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Solving What's For Dinner

The week that the whole family was sick
recently, none of us felt like cooking. Even after our appetites
returned and we moved off of bland rice diets, mustering up a meal
from scratch seemed beyond our capabilities. If it hadn’t
been for the fact that I’m an obsessive food hoarder and had
a freezer full of “emergency” casseroles and sauces,
we’d have spent a fortune on takeout. As it is, I simply have
an empty freezer and have to start building up again.

I’m lucky, I know – I’m naturally organized and
enjoy cooking. I’m a good cook and don’t mind spending
time in the kitchen. Put that with an affinity for planning ahead,
making double recipes for sick friends or
“emergencies”, and I’m rarely without a meal
close at hand. If you’re not like me, you’re sending me
hateful thoughts right now and wishing I’d shut up. But the
good news is, help is on the way.

As the owner of a mommy-geared blog, I
occasionally receive emails from people looking to send me their
product to try and, hopefully, promote. Not being in this for free
stuff I’ll never use, I generally say no; in fact, I only say
yes if I’m reasonably certain I’d like their product
and want to pass it on anyway. I recently was contacted by an
author, Mary Jo Rulnick, about a new book she had coming out: she
thought it’d be a good fit for my readers. I looked the book
up online, was intrigued, and asked her to send me a copy.

Kitchen-challenged mommies, take heart. href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FFrantic-Womans-Feeding-Family-Friends%2Fdp%2F0446696234%2Fsr%3D8-1%2Fqid%3D1163557096%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks&tag=1mother2anoth-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325">
The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Feeding Family and
is here. What I thought would simply be a
cookbook with simplified, time-efficient recipes turned out to be
the Kitchen-Queen girlfriend you’ve always wanted to come
over to your house and set you straight. Far from being preachy or
Julia Childs-like in its difficulty, this book is a great, low-key
way to get your feet underneath you as you struggle to feed your
family healthy, great-tasting meals every day without making it
half your day. Geared towards making your life easier, not Martha
Stewart-like fancier, the book teaches you how to organize your
kitchen to cut down on prep time, stock a basic pantry so
you’ll always have staples on hand, shop for two weeks’
worth of groceries, and more. It gives you two-week menus for a
year’s worth of meal planning, and helps you get through it
step by step. She offers ways to make meals toddler-friendly, ways
to double a recipe and freeze for another week, and more:
she’s even got a chapter of recipes for all those
potluck/bring a dish/PTA bake/Can You Bring an Appetizer? moments.
With handy tips and generous credit to all the other women she
tapped for advice, Mary Jo feels like your been-there-done-that
neighbor who’s come over for a cup of coffee but leaves you
with a coffeecake in the oven and dinner on the stove. I definitely
give this book a two-floury-thumbs-up mommy seal of approval.

So as the holidays approach and family starts breathing down your
neck, don’t sweat it. Just sit down with Mary Jo and let her
make it all better.


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