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7 months pregnant walking on a treadmill...

...with a big belly waddling back and forth as I walked, my eyes locked in on a cooking show on the screen in front of me. A perfectly dressed woman with ingredients all measured out in glass bowls talked about her elaborate summer fare. A grill already fired up and ready to go. The static of a script in her voice. My thoughts flashed to my own experience: spices all over the counter, water bubbling over the pot, and dust on the floor. What I saw on the screen set off a spark in my heart. "How many other women feel like their lives don't match what this show portrays about cooking?" I thought. Maybe you feel a little beat down by the Martha Stewart and Pinterest age too?

I was a woman, much like you, trying to simplify life, especially in regards to food. I wanted to think about what we were going to eat that week only once, and then not again until the next week. I wanted to wholeheartedly welcome friends and strangers alike into our home to share a meal. Dinner time felt frazzled, the meals I made were too cumbersome for the season I was in, and I felt stress wash over me when I finally sat down at the table. Forget the dinner shared with friends, I was barely talking to my own husband!

I mocked up the Seasonal Meal Planning Journal on a page ripped from an old calligraphy practice pad. I started incorporating more seasonal foods and created simple meals to cook in this season of being a new mama. Finally I had a clear plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week ahead.

I slowly began feeling more peace during the hours of 4-8pm. I wasn't frantically throwing my baby in the car to pick up an ingredient I'd forgotten at the store, and I was sitting down at the table with joy.

Deep conversations with my husband, praying as a family and resettling our hearts after a long day, my daughter learning to eat healthy meals with her family, and margin to extend hospitality. These are just some of the priceless gifts I've gained from simply making a plan.

Do you know what women tell me their number one challenge is when it comes to cooking? 

Not having a plan.

Life is worth living, not wasting on wondering what's for dinner. Let's skip the perfection of Pinterest, for the perfection of simple food shared around the table with friends, family and strangers alike. Let's break bread with glad and sincere hearts. With a plan, you and I will be free to enjoy the process and love the people that matter a little bit more.

 

Simplify your meal plan. Eat well. Extend hospitality.