Sometimes I get stuck in a rut. This happens to me in every aspect of my life at one time or another. I didn’t get a haircut for almost a year for no other reason than I just lacked motivation to make an appointment. I don’t buy clothes all that often simply because I have no idea what I want to wear and it is easier to wear the same 7 shirts I have at home. Since I used to love clothes and shopping, this one breaks my heart a little but I’m managing:)
The rut that really makes me crazy is when I get into a food rut. I’ll walk into my kitchen and have a pantry and freezer full of good food but I just cannot think of anything I want to make and eat that has the same boring chicken, the same beef, the same kielbasa, the same pork, the same veggies. When I get in these moods, I will generally just make the handful of meals I know we like and that I can make sleeping. Do we get fed? Yes. Do we enjoy the food? Yes. Did I enjoy making the food and enjoy it myself? Well…….
Since I write about food, it should come as no surprise that I enjoy (and want to enjoy) the experience of cooking and all that goes along with it. Since I am human, sometimes my frustration and indifference get the better of me and I fall into a food rut. So what do I do to make myself food-spired again?
Go to the library
When I’m feeling blah about what to make and what to eat, I head to the cookbooks. But not mine. I have not read my cookbooks end to end (yet) so it is true that there are probably some hidden gems tucked away but a rut is not the time to stick to what’s familiar. I hit up the library and check out the cooking section. Almost every library has a pretty wide variety of cookbooks for all level and taste of cook and paging through new and unfamiliar recipes always gives me a thrill and will usually help me feel inspired to make something new and nummy. Since I am a book lover, I have the added bonus of getting to look through books surrounded by books which alway seems to spark my inspiration fast.
Go to the Internet
You are probably wondering why the internet is second after the library. After all, the internet is an almost endless resource for just about everything. Part of this is that I am just a lover of the printed book and will always choose a book over the computer. The other part is that if I happen to find myself in a rut it’s usually because I have not been going anywhere so surfing the Web at my house may not be a surefire way to break my rut. But it can’t be denied that the ‘net is a wealth of food inspiration ready right now. If you are searching for sites to inspire may I recommend a little site called Little Prairie Kitchen;)
Go to the kitchen
What what? If you have no idea what to make, why would I send you to the kitchen? It is likely that you have a pretty decently stocked pantry that you can make some food with. Sometimes the best way to get creative is to be desperate so head to the kitchen and challenge yourself to come out with a new meal that requires no additional purchases. Think about the foods you have made in the past that your people loved. What was in it? What was the flavor like? Try to create something new and tasty with what you have, using what you already know you like as a guide.
Go for a walk
When I am in a rut (food, writing, family, life) I find the best thing I can do for myself is to move my body. Even if I don’t come up with a solution, simply moving and temporarily walking away from the cause of my stress/rut is sometimes enough. I just walk around my neighborhood and just observe all of the nature around me, listen for birds and will sometimes take my furry girl who is always up for a good walk! On an especially cold day, I may not be super motivated to wander about, so I will bundle up and just go in my backyard and roam around the yard, imagining what my garden will look like this year and how pretty the leaves will be when they come back. When I get back in, I don’t always have the solution to my problems, but I feel much better and have motivation to get back in there and try again.
So there you have it. When I’m feeling in a rut, these are the things I do to try and jump out of it. Sometimes, life gets crazed and we are forced to put food in the rut category just to survive another day. But for those times when you want to break on out, I hope you found these tips to be helpful. Now it’s your turn. Drop me a line on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter telling me what you do to bust your #foodrut.