Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIAW | Busy Eats

I'd like to pretend that we've had a week of balanced, healthy, produce filled dinners but the truth of the matter is, this week has been so busy. Between finishing school, nursing myself back to health from an infection, and preparing for my trip, I haven't had much time for meal planning. I thought about skipping WIAW for the week but after some thought, I realized that it's really okay to not have a week of perfect eats. (Though browsing the WIAW linkup hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons has me regretting not asking some of you for your meal plans instead!)

Lately, we haven't been eating weeknight dinners. With Trevor waking up so early to leave for work and our nights filled with homework, blogging and trips to the gym, we decided to forgo the pile of dishes that dinner typically creates. I'm currently trying to find someone willing to clean the kitchen for me everyday in exchange for baked goods. So for today, WIAW is limited to breakfast and lunch.

We are still playing with what Trevor can eat and in the meantime we've settled on alternating two breakfast choices - cinnamon rolls and breakfast hash. Though the variations change each time, we particularly loved a combination of breakfast sausage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots. (We actually loved it so much that we mixed the leftovers with chicken for tacos as dinner later.) With avocados in season and on sale, I've found myself incorporating them into everything - including breakfast. I think that putting a sliced avocado over eggs or hash is a great way to add extra nutrition early in the day.

Last week we were able to enjoy an unseasonably warm stretch of days but now, the Montana winter is back with a vengeance. I sat through an early morning meeting and when it was over, my lips were purple. So, while I have been carefully budgeting over the past few weeks, I had to make an exception for a hot chai latte after my web design meeting. I also attempted to warm up with a bowl of  (way too) spicy chili for lunch. I've set aside Sunday evenings for making soup, it's my way of making Trevor's cold work week a little bit easier. Last week, three-bean vegetarian chili and this week a homemade hearty beef stew with lots of  fresh vegetables from our new co-op.

With our limited meals and my busy schedule, I've found myself eating a lot of snacks. For those of you that are gluten-free, have you seen these new cheese crackers from Van's Natural Foods? I stumbled upon them in the miniature gluten-free section of our Walmart and they've been on our grocery list since. My memory may be compensating after three years without but I truly think they taste just like Cheeze-It crackers. I could be wrong. Other healthy snacks have included Mott's Medley fruit snacks made from fruit and vegetable juice, and lots of fresh fruit from this week's basket - pears, apples, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple. If you are in a participating state, I can't suggest Bountiful Baskets enough.

And, as you've quickly realized, I've been doing a lot of experimenting with vegan baking lately. With college classes finished for at least six months, I've found myself with extra time in the kitchen. After we got four juicy bright lemons admist our produce this week, I couldn't stop thinking about lemon chess pie. Unfortunately, eggs are basically a necessity for the filling and so I improvised with gluten-free vegan lemon cookies. While they didn't turn out quite as pretty as I would have liked, the taste is the perfect balance of tart lemon and sweet, buttery flavors, only without the milk, of course. Since I enjoyed eating them (and making candied lemon peel) so much, I may have to work on a perfected version to share with you.

So tell me, what have you been snacking on? Would you clean my kitchen in exchange for some cookies?

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