Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some good things

It has been a mild winter, but there is still an excitement that fills you when you recognize signs that say spring is right around the corner. Two of them have happened her- the songbirds are beginning to return for the spring  and Mardi Gras happens this coming Tuesday
Mardi Gras- or Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday  ( the beginning of Lent, the 40 days before Easter), and is marked by different forms of pastries, pancakes, and a giant party in New Orleans where girls go wild and show off their assets for a string of beads :
Okay- maybe not quite the same thing here, but there are pastries involved in this picture :-) This year we are going to take a mini retreat sort of thing to kind of catch our breath before Lent. Yesterday, being a Saturday  meant a day of food prep for a stress free week with healthy options available for quick snacks. Yes, snacks. Meals are not a problem, but my son still is a snacky creature, and I refuse to fill him up on less than healthy foods that are more lab experiment than anything else. My husband brown bags breakfast and lunch on working days and when he is called to sing for a funeral ( very often these days), and he needs a breakfast that he can eat in the car, in the parking lot, while waiting for the guest of honor to arrive,so to speak. Gruesome sounding, but true. My solution for all of these has been to spend a few hours on Saturday , armed with ingredients and containers, and create a smooth week ahead. Here are some things that work very well:
                                Cottage cheese and cereal, which gets mixed together as a neater and more substantial alternative to cereal and milk. Oat Squares this week because it is his favorite.
A set of 3 meals of these and some bagel sandwiches in the freezer to be heated at the office works very well.
Veggie snack kits- an assortment of cut cauliflower, celery and baby peppers in individual containers, accompanied with small containers of dip. I used to cut these up and store them in big containers, and they would go forgotten or neglected and uneaten. Anything that was packed in a single serve sort of way on the other hand, would be devoured, so I decided to pack veggies this way .  Once again they are heartily consumed. I think it's a kind of lunchables mindset or something !
You know those Jiff to Go things ? Makes for a really nice way to take peanut butter for a snack or as a dip for veggies, but they can get pricy- and all those disposable things become a not so nice contribution to the environment when you toss them. Better solution- invest in reusable containers, buy a big jar of peanut butter and create your own.
For reasons I do not completely understand, if I buy the above and keep it in a very convenient place, it will not get eaten. Everyone loves fruit and loves the taste of these fruits, but it seems it is too much commitment ( or something about the mess factor) with the melons and pineapples. So I do this:

                  or this:
Yes, I have a juicer and I am not afraid to use it ! Fruit and veggie juices happen throughout the week, and cut up fruit salad is just a streamlining step here. One of the things that is nice to do this time of year is to mix different citrus fruits with dark greens like kale to create incredibly tasty and nutrient dense juices.

Be it a week of school, field trips or anything else, having these things on hand makes life a little easier here, and adds to a healthier lifestyle. I keep looking for ways to add good things to our life. Anything that allows me to spend more time enjoying life with my guys or exploring one of my many passions is a good thing !


Enz said...

Its good to see you back! I had wondered what happened to you and your family.

My boys are the same, I get calls at work at 3 o'clock. Mom there's nothing to eat!! When I know the fridge and pantry are full...what they mean is there is nothing to eat that doesn't require work!

These are good ideas that I'm going to try as well.

Di said...

Isn't it funny how it seems that unless something is packaged in a portion size that some folks think there is nothing to eat ? I do understand how sometimes it involves the desire to just grab it and go or not make a mess, but still ! I think I am guilty of this as well- I would rather make a big mess once and clean it and then just live off the convenience for a longer time. I think this is why companies like Hostess ( with the Twinkies and such) , the Lunchables makers and fast food giants have been so successful. Perhaps in this lies the real answer to the Obesity Crisis. I don't know- all I know for sure is that it prevents me from attempting to make food when I am half awake, fuzzy headed or attempting to solve some intellectual crisis or something :-)