When I was a little kid, all I wanted out of life was to be a grown-up. I’d be free to make my own decisions! I’d be independent! I’d be my own woman!
I wouldn’t have to spend all day with mean girls just because they were the only girls in my class, I wouldn’t have to take another math test ever again, I’d be able to study what I want and read what I want and eat what I want. Sure, there’d be bills to pay and work to do, but it meant that I’d be responsible for my own life and totally in control! Life would be a picnic!
As it turns out, actually being a grown-up is weird. I know, I know: I’m 32 and I should be all adjusted to adulthood and whatnot. But I have to say: it takes some getting used to.
Amen, sister soultrain. PREACH.
One of the weirdest things about working a 9-5 job (and, um, probably adulthood writ large) is the extent to which all the stuff I love, enjoy, or just generally need to do happens outside the office. Writing, cooking dinner, working out, hanging out with Brandon, calling my parents, ensuring that I have clean clothes to wear…the list goes on, and it’s all stuff that definitely can’t be done while I’m in the office.
This makes the minimal waking hours I spend outside work particularly special, but it also means that I run around like a headless chicken trying to get stuff done. Must cook article! Write dinner! Put the laundry in the oven! Wait, what?
As one of my dear friends so aptly put it, “I’m persistently amazed that I manage to arrive at places dressed, on time with mostly matching socks. It’s the little things we have to appreciate.”
Yes and yes.
For this week’s WIAW, here’s a rundown of some of the dishes I managed to throw together — all while wearing matching socks, no less, so I can feel good about that much. Adulthood win!
Anyways, on to the main event — with thanks to Jenn from Peas & Crayons for hosting.
Coffee and toast before the gym, followed by green smoothies galore (made with kale, Vega vanilla almondilla powder, banana, almond milk, and honey) and, on the weekend, an egg white omelet with monterey jack cheese:
Lunches and Snacks:
I get all giddy around lunchtime when I’m faced with the prospect of another meal (you know you love food when…), but the lentil soup I’d made for the week was a spectacular flop. So, in light of that culinary fail, I decided to throw together some salad for my lunches. What you don’t see here is that said salads involve loads of chicken, chickpeas, grapes, red onions, and shredded carrots. Giant salads = bliss.
Snacks include apples with almonds, Mary’s Gone Crackers with Alouette garlic and herb cheese, Greek yogurt with Udi’s GF granola, and loads of fruit. Oh, and cereal. But that goes without saying, does it not?
This is where things get interesting. When I’m pressed for time, I tend to throw things together and create meals based on what we have available (while we usually plan out our meals for the week, sometimes it’s just too steenkeeng hard to stick with the plan once I get home from work at night).
Exhibit A: Late last week, I was pressed for time after I got home and didn’t have time to cook the originally planned meal. We had a package of pre-made chicken tikka masala on hand for precisely this sort of situation (thank you, Costco), so I added some organic frozen spinach and served it up with some GF pita bread. Et voila!
Exhibit B: Earlier this week, I planned to cook pork chops topped with caraway seeds — but as I was prepping the dish, I realized that we had apples and carrots that I wanted to use before they went bad. On a whim, I threw them into the mix with some onion and garlic — and happily, the dish wound up being pretty effing good (especially considering the improvised additions).
I really liked the combination of the savory garlic and onions with the sweet apples (as far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with garlic and onion), and it wound up being a great compliment for the pork chop. Here’s the recipe:
- 5 pork chops, sprinkled generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and caraway seeds
- 2 cups sliced apples
- 1 diced onion
- 10 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 cup carrots
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350. Place the pork chops in a heavy baking pan. Mix the apples, carrots, garlic, onions, oil, vinegar, white wine, salt and pepper in a bowl, then pour around the pork chops. Generously sprinkle the pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder and caraway seeds.
Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer stuck into the center of each pork chop reads at least 155-160.
Serve and enjoy!
What are your go-to meals/cooking tactics when you’re pressed for time? Do you rely on pre-made goodies? Do you throw together improvised meals?