Monday, August 6, 2012

Tips from a Busy Working Mama | Cooking for the Family #CookforFamily

Between juggling work, household chores, running errands etc... finding time to cook for my family can be difficult.

Kiwifruits & Cheerios with Manuka honey breakfast
But then, I've come to realised that you don't just find the time, you make the time. Cooking to me isn't a chore and something I'd gladly make time for...

Fresh Greek Salad
I love the satisfaction of seeing my family's happy faces while eating something I created!

Tomato-based Spinach Fettuccine
Usually, I cook quick and simple meals that thankfully, turn out to be rather delicious {if I do say so myself ;p}. Some of the recipes are passed down from my mother, some I cook based on feeling & what I think should be inside {read, just winging it!}, while others are inspired from cookbooks, blogs and of course, Pinterest.

Mini Fairy Cupcakes
Living in Singapore, it is very easy to dine out conveniently and inexpensively. However, nothing beats spending time in the warmth of your home and forming memories over meals at the family table. I'd like to encourage you to bond with your family through eating at home and have some tips on how you can cook for your family.

1. Meal plan
Think ahead and plan what you want to cook for the week. It saves time, helps with grocery shopping {saves you extra trips to the supermarket!} and keeps the stress level down on racking your brain on thinking "what to cook"? for meals each day. In the long run, you will also save money because you waste less groceries and use only what you need.

2. Stock up on non-perishables
They are basically "shelf-stable" items that have months of shelf life. They are not all unhealthy and include a wide variety like canned vegetables, dried fruit, pasta, cereals, baked beans, sauces, canned fish etc. Sometimes the opportunity to cook suddenly appears, and with these ingredients readily available you can easily create a wholesome meal.

3. Give yourself a target
Set a goal to cook during the week. Maybe once a week on the weekends, or Monday nights when you are still fresh at the beginning of the week. Put it into your schedule and make a routine out of it. I try to cook weekend lunches or at least do a Sunday bake.

4. Make frozen meals
If you only have time to cook once a week, take a little extra time to make a supply of quick and tasty meals that you can freeze and warm up when you are short on time. Frozen meals don't mean they are unhealthy. If you use fresh and quality ingredients, they can be pretty nutritious too. Check out some of the frozen food recipes here.

5. Get the family involved
Ask your family members to help you prepare the meal. It eases your burden and is a great time to share food tips as well. Even the little ones can help :) I usually get Lil Pumpkin to mix my baking batter or wash my vegetables. It makes her appreciate the food better and encourages her to finish the food that she helped prepare!

6. Don't forget the fun
Sometimes, we don't feel like cooking because it's boring. Keep the motivation going by finding fun new ways to cook an ingredient you've used many times. I'm currently taking part in the Zespri Kiwifruit 14-Day Daily Scoop of Amazing Challenge to get creative with kiwis for the next 2 weeks, and I'm excited to learn new recipes and cooking methods with just that one fruit. It's an innovative idea and maybe I'd do a personal challenge after that to think out-of-the-box with a random food ingredient monthly! 21 ways to eat & cook tomatoes, apples or chicken, anyone? 

Lil Pumpkin & her daddy bond through cooking together
You probably read in the news that about 100 bloggers are taking part in a #CookforFamily initiative. Well, the news isn't exactly right because not all the bloggers are food bloggers. And that is the beautiful thing, because you don't have to be a food connoisseur, a food blogger, or even a blogger for that matter to cook for your family with love :) If you haven't been doing it, take this as a kick-in-the-butt and make it a point to.

More inspiration can be found on the #CookforFamily updates by checking on Twitter or Instagram with that hashtag {find me on both as @AiSakuraHaruka} or join this Facebook group, Food with Love. Good luck and feel free to share with me the delicious meals you created for your family! 

Need more tips from a busy working mama? Read them all here!



Unknown said...

Such great tips! I think it's so important to make time to cook for your family, whether it's once a week or every day. It's a great example to set for your kids on how to unite the family and enjoy a home cooked meal :)

Susan said...

Great tips. For me, I enjoy coking for the family too, but like you pointed out it's making time for it that's tough as a working mum. So I usually source for one-dish receipes that I can whip up in less than half an hour, otherwise I'll end up with hungry, grumpy people at the dining table :)
For me, the best tip is to plan ahead as it makes a whole lot of difference.

Theresa Mahoney said...

Great tips! I like to cook, but some nights it really does feel like a chore. My main problem is trying to figure out what is for dinner each day. I really need to sit down and start making a meal plan for each week. That way I can look forward to the dinner I want to create instead of dreading trying to figure out what to make.

Stacy said...

I cook too. :) While food is easily bought in KL too, it's mostly laden with MSG and lower-grade ingredients. Not what I'd feed my little ones if I can help it!