November 17, 2012


I admit that I can be pretty lazy when it comes to the kitchen. When I get home from a long day at work or school, the last thing I want to do is think about what to make for dinner. As a result, the hubs and I usually end up staring at each other pitifully until one of us asks the question on both of our minds: "Should we just order take-out?"

While this is certainly an easy, effortless option, it is not the most financially responsible one. The hubs and I are both in graduate school, and our very limited budget can't keep up with our love for the spring rolls at the Thai place up the street. So about a month ago, the hubs proposed that we ban ourselves from ordering take-out for dinner until after Thanksgiving. Now, with just a few more days to go until T-Day, I am pleased to report that it looks like we will reach our goal!

If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I wasn't able to refrain form purchasing meals for a few lunches. I try to bring leftovers with me for lunch, but a few times I either forgot to pack a lunch, or we didn't have any leftovers for me to take. So we didn't stay 100% away from buying meals, but we did manage to do so for dinners.

Being forced to think about what to cook for dinner initially seemed stressful, but once I sat down with the collection of cookbooks we have accumulated over the years, I found that the process wasn't too bad. I stuck with recipes that seemed easy to learn or that I had already used in the past. We ended up with a lot of zucchini casseroles and stuffed shells, but I also learned to make chili and fritattas.

Here were some of our recent successes:

Olive sourdough bread with spicy mustard, tomato, and cheese

Vegetable stir-fry

Waffles with cream and fruit

Saving money and becoming more comfortable in the kitchen are two good motivators for me to continue this challenge of cooking dinner. It's fun to learn something new, and it feels great to know that I've made something that looks and tastes delicious.