When we first got married, I thought that in order to be the perfect wife, I needed to have an elaborate homemade meal on the table every night when my husband got home from work. I'm still not sure how I got anything else done at night with the amount of time that I spent planning and preparing our meals that first year. Over the years I've come to realize that the meal itself isn't as important as the quality time that we have to sit down and connect during dinner. When I started this series, Around the Kitchen Table, I had a goal to make meal time a habit in our marriage and for our future family.
I still try to have dinner prepared each night so that we can sit down as a family and enjoy the chaos that comes when you share a meal with two children under the age of two. My meals are more simple now than they were when we were first married, but Joe doesn't mind, he actually prefers it that way because he is a simple man. Simple meals make it easier for our kids to enjoy the same thing that we are having as well. One of my favorite things to make for dinner is breakfast. Some of my favorite foods are breakfast foods but our schedule doesn't allow us to sit down as a family every morning, so I improvise and make breakfast for dinner instead.
Belgian Waffles with fruit, ice cream and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce are more of a dessert, but because they're waffles, I justify eating them for dinner and even breakfast. This is one of my favorite foods from childhood and one that I've always looked forward to introducing our kids to. I want them to be a treat that our kids look forward to and will turn an ordinary day into a special occasion! I still haven't decided what criteria I will have for when to put these on the menu, but I would like to associate it with an occasion or celebration. Until I figure that out, I'll make them any time I feel like having ice cream for breakfast or dinner because I'm an adult and I get to make that choice for my family!
These waffles are best cooked in a Belgian Waffle Maker, but if you don't have one, they'll still taste just as good cooked in a regular waffle maker. Because they don't have sugar in them, these would also be yummy with savory toppings. I'd love to hear any ideas that you have for those in the comments below because I'm stuck in this "ice cream for breakfast" mindset and don't really want to consider anything else at the moment.
This Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce is the icing on the cake, or the waffle in this case. I may or may not be known to eat this by the spoonful sometimes. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good hot fudge sauce. This one is really simple to put together and tastes so delicious! It was a must have on Belgian Waffles when we were younger and is perfect for family ice cream parties too.
I'm looking forward to putting more of my childhood favorites on the menu and making them a tradition in our home. Research has shown that "more frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others and higher life satisfaction" (Journal of Adolescent Health April 2012). I know that our lives seem hectic and busy now, but they will only continue to get more busy as our children get older and our family as a whole are involved in more activities. I want to start habits now that will make it second nature to sit down and eat together at least three times a week, whether it's for a big meal, a snack or dessert.
Family meal time is important, no matter what you're eating. As soon as Joe and I got married, we received a standing invitation to join my family for dinner every Sunday night. My siblings all live relatively far away, so it's often just our little family and my parents, but we still look forward to those Sunday dinners. The times that we have all of my siblings home to join us is the cherry on top! And although we spend time with Joe's family every week, we look forward to those special occasions when we all gather around his parent's kitchen table and enjoy a big meal together.
Food has a way of creating family bonds and long lasting memories. My children are impressionable and now is the time to start traditions that they'll remember long after they've left home and started families of their own.
What fun family food traditions does your family have?