Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Meaningful Life: Good Food

Growing up, dinner was an event at my house. We had a sit-down, dishes, everybody-around-the-table type dinner pretty much every night.

Now that I have my own family, I am the Mom, the person who has the most influence on dinner at our house. I looove my mom's cooking (who doesn't?) and have even perfected some of her dishes (I think). But after a while I got a little sick of eating the same things that I had already eaten for 20 years (no offense Mom), so I started collecting recipes. Now I have a small repertoire of recipes my family loves, and continue collecting them everyday.

One thing that I think makes life meaningful is coming home to GOOD food, and a variety of good food. I think one of the reasons we have so much variety in what we eat is because I've never been one of those people that can eat a pb&j everyday for lunch, or have tortilla soup every single day for a week for dinner (Sarah!). So when I find something I like, I actually try and make it LESS often so I will actually like it the next time I make it (strange, I know). So I don't know if my kids will ever be able to call something "my mom's lasagna" since my recipes are ever-changing and rotating.

I'm still young and definitely not perfect at the make-dinner-every-night routine yet, and we hit up Wendy's or eat a $5 pizza more that I'd like to admit, but I have seen some definite benefits to cooking good food.

1. I really look forward to planning and making dinner. Lots of times I get to try something new, and I get a lot of satisfaction when the meal tastes delicious.
2. Ben looks forward to dinner and home cooked meals. At the end of a long hard day at work, he is really grateful for something warm and delicious that didn't come from a drive-thru.
3. It improves our marriage. I live for Ben's compliments for my dinners. When I can tell it's a sincere compliment, I try again and again to get that same satisfied sigh from my husband after dinner.
4. It can help you lose weight. I've found in our house, that when dinner is appetizing and delicious, both Ben & I are less likely to snack after dinner and remain full.
5. It saves you money. Menu planning saves money, getting rid of the after dinner (& before dinner) snack, and sending leftovers for lunch (eliminates buying lunchmeat, sandwich bread, baggies, etc.). Granted, eating burritos and cold cereal is a lot cheaper, but with none of the added benefits listed above.

Here is what my upcoming few weeks looks like:

Sweet & Sour Meatballs from here, French Onion Soup from here, Chicken Parmesan from here, Beef Pepperoncini Sandwiches from here, Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce from here, Butternut Squash Lasagna from here, Asian Chicken Breasts from here. The rest are stock photos of family recipes or other random recipes that aren't conveniently online.


  1. I am a huge believer in planning meals. We have saved so much money on groceries every month by doing this. And thanks for posting the links to recipes. They all look delicious. I will have to try some.

  2. Ashley..your little family is adorable and your look amazing in your family picture above. Glad to see you are doing well:-)

  3. One of the million reasons you're my inspiration!! Family dinner IS so important!

  4. I like how you said that you, Ben, and Shy-Shy pretended to be in a fancy restaurant at home. That's so entertainment!! :D