I used to love watching Kitty Bartholomew's show on HGTV (ah the good old days before all the real estate shows). She used to always end by say "It's not what you don't have. It's what you do with what you do have!" That's something I firmly believe in!
If you're like my family and trying to cut back on eating out, one thing that I've found to make eating at home more of an "event" is to try to take a few extra moments and make the meal a bit special. That way you're not so focused on "oh we can't eat out". Hopefully you'll think "we don't want to eat out because it's so nice to eat at home" instead! There are so many things you can do - from having lunch outside if you always eat in to setting a pretty table or adding special ingredients - you get the idea! My blue and black transferware dishes are actually my "everyday" dishes. I like to use what I have!
Today's salad has blueberries, cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and lettuce and dried cherries from Aldi's (my second crop of lettuce isn't big enough to harvest yet). When I went to Aldi's this week I purposely looked for some "extras" that I could use to make our meals just little more special. So I got a bag of dried cherries, a jar of banana peppers, a jar of pepperocini and a few other things. I could have just made lettuce and tomatoes but the little extras make it seem more like a salad you would get if you went out to eat.
My Kroger is pretty good about clearancing their flowers once a week and last week I was able to get some Sunflowers. Sunflowers are such cheerful flowers that I don't think it matters at all that they're a bit on the droopy side! But even if I wasn't able to buy some flowers I would have picked some from my garden. If you don't have flowers growing you can cut some branches or use some fronds from you summer hanging ferns, or use a potted plant or anything you can find that's pleasing to you (doesn't have to be a live plant). Set a pretty table for your family!
We also had homemade pizza for lunch! My family has always loved Domino's. But getting pizza delivered these days is sooo expensive. I wasn't sure they were going to embrace the homemade ones. But a few weeks ago I thought I'd give it a shot and I made two homemade pizzas for Family Movie Night and they loved them! Surprised me! They've even said they like them better than Domino's! One of the best things is that you can get creative and make all sorts of pizza and make them just the way you like them. I made pesto with homegrown tomatoes last week and it was soooooo good!
So try something new. Look for recipes for things that you like to get when you eat out. Maybe you love Mexican or Chinese you can make those dishes at home. You can really make everything at home even sushi if you're willing to try!
Try putting a little bit of extra effort into your meals. I'm not saying you have to do it for every meal, I certainly don't. But if you're used to eating lunch out every Saturday (like we are) than that's a good place to start. Use what you have and be creative. So often we save the "good stuff" for guests but really isn't your family worth it. I would hope so! Try not to focus on what you don't have and can't do, but instead embrace all that you do have and make the most of it!