Cooking For Your Home

Everyday it seems like the most common question we are asked more than anything is, what’s for dinner? It is a constant decision we have to make day in and day out. But I’m here to let you know cooking for your family doesn’t have to feel like a chore if you have a routine that works and feels good for you.

In this episode of the Routine and Things Podcast, we’re continuing the Routine Series by discussing what makes up a cooking routine and how you can cook for your family without the stress mealtime can bring.

Word For Word

Ashley Brown  00:00

[Intro] Routines my absolute favorite word, but you either love them or you hate them. And either way, I strongly believe that routines can be a springboard for improving your home yourself and your life. I'm Ashley Brown. And this is the Routine and Things Podcast. In each episode, we'll dive into a specific routine or point of view that will move you closer to enjoy life more and more each day. Trust me, you're going to want to keep listening because you're well on your way to getting and staying happy.


Ashley Brown  00:47

It is day two of the routine series and today we're gonna be talking about cooking for your family. I'm so excited to dive into this because this is one of the areas that as moms we get questions about on a regular basis. Right? You know that one question, what is for dinner. And so today we're going to be diving into the cooking routine. And I'm going to be giving you some really great things to think about when it comes to your cooking routine. All right, so let's go ahead and get into this episode because I am so excited to talk about cooking. I am such a foodie. I'm a cooker. I love to cook and bake and all that good stuff. And so I'm going to be able to give you some things to think about when it comes to your cooking routine.


Ashley Brown  01:34

A cooking routine is so important to have. Because what it does is it helps you like any routine, to have predictability and structure you get to know what you're cooking before you cook, or at least you know the flow of how you cook in your kitchen, how you vibe in your kitchen. And so that's what we're going to be talking about today. We're going to be going through some components of a cooking routine. And I just want to throw this out here to you, ask you some questions, give you some information so that you can create a cooking routine that is perfect for you and your family. And even if you are listening today and you find something that's not within your cooking routine, this is the perfect time to revamp your routine. You can always grab the Revamp Your Routine Workbook from, and it will be there for you if you ever need to revamp your routine. But let's go ahead and get into the components of a cooking routine.


Ashley Brown  02:37

So the first component is time. When do you actually cook and this doesn't mean that you need to have a like a set time. This just means that have like a rough estimate of what time like a time frame that you cook. So for example, usually I will go into the kitchen every day, anytime between five and 6:30 that's when I'm usually in the kitchen, anywhere between that time I'm in the kitchen. That is just what helps me is because I know that between five and 630 at some point, I need to start making dinner I need to start preparing a meal for my family. So think about the time that you cook. At what time are you preparing dinner for your family? Do you feel like you're bouncing all over their place day to day? Or do you feel like you have a rough estimate of the time that you cook on a daily basis, because having a window of time really helps you to have that predictability because when you're going into the kitchen, sometimes you may even start moving without even thinking this is how your routine starts to become habits is that you start to not really even think your body just starts to move because it gets into a flow and into a pattern, into a rhythm and so that's the beauty of a routine. And so that's why having this window is really, really important in terms of the time that you cook.


Ashley Brown  04:08

But also when it comes to time, I want you to think about when do you cook as well like in terms of when do you cook at home versus when do you go out to eat? Because I know personally for our family, we eat out every single Friday. Fridays is the day that we eat out. And because of this, I know I am not going into the kitchen off Friday. It is great for me because that's one thing out of my day that I don't have to think about I already know on Fridays we eat out. So that's important to think about is well when do you cook at home versus when do you eat out?


Ashley Brown  04:44

The next component is your cooking style. The cooking style is so so vital because you want to know what do you actually cook and how do you cook that those are the things within your cooking style. Knowing what you cook right? What you cook on a regular basis versus how you cook the things that you cook, right now I want you to sit back and think about for the past three days. Do this exercise with me for the past three days, think about every time you went into the kitchen. What did you cook? Ima give you some time to think about that. What did you cook? And so in terms of what did you cook, if you thought about it, you're like, Oh, I cook these meals, there's probably a commonality in the things that you cook. Or at least if you think back to next week, you're probably like, Oh, I made something similar to this last week. We are creatures of habit. We are creatures of pattern. And so knowing what you cook on a regular occurrence in terms of even week by week, every two weeks, it can really be helpful to know like the things that you cook, because that shows that maybe your family likes those things. And so sometimes yes, for us as moms, sometimes we're like, oh my gosh, I know they have to be getting tired of this. But a lot of the times your family, whatever you're cooking your family actually enjoys. That's why you make it because if they didn't, you probably wouldn't cook it. And so it's okay to have certain staple meals which I call them staple meals in your home that you cook for your family. It's okay to have that. I know we have staple meals in my family. Like every week, I feel like I'm cooking sauteed chicken with steamed vegetable, and some sweet potatoes. Like honestly, like that's what when you come over to my house on a Tuesday night, that's probably what you're going to get. So it's okay to have staple meals in your family. It really helps to alleviate decision making for you when you have staple meals that you cook every week. And of course we can throw in different meals and different, you know, things that we cook every now and then. But the great thing about having staple meals is that it's not a steep learning curve either with staple meals, when you have meals that you cook on a regular basis and a regular occurrence. You don't have to go through the learning curve of how to do a different recipe. And so that's why it's really okay if you have staple meals in your family. So if you have staple meals, great, if you don't try to pull from Pinterest or Try to pull some recipes, ask a neighbor for some recipes, ask your bestie for some recipes, try to pull some recipes that you think your family would enjoy and try them out. And if your family thinks something is a huge hit, and you like cooking it, then that could be a staple meal for your family. And also when it comes to what to cook I mentioned staple meals, but also you could think about like do you have specific meals on certain days. That's another thing that you can add to your routine is having certain meals that you cook on specific days of the week. And so this looks like Meatless Monday. So cooking on Monday without meat, right? Or taco Tuesdays, cooking tacos on Tuesdays. Like freestyle Friday to each his own. Like don't come bother me. No, I'm just kidding. But honestly, like freestyle Fridays for us, is we eat out on Fridays. So do you have specific days or would you like to incorporate specific meals on specific days?


Ashley Brown  08:42

And then the next thing is, how do you cook? Oh my gosh, girl. This is so vital to know how you like to cook. First of all, I'm gonna make that very clear. How do you like to cook? What are your go to appliances that you use for cooking right. Are you a stovetop girl? Oven girl? Instant pot girl? A crock pot girl. What are you? How do you like to cook? And you might be like Ashley, I'm a range of those great you already know yourself. So I asked you in the exercise, think about the three meals you made last, right for the past three days what meals did you make. Now once you ask yourself, how did you cook those meals? Think about it. How did you cook those meals? For me, I love to make stovetop meals and oven meals. That's me. That's what I love to make because that's how I cook on a regular basis. Because it feels good for me. I don't mind cooking on the stove. But that's me. So thinking about how you actually like to cook is important. We think sometimes that the things we make had to be made certain ways, but that's why we have all of these different devices and this technology that is beautiful. That can help us. For example, even if you look up a recipe, and then like put it on the stovetop, you can type in Pinterest Instant Pot, pressure cooker and I bet you you can cook the same recipe in the pressure cooker/ Instant Pot. Because you might be one of those types of people that's like, I'm not trying to be in the kitchen, cooking like that. Like, I ain't got the time and I ain't got the patience, like that might just be you. We have to own who we are. And it's okay. If you don't want to be in the kitchen cooking or not even don't want to be but if you would rather be doing something else, while something is cooking in a crock pot or Instant Pot be my guess. Do you boo, do you girl. That's all that I'm saying here is like you have to do what feels good for you. So that's why it's important to think about how do you like to cook?


Ashley Brown  10:57

And you might have the question of, I don't know know how it feels to make stuff in a Crockpot or Instant Pot. Girl, this is your time to learn. Throwing things into a crock pot and a pressure cooker, which is aka an Instant Pot. Throwing things into that can be a life changer. It could be a game changer. My mom bought me my first pressure cooker. And I'm still rocking with it today and anytime I know that I'm crunched for time, because like I told you before, I'm a cook so I don't mind being at the stove getting sweaty. But anytime I don't have the time, you know what goes into that Instant Pot, some rice, right, some chicken that's gonna get shredded with some barbecue sauce. Like, that's how easy it is. That's how easy it is. So think about how you like to cook. And when you get down how you like to cook, majority of the time cook that way is going to lessen the overwhelm. It's gonna I help put you at ease and you can be floating through that house honey. So that is what I mean when I say thinking about how you cook. And then the other times that you want to try to experiment or you want to do something different, do it. It's okay. You might have a learning curve but it's okay because you might find out that you actually like cooking in different ways. So it's good to try out new things, good to experiment.


Ashley Brown  12:29

The next thing I want to discuss when it comes to a cooking routine. The next component is grocery shopping. Girl. I love me some grocery shopping. I know you like she is such a weirdo. Okay, I'm claiming it and love me some grocery shopping. Why? Because I love going to my favorite store. If you do not know what my favorite store is, you ain't following me on Instagram. You are not following me on Instagram if you don't know what my favorite store is. So go follow me at Routine and Things on Instagram. My favorite store is Trader Joe's. And so I love going grocery shopping because I love going to my favorite store. That is my second boo y'all like my husband told me just the other day. "That your second husband", and I was like, that's my boo. Yep, that's my boo. Love Trader Joe's. And that's why I love grocery shopping. But I want you to think about that. When do you go to the grocery store? Do you have a set day? Do you have a set time? I don't want to get into your head that you have to have a set day or time. But these are things I want to throw out to you because like I said, when you can make the decision to do something at the same time on the same day it lessens the decision making for you. That lessens stress and overwhelm and just unpredictability in your life. So do you have a set of day that you go to the grocery store? If you don't, maybe choose a set day or set days, it doesn't have to be one day, it can be at two to three days that you know you're going to the grocery store. For me, I love to go to the grocery store either on Saturday or Sunday. I might even push it to Monday depending on what we're doing in the weekend because sometimes we're running around. But Saturday and Sunday is usually when I go to the grocery store. And I know that my husband knows that so he knows he's gonna watch the kids and take care of the kids while I'm gone. So Saturday and Sunday is my days. What are your days? Sit down and think about that. When do you want to go to the grocery store? When is it best for you and your family to go.


Ashley Brown  14:35

Also I choose Saturday and Sunday because I don't want to take my kids to the grocery store. That's not something that I want todo. So I don't do it. When I go to the grocery store, I go by myself because like I say, I'm going to see my boo, and I want my time with my boo. That's it. So that is what I do. Saturday and Sunday are my days. So think about that. for yourself, when do you go grocery shopping? When would you like to go grocery shopping? And do you want to have a set time with that? So those are some things for you to chew on?


Ashley Brown  15:08

Secondly, how often do you shop? How often do you go to the grocery store? For my family I go every week. I go to the grocery store every single week, but that works for my family. What works for your family? Do you want to go to go store every week? Or do you want to go to the grocery store bi-weekly? And where do you shop? Like I told you I shop at Trader Joe's but where do you shop? Where do you like to shop? Because when you like to shop in a certain place is going to make it more enjoyable for you. And you know I'm all about you having a feel good routine. So where do you shop? Or where do you want to shop? Where do you like shopping? Especially if you can shop in those places? Where is that? And I knew I threw out there to you that I like grocery shopping but I want to explain to you why because this may give you a different perspective when you go grocery shopping. The reason why I like grocery shopping is when I get alone time. Do I need a whole bunch of alone time? No. But I like getting alone time at the grocery store because I love going grocery shopping. So it's my alone time. Also, I'm able to choose different foods. I'm a foodie. So that's why I love going. I love food. I love to eat. Yes girl I said it, I love to eat. I like to try out the samples at Trader Joe's. So I'm making it an experience. So maybe think about that making your grocery shopping an experience, especially if it's something that you feel like you don't like to do really, if you feel like you would rather be doing something else than going grocery shopping. I'm not saying I haven't ever felt that because I have depending on what's going on in the week. But I still make an experience when I have to go, why, because it's gonna feel better for me if I'm making it an experience. So I pick me up some flowers at Trader Joe's. I started smelling the roses, honestly, like that's the type of ways that I make it an experience. So start thinking about that maybe if you're feeling like you don't enjoy grocery shopping, have a different perspective. Maybe think about what you're going to cook when you get back home, so that you can be like, ooh, this is about to be bomb, this is going to be so good. So I just want to throw that out to you.


Ashley Brown  17:24

So the next thing I want to talk about is meal planning, meal planning. Oh my gosh, meal planning is very different than meal prepping and I don't want you to get it twisted. Meal prepping is actually prepping your meals. Meal planning is planning out your meals. So that means deciding what you are cooking during the week. So for example, every time I sit down to plan ding ding ding you hear that word plan. Every time I sit down to plan for the week, I will actually write out the meals for the week, the four meals that I will cook my family for dinner, I only do four because like I told you we eat out on Fridays. So I think about which four meals do I want to cook for my family when I sit down to plan and before actually meal plan, I go into my pantry in my kitchen, and I look at what do I have so that I'm not really buying things because you know, I went to the store the other day, and I picked up something and was like I had this at the house. Done wasted my whole dollar. That's how important it is to look at your kitchen, take inventory of what you have before you sit down to meal plan or before you meal plan in your head because sometimes I meal plan in my head too, especially if I'm headed to the grocery store, and I'm like oh I had two meals I've thought about maybe I need to start thinking about what I have in my kitchen. Meal planning is so good because you also are able to like really have a quick comeback. Planning is really helpful. Like I say, it's one less decision you have to make girl. It's one more way you can instill some peace in your life. And so yes, meal planning is huge.


Ashley Brown  19:10

And when you think about what you're going to cook in terms of meal planning, you may be like, well, where can I find recipes? Recipe collection and recipe searching can sometimes be a bit much, because we are thinking, what am I going to do to step outside the box? So I want to give you some tips when it comes to recipe searching. One, I think it's important for you to at least have some categories as far as like what do you want to cook with at least know like, what type of meals you want to cook. So maybe you're like, I want to make like a one pot meal that has chicken in it. That's really specific. So I think it's really important for you to get specific about really what you're looking for. It doesn't have to be down to the exact recipe. But at least if you know what type of meat you're cooking with what type of veggie you want to cook with, how you actually want to cook it. That's why it's important to know how you like to cook, how you actually want to cook the meal that can help alleviate a lot of searching. So that's one tip for you is to get more specific about what you're looking for before you go search.


Ashley Brown  20:24

And also another tip I would give you is, once you find a recipe, let's say you found a recipe in the past or once you find a recipe that your family loved, I want you to look at who was the person who gave you this recipe. Because if you liked their recipe, that one time, it's pretty likely that you will like other recipes from this person. So you can just go to their blog straight out the gate like you can just go to the blog instead of going on Pinterest. And so that's what I like to do when I find someone that I've really, really enjoyed making recipes from. I will go to them instead of going to Pinterest. So like for baking for example, I'm just using the baking reference. I always go to Sally's Baking Addiction. If you don't know who she is. I love Sally. I think that her recipes are bomb. I've made multiple recipes from her. I even have her cookbooks or her baking book. So I like going to her for my baked goods. Also, I love Laura in the Kitchen. That's another resource for you. Laura in the Kitchen. I love making her breads. I just made some dinner rolls this past Thanksgiving from her. And so I love going to people who I know for sure gave me some good recipes so that I don't have to go searching on Pinterest. Another person that I love is I Heart Recipes. So you can go check out these people if you want. I Heart Recipes, she does southern cooking from the south and sometimes I'm gonna take it back to my roots. So I like I Heart Recipes. So that's another tip is to think about. What recipes your family loved? Who did you get the recipes from? And continue to go back to them.


Ashley Brown  22:07

Alright, girl. So that's it for this episode, we talked about some things that can help you with your cooking routine and the components that you can have within your cooking routine. So some of the things that we talked about in terms of components is the one, know when you actually cook, what time do you cook, and we also talked about your cooking style, what you like to cook and actually how you like to cook it. And then we also talked about grocery shopping, right? Like what stores do you like to go to? When do you grocery shop? How often do you grocery shop, and actually turning your grocery shopping into an experience can really help you to enjoy it. And then we also talked about meal planning, meal planning, like planning out your meals for the week when you sit down to plan each week. Write out your meals for the week so that you already have them. And I gave you some tips that you can use when it comes to searching for recipes.


Ashley Brown  23:04

I hope that this was helpful for you. I hope that you start to include some of these things in your cooking routine if you haven't already. And also if you're looking for recipes as well you can head to the dinner vault on the Routine and Things site by going to and you can get some recipes from the dinner vault. They are hand selected recipes I chose from Pinterest myself from people that I actually like. So go check it out if you need recipe inspiration.


Ashley Brown  23:34

Rate and review the podcast. I would love, love, love to hear what you think about things so far, and how this podcast has been helpful for you. I'm so happy that you joined me this week. Make sure you stay tuned next week because we're going to be diving into the cleaning routine cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Doesn't that sound so good. So we're gonna be talking about that next week and diving into that routine. I'll talk to you soon.


Ashley Brown  24:02

[Outro] Thanks for listening. If you enjoy today's episode, could you do me a huge favor and take a screenshot and share it on social? And for more routine goodness, be sure to visit, here sustaining happy!

Leave a comment