After 7 years as a stay at home wife and mom, I have re-entered the work force. Earlier this week, I became a preschool teacher. I believe this job was a direct answer to prayer. It fits beautifully into our family's schedule without the need for outside childcare. My oldest daughter won't even know I'm working since she's in full day school, and my youngest daughter will go to school where I teach (in fact, she was already attending 2 days per week).However, I must admit that I quickly realized how hard it is to eat real foods when you get home from a busy day at work, you're tired, already hungry, and you haven't prepared anything in advance (and I'm only part-time...I don't know how those with full-time jobs do it!).
Real foods are not always convenient, but I also don't think thy have to be all that difficult either. I quickly realized that I'm going to have to be super organized, plan ahead, and keep convenient foods in the house.
I'm going to go back to planning a weekly menu. I used to do this, but at some point I got out of the habit. I never designated a meal for each specific day, but merely made sure that I had all ingredients on hand for 5-7 meals to be prepared that week. Also, now that we're eating real foods, I've got to prepare foods in advance....like making sure we have bread, yogurt, etc. Sandwiches are a great convenience food, but if you've forgotten to bake bread, it doesn't really work.
Other items I would consider convenience foods are fresh fruit, cheeses, nuts, salads, vegetables, etc. (those things that you can grab and eat with little to no preparation when you come home already hungry and too tired to cook). But, that means I've got to keep those items in the house.
I quickly realized that dinner isn't my only problem. Breakfast is proving to be just as challenging. The likelihood of me cooking eggs, bacon, or anything other than toast for breakfast is slim to none. The girls are usually happy with fresh fruit or yogurt (or both). I love a good bagel or English muffin. However, after reading labels on the store bought versions, I've crossed them off my grocery list. I decided to find a recipe and make my own. And, since they won't keep as long as store bought, I will store them in the freezer so they will be available when I want one. Today I made my first batch of homemade bagels and they are delish!! I must admit, I used all bread flour and no whole wheat, but, with only a few ingredients, they are a much better alternative to store bought bagels. I might try them with whole wheat in the future, but wanted to see if it was a good recipe to work from. I can't wait to try them with some of the goat cheese I bought from the farmers market this morning! I also made hamburger buns using the pita dough recipe, yogurt, and granola.
Homemade Bagel recipe Goat cheese from Coles Lake Dairy. It is fantastic!! Clockwise from top left: cranberry, peach, and strawberry.
More goat cheese from Coles Lake Dairy. I've bought this variety pack twice and it only lasted a couple of days last time!! Clockwise from top left: onion & chive (?, I can't remember), roasted garlic, Mediterranean, and herb.