Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

Karen’s Challenge: Quick Healthy Meals in 10 Minutes

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How do you save money and time while being healthy and happy?  And work?  And exercise?  And take care of a 3 month old baby?  I know I can do better than I’m doing right now.  But how?  Where do I start?  I decided to call on an expert.  Aunt Karen.  Think Martha Stewart meets G.I. Jane.  She has enough positive energy to fuel the sun.  She runs a daycare and hikes (or bikes) across country during summer breaks.  Everything she does is homemade, healthy, kid-friendly and CHEAP.  I convinced her to share her secrets with me.

We decided (so as not to overwhelm the already overwhelmed out-of-shape, sleep-deprived mommy) that we would slowly integrate her healthy, cost-saving methods into my routine through weekly challenges.  Here are some examples: how to make your own laundry soap; how to make homemade crackers; how to get along without a dryer; how to put more miles on your bike than your car; and how to use kale puree instead of mayo.  Whew!  I am so excited!

This week’s challenge is how to make quick healthy meals in 10 minutes or less.  The goals are: 1) make meals in 10 minutes are less; 2) never have the same meal twice; 3) use fruits and veggies that are in season; 4) try new veggies.  The key to success is planning ahead.

According to Karen, a good puree is a key element to a quick, healthy meal.  You can puree kale, lentils, beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach,  cauliflower, pumpkin, you-name-it.  She uses her purees instead of mayo or sauces.  They add a lot to a meal, but do not replace the chunky veggies or beans.  Those are important for color and texture.

HOW TO MAKE A PUREE: Steam a batch of carrots or (whatever veggies you like), run them through the blender and put the puree in a container for the fridge or freezer.  You can freeze extra amounts in ice-cube trays, which makes great baby food too!  Karen never buys baby food, instead she has a container of colorful cubes in the freezer.  One container for pureed fruits and one for veggies.  She puts puree cubes in the fridge to defrost and then puts them out on the counter so she does not have to nuke them!  Awesome!

I spent a few hours on Saturday making starches to freeze and refrigerate.  I made a large pot of quinoa, divided it up into single night portions and then popped them in the freezer.  One meal portion went in the fridge.  I also made a large pot of bulgur with some brown rice and froze dinner-size batches.  Then, I steamed broccoli and green beans and made puree.  One went in the fridge and one in the freezer.  I also went shopping and bought rolled oats, bulgur, barley, kale, avocados, bananas, ground turkey meat and chicken to name a few items.  Let’s see how the weeknight cooking goes.

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Author: Adrienne

Attorney and Professional labor and postpartum doula.

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