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In the past 18 months (geez, you’re gonna get tired of seeing me type that, but it’s important for me to be clear), I have seen a sharp decrease in my cooking. Not my cooking SKILLS mind you (cuz, I still got mad skillz in the kitchen), but just the number of nights I cooked in any given week. In fact, in the past 18 months I have a hard time remembering many meals I actually cooked from scratch, the way I used to, before the fuck you (or BTFU if you will).

I relied heavily on more convenience -type foods, if you will. Foster Farms will hold a soft spot in my heart for creating frozen chicken corn dogs that are not as bad (nutritionally) as you may think (I’m not a fan, but the girls are). Peanut butter and jelly, deli meats, quesadillas, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets, CHEESE, a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with all the bags of frozen vegetables I could squeeze into my freezer, were the staples of 2012 in our home.

I am confident that my children still ate better and more nutritionally sound than most American children, but it was quite the departure from my days of making my own baby food. Sprinkled (not as liberally as I would have liked) among those more convenient foods, I would cook my old standbys that I knew the girls loved and would eat. My homemade spaghetti sauce made appearances at least three times a month, the sweet potato apple recipe was a fan favorite, and many other of the “safe, easy” choices were prepared. We did make a lot of pizzas, and while I didn’t bake quite as much, I think I met the bar when it came to the “Amount of baked goods you have to make to be a good mom” (This is that point in the post when I mention I am using sarcastic font).

I was sad about not doing more, but with everything going on in my life, I just needed one less thing to fight about, and food seemed to be the easiest foe to defeat. It’s like that episode of 30 Rock: Liz: “If you give into it, you just start to kinda feel numb and warm and then you just get sleepy.” Jenna: “That’s exactly what they say it’s like when you freeze to death.”

I just gave into it, and it was easy.

Olivia and Sophia ate more fast food in the past 18 months than both of them have ever eaten in their entire, combined, 10 years of existence. Right before Christmas, I got rid of  so many Happy Meal toys (and other chains too, don’t freak), I was embarrassed. Embarrassed, until I realized that those damned meals with their stupid plastic toys helped me make it through the fuck you (TTFU). And then I was okay with it…but knew it had to come to an end. And soon.

So, last week I sat the girls down and we talked about New Year’s resolutions. While I’m not a fan of only waiting until the New Year to resolve to do something, I figured I would use it as a springboard. I told them that we had to stop eating so much fast food, we needed to spend more time on family dinners and we should really expand our palate (and then I had to explain what “expand our palate” meant, and realized I sometimes need to think before I use certain phrases).

I asked them how many times a week should we aim to try a new food. Olivia came up with two days a week, which, was awesome because I thought if I got one out of them it would be a miracle. I then looked at my stubborn, stronghold of the family, Miss Sophia, and said “If I hear you say ‘I don’t like this’ before you even put it in your mouth, your LeapPad is mine for a day”.

Yeah, I went there.

So far this week, I have cooked twice, and we ate at Grandma’s house on Monday. Olivia tried Shrimp Scampi (she had mixed feelings on it), both girls tried a green dinner salad (and Olivia has asked me to pack one in her lunch tomorrow), and tonight I remembered I had a bag of black rice that a friend who recently moved gifted me with.

It will be entered into regular rotation.

I was really only hoping to expand us beyond peanut butter and jelly, but I think I may try something even more adventurous every now and again too–so I can maybe expand my own palate.

I love the idea of introducing the girls to different cultures through food. There is an African Peanut soup that the girls are determined for me to make because it’s “peanut butter soup, mama!”

I guess I need to change my catchphrase “mommy doesn’t make bad food” to “mommy doesn’t mean to make bad food”.

Cuz I got skillz, yo.


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