November 17, 2017

“I No Longer Cook” Edition of Tasty Tuesday


nothing to eat

For those of you needing some extra food inspiration, there is an amazing one day deal today. You will receive BOTH Martha Steward’s Everday Foods AND her Whole Living Magazines for an entire year for only $10. Don’t miss it!

Driving in the van this afternoon, our eldest son exclaimed first, that he was starving, and second, that I never feed him anymore. Considering that high school boys tend to enjoy a flare for the dramatic when it comes to their stomachs, I described at least five food options he could have made right before we left the house.

He declared that was the precise problem. For the last two weeks, he “always” has had to make it.

I pondered for a minute, got a little defensive, described the meals I HAD made, shared that I wasn’t his short order cook and that if breakfast is served and he missed it because he slept in that was his problem etc. etc. etc. But then I took a deep breath and admitted…there was truth to his statement.

Holidays has thrown any sense of  my meal planning out the window, and even though I feel like I have been in the kitchen continuously, I couldn’t convince him that the hundreds of chocolate chip cookies he consumed constituted as a full meal. (Have I taught him nothing? Chocolate (fruit), flour (grain), butter (dairy)  = meal, does it not? ;))

I acknowledged the element of truth, apologized for my part in it during the holidays, had him understand any role he played in that “starving” process, promised that I would do better,  then walked in the door, preheated the oven and proceeded to make two full 9×13 pans of stuffed shells (enough to last for a few meals, right?)

Stuffed Shells

Ahh…as I type this post at midnight, both pans have been licked clean.

And the problem? It starts all over again tomorrow. 🙂

Yes, in this joyous holiday home, I share this bit of bedlam reality because as much as I would love to have it all together, it just doesn’t always happen.

You know what? It’s OK.

Ladies, in these last few days before Christmas, take a breath and remember, leave some of the stress at the store. It’s OK if it doesn’t all get done. It’s OK if Martha isn’t going to feature you in her next issue.  It’s OK if you have to apologize to your children for “starving” them on chocolate chip cookies. It is really OK.

I just don’t think  Mary was too concerned what that manager looked like, nor the fare that she ate leading up to the birth of my Savior.  She was just in awe of the moment.  Remember, your family and friends just want to be with you. Enjoy these moments.

No more stress allowed! (ha…yes, I may be a dreamer.)

So since I have this confession off my chest, am I the only one who is struggling with their meal plan this month?

TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – If you’re joining in with a recipe link, two simple requests. As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.

Also, please link back to my site so that everyone can join in the fun. I don’t ask much in order to participate, but many of you are not linking back, and it’s just common courtesy of blog carnivals.

P.S. I want to give a “shout out to two of my sweet blogging friends.)

Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures has put together a  fun (and frugal because it’s free when you subscribe) E-book.  Lynn shares, “I wanted to help others during this busy time by sharing some quick and easy holiday recipes that contain regular everyday ingredients.  I put together a Free 23-page Holiday ebook that is full of my favorite recipes. These recipes are perfect for the holidays, but they will also work well anytime of year.”

My friend, Kate from Cooking During Stolen Moments (remember her from my 3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days month?)  has a FREE Cookies for Christmas eBook available that can be printed and made into recipe cards also when you subscribe to her site.


  1. No one complained in my house but I was feeling the exact same way. And I realized it was OK to use jar spaghetti sauce and frozen meatballs for dinner if that helped our time as a family! Thanks for the words of encouragement!


  2. Our panini maker is our staple during the holidays – make your own!

    Your linky says it won’t be up until tomorrow morning (Wed.) at 8 am.
    Is that a mistake?


    Jens Reply:

    @Jacqueline, YES – my mistake…UGH! It’s up now!


  3. With all of the holiday fuss, I am experiencing kitchen burn-out. I was trying to put together a menu plan for the week last night and I was struggling. It might just be take-out pizza tonight, the local shop has a tuesday special of $5.99.


  4. I think I have a great meal plan, one that includes leftovers later in the week. But the leftovers have this habit of disappearing in my house now. I’m still getting used to cooking enough food to fill up our 17 year old foreign exchange student. And now that he’s started playing basketball, that boy can really eat!


  5. Glad you gave yourself a break, Jen. A teenage belly going hungry isn’t the end of the world and it’s actually a good chance for him to appreciate all that his wonderful mom usually does for him and also to learn to take care of himself. That’s not a luxury lesson–it’s a necessary one.


  6. You are a more patient woman than I! I would have kept on with the attitude of “tough luck! You’re old enough to cook all your meals yourself if you feel like complaining.” Funny how my kiddos are only 4 and I hear nearly the same things. At least kids are consistent! LOL!

    I see the same “submissions start Dec 22 at 8:03am) as well.


    Jens Reply:

    @Meg @ Little Bit of Life, Well, I do believe some where in my lecture, those same words came out of my mouth, but ….

    the link is up now.


  7. Thanks for hosting Jen!!……….I’ve been doing the same thing, in the kitchen all day, but not providing much for meals for my family lately……..ahhhhh, the holidays!!


  8. Thanks, I got on now!!!

    I had time to “waste” so I went back to last week’s Tasty Tuesday and reread your post. I have now added to my “to do” list – make chocolate chip cookies and freeze! No, I am not giving them away, but we go up to our cabin for a few days after Christmas to ski and such and that would be great. Loved the idea.


  9. Sara @ Mom Endeavors says:

    Meal planning?! What’s that?! Ha! I feel the same way!! And you’re way ahead of me–those stuffed shells looked delicious (probably why they were all gone!) 🙂 I feel like I haven’t prepared a real meal in days and hubby picked up take out on the way home last night. Just couldn’t do any more in the kitchen!
    Thanks for hosting and have a wonderful Christmas!!


  10. Thanks for the reminder to relax. I’m not even hosting and I’m just stressed with having to travel, socialize, etc. Breathe!

    Have a happy holiday!


  11. Jen – you are so NOT the only one who is struggling with meal planning this month! Between baking, card writing, present wrapping, parties and socialising I have really struggled to be organised in the kitchen. Plus I need to empty the fridge and freezer so there is room for all the Christmas goodies in the next few days. We’ve had take away Chinese food twice in the last month (very unusual for us) and most days I don’t think about what to cook for dinner until about 4pm. Thank you for reminding me that it really doesn’t matter – and also that chocolate chip cookies contain at least three important food groups 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours!!


  12. Meal Plan? Ha! I’ve had unexpected company all last week and I’m still trying to get my feet back under me. I think I’m even out of bread and peanut butter. 🙁 My teen boys sound a lot like yours – they even have puppy dog eyes that really make a mom feel guilty! 🙂


  13. Oh my! I can relate all too well!!! As the mother of 3 boys, 14, 12 and 8, they are always STARVING!!!! 🙂


  14. I’m doing okay on the meal planning thing this month. We’ve had a few days of messed-up schedules that have resulted in take out, but that’s mostly due to my poor mother suddenly becoming the caretaker of my grandparents (one has dementia and the other has two broken ribs). This week is going to be crazy and I consider it a good job that I got the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu planned and instructions sent to all the family members. This is my first year being almost 100% responsible for a major holiday, so I think it’s pretty okay if we have a pizza one night (er maybe two?).

    Thanks for hosting Jenn and Merry Christmas everyone!!


  15. Thanks for hosting. Merry Christmas!


  16. Yup, just had a similar conversation with my boys the other day. The last straw was on Sunday night when my boys complained about the chicken breasts that I quickly threw together in the crockpot. This is what I heard:
    “Yuck these are awful.” “Can we have something else?” There’s nothing good to eat in this house … blah, blah, blah.”Sure, they were a bit bland and probably could have used some more cooking time, but that’s all I had time to do.

    So I threatened that they could make their own dinner on Monday night. But alas, my Mommy guilt gave in and I ended up making London Broil last night with some crescent rolls and rainbow spirial noodles. Sure, I was up until midnight making teacher gifts because I spent too much time on dinner, but it sure was good.

    Little do they know though that tonight it’s chicken nuggets. We just had those Saturday night. LOL.


  17. Having just finished a really major remodel (as in the landscaping out front still looks like a moonscape), we’ve been putting off entertaining until it’s “perfect”. As if… I have committed to hosting Christmas dinner, and things have been crazy around here, along with HS finals, band concerts, recitals, etc, so I have been overextended, crabby and thus a really bad meal provider. Your post was just the kick in the pants for me to get my head together, in that misery loves company kind of way. I actually think we’ll host an impromptu party on Thursday for a few dear families we are close to, and I will make a big pot of semi-homemade chili verde, buy a big stack of tortillas, make a crock pot full of beans, haul out the paper plates and invite everyone over. Maybe we’ll even haul out the instruments and have a proper hootenanny.


  18. thanks for hosting such a sweet link up of goodies You are so right we make and eat and make and eat and the cycle simply continues on ….


  19. Jen – my dear hubby has been testing out his cooking talents the past couple of months. A girl could get spoiled. Oh and I’m resorting to child labor for Christmas cookies. Thanks for linking. Have a fabulously Merry Christmas!


  20. LOL! I have had the same conversation with my oldest son this week! I made a huge batch of rice in the pressure cooker to serve as a filling side for some of the other leftovers. It is a never ending process, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! There is nothing quite as fun as cooking for teenage boys; they are the most appreciative people at the table. 🙂


  21. My 22-year-old daughter asked me why I don’t like to cook. I said it’s because I cook and cook and then the next day they want me to feed them again. The gall!


  22. Meal planning in my house this month? Um…non-existant. The only adventurous thing I’ve done so far is making homemade tortillas for the first time. And not only did we have them with enchiladas that night but with pb&j the next day because I had neglected to make bread 🙂

    You’re right, it’s good to just relax and enjoy sometimes!


  23. One of the other blogs I follow posted in early December about having a pantry-and-freezer-busting month; since we’re out so often for holiday parties and food with friends, why not clear out some things? So that’s what we’re doing. I’m trying not to stress out, and to get those bags of 2 or 3 leftover chicken strips out and use them up. My two little boys love to help make their own food, so they’re enjoying picking out what they eat too! Keep up the good work, Jen, and don’t worry – in a few years, your son will be gone to college and you’ll just get to send cookies in care packages. 🙂


  24. There’s nothing quite like keeping up with the appetites of teenaged boys, is there? I have a 17 year old weightlifting fanatic – he claims to need 6 meals a day. I prepare probably two of those. Need to get off the computer right now and make some pizza – but I agree, especially in the days leading right up to Christmas it’s tough to keep those meals coming. Part of my challenge is knowing that I will be in the kitchen almost all day on Christmas with the Butterball – my refrigerator was on the blink Thanksgiving week so no turkey then. My sons were aghast when they sat down to Thanksgiving dinner and it consisted of – quail!


  25. I won’t say haw many times this week we had cereal for dinner. 🙂


  26. Oh my gosh that looks amazing!!!! I am bookmarking this…I have always wanted to learn to make those…one of my favorite Italian dishes!!!

    Sorry I am late to the party!!! LOL Baking day got delayed till today!

    Merry Christmas!!!!

    Mary Joy



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