Posts tagged shopping

Those elusive, healthy & yummy 10-minute dinners….

Almost there!

Almost there!

It is not lost on me that the reward for completing my kitchen renovation is a return to the everyday drudgery of feeding the family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m entirely grateful for my lovely new surroundings – and they make my daily tasks easier – but I’ve quite enjoyed having 5 weeks off from the kitchen.

Lunchboxes were whatever we could find, dinners were strange, cobbled together affairs, with whatever gadgets were available. And somehow this slackening of standards seeped through to the rest of my domestic life. Suddenly the urge to keep us stocked with groceries disappeared (well, where was I going to put them, anyway?) and even my determination to keep my home vaguely clean dissipated too – as if there was any point dusting the piles of junk that covered every surface.

So while I still might be waiting for the splash back & new lights, everything in the kitchen is back to operational. There’s a lovely new oven and stove to master. Drawers that close themselves (which is lucky, since I keep opening the wrong ones all the time) and enough bench space to have both my slow cooker running AND a spot to pack lunch boxes. And it’s all a relief really, to be returning to normal. While the first couple of weeks of the reno were a glorious guilty pleasure of packaged food and takeaway, the shine tarnished somewhat by the fourth week as my battered taste buds longed for simple, fresh flavours.

So… to my promise to deliver a bunch of 10 minute meal ideas, making the most of supermarket convenience in a healthy way… and how I wish I could deliver. But I can’t really. The challenge of cooking well with a microwave, thermomix, no bench space or wash up space and a fridge down a flight of stairs and out in the garage, defeated me.

There were some winners here and there.

• Pre-mixed, pre-washed salad and BBQed meat is always a winner. But that wouldn’t have worked for my kids until a year or so ago once salad became popular.

• BBQ chicken meat, shredded in wraps (or tinned tuna) with salad was eaten often. A bit of tzatziki helps.

• The frozen salmon portions that can be microwaved were good. Expensive though, but broken up through microwave rice and frozen vegies and you’ve got a good quick dinner. Although you are cooking stuff in plastic, which always feels weird.

None of the soups I tried compared to home made. Regardless of whether they were tinned, in sachets or gourmet, their salt contents were all extreme and left me thirsty.

Of all the takeaway we ate, the clear winner was sushi, but there’s only so much cold fish I want to eat on cold nights. The kids’ first prize would be awarded to McDonalds. We had it twice and they got good toys, both times.

None of us enjoyed Pizza Hut. What’s happened there? It used to be ok, but has dumbed down to be in the running for worst takeaway around. Price wars, I guess. $4.95 for a pizza is hardly going to buy you anything good.

And the thermy? Well, I like Quirky Jo’s creamy rice & chicken soup. It’s a clear one-pot winner. And really the only yummy TM meal that I made (dinner porridge featured too often – I know, I could have cooked my own recipes, but I was wanting to just try new things). Possibly there are a bunch of good one-pot meals on the recipe community that I missed (let me know if you have any favourites).

So as much as I’d love to continue on as a mum-who-doesn’t-cook, seems I’m being forced back to work by my own damn standards. Curse you tastebuds.

What do you think? Did I miss the world’s easiest supermarket compilation meals? What are your 10-minute wonder recipes that keep you going on the more hectic days?

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And while I’ve been slack with blogging here, I did post over at Mother & Baby the other day, explaining the story behind this craft masterpiece.

photo-3

You can read all about it here.

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Comments (8) »

Yes we can!

...preferably with butter, sugar and cinnamon.

The other night when I was buttering up a toasted piece of Baker’s Delight cinnamon fruit loaf I had a nostalgic flash of good old fashioned cinnamon toast. Remember it? Back in the 1970s when there were still cafeterias and rather than table service, you got to slide a tray down a length of metal grill. There was no finer snack than thin white toast smothered in butter, sugar and cinnamon.

So WHY exactly, rather than spending about 25 cents on the components needed to create my own, am I spending $4.60 on a mini loaf of artisan bread instead?

Somewhere between age 8 and 38 I have become a domestic retard. Bombarded with niche products that ‘simplify’ our lives, I’ve been brainwashed away from the joy of simple things. Even trying to buy white bread is complicated these days. (There’s an interesting article here on Australia’s bread buying habits). Which vitamins do I want embedded in my loaf? How MANY grains are there in my slice? More proof that nothing easy is actually easy.

So I move on to the topping. Do I want sugar? Or a synthetic substitute. There’s a choice of saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and stevia. And the cinnamon? Is it really cinnamon, or cassia? My guilty pleasure of the occasional cinnamon scroll doesn’t seem so fun now that I know there’s not actually any cinnamon in it.

So anyway, next time you pop by, how about I whip you up a chia slice with olive oil spread, splenda and cassia powder?

No, maybe not, because even though the world around me gets more crazy every day, and despite being constantly seduced by the thousands of items surrounding me in the supermarket, I have the power to say STOP! I just want cinnamon toast. And YES I CAN make it, too.

Yes you can, cinnamon toast

Whip this comfort food up for your littlies. They’ll love it as much as you used to.

1 slice white bread
Whatever yellow spread you have, for buttering toast
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp sugar

Toast your bread. Slather on the spread. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and sugar. You’re done.

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