Friday, February 12, 2010

Mama Food

One of the biggest challenges I faced when transitioning to stay-at-home-mommery, as opposed to mere housewifery, was feeding myself.  It seemed nearly impossible to find the time and energy to fuel up with more than handfuls of cereal and Hershey's kisses in between caring for Olivia and keeping the house from becoming one huge landfill of dirty laundry and diapers.  As she's gotten older and we've gotten into more of a routine I've figured out some good go-to ways to keep myself fed and happy, emphasis on the happy.  See, I like my food to be delicious and good for me as well as fast and convenient (Food Network, call me!  I already sound like one of your drones, and I look like a rich, smart man's Rachael Ray!).  I get grumpy when I have to eat canned soup or toast for meals on end.  So, here are some easy meals that are actually made out of food to keep you going regardless of what your day looks like.

Two caveats before I begin:  1.  I don't measure things.  I'll put approximate quantities in these recipes, but you'll have to futz around to find the right proportion of spices, etc., for you.  2.  If you want low-fat or low-calorie, go elsewhere.  These are nutritious recipes that taste good, but I'm not currently in the dieting game and these should not be taken for diet foods.

Breakfast:  Smoothie
Smooth Operator

.5 cup plain nonfat yogurt
.5 cup nonfat milk
1 banana, frozen or fresh
.5 cup frozen blueberries
.5 cup frozen raspberries or frozen mango chunks

Toss into blender and pulverize until drinkable and delicious.

This one's a no-brainer, and it's an easy way to get 2+ servings of fruit in one meal.  Plus, it's drinkable, which means I can sip on it as I feed Olivia her breakfast in the morning.  Add a cup of tea on the side, and you have my usual morning breakfast right there.


Salmon and avocado salad sandwich (makes 2 servings)
It looks like a dog's dinner, but it tastes like your lunch!

1 can wild-caught salmon, no salt added (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
1 avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
.5 - 1 lime, to taste (I like 1 lime, but then I have a huge sourtooth)
1 chopped green onion (I like to keep a plastic container of mixed chopped green onions and cilantro in the fridge, because I wind up putting it into nearly everything.  You'll see this in action later.)
1 T chopped cilantro
Salt, pepper, and Sriracha to taste
Whole wheat bread

Smoosh up everything but the bread, then slap half of the smoosh between two pieces of bread.  Voila!  You are now immortal with the power of Omega-3's!  Good for you!  Bonus points for adding a bowl of sack salad spiked with grape tomatoes for extra vegetable virtue.  It's high in fat, but I actually like that here.  It keeps me full until dinner time.

Vegetarian Chili

Beans: delicious now, hilarious later.

1 chopped onion
2 chopped bell peppers (orange and yellow here for color)
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped chipotle in adobo
2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
.5 package of Trader Joe's fire roasted corn, or any other frozen corn
2-3 T tomato paste
1 palmful chili powder
1 palmful ground cumin
.5 palmful oregano
1-2 t cocoa powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions and cilantro (See?  I told you!) to top it all off.

Sautee the chopped onions, peppers, garlic, and chipotle in a large pot.  When softened and nicely mingled, add the rest of the ingredients except for whatever toppings you prefer.  Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and let simmer for 25 - 30 minutes.  Add the frozen corn and stir; the residual heat from the stovetop should heat it through in 5 minutes or so.  Top with yummy things and devour. 

This one's more of a time commitment, but only a commitment of 10 minutes of chopping and stirring.  Plus, it makes enough for at least 2 meals, and it's a relief to me to know that I have something delicious to heat up the next day.  Again, bonus points for adding a salad to the side.  Even more bonus points for adding a beer to the side, too.

Turkey Taco Bowl
Looks ugly.  Tastes pretty.

This one is component-heavy, though not necessarily time- or effort-heavy, so I've broken the components up using *'s.  You'll get it; you're smart people.

*1 lb ground turkey
.5 palmful chili powder
.5 palmful ground cumin
1t dried oregano
.25 t garlic powder
.25 t onion powder
cayenne to taste
salt and pepper to taste
*cooked brown rice (Rice cooker = no effort on your part whatsoever.)
*1 can black beans, including what we in this house call "bean poop," meaning undrained
1/3 package Trader Joe's frozen fire roasted corn (or any other frozen corn)
1 chopped chipotle in adobo
*chopped bell peppers (here yellow & red)
grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or any other chopped fresh tomatoes)
chopped green onions and cilantro (I TOLD you so!)
*guacamole (avocado smooshed with lime juice, green onion, cilantro, salt, and pepper to taste)
Tabasco or other hot sauce

In a large skillet brown the turkey with the spices listed below it.  In a separate pot dump the black beans, chopped chipotle, and frozen corn and cook until heated through.  Now, find yourself a big bowl and dump .5 cup brown rice, .5 cup turkey, .5 cup bean and corn mixture, 1 cup total chopped peppers and tomatoes, a healthy dash of green onion and cilantro, 4 T guacamole, and hot sauce to taste.  You can add grated cheese, too, but I find it muddies the flavors of the veggies and guacamole, so I omit it.  This makes a good amount of leftovers, too, so you're covered for more than one meal.  SLB prefers to omit the rice and eat this on a tortilla, but that's because he had a violent grudge against B vitamins and fiber.  I leave it in your hands to decide how you get this delicious goop into your own faces.

Bon Appetit!