Wondering in the Pancake Aisle (with more parentheses)

IMG_7528Sometimes I wonder, in this supposed season of wonder, if my family would notice if I served them pancakes for dinner every night during the next three weeks. Something tells me my kids would be thrilled, especially if I used white flour.

The reason I wonder is, for nearly six months, meal ideas are unbelievably bereft. The refrigerator is empty too. If you took a peak (now you can) about all you’d find is a jar of pickles, a dozen egg box with only one left, half a bottle of milk, a dehydrated bunch of parsley, one-quarter bowl of left over cranberry sauce, various jars of several-year-old containers of jams, jellies, and mustards, an almost empty tube of wasabi, and an empty butter dish.

In the bread drawer are several empty bags (reminds me of the butter dish) with only the heal remaining.

But the bean drawer is, well, full of beans, and millet, and barley, and a bunch of other grains that, while on a vegan jag in June, and in a bit of inspiration while standing in the bulk food isle, I bought and, for a time soaked and cooked regularly, and now I am sick of beans.

Up until this summer, right around the time of the vegan vacation, for years, I cooked chickens (the indoor kind) two or so times a week and had a regular supply of broth and makings for stews and sauces. We’d eat something different every night. I’d pour over cookbooks (sometimes literally) looking for interesting recipes, and then cook them, enjoying nearly every minute of the creativity.

Of late, (and probably only me cause I don’t think my family notices) I am amazed when I can still put something on the table, cause inside I’m wondering if it will actually happen.

Food is an issue for many people these days. Most of my mom friends share they too live in a desert for ideas. And speaking of that, is it our job to create meal after meal that’s interesting? No! So onward to pancakes, and no I’m not going to puree and then add spinach and kale so the kids will get “their” vegetables. Because then I won’t get the meal prep reprieve I’m craving.

Here are three questions:  Any place in your life where there are no more ideas? Oh and what’s for dinner? Could we join you?

12 thoughts on “Wondering in the Pancake Aisle (with more parentheses)

  1. Sandy Parisky

    Well, absent ideas or just the need for a reprieve, it’s no wonder so many people gravitate to the take-out counter at their local market.

  2. Jen

    Its comforting to know our fridge status is not alone. I am so bored of our meal selection- pizza take out seems better and better. When I am not tired, when less is going on, I feel far more creative. When I am stretched, as I have been for a few months- the first place it shows is in our meal selection. I have been thinking of it as an informative situation lately- informing me I am stretching too far. I enjoy good food and a warm meal on a cool night, and I also enjoy having the time to prepare it.

  3. Sara Silvia

    My own meals are pretty simple – a simple protein, veg, grain or potato or winter squash. For my husband I make big batches of things and freeze portions so he can have variety. For instance, last week it was stuffed peppers – stuffed with rice, veggies, chicken sausage and topped with a moderate amount of cheese. This week it is kale soup – a favorite from his childhood – Portuguese style Kale soup. For some variety I threw in a tofu, veg and rice stirfry earlier in the week. I usually have salad stuff prepped and ready to throw together. And I steam some big batches of veggies early in the week so I can just stir fry or heat them up later in the week without a big fuss.

  4. Lisa

    I can so relate to this article. Meal prep is a never ending process. Every single day three times a day, it never lets up. It can feel so overwhelming, especially when healthy foods are important to you. Sometimes I’m on a roll and we have a few weeks of super healthy vegetarian, gluten free meals made from scratch, and then it all falls apart. Lately, heating up frozen burritos has become a theme. At least they’re vegan, if not gluten free. Glad to hear I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed sometimes.

  5. Tricia

    Is it awful that I find solace in knowing it isn’t just me wrestling with mealtime frustration and blahs? You want to make something everyone enjoys, you want to make something healthy, and, oh, make it something different and interesting. Then reality hits and you’re wondering when you’ll have time to squeeze in the shopping, the prep, the cooking, the everything! I usually end up with chicken or fish, a vegetable, a fruit, and a potato or grain, but, isn’t variety the spice of life? Maybe it’s more about that, than what’s on the dinner plate? I know it is for me.

    I will admit that your bean drawer inspired me and I’m dreaming of a lovely, steaming-hot cassoulet for a cooler weather dinner next week. That means I have to be sure to get sausage and some root vegetables on my next shopping trip. So, I owe you a big thanks for something to look forward to in the sea of dinner doldrums,

  6. Debbie

    My kids and I all had a good laugh when we read this article! Even pancakes are a struggle for us because one of our kids loves them and would eat them at every meal, but the other kids don’t like them. At least they don’t like the way we make them (with a box of frozen squash, eggs, milk and whole wheat flour). We are afraid to make regular pancakes for fear that our one child who loves the “healthy” pancakes will want to switch to regular pancakes.

    My youngest child is a real foodie and will sometimes ask me with a somewhat accusing voice what were having for dinner. She rolls her eyes when I answer “quesadillas” or “bow tie pasta and red sauce” – two of my favorite standbys.
    I feel bad because she would love to have new and exciting dishes, but I too am out if ideas.

    Just recently, I came up with the idea of having her look through magazines or recipe books to select a new recipe that we can try each week. We try to do this on Sunday before the craziness of the week starts. We have had some success – enchiladas, stuffed peppers and several soups. It makes for a great Sunday evening dinner and left overs for lunch the next day. The best part of all is seeing how proud my daughter is when the dish turns out great!

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