I have been the primary decision maker for all meals eaten by me and my family since 1978. Simply put, I am tired. I am tired of making the menus, lists, shopping, cooking, and cleaning only to go through the same process EVERY…SINGLE…DAY. I see you out there! I know you’re feeling my exhaustion.
New Year, New Habits
As part of my year of self care, I am determined to eat healthier than I have eaten in the past thirty-odd years. It is a mighty task to set aside habits, many of them finely tuned over a lifetime of eating, in order to make choices that truly fuel my body rather than just tasting good in the moment. Such self control is not natural to my personality. I’m definitely an in the moment kind of person. However, I fear I have finally reached the age where I must be a grownup and make decisions for the long haul.
Fortunately for me I like healthy foods as well as the tasty yet nutritionally empty ones. In my household I am alone in this opinion. Thus the dinner struggle I have come to dread. The thing with me and things I dread…I am really good at procrastinating and ignoring them. I guess I just hope they will all go away. You and I both know that never works. And yet I keep trying.
One of my ideas for jump starting the evening meal blues is using a meal kit service. I chose Hello Fresh. After looking at their options this seemed to have a good balance of family friendly entrees with plant based healthy options for me. So far I am happy with all the kits I have received. I’m only cooking for two now and I love that all the ingredients – spices, sauces, etc. – are packaged so there is no waste. I love trying different recipes but hate having to spend a fortune on ingredients I may only use once. I have even gotten my husband to eat slightly healthier as well; a victory of monumental proportions for me.
Each week I edit my box as I don’t always want the items they select, and then I sit back and wait for the food to arrive. I can skip a week if we will be traveling or it is a holiday. Beautiful recipe cards, thoughtfully packaged food and a policy of donating food all make Hello Fresh a wonderful option if you are interested in trying a meal kit service.
Just so you know, I am not an affiliate – I get no compensation. I’m just sharing something that works for us.
But Isn’t It Expensive?
It depends. We only use their kits 2-3 times per week and generally eat out once a week. This only leaves 2-3 meals I have to think up on my own because for those evenings I always choose something I can turn into another meal or just have as leftovers. I have found that by not going to the grocery store for a big weekly trip I actually spend less on food using Hello Fresh.
The other way I find I spend less is to buy my groceries online and pick them up curbside at the local store. I can more effectively monitor my purchases when the total is adding up before my eyes. It is easy then to edit the cart and make good choices while monitoring my spending.
But I Love The Grocery Store Experience
So do I. Sometimes. I don’t love the grind of weekly shopping. I love going to specialty grocery stores and finding things I can’t find in my local store. Whole Foods is a great example. I walk into any Whole Foods and I am greeted with aromas, sights and sounds that instantly make me think I have moved up the socioeconomic food chain. I walk a little taller and know that I can find something fun and different. And that smell. I don’t know what it is but I love it. Asian grocery stores such as 99 Ranch and H-Mart are another fabulous place to wander the isles. You can find unique as well as common brands, but the experience is so worth the effort of finding and going to one of these stores. You will feel as though you have taken an exotic vacation.
I have found an alternative method of grocery shopping if I choose not to use the curbside pick up option. I give the list to my husband and let him take care of this part of the grocery chore. While, it is true, he never sticks to the list and buys junk in addition to what I wrote down for him, this method accomplishes something important.
It gives him ownership over his food choices and as well this part of our lives. I have even left the extra days meals somewhat in his hands. I let him choose what he would like on those other days of the week. Granted nine times out of ten he will choose red meat, but I can live with that as I have a way of combining his taste and mine. I’ll share that on another day.
I have been in charge for so long and if he wants stuff to eat that I don’t provide for him, this is how it is going to happen. I am not his food monitor, but I try not to bring in things that are truly bad for our bodies. Do I wish he ate healthier, yes. Despite a lifetime of eating white bread, white rice, and “vegetables” that include mashed potatoes, peas, beans, and the occasional spear of broccoli, at seventy-five years of age he is in astonishingly good health. I have had a positive influence here and there. His vegetable intact is now much broader, but left to his own devices his plate is generally shades of brown, tan and white. Bless his heart.
Where’s The Breakfast?
I said all that to show you a version of my go to breakfast.
This is my year round go to choice for a healthy and delicious breakfast. I use whatever I have in the fridge, but the ingredients are consistent:
- Greens – spinach, kale, leftover cooked greens usually collard, but sometimes also mustard and chard.
- Seasoning veggies such as onion, bell or other pepper, garlic.
- Mushrooms, brussel sprouts, squash, carrots, leftover veggies from a dinner meal.
- Small amounts of potato, whole or ancient grains
I chop the seasoning veggies then sautee’ in olive or avocado oil in a skillet big enough to accommodate the number of servings you are making and the greens before they have wilted.
Next, add the other veggies and a starch (if you are using one); heat through seasoning with salt and pepper and any other seasonings of choice.
Add the washed and chopped greens, lower the heat and cover to steam. The moisture from washing the greens is enough for steaming. Condensation from the lid and a lower temperature enables the veggies to wilt without being soupy.
When the greens have wilted, add eggs and reduce heat to low. Cover to allow eggs to cook. This method will leave a whiteish film over the yolk. It can be hard to tell if the egg is cooked. Gently touch the white to determine if it is cooked to your preferred doneness – I can’t stand a runny white. Next, check the yolk. The eggs will go from raw to cooked very quickly. Be vigilant unless you like your eggs cooked well done.
Finally, depending on the veggies and my desired flavor of the day, I top my creation with Sriracha, Cholula Sauce, either the red or green, pico de gallo, or freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Be creative. Make your breakfast colorfully tasty and fun. This simple meal is filling and nutritious. Best of all, it isn’t just for breakfast. Versions of this would make a delicious meal anytime of the day. You can also switch out the egg for another tasty protein be it animal or plant. I am currently obsessed with chick peas. I can totally see them topping this, maybe adding a lemon & garlic dressing for a little kick. Chicken tenders, shrimp, sautee’d with the veggies (to avoid over cooking, just remove before adding the rest of the ingredients and then top the greens to serve). No matter your favorite cuisine, you can replicate the flavors with seasonings and choice of vegetables.
I have inspired myself and will post variations on my Insta account @sherylmeans whenever I come up with something new.
Until Monday…be kind to your body,
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