I've been rocking the dinner table since my new subscription to the Food Network Magazine has been gracing our mailbox. Not to pat myself on the back or anything.
With the recent change to full-time "working from home" motherhood (as in, I don't get paid for this!), I've been focusing my efforts on (1) saving money and (2) having some sort of plan when I walk in the grocery store. Studies show that families spend less money shopping for food when they are following a menu plan or buying specifically for meals. It's true! How many times have I dropped $100 at the store and come home to nothing but snacks, Vitamin Water and tater tots? How about all of the time - before moving to Buffalo and writing a list every time I go to the store.
I envy the women (and men, too - although I literally stared at the one guy I saw poring through coupons in the yogurt section... I've never seen a man so intent on getting the best bargain,) who have the insight to look through the store circular and then plan their meals according to what is on sale. Someday I'll get there - dream big!
But anyways, what I love about this magazine is that they divide the recipes into weekday vs. weeknight cooking. How smart - because I've gotten myself halfway through complicated recipes on a school night only to have grumpy, starving children with no patience for my wonton making skills. We've had homemade pretzels, Tilapia Milanese, Thai Pork with rice noodles, refrigerator fudge, to name a few. It satisfies my need to try something creative in the kitchen without getting too ridiculous and having to search for banana leaves.
The magazine also includes a mini tear-out booklet of 50 ways to modify or use one type of recipe. What could be better than fifty different ways to make nachos or smoothies or uses for pesto? I have two huge bindersof magazine recipes (one that includes recipes I have successfully made and others that I'm still saving for when I have the time to make flaxseed crackers from scratch.) I haven't torn out a single page of this magazine because I want to save the whole thing.
I'm sure this is a win-win venture for the Food Network since they have a ridiculous archive of recipes already and all the celebrity chef power working for them. It's certainly working for me! I don't know if/how much money we have saved, but the fact that we have dinner figured out on a daily basis is saving my sanity, little by little.