Eating Healthy Crumbs While Overwhelmed

Okay, so we’re not really eating crumbs…. It just seems that way as we attempt to empty refrigerator and pantry prior to moving closer to Little Sis, Sweetie Dad, Carni-Mom, Super Step-Mom, Little Big Bro and all of their attached spouses and children.  Hooray!

We are extremely excited, but between packing, working, finishing up a semester of school (only 1 more to go!!!),and trying to finish up the print version of our book, there has not been much time for cooking or blogging.  I realized that my current life mirrors the lives of some friends whose time is indeed so limited that they can not see any way to make time for healthy food preparation.  I am grateful for the times in my life that have not been QUITE so busy when I cultivated cooking skills and knowledge that comes through in a pinch now.  I find that in this difficult time, I am clearly reminded of 3 basic tenets that we have been preaching:

1) The Baby Steps approach.  If you are so incredibly busy that you can only find one meal a week in which you can make a change then that is one more healthy meal down the gullet per week than before!  And that is a good thing.

2) You eat what you have.  When I attempted to increase variety of snack foods and quick meals without time to bake, or slice lots of stuff, I found that I could a) buy more nut-based snacks, fruit and veggies that needs no preparation, and veggies that make easy snacks, OR
b) I could buy prepared foods that we would all regret.  The choice of what goes in the mouth when hungry is enormously affected by what foods are in the pantry!!

3) Having awesome sauces and spice mixes on hand can really save you.  Apparently, so can olives.

I don’t really have any pictures for you, but we have been wrapping up odds and ends and a few last minute ideas have come out of this endeavor (plus a few tips for me to remember in the future).

The first tip is that vanilla really truly brings a lot of flavor.  I made Little Sis’ chocolate crock pot steel cut oats and did not have vanilla.  I threw in the last of the ‘all natural’ chocolate extract instead…. Well, it was okay, but not fabulous like usual.  Hey – what’s a little bottle of vanilla to move, right?  Next time I’ll stay stocked in vanilla.

The second tip is that a person, okay me, maybe you, but definitely me, should have a firm grasp on consumption rates of dry goods before purchasing large amounts at a fabulous price if a person, okay me, maybe you, but definitely me, can’t possible use all of it… or even half of it prior to moving.  I have madly baked a few GF items before packing away baking ware just to try to use up some of the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free baking mix.  Nobody minded of course, but it wasn’t really on the agenda.

Now on to the experiments based on limited choice…..

The first was scrambled eggs inside of tortillas with salsa.  Add GF/DF parmesan if you wish (I did).  This was actually a big hit and extremely fast and could also be made with tofu scramble.

The second was brown rice, spinach and smoked salmon with a little sweetened vinegar on top.  This is a bare bones sushi salad and again, it worked!  The sweetened vinegar is just about a 1:3 ratio of sugar to rice vinegar, dissolved at low heat on the stove.  We put raw baby spinach in the bottom of the bowl, hot rice on top, and cool salmon on top of that.  Drizzle vinegar – add any other veggies you want and even without soy sauce it was good!

I have noticed that many of the experiments involved animal protein, but we also had a meal that was leftover lentil casserole in a tortilla with salsa – and whatever type of cheese you might like.

Finally I made a marinade for rice and chicken that involved lemon juice (the last wrinkly lemon still packed some punch), green olives, dates broken into pieces and tabil spice mix.  This was a winner and there will be real experiments involving this mixture and vegan fare once we are re-settled.

It is true that lack of time and lack of supplies impact the diet greatly!  If you’d like some help planning how to slowly and powerfully change how you eat, check out our book: Baby Steps to Better Health: A Guided Journey to Healthier Eating.  Currently available as an e-book but coming out in print soon!

Eat well.  Be well.

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