Monday, April 8, 2013

One Bite at a Time

Recently there's been another area where I have let my resolve slip. A lot. I love real food. I also love French fries.  And burgers.

The downside to eating real food all the time is how much time one has to spend in the kitchen on a daily basis. A significant amount of time for each meal, which also usually means time must be dedicated to clean up as well.

Due to my heightened levels of stress and exhaustion, I have gradually done less and less cooking over the course of these last few months. Many nights over the last couple of weeks I've let Victor do the "cooking". AKA hitting a drive through (like BKs 2 for $5 sandwich deal), or pizza, or take-out. Definitely not real food, and certainly not healthy. :(

We do still keep healthier items in stock at home. Lots of fruit, yogurt, fresh salad greens, frozen and canned veggies for quick prep, as well as frozen shrimp, chicken, and cheeses.

For a while I was making my own broth (leftover chicken bones, onion, and water cooked over night in a crockpot, pour liquid into containers to cool, add more onion [optional] and water, then cook overnight again, repeating until the bones are soft and can be crushed with a fork or it's not as flavorful anymore, easy!) and freezing it in various sizes of plastic baggies, which is really nice for roasting meals. You can place your veggies on the bottom of your baking dish, your chicken or whatever meat on top, leaving at least an inch to an inch and a half for liquid. Then just pull out a frozen baggie of broth, cut the bag off, place frozen block on top of meat and place the whole dish in the oven. As the broth melts it runs over the meat and veggies, and adds deliciousness to the whole dish. Yummy! And super simple.

But even the simplest meals started to seem really hard. Not good.

Getting Back on Track

So, I'm giving us all a fresh start, and we will ease back into our good eating habits one goal at a time. We've already implemented one.

About two weeks ago we reinstituted FAMILY FOOD RULE # 1:

All meals, whether homemade or purchased, must include at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable. If it is not provided by the presiding adult (like when the kids make their own PB&Js) then the children are free to select any available fruit or vegetable that they can prepare (read PEEL or OPEN CAN) by themselves!

Now I will admit that we were aiming this most specifically at the kids, but I have been trying to follow it myself with most meals, and now intend to follow it strictly from here on out. However, this is a challenging rule to follow if one is not in fact consuming a meal, which leads me to the institution of FAMILY FOOD RULE #2:

Breakfast is no longer optional! No more subsisting only on coffee until mid-afternoon. A protein based meal is preferable, but not required.

Okay, this one is primarily aimed at me. That's good though, because when Mama's healthy, everyone benefits.

There we have it, the unhealthy truth, but with some goals to help get us back on track. I want to have energy again, and chase away my mental fog. My asthma is always much better when I stick to real food too!

Because of limitations based on where we live, availability and price, our family hasn't been able to cut out or replace as much industry produced food as I would like to, but I do want to get back to eating as much fresh, and far less processed foods than are so readily available.

Therefore, let's face it, that means more kitchen time. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get the kids more involved with helping with food prep, and much to their dismay, the cleaning up part. As long as we can keep from getting overly swamped then the two big kids can help out much more with the upkeep of the kitchen. They are plenty old enough now, and since my nerves aren't quite as frazzled as they have been lately, I think I can muster the patience to tolerate their pokiness and play during their turns at one of our most hotly debated household chores.

Hot Topic

The center of our debate revolves primarily around not having a dishwasher. Victor states with great certainty that he would much more often and happily volunteer for kitchen duty if we had one. I remain skeptical, but also have specific reasons for not wanting to have to rewire and loose precious storage space, these two reasons to me being sufficient alone. However, I also don't like that since I can't wash ALL my dishes in a dishwasher (like my pots and pans), I feel like it ends up taking the same amount of time to clean the kitchen, plus extra when the dishes have to be put away. Especially since the dishes have to be rinsed of major food particles before putting them in (no matter what the commercials say), which is half the work of washing them by hand anyway.

And lastly, I don't like chemical upon chemical to clean, rinse and keep the dishwasher residue off my dishes. I use dish soap, which has chemicals, but it's a much smaller amount of a gentler agent, used in only one step of the process. In conclusion, I don't believe that a dishwasher is going to turn out to be the miraculous cleaning solution to our kitchen woes. It really just takes hot water, a little soap, two hands, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. A few dish towels are helpful, and more hands are always welcome. 

Obviously, I have some kitchen issues to work through.

Perhaps they will seem less daunting after breakfast.

Which I intend to start eating.


I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. A tip: get paper plates, cups, forks, etc. It makes cooking easier if you don't have to worry so much about the dishes afterwards. My dishwasher has been broken for a while, and paper plates really help!