When I’m in the kitchen, I like to make my time count. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s just that there’s a lot of things that need to be done, and a lot of things that I’d like to be doing.
Last weekend, we were so happy to have Nick home for a quick break from school. He’s a sophomore in college and lives in an apartment, so he has to prepare his own meals. With finals coming up, our goal was to feed him well while he was home and to make some healthy meals and snacks that will give him the fuel he'll need in the coming weeks.
I haven’t always worried about the quality of what I put in my body, or my family’s for that matter. But when you find yourself and those you love dealing with some pretty serious health issues and you figure out that your diet has a lot to do with it, you start becoming REALLY picky about what you put in day after day.
It’s been a slow progression for our family and not always an easy journey. One by one we began to remove the offending foods (corn, gluten, and sugar in our case),and adding in healthier alternatives that quickly became our new favorites. And despite the initial feeling of "why me?", I can honestly say that we now look at it as a blessing in disguise. Tuning in to how food affects our bodies has led to a healthier way of living that will keep us feeling fit and strong.
So with my mission in mind, in one afternoon, the fruits of my labor included:
- 12 gluten-free Chicken Enchiladas, frozen in packs of two. These will go with Nick to school so that during finals he has quick healthy dinners to heat up.
- 20 homemade Chewy Protein Bars loaded with nuts and seeds, honey and dried apricots - super yummy, healthy and filling.
- 2 dozen Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip cookies, (Oh come on…finals are coming up!) some ready to eat, and some ready for the freezer.
- For dinner tonight: Marinated pork tenderloin, grilled veggies, and quinoa with lemon and feta. So easy to make, especially with a little help from my husband on the grill.
- Leftover tenderloin and veggies can be frozen and sent up to school for another quick dinner or lunch.
- Plus as a bonus, I made extra rice when making the enchiladas. Now this week's stir-fry will be that much quicker.
Did I spend the whole day in the kitchen? Nope! I worked out for 20 minutes first thing, ran errands, including buying some new seeds for the garden, took a hike with my family, set traps for some very pesky voles, and planted said seeds. I am not a chef, and definitely not wonder woman! I have just figured out how to organize my cooking routine so that I can accomplish a lot in a little bit of time.
My kitchen may look like a battle zone while I'm doing it, and I am definitely very grateful for every ounce of assistance I get (especially the dish washing!), but I have a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And best of all, I can send a cooler full of healthy, delicious food off to school with Nick. On the days it ends up in our freezer, I can take a few nights off from cooking during the week!
Here’s to a little well-deserved down time!
Now, you may be thinking - Cathy, this doesn't look like health food to me! Where's the tofu and kale???
Well, there's a time and place for everything. In our house, we're heavy on the kale, light on the tofu...The big picture is this: take one step each day towards being a better you. There's no prizes for being perfect, only for trying to do your best.
If you'd like some help getting your meal planning and prep down to science so you have a little time for yourself, I’d love to help. Check my website for frequent additions to the recipe index, or sign up for a free 30-minute Strategy Session to get personalized help making the most of your time in the kitchen so you have more time for the important stuff.