One definite challenge for me as a mom is figuring out meals for Donovan not only each day, but several times a day. I'm not a cook. Never really have been. I'll find dishes that I can make (usually with short ingredient lists and instructions, lest I become overwhelmed) and I dare say when I do decide to make something it turns out fairly decent, but I'm just not one of those people that enjoys cooking. I am very, very lucky in that I married a man who does, and he often makes a point of making large batches so there's leftovers, especially since D's started eating solid food. But even then, with 3 square meals plus numerous snacks inbetween (D seems to have inherited his Aunt Criss's appetite, requiring small but frequent meals all day long) I often feel like I'm scrounging to put something together, the line between "snack" and "meal" often blurring quite a bit. Many days cheese and crackers seem a perfectly acceptable lunch offering.
Luckily D is a pretty decent eater-- he doesn't always eat much at once, but he's not terribly picky in what he'll eat. He likes Zach's cooking, most of the time devouring our leftovers and not minding too much if they're offered repeatedly for a few days in a row. I do occasionally manage to cook something for us (um, grilled cheese sandwiches) but even that's tough since our kitchen is so cut off from the rest of the house, so it's hard to do anything in there while also keeping an eye on D at the same time. But as long as I keep certain staples stocked (crackers, hummus, cheese, bread, yogurt, avocado, strawberries...) I'm usually able to pull together semi-decent meals for him.
I think it was on Danielle's blog that I first heard about "muffin tin meals," the idea where you use a muffin or cupcake tin to serve a bunch of small servings of a variety of different foods as a meal. I've tried it a few times, and it's a pretty nifty idea. I remembered it today as I was trying to figure out what to serve D for lunch today, and ended up with a pretty nice spread of leftover chicken, black beans, cheese, crackers, blueberries, and strawberries. These somehow would not have looked all that great mixed together on a single plate, but presented in the tin they looked a lot more impressive, and I think the novelty aspect of it alone makes it more interesting for D and more likely that he'll eat it. ; ) And as D's getting better at using utensils and even dipping food, I can start putting things like yogurt and hummus into one of the spaces, too. So yeah, I think the muffin tin idea will become a regular part of our meal repertoire. =)