Now that both of my daughters are working, I feel like I'm becoming the frantic frugal veggie mama. Food prep and cooking have to be fit in between driving the girls to and from work, as well as, picking up Jim at the train station and swim team/swim lessons for Rob and Kyle.
Fortunately, everything is concentrated in one location that is only 15 minutes from our house. Jim's train gets in just in time for us to pick him up and get the boys/girls to the Y in time for their class/job. While the boys are doing their thing, Jim takes time to exercise. I sit in the bleachers watching the swim lesson/team and knit. Knitting makes me feel like I'm doing something productive while I'm stuck there.
Food is a little trickier. On Mondays and Wednesdays (our most hectic nights), I'm trying to have dinner done and the boys fed before we leave for all the evening activities. It doesn't always work out so well. Last night Rob loved the mac and cheeze so much that he had a second serving and wound up with cramps while he was swimming!
I also made some burgers using leftover Cajun Black Eyed Peas. Right before we left, I turned the oven off but left the burgers in. They got nice and crispy using the residual heat and were still piping hot when we got back.
One positive thing about this time of year is that the veggies I'm working with are generally frozen. This means they've already been cleaned and cut which saves me precious time. If you were looking for something good to say about winter that might be it!
At Ruthie's suggestion, I've been trying recipes from Simple Recipes from the Pack . So far I'm pleased with the results, everything has been tasty and holds up well in the lunch box. I had to ration the Anzac cookies they were such a big hit. (I cut the sugar in this recipe almost by 1/2.)
I did destroy a batch of Pumpkin Pie Cakes by accidentally putting in 1 tsp of nutmeg instead of 1/4 tsp! On first bite the kids said they tasted great. Then, their faces turned and they said there was some kind of an after taste (overpowering nutmeg). I couldn't bear to throw them out so Jim and I choked through the last of them today. I'll try them again with a keener eye on the spice amounts.
I'm anxious to try the corn cracker recipe Ruthie spoke of. I'm planning on trying it tonight to serve with a bean and fennel soup. If it goes well, it will make a great lunch box addition to go along with soup in general. (Crackers come under my definition of fun foods that are best served with more functional foods like soup.)
Ultimately, I'd like to create a repertiore of high nutrition snacks that hold well to make on the weekend and use during the week. Things you could grab when you find yourself low on time. If you're thinking, it sounds like she wants to make a nutrition bar without the wrapper, you're not too far off. The convenience of something like a Clif bar is undeniable but the expense and the wrapper waste is unbelievable. I've dabbled in this before but I need to get more serious about it. I think this cookbook is a good place to start.
Healthy foods and teenagers with spending money don't always walk hand in hand. I'm trying to encourage both of my daughters to peruse this cookbook, or any of my cookbooks, for foods they can bring along with them to work and school. This is very much a work in progress.