The Family Meal
I am looking forward to writing this post. I have had it in my head for a while, but have been waiting for the right time. Today is the day. You see, on this Friday afternoon, after the week I've had, there is simply no way I can even begin to write something even quasi-intellectual. Today I will write about what we eat in a normal day.
Breakfasts usually consist of a combination of the following foods: smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, eggs, toast and real milk. We also have pumpkin bread, banana bread or some kind of muffins, but not as often as the children would like. More times than not, we have smoothies with granola sprinkled in and a boiled egg on the side. I make sure to give my children protein EVERY morning. It's good for their growing bodies and their budding brains. While the children eat an egg on most days, I have a protein shake. On the weekends, I try to make special things like waffles, pancakes or omelets.
Lunch has to be simple in our house. There is so much going on in the day, we have to basically do lunch without thinking. We alternate between cheese toast or sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches. I try to keep homemade bread on hand, but we will eat whole wheat pitas if we need to. We fill out the rest of the meal with fresh fruit and vegetables. Apples, oranges, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas... every simple fresh food. I try to keep these things washed and ready in the fridge so that Rainbow or Witzy can easily put them out for everyone. I usually make the sandwiches while I make breakfast, so often I can have one of the girls put out lunch entirely on their own, while Spiderman serenades us on the piano. If the children are unusually hungry, we have popcorn, nuts and raisins or non-GMO corn chips (occasionally). This fare is so simple, if we are on the run, we can just eat it in the car.
On weekends, I try to make something different for lunch. We eat quesedillas, grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup, veggie and hummus stuffed pitas, salmon salad, something fresh and yummy.
Supper. I like simple. I like quick. But healthy isn't always simple and quick. It is nice to have a stash of recipes that are healthy, simple and quick. The rest of the time, my strategy is to have a plan and be diligent to follow through with the plan, even if I'm worn out come supper-making time. (Remember Phil. 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.) Here's my plan:
Monday - Cook a crock pot chicken. Serve the chicken with lots of vegetables and a Frugal Meal Extender. Save the stock for another supper and half of the chicken pulled off the bone for another supper too.
Wednesday - Wednesday is our Frugal Food Night. I will be posting about this in the near future. This night is usually Beans and Rice, Black Bean Soup, Beans and Cornbread or some variation on these incredibly frugal whole foods.
Thursday - I use the second half of the chicken to make something that will last for two meals. I guess the key to making 1/2 a chicken stretch is to double all the vegetable ingredients.
Friday - On Fridays I usually make something with beef (or lamb or bison). We really like Pakistani Kima, from the More With Less cookbook. I also make Sally Fallon's meatloaf or chili, taco skillet, burritos, or when my children beg enough, a whole food version of "Hamburger Helper."
Weekends - Leftovers. I purposefully cook enough during the week so that I can take a cooking break on the weekends.
I am always on the lookout for new meal ideas. If something strikes my fancy, I'll see if I can tweak the recipe to make it fit our diet choices. So, even though I have this "outline" I am not tied to it! I do make a meal plan every week and shop with my list in hand. This way, I have everything I need for all the meals. And, since we keep a lot of fresh produce, I can't skip cooking or the food would go to waste!
Another weekly event is a baking night... or so I try. I usually make a 1/2 gallon of yogurt on Monday or Tuesday morning. Then, usually on Wednesday night, I will bake breads, muffins, power bars, granola, tortillas or other goods. Knowing this night is coming, I can set things out to soak and I can make sure to have all the ingredients I will need. I do not bake everything each week. The strategy is to make 2-3 batches of each item when I make them. This way I am only baking 2 or 3 things per baking night. That seems to keep things manageable for me (and my girls!).
I hope you have enjoyed this mindless post as much as I have enjoyed writing it! Please comment to share what meal strategies save you time and keep you cooking healthy foods.
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