You can't live on bread alone, but we try sometimes.

4:00 PM

Cooking is SO not my forte.

I mean, I can do it, and I do, because it's kind of necessary for basic human existence and I know it's important for my family.  That being said, I do not thrive on it.  I do not get a special thrill out of being in the kitchen.  I'd rather be outside weeding flowerbeds and trimming trees than cooking or baking.  Often, I will let things go inside my home, because the sun is shining and the summer is short, and I'd just really rather be a lot of other places than rattling around my kitchen.

Part of this is due to the stage of life I am in.  And I KNOW I overuse that phrase, but that is just because it truly affects EVERYTHING.  At this point in my life, I grocery shop as seldom as humanly possible. And so that results in "boring" cooking.  Same old, same old. And often being out of an ingredient or two, which results in frustration.  And I don't have the time or energy to experiment with new things.  And the thought of roaming the aisles looking for an unusual, gourmet ingredient that is out of my usual routine and requires extra time makes me want to cry.  Having 3 little ones requires me to keep food prep time brief and to the point, not leaving a lot of extra time for anything fancy.

So this all results in me sticking to the basics, using whatever I have on hand, and usually waiting to even think about dinner until 4 or 5:00.  I KNOW that menu planning would makes things easier and more efficient.  I KNOW it would help.  But I still can't seem to get myself to do it.  Or even if I do, to stick to it regularly.  Clearly, I need help.

For some people, none of this is an issue.  They garden, can, cook, and bake with vigor and relish.  They try new things, tweak old recipes, make up their own, and experiment freely.  They always have something delicious either simmering or sautéing, grilling or roasting or brewing, and somehow, miraculously, seem to actually find enjoyment in all of it.  You can find one of those people over here.  I kind of just want to be adopted into her family. Or at least just show up for dinner uninvited every night.

But the reality is, no one is going to take care of my family's food needs, but me.  No one.  It's a hard truth to come to terms with, but it's true!  And while perhaps for the rest of my life, I would prefer hiking or writing or traveling or camping or thrifting or ANYTHING really, above cooking...the fact remains that it needs to be done.  And so when I find something that works, at least for me, I cling on to it for dear life.

Enter these simple, delicious, homemade sandwich buns.  They're nothing fancy, but whenever I have them on hand, I feel like we can at least survive.  We use them for hamburgers, cold meat and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, (any kind of sandwich, really) or just eat them with honey and a glass of milk for a snack.  The kids love them, they freeze great and stay soft, and they are definitely a staple around here.  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law, and now I will pass it on to you:

Mix together and let sit for a few minutes:
3 Cups warm water
1/2 C sugar
2 TBSP yeast

Add, and beat a couple minutes:
2 tsp salt
3 Cups flour

Add and then beat again:
2 eggs
3/4 Cup oil

Add additional flour and mix until sides of bowl are clean:
Approx. 5 Cups flour

Cover, let rise.  Shape into buns on pans, let rise again.  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Makes approx. 3 dozen.

Extra points for making your nap-skipping preschooler butter them for you.

And now I'd really, truly love hear from you! What are some lifesaver staples around your house?  It can be a fun, easy snack, a fast, simple dinner, or anything really that is stress-free and low-maintenance and family-friendly.  I'd love to hear.  And obviously, I can use all the help I can get.

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