Jul 7, 2017

What we eat in a week (ish)

I love seeing what people eat and cook.
My domestic cooking journey has evolved a bit over the past year. When I was pregnant I just couldn't stand being in our kitchen. I would sometimes tie a hoody around my face so that I could get something I needed (milk or carbs - there was no inbetween) from the fridge without smelling anything 😂
At 25 weeks I could go back in the kitchen but I got no enjoyment from cooking.

Fast-forward to a few weeks post-partum and I was so hungry but Josh was reacting with acid reflux to any dairy and actually, a whole load of foods. I did an elimination diet (great way to lose all your pregnancy weight, FYI) which was no fun but made me appreciate every single food I was able to add back in.

We had a holiday in Fiji during this time and all I could safely have from the breakfast buffet was steamed rice and bacon... and even the bacon I wasn't sure about!

These days I can eat most foods again but dairy in my breastmilk still makes my little guy very unhappy. I'm also avoiding onion and garlic and a bunch of spices because they've been making him upset too... along with fatty food, sugary food, acidic food, and so on! But it still feels like I can eat so much, compared to the first few weeks of elimination diet. And that has given me a new enjoyment of cooking that I never had before. 

It's Winter here and I've embraced the one-pot meal mentality. If I can't make it in one or two easy steps (preferably in advance since I often have to do dinner prep in the morning or early arvo before witching hours) then it's not happening. Most of these meals can just do their thing in the oven so I don't have to hover over a frying pan for half an hour getting splatted and bouncing my baby with one foot.  Hearty soups and stews make the winter rain and frigid temps feel ok.


Monday!

This meal is on repeat in our house these days. It's so simple but always feels clean and healthy, but very hearty too. 

Method: brown chicken in the cast iron pot on stovetop, then add in diced pumpkin, 1-2 cans chickpeas and some kind of green veggies (we've used brussel sprouts and zucchini). Fill up almost halfway (or more for a more saucy finish) with water, season with salt, and bake for up to 2 hours in a moderate oven. The water basically turns into chicken stock which I like.  We serve it with rice.

I'm against chopping raw pumpkin (can never find the axe when I need it...😜 ) so I bake the whole thing in the oven, then when it's soft it's so easy to slice up. 




Tuesday!
On this day the hubs was working late, which was lucky because I had forgotten my grocery list at the supermarket on Monday (my grocery day) and didn't have the right ingredients to make what I wanted anyway. So Ella and I had raw carrots and I made kumara chips/wedges. There was also leftover chicken... We seem to end up with one of these nights every week or two.

Wednesday!
Essentially the same meal as the chicken, but using beef instead that was browned in flour before baking, and cooked together with parsnip and carrot. This one I served with mashed potatoes but I prefer to avoid doing that with potatoes... too many steps!!
[This food mountain belongs to my husband ;) ]

Thursday
I made these basic burritos on wheatmeal wraps as something different for everyone to eat, but I probably will save this meal for Summer in the future, and for when I can have all the spices and chilli and onion and garlic! It's pretty good tho - the minced beef was cooked with corn, kidney beans, and canned tomatoes.





Friday
On a rainy Friday or Saturday I quite like making a basic soup from any leftover pumpkin. It's essentially just thinned-out pumpkin puree, using either water or stock or milk. For flavour some pureed celery stalks and spices don't go amiss.


Extras
I've been slowly building my repertoire of dairy-free baking. If I need to take something to share with a group, I've been making these cookies below (I'll post the recipe here someday), and also these muffins were awesome.



If I get round to it during the week, I bake bread one or two times. I never did this until we got a mixer with a dough hook and that makes it seem easy. This recipe is from my sister-in-law and probably should be blogified one day too :)


So there you go. In the past I've always said that I hate cooking dinner - it seems like such a waste watching an hour of work + many more minutes doing dishes, just to be inhaled in 5 minutes. I hated choosing what to make, I hated endless trips to the supermarket and I hated realising it was 4pm and I didn't what I was going to cook. And I really, really hated all the mess it made. 

Meal planning has been a huge help to me with that stuff, and actually being forced to leave out certain ingredients makes me appreciate what I can cook that much more. I'm already preparing for the day that I can have all the spices and dairy and work my way through my cook books. I've been concocting an elaborate butter chicken recipe in my head (it has to have the tandoori-chicken-grilled-for-12-hours-over-charcoal taste, and the sauce has to be dark red with sweet caramelised tomato and a cardamomy hit. Not that I'm fussy.....) and I can't wait to test it out. 

What are your go-to meals for busy weeknights? 






    

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