Today I drank coffee. Needless to say, the morning went a little better than it would have otherwise. I looked for the cocoa but couldn’t find it this morning, and so I stuck with adding a bit of vanilla extract, a dab of maple syrup and a glop of whole milk. The maple syrup added a very different flavor to the coffee—not bad, not delicious either, but it will do. I’ll look forward to seeing how the cocoa works with the maple syrup when I find it in our pantry. (I recently reorganized things, which also means that things are not always where I think that they should be).
Yesterday I wrote about how dependent on packaged foods I have become when the days are busier. With a little planning though a very busy day worked out. Just to give you a snapshot--
7:30am—dropped daughter off at school
8:15am—made a visit to an assisted living
8:45am—went to see a friend who was having surgery this morning
9:30am—went to our church to introduce the speaker for the Young at Heart meeting and drop off some donations
10:30am—went into the office to take care of some paperwork
11:30am—met with a student for supervision
12:30pm—left to pick up our daughter
1:10pm—back at home
The afternoon continued by helping our daughter with homework, picking up eggs from our egg farmer, and doing housework and gardening.
Given that there wasn’t much time in between things, I planned a simple meal for lunch that I could nosh on when I had short breaks. Pineapple, banana, crackers, hummus, and carrots and celery. I also packed a couple of jugs of tea. Moral of the story—you can have a busy day and still manage to eat healthy on the run. The key is, and I would dare say will always be, preparation. Had I not known that I was going to have a busy day, doubled the recipe for the hummus and cleaned more carrots and celery, I would have been out of luck for lunch.
I told y’all that I’ve watched the TED Talks on Netflix that relate to food issues. One of the speakers mentioned that a key element in looking at our food security and ability to eat well is to have one person in the family (more is always helpful) who gives food some thought. Someone must ensure that food is purchased or grown so that there is enough to prepare, and then that the food is defrosted or prepped so that meals are able to be cooked in a timely manner. Someone must take the job of budgeting so that there is enough food throughout the month, not only at payday. Someone must pay attention to leftovers and reducing waste so as to not limit the family financially. All of those steps were once taken by the mother of the household, but as we have become busier, as our families have shifted to less traditional roles, mealtime has become lost in the mix.
The idea that we now live in a culture where people on TV shows have to offer public service announcements to remind us the importance of eating supper together as a family is a little absurd to me. Yet at the same time, I am reminded that just the other night our daughter and I ate in the car as we were waiting for her dance class. We still ate home cooked food, but we did it in a car for Pete’s sake! I realize how easy it is to slip into a mode of running, running, running all of the time and forgetting to take time for important things.
What is the solution? I’m not sure. I bet there are think tanks working on that solution and how to market and sell it to all of us, though! I think that for our family there are a few things that help. When I have a busier day (work, charity work, socially, whatever), my husband is really good about helping to make sure mealtime works. He helps with preparation, sometimes will pull out something from the freezer to eat as a leftover, and works with me on the dishes and cleanup. (Lesson—the entire family working together on the meal lightens the load). I know that when I take the time to plan our meals and shopping trips, mealtime goes much more smoothly and we are less likely to fall back on prepackaged and prepared foods as a last resort. (Lesson—Preparation and Planning) Another important step is realizing that activities do not have to happen every single night for your child to be happy and healthy. Right now our daughter has one activity outside of church and school (dance class), and she will soon be transitioning from that into swim lessons as a refresher for the summer. If we went from ball practice to dance lessons to piano lessons each week, we really would eat in the car regularly! What’s more, our family time would be lost. Supper provides more than a time for nourishment. It teaches your family that they are important and valued. It gives you a chance to connect and communicate as a family. (Lesson—you can’t have it all. Decide what is important to you for your family. All of our answers aren’t going to be the same. What works for our family won’t for others).
Now for my update on food--
Breakfast—Baked oatmeal (basically the soaked oatmeal that was leftover from yesterday reheated for today) with real maple syrup and organic butter
Supper—Egg Scramble (farm fresh eggs cooked with butter and a bit of olive oil, asparagus and onions from the garden, and zucchini that we froze last summer), Toast with organic butter (local bread), radishes fresh from the garden, and pineapple
Snacks—bread with organic butter (I’m really loving this fresh, local bread!)
Drinks—coffee (mentioned above), iced unsweetened tea, and milk