The Final Straw… or enchilada

We are getting close to almost two weeks of the September Challenge. Overall, I would say that things are going really well. Well… except maybe for that one day when I flipped out in the kitchen and told Chris that I was overwhelmed, about to flip out, and wanted to quit the project. Last Sunday, I tried to get a lot of prep work done to lighten my cooking load over the week. After a morning at church, I was ready to get some work done in the kitchen. I made enough bread dough for the week and set it out to rise. I honey roasted hazelnuts. I made 2 batches of zucchini bread. And then… I set out to make chicken enchiladas.

I knew that I wanted to make enough enchiladas to last for a couple days worth of dinners, but I didn’t really think about how time consuming the process would be. Around 1:00, I got Camas Valley Mill pinto beans out to soak so I could cook beans later that night to go into the enchiladas. I cooked a chicken that I bought at Farmer’s Market. I made homemade tomatillo sauce for the enchiladas. And… I found a recipe for whole wheat tortillas (http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/26/recipe-whole-wheat-tortillas/). I took a short break from cooking to go to dinner at a friend’s house as a family, but then as soon as I got home, it was back to the kitchen (in between doing normal mom stuff). This is when I kind of broke down. It was a hot day, and I had already been in the kitchen for probably 5 hours that day. I was so flipping exhausted. I started venting to Chris all of my frustrations and confessed that this kind of was feeling sucky and not fun on this particular day. I may or may not have proclaimed that I am actually not a good cook at all and that I don’t know what I was thinking to devote this much time to cooking when I clearly am not good at it. Chris was great and told me that he would take over breakfast duty each day and help do dishes more. I agreed that I would not be able to continue with this challenge without some sort of change.

In a very timely manner, someone posted this article on a mom’s facebook group about how mom’s often have very high standards about making homemade food for the family, but we also have so many other demands. Each of us only has 24 hours in a day, and we have to make choices about how to spend that time. I feel like from this challenge, I am already learning about which things will stick after September and which things I will drop. Though I love to cook, I am realizing that I have to prioritize what is most important to me. From what we have done so far, here are some of my thoughts:

  • I am hoping to do a homemade breakfast 5 out of 7 days a week. And… we will stick with local oatmeals (or rolled barley). It does not take a lot of effort to make a good breakfast if you plan ahead, and I really want to send my kids to school with a belly full of good food.
  • I will never make enchiladas 100% from scratch again :). I can see myself making homemade tortillas with beans or enchiladas with parts that are homemade, but nothing more complicated than that.
  • It is hard to imagine going back to store bought bread. It is just so much more delicious (and affordable) homemade. I am not going to beat myself up if I buy bread every once in awhile, but I feel like this is one of the things that is really worth the extra time.

So this is where I am at right now. I know that I am most definitely going to have to make adjustments, especially as I will have less time when I start teaching classes at the end of the month, but we will cross that road when the time comes.

chris - September 12, 2014 - 6:37 am

You are a rock star Kara! I’m so impressed with all the effort you have put into the challenge and all the work you’ve done to make our family healthy and happy. Doing breakfast is a small token, but I hope I can learn to cook some more in the future. I love you!!!