In my kitchen – The organised life project

In my kitchen – The organised life project

Welcome to another In my kitchen guest post. Today I’m joined by Naomi from The organised life project. Her boys are very similar in age to mine so it was very interesting to hear that they are not fussy eaters (unlike my girls). I hope you enjoy reading all about how Naomi cooks and meal plans.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m Naomi, married to Tim and we have two boys, aged 5 and 2. Tim works full time, I work part-time and we’re pretty busy.

Who does most of the cooking in your house? Do you enjoy cooking?

Tim and I both share the cooking. I do most cooking during the week as I tend to be home earlier, and I also do all the meal planning and food shopping. Tim is a great cook – he’s obsessive about handcrafting pizza from scratch – and has done a few cooking courses. I love to bake, especially cakes and desserts.

So we both really enjoy cooking. When we have time, it’s a chance to really relax and switch off. However, with two small boys around, and trying to fit in cooking after a long day at work, before bath and bedtime, it can be a bit of a pressure point. Especially if someone then decides they don’t want to eat something!

Do you meal plan?

Yes, all the time. In fact, I run a meal-planning linky over on my blog, so meal planning is really important to me. I meal plan because it makes my life simpler and takes away part of the stress of cooking. Meal planning means that we get variety, and we avoid those last minute, “I don’t know what to cook” panic-buys.
I do my meal planning monthly, and have a tutorial on my blog https://theorganisedlifeproject.com/meal-planning/how-to-meal-plan-for-a-whole-month with a downloadable template. After years of weekly meal planning, I actually find this is much more time efficient – it takes about 20 minutes to plan the whole month – and makes sure we get lots of variety.

What are mealtimes like in your house? Do you eat together as a family?

We do try to eat as a family. On weeknights, I generally start eating with the children and Tim comes home and joins us. He has a long-ish commute, so his arrival time is a bit unpredictable. At weekends, we almost always eat together. Our boys are both really good eaters, and I’m sure that’s partly because we all sit down together to eat.
We talk about our days, and we always try to share what the best part of our day was. We’re Christians, so we try to say grace before a meal time too.

What are your favourite family meals to cook?

Traditional meals go down really well – roast dinners, cottage pie, sausage and mash etc. Ben loves Chicken Fajitas and Samuel loves anything where he’s allowed ketchup or salad cream. The one thing they are not massively keen on is stir-fry style dinners, especially with noodles, so if we’re having that, they sometimes have beans on toast instead!

Do you cook the same meals frequently or are you always trying new recipes?

I’d say I try to cook 3 or 4 new recipes each month, often at the weekends. What happens most often is that I will ‘forget’ a recipe that we’ve enjoyed and not have it for a few months. Then I’ll remember it and we’ll all enjoy it again!

Do you have any tips for dealing with fussy eaters?

I wouldn’t describe either of my boys as fussy, and I know I’ve been very lucky with that. I try to make mealtimes as relaxed as possible, and I don’t force Samuel (who is 2) to finish his dinner. I try to think about what he’s eaten over the course of the day rather than just one meal, and I know he’s often had tea at nursery around 4 so he might not be hungry at 6 pm – or might just be tired.
We encourage Ben to try everything, but I wouldn’t ask him to eat something he didn’t like – so he might eat his potatoes and vegetables, for example, if he didn’t like the meat. I wouldn’t cook something different if they didn’t eat what’s on offer. If they don’t want it, that’s fine, but there’s nothing else!

Do you have a favourite cookbook?

It’s an oldie, but Nigella’s Feast has been a favourite of mine for years. A friend gave it to me as a housewarming present about 14 years ago (!) and I’ve used it a lot. I can still just sit and read it. It goes through the year and gives recipes for Christmas, New Year, Valentines, Easter etc, and also has chapters on breakfasts, ‘Kiddiefeasts,’ Kitchen suppers, Ultimate feasts and so on.

Do you enjoy baking?

I love baking. Nigella’s brownies are probably my most-frequently made bake – http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/nigella-lawson-brownies-32053 – but I’ve become much more aware of the impact of all that butter and sugar on our health over the last few years!
I’d say that baking is one hobby that has been replaced by blogging – and having children around makes elaborate baking like macarons slightly trickier! Ben and I made chocolate muffins for his homework last week and he really enjoyed it, so perhaps I ought to do it more often.

Do you have any tips for making feeding the family easier?

Build meal planning and food shopping into your routine. I meal plan monthly, then do my online food shop on a Wednesday, then collect it after work on a Friday. That works really well for us – the supermarket is just around the corner from my work. The other trick is to really plan meals for your lifestyle – so on my work nights, when time is limited, we have very quick and easy meals. At the weekends, we make more labour-intensive meals. I’m not massively into batch cooking at the moment, although I have been in the past, but I’d always try to do it at the weekend.

Where can we find you?

1 Comment

  1. May 2, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    Thank you so much for having me guest post on your blog! I’ll be sharing it a lot over the next few days. It’s a great idea for a series.

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