Hearts Knit Together #37: Cooking with Children - Mitt and Ann Romney Family Table

My weekend was wonderful. I spent it with my family listening to General Conference and knitting. I imagine that most people of faith are concerned about how to help their own children develop faith and commitment to their religion. That was the main concern I brought to this conference and was what I was listening for answers to. How do I help my children come to know Jesus Christ is their Savior and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church restored to the earth? I was comforted when answers were given by numerous speakers at the conference. Read scriptures as a family daily. Pray as a family daily. Have Family Home Evening (one evening a week spent with our family that includes a gospel centered lesson and a wholesome recreational activity) weekly. These things are habits in our family already. I know that they are great blessings to us. And this is how we build faith in our children. The messages from this conference gave me confidence that I am on the right path and encouragement to continue.

On a separate but kind of related note, I don't like to cook. It is not something I enjoy at all but I have learned to tolerate it because of the benefits it brings into our home and family. Besides it being healthy to eat home cooked meals and the financial savings it provides to eat at home, it really provides needed family time. There is all kinds of research out there that shows the benefits of family dinners from closer relationships to drug free kids.

As the stay at home parent the responsibility of making family dinners happen mostly falls on me. It takes a lot of planning and time, even with a very supportive and "kitchen capable" spouse. Recently I was tired and frustrated with the amount of time, energy, and money feeding my family of 6 was costing me! I was burned out on what we had been eating and needed some new, tasty ideas. When one of the woman at church talked about how she has 6 weeks of meals planned so deciding what is for dinner and doing her grocery shopping is simple, it got me thinking of how I can streamline this whole feeding thing. (Did I mention I hate grocery shopping too?)

About this time I saw Ann Romney's cookbook at the library when I was taking the boys to story time and decided to check it out. I have mixed feelings about the Romney family politics but am still intrigued by their life and we certainly have our faith in common so I found her cookbook inspiring. She talks about raising and feeding 5 boys (can you imagine how much food that required?!?) and the importance of the daily family meal together. And the role her mother and grandmother played in her life and how much bonding took place in their kitchens. The parts I read made me want to be a better mom. I loved how she use to dress the five boys for church on Saturday night so they could make it to church the next morning on time when Mitt was serving as the Bishop of their congregation and was gone early to meetings. So funny to have the boys all sleep in their clothes. Maybe if I tried that we'd make it on time to church when Joel is out of town. :)

We've tried several recipes. Our absolute favorite is her chicken pot pie with buttermilk biscuits. It is really, really tasty. I like her minestrone soup recipe too. I had one I liked but Ann's is even better. And the chocolate mint bundt cake is really good too. Of those that we've tried these three are keepers.

So a few weeks ago I typed out 6 weeks of meals with a grocery list for everything those meals requires. If I don't need some of the ingredients that week I just cross it off the list. So far it is working pretty well. We don't always eat all 7 meals in a week. If Joel is gone we might go back to our lazy ways of popcorn, cheese, and apples for dinner or eat breakfast food twice a week for dinner. But I don't feel bad one bit about that. Here is four of my weeks.

The boys are pretty much my constant helpers in the kitchen. Most of the time I really enjoy it. Jude is pictured here helping me make the chicken pot pie. For our wedding we were given a crock pot cook book with several good recipes but the one I use most is the usable chicken recipe. I can throw frozen chicken (bones or no bones) in the crock pot in the morning with  1/2 onion, 2 tablespoons parsley,  1 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and 4 cups hot water. It cooks all day on low until I am ready to make dinner. And provides me with chicken easily shredded to throw in many different recipes.

If I keep having the boys help in the kitchen eventually they will be so capable I can just pass the cooking of meals on to them right? Isn't that why we have kids? So they can do the chores we dislike? :) Kidding. Only kidding.

Happy Monday!

Labels: ,