Friday, July 15, 2011

Meals without strife

In the last few years my bloggers have watched our family try a number of lifestyle changes. And, these past few months I have adopted yet another philosophy.

I was completely overwhelmed. The kids were not doing much of the work and I was getting stuck doing all the cooking, cleaning, dishes, etc. I was grumpy and tired and frustrated. Two close friends (in the same day) told me to ask Paul for his advice. So I did.

I asked Paul, “What do you most want me to do every day?” His answer (and from this you will learn how practical Paul is…), “Love the children.”
He did NOT tell me to do the laundry. He did NOT tell me to cook whole foods. He did NOT tell me to wash the dishes before bed every night. All he said was, “Love the children.”
(Can I admit to you, Reader, that this reply was about vague enough to make me want to scream?!)

The following morning I did my best to do all the jobs I was doing before… but to do them while consciously loving my children. Um – not pretty. I figured out real quick that I couldn’t do much work at all before my voice began to escalate and my thoughts would not be so nice towards my kids. I would hear this haunting voice, “Love the children, Beth, love the children.” Then, I would sit down and re-group.

My household does not look like it did a few years ago. If I was to post pics now (which I can’t because of Android/Blogger limitations), you would see a messier house, dishes stacked up, laundry REALLLY stacked up… and happy faces. I am indeed striving to love the children more. So, it turns out that Paul’s advice was a bit more practical than I originally thought.

I am no longer cooking healthy food for every meal… honestly, I am aiming at maybe one really healthy meal per day. The rest of our meals come from cans and boxes. And I’m okay with that. Here’s a verse that I stumbled upon the other day that really sums up our new cooking philosophy:

Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife. (Prov 17:1 HCSB)

So, if I feel strong enough/well enough to cook a healthy meal – I will. If I am sick, I will warm up frozen pizzas, or Eggos, or whatever is easy. And, if I have a day I feel good, I will cook real food. Last night, I felt stronger than usual, so I prepared baked oatmeal to pop in the oven this morning. If I have a really good day, I make double batches and pop the extra in the freezer.

So, who has practical suggestions for healthy foods that are easy?

Here are some of my ideas:
Breakfasts: oatmeal, grits, fruit, whole wheat toast, yogurt

Lunch: Natural peanut butter sandwiches, baked potato, rice and beans, salad

Dinner: Chicken cooked in a crock pot, whole wheat spaghetti (this is a meal that Becca can make all by herself!), baked potato, rice and beans, beef with seasoning in a tortilla, salad, pot roast with carrots and potatoes in the crock pot

This is a short list… help me add to this. But, remember – it has to be healthy and easy, like a one or two step meal.

We look forward to reading your ideas!


Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany. First I'd like to tell you that I really enjoy your blog.
I've been reading you for a few years and missed you when you where away. I saved your link and one day click on it and there you were!
Now to simple meals.

I sometimes throw frozen chicken breast in the crock and let them cook for the day and then figure what I want to do with them.
I can shred them with a fork for simple chicken tacos with cilantro, lime, onion and sour cream...what ever I have.

I can use the cooked chicken in soup, pot pie (pre-made crust)

Also, stir fried veggies and garlic (young ladies can cut veggies well) with rice or nooldles. With or without meat.

Crockpot enchiladas.
Brown hamburger drain season
add black beans
jar of favorite salsa
shredded cheese
corn tortillas
Start with salsa in bottom of crockpot
Layer salsa, tortillas, beef/bean, cheese to top.
Set on high for 2/3 hours or until cheese is melted.
serve with sour cream, olives, and whatever you family likes.

Shephard Pie
Brown beef (hambuger) drain
add flour to beef and brown 1-2 min. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add beef broth (amount depends on the size of your families eating)
add frozen mixed veggies
Some add a bit of red something...ketchup,tomatoes,andthing leftover...
Top with mashed potatoes (fresh,leftover or instant)
Bake at 350* until potatoes are browning.

Hope this helps a bit. I'm always looking for new things to cook that are quick and easy. Time is sometimes short with a house full.


Mama Hen said...

I tend to go in spurts where we eat real home-cooked food and then I wear myself out. I am trying to find a good balance, but that is the story of my life...

For breakfast, how about smoothies, boiled eggs, Whole-wheat bagels, and I bet Becca could make pancakes if she can make spaghetti.

Supper ideas: chicken pot pie, shepherds pie, beef stew-I do mine in the crock pot much like pot roast, ham slices with apricot jam on top. I just warm it all in the oven. I buy the apricot jam at aldi and and it really good. We like to have a big taco night everyonce in awhile.

I ended up making a list of all the main dishes I make and then putting it in my home notebook. It helps when I am trying to figure out what to have.

Bean said...

Tuna and noodles is easypeasy to make, add a vegetable for the side and voila dinner is served! Beef stew with dumplings, or chicken and dumplings, both easy to make, can be started in the morning in the crockpot, then about 20 minutes before dinner add some dumplings to cook on top.
Sloppy Joe is also good, I usually make a double or triple batch when I make it, everyone likes it for lunch the next day, or I freeze some for another day.
Of course breakfast for dinner is easy too. Sometimes we just eat a light supper, perhaps a cheese toastie and tomato soup, or tuna salad sandwich and soup, or baked beans and toast.
I keep ramen noodles around, my younger two, still at home, they are 18 and 20, like them for a quick meal.
I also make frozen burritos, they are a quick meal, mix 10 oz of enchilada sauce for every 16 oz of refried beans, spoon the mixture on to tortilla's, about 3 T per tortilla, sprinkle on some grated cheese, onions if you want. Wrap the tortilla's with the mixture like a burrito, place on cookie sheets and freeze, then bag up. These are great for a quick lunch, or snack, simple heat up in the microwave for a minute or two. I am sure the kids would enjoy helping make them up. You get about 10 burritos for every 16 oz of beans used. I buy a 28 oz can of enchilada sauce, 3 cans of 16 oz refried beans, this will make about 30 burritos.

Bethany in mid-MO said...

Thanks friends, for all your yummy ideas! I look forward to trying some new dishes soon!