On December 28, 2014 by Kim
How does a full-time working mom of two who is also in grad school get meals on the table every night? Meet Once a Month Meals member Leanne and learn how!
Leanne contacted us via our customer service chat window. (See it in the lower right hand? We’d love to hear from you too!) She was asking about the best way to share OAMM with her friends since as a full time working mom who is also in grad school (rock star!) she has benefited so much from once a month cooking. So I invited her to share with all of you. Thanks for jumping at the chance, Leanne, even with your busy schedule. One think I will say – it can be done, folks! We have a lot of people shy away from OAMC or from a membership because they just don’t think they will have the time, but I promise you that if you are committed, you certainly can. Leanne is a great example of someone who prioritizes getting her family to the table, even if it means a few late nights of prep.
How long have you been once a month cooking?
I started once a month cooking in August 2014.
What circumstance pushed you to give once a month cooking a try?
I am a wife of a youth pastor, mother of a 5 yr old and 3 yr old, I work full-time outside of the home and this fall I started grad school. I was also in the e midst of training for a half marathon! I enjoy cooking but there just wasn’t time after I got home from work to spend quality time with my family, run, do homework, and cook a meal. Also, my husband is fantastic but he is not a cook. He would tell you that himself. When I am in class, I needed something I could just pop in the crock pot or he could just put in the oven.
What is your favorite OAMM recipe or menu?
My family is really loving the Harvest Pancakes from the Fall Menu. My family also loved the Beef Enchiladas from the Kids Help Mini Menu from September. I loved the Warm Apple and Almond Butter Paleo Meal [from Paleo August 2014 Menu] for breakfast! They didn’t last long at all!
Give us a brief introduction to your kitchen and how you set up for cooking day.
I have a kitchen that has great space, but very little counter top space. By little counter top space, I mean I only have two 2-foot sections of workspace. (Its an improvement from my last kitchen, so there’s no complaining here!) Oh, did I mention I don’t have a dishwasher either! I tack up my recipes all over my 1950’s metal cabinets, so everything is in sight as I am cooking. I invested in a deep freezer because the freezer on our fridge is very small. I have your typical kitchen tools – mixer, tons of mixing bowls, and tools galore (I used to sell Pampered Chef which is where my love for cooking began!)
What is the number one tip that you would give to a first timer?
Read the directions! The emails that are sent out the first week you join are so so so helpful. Read through your recipes, and see what work is entailed. Do your shopping on a different day, then plan out your time. It definitely takes planning. It’s not something to just wing it. You can, but it tends to be a little more labor intensive if you do. Also, if you are a someone who can’t stand to have a messy kitchen, get over it for a day!
Tell us about a time when you experienced an OAMC or cooking fail.
There have been one or two times where I didn’t read the recipes correctly, and I added items in before it was their time. I had some soggy veggies, but everything turned out ok. One time I cooked meat ahead of time, and it wasn’t supposed to be cooked. I had to send my husband out to buy another package which delayed one recipe but everything turned out ok!
Do you involve other people when you OAMC?
My kids helped me briefly on the Kids Help Mini Menu. My husband helps in that he occupies the kids and lets me cook uninterrupted. I typically just go at it solo so I can get in a groove. Plus, with such little counter space its hard for more than one person to try and navigate.
How is OAMC hard?
It can be overwhelming, but it is totally worth it. I, unfortunately, do not have one day that I can set aside to cook. I have to map out my recipes and find a way to spread it out over the course of a week. I typically start once my kiddos are getting ready for bed, so they tend to be late nights. I aim to knock out 3-4 recipes a night or try to be in bed before 1AM.