Monday, August 24, 2009

Whatcha Got Cookin'?

I come from a family of cooks-Good cooks I might add! Thanksgiving dressing was one of my Granny Young's specialties. My Granny Grace made a Milky Way Cake that was out of this world! Lovejoy's on Main Street is a wonderful shop and restaurant in Whitesboro, Texas, which is owned by Hank and Rita Lovejoy . . . you guessed it . . . my parents! They are known for many things at Lovejoy's (homemade soups, salads and sandwiches), but one of the most popular items on the menu is their German Chocolate Bread Pudding! Add to that, both aunts on both sides of the family are incredible cooks—one even owned her own catering business. And you're not going to believe it, but it gets worse. My brother married a gourmet chef and together they provide personal chef services! Lesa, my sister-in-law, doesn't make anything ordinary . . . When she serves a meal, it becomes extraordinary! She is truly one of the best cooks I know.

I say all this to let you know the pressure I was under when I decided to cook. Many times I allowed myself to feel that I didn't measure up. I wasn't organized enough. (So much for our "Contentment" talk!) I didn't have all the ingredients I needed when I did decide to cook. Or, much of the time, I was just too plain-tired to cook. So, too often, my suggestion to my husband was, "Let's go out to eat!" Not only was this an expensive suggestion, after a while, it became a self-defeating suggestion. I wanted to cook for my family. I knew I needed to set a good example for my children and teach them to cook. I desired to be home to eat together, but I just wasn't very good at juggling all my responsibilities and getting a healthy dinner on the table on a consistent basis. "Why can't I do this?" I would ask myself. "My mom did it all the time and made it look so easy!"

One day my husband suggested I take a look at a website a co-worker had found, When he told me that Dave Ramsey endorsed the program, I thought, "Oh, great! 7 creative ways to prepare rice and beans! This sounds fun!" At first, I have to admit, my feelings were a little hurt. I knew I wasn't doing the best job in the area of meal preparation, but I didn't want my husband to suggest I needed help. "The kitchen is my domain . . . right?"

Reluctantly, I decided to take a look. But to my surprise and delight, I discovered that not only did E-Mealz offer 7 meal recipes and the preparation instructions to go with them, but also a categorized grocery list mapped out for the aisles of my favorite store. Wow! I was sold immediately! This was my answer to my meal-time woes.

We have been using this meal preparation program for several months, and it has literally changed my way of thinking about cooking at home. I no longer dread making dinner. My children are very involved in meal preparation now. It has allowed me to be hospitable in a moment's notice, not wondering if I had all the ingredients I needed. We eat at home much more than we did before, and I feel that I'm providing for my family, like I always wanted to. What a wonderful feeling . . . sanity is back!

SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH E-MEALZ MEAL PLANSOne of the things we want to do at Mom and Loving It is to pass on practical, helpful tips when we come across them. This is one we feel strongly about passing on to you!

Ladies, maybe you feel overwhelmed and defeated in this area much like I did. We want to encourage you. You can do it! Take a look at E-Mealz and then let us know what it does for your family!

Dear Lord,
Thank You for our daily bread. Now grant me the will, wisdom, and ability to prepare it for my family with strength and dignity, like the woman of Proverbs 31 (vv. 15, 25-27). In Jesus' name, Amen....Dig in!

Mealtime blessings!



  1. When I started making a menu for the month and a good grocery list for that menu, it did change my life. You are right, it just makes a difference to have that plan. I looked at the emealz, but I didn't know if my kids would like the meals. So ya'll like them alright?

  2. Wow ... thanks for a terrific suggestion!

  3. Thanks for the emealz suggestion. Is there any way you would share the German Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe with us or is it a family secret??!!!
    Jeni-another mom!

  4. Well...we would love to give out the German Choc. Bread Pudding...but there's no cookbook...yet! I will tell you that they use homemade bread in it. Now I'm just making you want it more, right?! Sharon Thanks for the comment!

  5. That's a great question Shelly. Sometimes Laurie and I modify the recipes if it has something in it that I know will cause conflict. Or, if there is a meal that I know won't go over well, e-mealz is great to number all the ingredients by meal. So, you can delete the items for that meal off your grocery list very easily. We also think it's a great opportunity to stretch the "likes" of our kids. Even if it's not my favorite or theirs, we eat it anyway. It helps them to be flexible when they visit a friend who is having something different for dinner. They are more likely to just try it instead of turning up their nose. Sharon