I confess my sins about meals and picky eaters

I have a friend who swears she would read my blog everyday if I put a post up to tell her what to make for dinner. The trouble with that is, I don’t know what I am having for dinner, so how could I possibly write that for her. I’ve been thinking, and I think I might have a solution for me and for her.

There was a time, when I faithfully made my dinner every morning after breakfast, from a menu I created every Saturday night, with ingredients I purchased at the grocery store from a well-planned grocery list. Somewhere along the way I got sidetracked. The problem is I really, really, really like to cook, and I have some fussy eaters, and I enjoy food so much, that I wanted my kids to have the same great experience. A good meal for us, and my oldest son, and plain stuff for the others. As a result, I started making separate meals for each one. I know, the cardinal sin Mothers are never supposed to commit. It’s not as bad as it is for some Moms. But look what happened. I burned out, and now I freeze when I walk into the kitchen. And, despite the prayer, dinner time just brings back so many … painful …. memories.

I’m getting braver about saying no, and saying I guess you’ll just have to go hungry. And slowly, it seems to be sinking in. I’m not afraid of the dinner table so much anymore, and they are starting to eat a little better. My biggest weapon is dessert, a little something at the end of every meal. Just makes everything go down much smoother. (And, none of you have the TV on during dinner do you? Including breakfast time?)

Meal planning. Some e-meal organizers have sent me free subscriptions to their services, asking that I try them out, and let you know what I think. Quite frankly, I won’t even bother to tell you who they are, because it was basically a poorly designed database of casseroles. For “after the game,” they suggested a quick salad, which involved cutting and peeling over 10 different vegetables. I will spare you the agony of plodding through that.

But, I did find something we can all use. FoodNetwork, has an awesome page called the weekly meal planner. What makes this one unique, is it involves making one large feast on Sunday (or adapt to any day that suits you), with four to five “left-over” recipes to use throughout the week. On the page, I see four main meals. So, I could probably make two large feasts per week, freeze the leftovers, and rotate the leftover meals throughout the week, so that we’re not having turkey every night. After about two weeks, you’ll have enough variety to keep things happy.

The only drawback I see to the site is this: How often is it updated? Is this a static page? Do they change it by season? I guess I will soon find out.

So, for my friend, I guess I could just put up a little note somewhere on my page about what we’re having for dinner, and refer you to the recipes, and tell you how the recipe went, and how the kids reacted. And maybe my friend could leave a comment about whether she tried it, and how it the whole meal went at her house. Once I get it all figured out, I’ll let you know.

Later, I’ll share my trick for keeping my pantry completely organized and stocked. It’s pretty snappy and easy.


Last year’s Thanksgiving Feast, with all the cousins. Makes me want to sit at the kid table all over again.

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16 comments on “I confess my sins about meals and picky eaters
  1. I want to sit at the kids’ table too — it looks lovely! Good job, you!

    I have one of the pickiest eaters ever. And if I serve something he won’t eat, he will refuse it. And not eat.

    He’s 4’8″ and 62 pounds. So I cater to his wishes. And I hate it. But I don’t know what else to do. Nothing else has worked.


  2. Hello Susie.

    You and your aficionados may be interested in knowing about a real meal planning service that we have here in Canada. It’s called http://www.soscuisine.com. I’ve been using it for over a year now and it made my life much, much simpler, and my family has been eating much, much better. It’s not just a dumb database of recipes but a real service, run by a real woman, which sends out personnalized meal plans every week, based on what’s in season. I don’t know if she plans to expand to cover the U.S. but have a look anyway.

    Josie from Montreal

  3. Ok, Josie, I signed up. It did take my USA zipcode, so I think this will work.
    My first impression: I like the variety of the foods; because it’s based in Canada, maybe?, there is that European emphasis on fresh food, not casseroles.

    I especially like the menu that includes side dishes — something that is missing on foodnetwork.

    I love the printable grocery list — LOVE that.

    I’m wondering — do the menus take full advantage of leftovers; or do you just re-serve them as is? I’m not seeing much emphasis on making extras to serve later in the week as something else.

    This may become more apparent as I use the service.
    But thanks for the heads up.

  4. Oh that photo made me a wee bit sad that I’ll be missing Thanksgiving for the second year in a row 🙁 I know I shouldn’t complain as I’ll be in Thailand this year, but even a fun filled holiday is nothing like a wonderful thanksgiving meal with family!

    I’m not a picky eater, but cooking for just one is hard, so I have no ideas on cooking tips, sorry.

  5. Hi again Susie,

    > I’m wondering — do the menus take full advantage
    > of leftovers; or do you just re-serve them as is?
    > I’m not seeing much emphasis on making extras
    > to serve later in the week as something else.

    As a matter of fact, their menus are pretty clever in the sense that they do take advantage of those recipes (main courses and others) that can be made in advance (to save time) and in sufficient quantity to cover more than one meal. In other words, there is typically 2-3 recipes every week that are eaten a couple of times.

    But in my view, one of the smartest things is their “Action Plan”, which suggests what to do when in order to save time, and even things such as “don’t forget to take the chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow night” (“husband-proof” !!!). It also mentions which recipes can be prepared in larger quantity, to make leftovers on purpose or to stock in the freezer!

    Cheers, Josie

  6. I used to do the menu and planning ahead technique to and it worked fabulously, but I fell off that wagon. I’m getting better now, and cooking again, but ugh, I agree with your friend. I would love someone to just give me ideas what to make each day. It’s my least favorite part of my day.

  7. I love to cook too. I understand how meal planning can become such a chore. I like keeping frozen leftovers for those nights that I just don’t feel like cooking. I post a bunch of my recipes on my blog, and I just added the easiest lasagna recipe ever…..

  8. I used to be more organized about dinner. I planned the menu in advance, completed my grocery shopping in one trip and was set for a week or two at a time. I’m not sure when it changed (possibly when the morning sickness hit), but lately I’ve been planning dinner about half an hour before it starts. That usually means going to the store and finding something fast and easy to make. I need to get organized again.

  9. I am going to try the weekend meals and leftovers during the week thing. They had something similar in my cooking light magazine within the last couple months. I am sure that not only will my meals be better, my grocery bill will go down because I won’t be constantly running to the store….

    YOU, Susie, are my inspiration for SO MUCH!!! (and you know I love your kids too!)

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  13. Tell you what. I am newly married, mother of four of my own girls and stepmom to two girls, 18 and 16 and one boy, age 13. I have always been told that I am a good cook, my girls, 22, 20, 17, and 13, have never been picky and have their favorites. I love to cook and everything is homemade, I do not cook from a box, prepackaged or convenience foods. This has been a really tough two months. I married into a family where the mom did not cook, kids ate out of a box. This is a tough time. The girls don’t complain too much, I get some wierd questions about food but the boy makes a comment about everything. Before we got married, he did tell me that he didn’t plan to eat my food. He does eat somethings but comments about everything. I am so sick of cooking and it is so degrading. I’ve had it!!!! Any suggestions?

  14. More on that comment, I am about ready to say the heck with it and just let them continue to eat out of a box, can, freezer, whatever. Trying to come up with a meal that will please finicky people is extremely stressfull. It puts me on edge and makes me feel very defensive and inadequate. I keep hearing stuff like “we’re just not used to that.” Well there is a lot of things that I have had to get used to. You would think that they could at least “try.” I mean really, how long can that excuse be used. TOTALLY FED UP!!! And very irritated.

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