If you’ve read the previous posts on food, cooking, and having certain necessities on hand then you’re no stranger to the key word to success for a healthy lifestyle. Preparation.
In past posts, preparation looked like going to the grocery store in advance, chopping up veggies to have on hand for cooking later in the week, and even preparing meals on a Sunday afternoon to get us at least halfway through the week ahead.
Yesterday, Monday’s preparation, looked a
little lot different.
Breakfast was the same because I had doubled up on eggs, chicken apple sausages, and pecans from Costco recently.
Lunch was a little sketch. I ate some questionable chicken salad that I can’t exactly remember when it was prepared (I feel I’m far enough removed from it to report all is well) and a hodge podge of veggies I made earlier in the week…last week.
As for dinner, I did think to put a couple pounds of ground meat out to thaw before leaving…and that’s about it.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, because I feel like so many people can relate to a day(s) or week of this. There are times that you just can’t live up to your expectation of the best. There are times when a frozen pack of veggies are going to have to work. A day(s) when you ate a chicken sausage for breakfast and dinner.
It’s okay! Just because it’s not pretty doesn’t mean that you’ve been derailed from this journey to a healthy lifestyle and a better you. It’s freeing to realize there’s no such thing as “perfect.” More on that here.
Here’s a quick run down of what happened when I got home after 6 PM and how I had dinner (and leftovers) cooked, kitchen cleaned, a load of laundry done, shower completed, and in my PJs by 7 PM.
AS soon as I walked in the door, I pulled out a large stove top pan, turned the burner on medium/high, placed pan on heating burner, and preheated oven to 425 degrees.
WHILE those were heating, I took out supplies needed:
3 sweet potatoes
1 bag green beans (left from last week’s Costco run)
1 head of cauliflower
3 baking pans
1 gallon sized sealable plastic bag
“Flavor god” spice mix
NOW, supplies are gathered and stove and oven are still heating. So, in order to use every minute to get something done, I peel the potatoes
AT this time, everything is pre heated, so I place olive oil in stove top pan, and place in the first pound of meat, close the lid, and let it start browning while I chop the potatoes.
MY favorite way to make sweet potatoes is to mix with coconut oil and salt. Olive oil will work just fine, but coconut oil makes it taste like candy for some reason. It’s so good. I don’t really measure the coconut oil, I just scoop some out, place on the lid and microwave for a few seconds until melted.
ONCE melted, I placed it in the gallon sized bag with chopped sweet potatoes, added some salt to taste, shake, shake, shake, then tossed them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
IN the oven they go! I then set the timer for 45 minutes.
AT this point, the meat is ready to be mixed up a bit and covered in spices.
LET that cook for a minute or two longer, until all pink is gone (you can lower heat if necessary to give you time to get other vegetables ready).
THE green beans were pre-washed, so I literally emptied their bag onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, poured two capfuls (the olive oil bottle’s cap) of olive oil on top, sprinkled with salt, and mixed together with my hands.
NOW, my meat was ready to cool and be transferred into a storage container, and with 40 minutes on the oven timer, I place the green beans in the oven with the potatoes. (Now, we have 15 minutes to get the second pound of meat going and wash/chop/season the cauliflower.)
THAT’s exactly what I did. Repeat the meat process (only takes a couple of minutes), and wash cauliflower, chop into florets, place them in the same bag you used to season potatoes, and simply toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Place them on your third baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
AT this point you will have a few minutes to stir/season the meat, wash cutting board, knife and peeler, and since all chopping/seasoning is done you can sweep the floor. I think at this point I also moved clothes from washer to dryer so they could “fluff.”
ONCE the green beans have been in for 15 minutes and the timer reads “25:00,” take out green beans and put in your cauliflower.
YOUR meat should be done, so place that in with the first pound of prepared meat, run cold water over your pan, and wash it once it’s cooled. Now, all you have left to clean is the spatula (used to transfer cooked veggies into storage containers) and baking sheets (that won’t even be dirty since you used parchment paper.)
HONESTLY, at this point, I had about 17 minutes left on the timer, so I quickly showered, changed into my PJ’s, hung up the “fluffed” clothes, and wiped down the kitchen counter.
beepbeep, beepbeep, beepbeep!
It’s all done!
Remove you’re vegetables from the oven, turn off stove and oven, let them cool a couple of minutes and serve dinner!
At this point, I was feeling pretty good about myself. No, this was not at all fancy, or even time consuming, but I felt like I had accomplished a lot in a short time span. I couldn’t wait until Lance got home so that I could brag about how efficient I had been, and have him tell me how great I am, hah!
Right about this time is when he called me. You know what he said? “Hey sweetie, Chad asked us to join him at Ragtime for dinner. Wanna go?”
Do I want to go??? NO, I don’t want to go. I just basically conquered the world in 60 short minutes and you’re supposed to be home in 15 minutes telling me how lucky you are to have me as your better half while savoring your meat and veggies! AND I’m freshly showered, in my PJs, sitting on the couch watching the Whole30 clip I DVR’d on Dr. Oz. So, the answer is a BIG. FAT. NO.
While those are the thoughts that swirled through my mind in 0.2 seconds, I simply snapped into reality, said no thank you, y’all enjoy dinner, and was sort of thankful we’d have more leftovers to munch on.
I don’t share this to make you believe that I’ve got it together. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Nor do I share this so that you think I can do several things at once…or to brag that I clean…or get laundry done. That would be weird. I simply share this so that when life gets crazy, you know you can make it work. If I hadn’t had fresh veggies that needed to be used, I really would have used some frozen veggies that I keep on hand for emergencies. If I hadn’t had time to remove clothes from the washer, I would have re-washed them in the morning (and that wouldn’t have been the first time), and if I hadn’t had time to sweep, the crumbs could have stayed on the floor and the world would not have ended. So, if your clothes get re-washed and re-fluffed to remove the wrinkles, if your floor stays crumb-y because you need to bathe a child or spend quality time with your spouse…it’s okay.
Do what you can when you can and don’t get down on yourself. There will be days when you cook better, more flavorful, fancy meals. And it’s OK that today just isn’t that day.
(Lance saw me looking through the Whole30 cookbook and got excited about one of the pictured meals. I QUICKLY told him not to get his hopes up this week, slammed the book shut, and placed it back in it’s home on the coffee table where it belongs this week.)
Update from today, Tuesday:
For breakfast I intentionally left out my Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage because I knew that was going to be used in my two minute lunch prep.
And it was.
For lunch, I had one Aidell’s sausage (warmed in the microwave) and 3/4 bag of Bird’s Eye Microwave Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower.
While those were warming (microwaving), I prepped for dinner and that took all of 5 minutes. So I’ll post that soon.