I love cooking. Creating. Serving. Eating. Stirring a big pot of risotto is calming to me, and having a prepped and stocked fridge makes me insanely happy. However, some seasons are just not easy for finding time to mix and stir and simmer and bake. My child’s bedtime routine takes up most of the time I used to use to make dinner. And we now eat at 9 pm after she is in bed. Cooking at that point is out of the question. This mama is hungry! So how to make meals easy without getting takeout all the time?
1. Stock that freezer!
As we started depleting the freezer reserves once we got home from the hospital, I started taking a few hours one day a month to make 3-4 more meals to restock for the coming weeks. Having an ever stocked freezer makes last-minute meals super easy, and any dinner can be freshened up with a quick side salad.
Looking for fresh and easy freezer meal ideas and planning tips? Check out these posts:
2. Get a meal delivery service.
We get a vegetarian Hello Fresh box almost every week. I can easily add an extra protein for the husband and omit any cheese for me. Meals are simple enough they can be made in 30 minutes or less, and if I’ve prepped everything before bedtime, dinner takes even less time to get on the table after baby is asleep.
Want to try Hello Fresh for yourself? Use this link to get $40 off your first box. And let me know what you think! (Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link).
3. Use prepared grocery items.
The best time saver for easy, healthy lunches? Bagged salad kits from the grocery store. I usually ditch the dressing and make my own simple vinaigrette with oil and vinegar or swap in salsa or tahini. Toss some precooked lentils or beans in, and a hearty, filling, and fresh meal is ready in 5 minutes. Most grocery stores have a ton of prepared convenience foods in the produce section that can be taken advantage of. Yes, it costs a little more for someone else to chop and season and assemble, but sometimes the time savings may weigh out the winner.
Happy Monday! Since we are at the end of the month, and weekly menus are still consisting of Hello Fresh boxes, I thought I’d share a bonus Monday recipe that’s been on repeat this past month.
My go-to favorite oatmeal in the winter is creamy pumpkin steel cut oats topped with drippy creamy peanut butter. But once the holidays are over and pumpkin becomes harder to find, the thought of boring plain oatmeal is just not as appealing. This variation came about as I was thinking toward Spring and muffins and smoothies and warmer weather breakfast options. However, I still wanted the creamy, heartiness of oatmeal.
This morning glory oatmeal combines the classic flavors of carrots, coconut, dried fruit, and nuts with the comforting homeyness of chewy steel cut oats. Perfect through the wintery cold months or anytime of year you are craving a bowl of oats.
1 Tbsp vegan butter
1 1/2 c steel cut oats
1/4 c coconut sugar
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 c water
1 c carrots, shredded
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c walnuts
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add vegan butter and let melt. Add oats and toast, stirring until well coated in the butter and starting to brown.
Add coconut sugar, applesauce, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine.
Slowly add almond milk and water, 1 cup at a time, stirring to mix in as you pour.
Stir in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Let simmer over medium-low heat until all liquid is absorbed and oatmeal is thick, about 20 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with toppings of choice (Extra nuts, raisins, or nut butter is always recommended!)
Copyright 2016 Neat & Nutritious.
Per serving: 330 calories, 54 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 9 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 18 g sugar
We’ve made it through the end of another month! The shortness of February always makes it seem to disappear so fast to me. But March means baby month! Today’s Neat roundup is a bit random, but all good articles from around the web that really stuck with me. And a lovely Nutritious list of drool-worthy eats that anyone is welcome to make and bring over for us to eat! 😉
- How to Make Goals and Intentions Stick // Continuing on January’s theme of how to stick to goals past January, this model is helpful for any time of year.
- Relationship Advice for Couples with Different Diets // People ask me all the time how I handle the husband and I having different diets. This is how it works for us.
- Why Kids Need Minimalism // Something I’m bookmarking to remember as I venture into motherhood.
- Go Small with Goal Setting // My goals for March are going to be extremely small. And that is okay. Sometimes progress is made with baby steps. This is also something I find true for my nutrition counseling clients.
- The 23 Minute Post-Run Routine // Definitely something I was not good about doing before getting pregnant, and something I am for sure going to focus on as I start running again postpartum.
- Vegetarian Kale Taco Salad // Kale + Tacos? Oh yeah! I’d just swap the yogurt for an avocado in the dressing and omit the cheese.
- Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Enchiladas // A genius combination.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites // If I still had the energy, I’d be stocking my freezer with these babies!
- Farmer’s Market Vegan Breakfast Bowl // A hearty, protein and veggie packed meal, perfect for a weekend brunch.
- Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl // This reminds me of one of my favorite dishes at The Steeping Room here in Austin. Fresh veggies, hearty quinoa, and ALL the peanut sauce!