Being a Hot Mama in the kitchen

I remember when I had my son . . . I decided I was going to be the perfect mother. I started reading Martha (still do), kept the house spotless, made elaborate dinners most evenings. Next, comes child #2 — I had just moved to Denver, had classes and clients all over town and was schlepping most of the day. I admit to stopping at McDonald’s often during that time, and once getting home late at night — eating some bizarre combinations of foods after my kids were asleep. My favorite was edamame and french fries.

The difference in making good and bad choices is all in the planning and tools. Find a couple monthly cooking magazines that you love. (The beauty of these is they have fresh ideas every month about the food that is currently in season).

Then pick your day to shop — mine’s Sunday morning. Take out the magazine and any other recipe books that you like and pick about 4-5 meals. You figure the other 2-3 days will be leftovers, going out, or pizza night (we have pizza every Friday night). Try to pick recipes that are easy to make within 30 minutes — without too many crazy ingredients. I usually pick one meal that has a more expensive cut of meat and might take a little longer. The rest are more simple.

Next, make your list. Section it off by where you find those ingredients in the store — so you’re in the store for a shorter time. I can get in and out of Whole Foods in 30 minutes if I have a plan.

Bring the groceries home and put them away. Wash the vegetables and fruit right away and trim off ends of vegetables — things you won’t be using. This keeps the vitamins where you want them. Separate meats if you buy family packs into single packets for easy defrosting.

When it’s time to make dinner, pour yourself a glass a wine and get started. If you have children bugging you for a snack — I put out a few vegetables and some cheese and that’s it. I figure if they do fill up a little on that at least it was healthy.

Enjoy and let me know how you do.