Quite simply, we're tired of dining out. Sounds crazy, huh? I grew up in a family where dining out was a treat and I never thought I'd tire of having someone else prepare, serve, and clean-up a meal. But, living in the LA area means lots of commuting and a fast-paced lifestyle that often leaves us too tired to even think about meal preparation. The result: we eat out...a lot. We eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We eat out pretty much every time my wonderful husband is home.
After 5 years of marriage, we are experiencing restaurant burnout. Perhaps you are suffering as well. The symptoms: ambivalence about where to dine, restaurant food has lost its flavor, you run through a list of the "usuals" when deciding where you'll eat, none of the aforementioned restaurants even appeal to you....well, you get the idea.
As if restaurant burnout weren't enough, we've learned that its not actually "easier" now that we have 2 children in tow. Here's our typical train of thought: It's already after 6 and will easily be 6:30 by the time we get home and well after 7 before we get food into our toddler's tummy, and then there's the clean-up issue. Hey, let's just grab a bite out on the way home - it'll be easier. The problem: it never is easier. In fact, we've discovered its a lot more stressful. Sure, it starts out great. Our toddler, Olivia, busies herself with the crayons and our baby, Kailyn, is typically snoozing from the car ride. But then it all starts to come apart: Olivia gets bored and Kailyn wakes up wanting to nurse. The second half of the "experience" involves trying to scarf down our food while simultaneously entertaining Olivia and nursing Kailyn. By the time we leave, our wallet is $50 lighter, we are stressed and exhausted, and we can't even recall what we ate.
So, we decided to shake it up. The goal: dine on home cooked meals for the entire month. The rules are simple: everything must be prepared at home. The exceptions: deli-style sandwiches (we had to have one exception to allow for those harried days) and traveling. The challenge: finding the energy to cook every day, pack lunches for work, and plan/grocery shop every week.
Is anyone else out there experiencing restaurant burnout? How have you made dining at home easier? Any great dairy-free, easy, fast recipe ideas you'd like to share? Stay tuned to see how it goes - we are 4 days in and hoping to make big changes to our habits this month!!