Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy

Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy

Dinner tonight was from the farm….

…but it wasn’t anything spectacular.

Roasted potatoes and sautéed pattypan squash.

I was considering preparing eggplant as well, but I realized that the potatoes and squash provided plenty of food [there was even enough for leftovers].

I read an autobiography earlier this year called Kisses from Katie by a young woman who left her privileged American life to live in Uganda and love on the people in her village. One story she tells is how she was preparing beans for dinner for her family and she didn’t realize how long it takes to cook dried beans – but the story was a lesson for me that we are far too opinionated around here about what constitutes a meal.

They were eating beans for dinner. That’s it. Just beans. And here I am feeling like my meals have to contain at least five different food groups AND be beautifully presented.

Dinner doesn’t have to have courses, or side dishes, or any specific food group. It doesn’t have to be colorful, or appealing to look at, or come from a recipe. Dinner could just be food – preferable real, healthy food. And in our house tonight, dinner was just two vegetables that I cooked and we all ate until we were satisfied.

[The kids asked for seconds.]

What I love most about our new simple lifestyle is that our food is simple. The meals are simple. The preparation is simple. The ingredients are simple. And they are healthy.

There are many homes in America where a box of mac and cheese is a standard meal for the kids [and I’m not judging because I’ve definitely been there and done that]. But I almost felt guilty about what I fed my kids tonight, and it was literally just vegetables. It may not have been colorful or fancy or a lot of variety, but it was healthy and it was filling and it was tasty.

And it was from our CSA, which I love more and more.

Don’t get me wrong – there are nights when we have company and I pretend that I love to cook and prepare three-course meals and a home baked dessert. But most nights are simple.

Maybe not usually quite this simple…but pretty simple.


Garden Fresh Lunch

Garden Fresh Lunch

Today I got my lunch from the garden.

While the kids played on the deck, I walked down to the garden and picked a beautiful summer squash [along with some tomatoes].

It looked too good to pass up, especially since my plan had been to eat leftover vegan chili for lunch.

So, I spiralized, chopped…

…sautéed, and hit it with some basil pesto I made a few days ago and VOILA!

A beautiful and delicious and garden fresh lunch!

Growing my own food is rewarding AND delicious.


Healthy Eating in Real Life

Healthy Eating in Real Life

As promised, I’ve been tracking my food. Honestly, it hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. On Saturday I fell off the healthy eating bandwagon and I haven’t gotten quite back on yet. But that is real life. It has been an education for myself about my eating habits and I’ve learned a few interesting things about myself in the process:

1. Brett and I have gotten into a bad habit of having pizza delivered when we are hanging out late at night. This is both terrible for my health and our budget. I don’t even know why I get such pizza cravings when I KNOW it will literally make me sick for at least the whole next day and usually several days – not to mention it does not make baby JoElle feel well either.

2. I am an emotional eater. I can’t believe this is a revelation to me, but I was always under the impression that I’m not very emotional at all. For the last seven years, I have been channeling my emotions into physical activity [which is largely what has allowed me to become a long distance runner]. But, since having my third baby, I am not always able to dedicate two hours each morning to exercise – which really messes with my emotional balance – and results in late night snacking on things I wouldn’t ordinarily eat.

I’m making it sound worse than it is – but I am about to be totally honest about the things I consumed over the last few days.

First of all, I ate the same breakfast – [oatmeal with maple syrup and raisins] and the same lunch [cabbage and kale salad with oil and vinegar] each day, so I’m really only going to share what I had for dinner, unless it differed from above.

Wednesday, July 18th:

Zoodles [and Squoodles?] with Pesto

Spiralized zucchini and summer squash with homemade vegan pesto [kohlrabi leaves, garlic scapes, almonds, olive oil, and homemade vegan parmesan]

Thursday, July 19th:

Sautéed summer squash, cabbage, garlic scapes and onion, roasted cauliflower

For a snack I ate homemade cantaloupe bread.

[As someone who doesn’t love cantaloupe – the bread was AMAZING! Made just like banana bread, but with cantaloupe instead of bananas which made for a perfectly sweet and delicious quick bread that the whole family loved.]

Friday, July 20th:

Leftover sautéed cabbage and steamed broccoli

For a snack later that evening I ate roasted cauliflower and eggplant chips.

Saturday, July 21st:

So this is where the healthy eating derailed…

Brett and I were up at 5:15am to get our kids packed up and dropped off before running a half marathon.

My pre-race breakfast is always toast [in this case, homemade whole wheat bread] with [homemade] peanut butter, maple syrup and a banana.

After the run, I ate an apple and grapes and was still starving so we ordered bacon, egg, and cheese croissants at Dunkin’ Donuts and split a donut.

For dinner we had roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and grilled corn in a sort of burrito bowl. I topped mine with onions, tomatoes, lettuce and hot sauce.

Which was great, BUT…

…then, we ordered pizza and cheese bread while we tiled the bathtub surround until 2:30am.

Sunday, July 22nd:

My kids we’re up at a shocking 5:30am and I had to take them all to work with me that morning so I ended up eating no breakfast and leftover pizza for lunch. For dinner Brett picked up sushi for me and a rotisserie chicken for the kids.

Monday, July 23rd:

Despite a good workout in the morning, I just couldn’t get back on the healthy bandwagon today. I had my usual oatmeal for breakfast, pretty much no lunch and Brett picked up wok n fire sushi rolls for dinner.

So, this week was supposed to be an “on” week for the veggie diet, but it didn’t really happen. I ate meat and seafood, cheese and breads, chocolate and [gasp] donuts. I don’t even like donuts!

Well, I guess this is healthy eating in real life!