes. It is hard to know which is helping our carbon footprint, saving water by having less dishes when we eat out or less trash in the landfills when we eat at home. Conundrum.
2. Sounding like my parents, "We're not a restaraunt, dammit." Only in recent months have I caught myself saying this to my kids. A phrase I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with from your upbringing. No parent wants to hear unappreciative remarks of "ew" or "disgusting dinner" or "why can't we have....?" after spending their time and energy on preparing a meal. We now have a simple rule, eat what is for dinner or do not eat at all.
3. Having to say no. Because the kids had gotten accustomed to our eating out habit, they sometimes pipe up "Can we eat out tonigt" and when the answer is "no" it is not easy dealing with near dinner time meltdowns when we are on the way home from somewhere and everyone is hungry and we still have to cook dinner. Planning ahead for dinners is still something I'm working on so this problem can go away.
4. Having to remember to take something out of the freezer in the morning. This part of the day is crazy enough already with getting everyone ready for school and getting a decent breakfast to the table. Too often I've forgotten to pull some chicken or ground beef from the freezer to put the dinner plan in motion.
5. Having food go bad before we use it. Something looks good in the store, we buy it, then the luster wears off and before we know it the expiration date has come and gone. This right here makes me almost think we might not be saving money by cooking at home. But, I know we'll eventually get better at meal planning and sticking to the plan.
6. Leftovers. The husband and my kids really don't like leftovers. Again, we need practice in finding the right meals where leftovers would turn into exciting lunch options. They do however think leftover pizza is the bomb.
7. Extra trips to the grocery store. It can be especially frustrating to go to the store to buy specific things for the meal on your agenda and walk out spending as much as you would at a sit down restaurant. We need more exercise in self control I guess.
8. Agreeing on what to have for dinner. I sometimes just skip over asking my husband what we should have for dinner because quite frankly I just want to make something simple. Like pasta. I think I need to just make one night a week a pasta and bagged salad night even though that is his least favorite dinner in the world. But I LOVE IT!
9. Clean up... there's more than just the dishes. The stove top and counters and then the food on the floor where the kids have eaten. Again, another appreciation for those dollar spent on take out where clean up is a breeze.
10. Time sucker. Seriously, I can't count how many times I've had a thought for making something and came to the computer to research a recipe only to get distracted by Facebook or Twitter or some daily deal alert open in my email box. Aside from the cooking itself, the time spent preparing to cook is never fully accounted for and why we have fallen so many times to the drive thru bad habit.
Overall, I know eating at home is saving us money, we're probably eating healthier too, so we'll keep pluggin' away and get more diligent about our routine. When I was griping about something, a friend once told me to consider myself cleansed, and you know when she said that, I snapped out of it. We sometimes set goals and find they're really challenging and have stumbling blocks, but the goal is worthy and so we keep it in our sights. So, thanks for letting me gripe a bit about it. Do you have a gripe about eating at home or do you have some simple suggestions to help us get over one of our 10 Reasons Cooking at Home Sucks? I invite you to share them!