And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:2,3)
Let’s admit it—making healthy, homemade meals from whole foods is work. If we want to feed our families well, it requires more effort and time than opening a box of highly processed, prepared convenience food. However, if God Almighty rested from His labors, then how much more so do we mothers need a rest, especially a rest from cooking and dish washing! So how do we enjoy a day of rest from our kitchen labors without resorting to convenience foods or take out? With a little planning, it’s simple.
Some time ago I instituted a Preparation Day on Friday, which is basically spending a little time preparing extra food on Friday for my family to enjoy on the weekend. This usually involves a combination of chopping vegetables, mixing a dip or marinade, cutting up or precooking meat, or making a desert or other treat. Pretty simple idea, but the blessing I have experienced from implementing it has been tremendous! Sunday has become a day where I can truly rest from my labor, which has made it so much easier to begin a new week refreshed and ready to face the joys and challenges of mothering a difficult child.
To begin your Preparation Day, first start with a meal plan. For example, this weekend’s menu looks like this:
- Saturday breakfast—Sausage gravy, biscuits, eggs and fruit
- Saturday lunch—Cheese chunks and pretzels
- Saturday supper—Homemade pizza, fresh veggies with dip and potato chips
- Sunday breakfast—Cereal or leftover sausage gravy
- Sunday lunch—Chili, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, cookies
- Sunday supper—leftovers
- Make chili
- Mix cookie dough (cookies can be baked if time allows)
- Make and freeze ham and cheese sandwiches
- Mix ingredients into pork to make sausage (this has to chill overnight)
- Wash and cut up veggies (for dipping and for pizza toppings)
- Make veggie dip
- Cut up cheese chunks
- Make biscuits or biscuit dough (as time allows)
Here is the list again, broken up by the age of the child who will perform or help with the task.
4-year old--wash veggies
and layer cheese on ham sandwichs.
6-year old-- make ham and cheese sandwiches
and brown hamburger for chili (with supervision)
7-year-old—cut up cheese chunks and wash dishes
9-year-old—mix dip ingredients and mix sausage ingredients
mix cookie dough
(of course you need a helper to lick the beaters:-)
cut up veggies
mix biscuit dough and supervise.
Saturday morning, I brown the sausage, reserving half for the pizza that evening. The biscuits bake while I make sausage gravy. After such a big breakfast, lunch is a quick snack and supper is simply a matter of mixing pizza dough and adding the toppings (the sausage is already browned, the veggies are cut up, and the dip is made). Paper plates make clean up even easier.
Sunday is simply heating or reheating food for various meals. Sunday evening I pull every leftover out of the fridge from the last two days, even if it is just one or two servings of a particular item, and make a “buffet” on the counter top, letting everyone pick what they want to eat. This uses up all those wonderful leftovers (cutting down on food costs) and pleases even the pickiest of eaters, who can usually find at least one or two things he/she likes.
If you are a mother who works outside the home or if this level of planning seems intimidating at first, start simple. Make Saturday morning a Preparation Day for Sunday; split up the work between Thursday and Friday; or purpose yourself to make and freeze a casserole earlier in the week that can be defrosted for Sunday’s main meal. You will be blessed by providing wholesome homemade food for your family on Sunday while still enjoying a true day of rest.
***Disclaimer regarding sausage gravy and biscuits***
Okay, I know that not many people would consider sausage gravy and biscuits to be a wholesome meal. However, when I choose meals for my family, I generally do not consider overall fat content as much as whether or not the recipe calls for “real” ingredients (loosely based on the Nourishing Traditions cookbook). For example, when making biscuits, I choose real butter rather than vegetable shortening or margarine. I am also in the process of “weaning” my family off of white flour and onto wheat flour. In the sausage gravy, I make my own sausage out of ground pork to avoid preservatives and use raw milk. So, while it definitely goes against the USDA Food Pyramid, I consider this a wholesome Saturday morning treat for my family. And it sure is a lot better for them than Pop-Tarts!
Black Bean Chili
- 64 oz tomato juice
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 1 lb hamburger
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- chili powder, salt and pepper to taste
Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
- ½ c butter, softened
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- 2 tsp onion, dried
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 1 lb pork
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 T maple syrup
**Sausage Gravy and Biscuit tutorial to follow**
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