One of my favorite things about blogging is that I have this virtual journal that has (for better or for worse) chronicled the last few years of our lives. Of course there is so much left unseen, but there is also a lot I would have likely forgotten about – like simple meals, random weekends, and vacation details – that remain here in an online archive.
Believe it or not, I also like clicking around through my own site for cooking inspiration! I’ve been doing this for many years now, and it’s easy to forget about things I created way back in the day. While planning this year’s menu, I was browsing my Thanksgiving recipes the other day when I realized how many of them were created in 2011 – just a few weeks after Cullen was born.
And while I’m definitely not going to have any amazing new recipes in time for this year’s Thanksgiving, I feel a similar itch to cook and create creeping back in. Maybe it’s the time of year – being dark and dreary, and craving food that brings comfort. Maybe it’s something about life with a newborn – the urge to be healthier and hibernate indoors for a while. Whatever it is, despite having absolutely no time to do it – I’m thinking a lot about cooking.
At some point, I hope that morphs into longer stretches in the kitchen. In it’s current state, I’m learning the art of healthy, quick-cooking that will satisfy hungry parents, picky toddlers, and provide plenty of leftovers for the week to come. And you know why I haven’t shared much of that cooking here? It’s silly, but with such early darkness (4:30pm – sob!) my photos are all terrible.
But this week I decided that I didn’t care if the pictures were yellowed and grainy, it was about the message I was trying to share. This is a quick (badly photographed) sample of types of meals we’ve been eating lately – a lentil veggie bowl that was prepped ahead of time, and cooked itself during play time. Totally simple and easy, but also healthy and filling.
And here’s a look at how it came together. Toward the end of Cullen’s nap time, I diced a whole big bag of sweet potatoes and tossed them onto a sheet pan with olive oil and salt. On a separate sheet pan, I trimmed broccoli and cauliflower and seasoned that as well. Then I popped both sheets into the (cold) oven so they were ready to go, and safe from predatory dogs sniffing around the kitchen.
I added one cup of brown rice and two cups of black lentils to my trusty rice cooker, along with just under six cups of broth (and cooked on the “regular” setting).
Have you guys tried this miso ginger broth yet? Amaaaaaazing. I used it as my cooking liquid, and the final result was super flavorful and needing nothing extra. Great new product from Trader Joe’s!
Then I stepped out of the kitchen and headed out on mom duty – napping toddler retrieval, diaper changes, and puzzles in the playroom. Once I knew we were within about 45 minutes of dinner time, I turned the oven onto 375 degrees, and went right back to playtime.
The oven cooked all our veggies, and the rice cooker took care of the rest. All I had to do was adjust final seasoning and dish up when it was time!
Even though this was super simple, it was a great combination of flavors – particularly with the addition of the miso broth.
Dinner for four.
Main main goals for meals these days are: healthy, easy, and plentiful. If I’m going to spend a lot of time prepping, chopping, cooking, etc. – I want it to yield more than one meal. So I’ll often cook giant roasting pans full of veggies, or big pots of grains and beans in order to have lots of leftovers that will last a few days.
This particular dinner led to a yummy lunch the next day – lentil veggie bowl topped with half an avocado and two drippy eggs. Why is everything better with an egg on top?
So there you have it – a post about food, simple as it may be. But that’s our way of life right now, and despite my bad photos and inevitable typos caused by sleep deprivation, I’m going to do my best to slowly easy back into it bit by bit. While I doubt I’ll have any wonderful recipes to share in time for the holiday, I’ll be back early next week to at least share our menu. I am excited to cook already!
Lastly, thanks to all of you who entered the NatureBox giveaway! The two winners are:
- Morgan – As soon as you said garlic pumpkin seeds I was thought I MUST try those, I bet they are so good! I also think the Sunshine Chips sound delicious!
- Stacey – I’d love to try the lemon pucker pistachios!
Have a great weekend!