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Help! Looking for dinner ideas for me and my 4 year old...


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Motivational Quote of the Day: "Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction." From the Motivational Spark pages.

Today was so hard!!! I started off well at breakfast, did fair for lunch and then felt lost at dinner time. It is so hard to get motivated to take the time to plan and prepare meals when it is just myself and my four year old daughter at home when my husband is traveling. I have just got to find a way to get a handle on this because I want to continue building a solid foundation of eating habits for her and I don't want my bad habits to rub off on her!

Sadly, I polished off the last of my most difficult candy-the cadbury eggs-so luckily those are gone for the season! I just can't seem to eat only one at a time-I ended up eating 3! It is funny how I seem to have such control over some things, and less, if not hardly any , over others. Oh well-beyond that, I had a bowl of cereal, jello and an english muffin for dinner. What the heck kind of dinner is that? Who does that? I can't believe I am admitting this out loud!
My daughter had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Uug-I can't believe I admitted that out loud either.

Does anyone have any suggestions on easy dinner ideas in this situation? I wish I felt more comfortable using my crock pot, but I just don't like having it on all day when I am not here. I am trying to think of meals that are simple, yet not so processed, like box dinners and stuff. Any ideas are welcome!

Maybe I will check out the Spark receipes for ideas too. Anything would be better than a repeat of tonight!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KLUTZY68 5/7/2013 3:45PM

    I also love crockpots and yes they are sae but you don't HAVE to use one. Try batch cooking. Just an example: make a large pot of rice or several baked potatoes, a large pot of vegetables, and a panful of chicken parts. Reheat each plateful in the micro. Carry to work and heat in their micro. Couldn't be easier. Casseroles are another good reheatable food, same with soups. Or make a roast and eat sandwiches. To avoid cooking and prepping vegies, buy those boxes of salad or mesclun greens; if I have a big salad every day a 1 lb box lasts me about a week--be sure to check the date. It's nice to add some other vegies but again you don't HAVE to. When they get too limp for salads they can be cooked. I love blue cheese dressing, but since it's so caloric I use crumbled blue cheese instead. Yum.

I am finding that if I don't eat a hearty breakfast AND drink enough water I will binge at night. I do best when it includes vegetables, so now I usually have a 2 egg omelet with at least 1/2C chopped veg and 1/2 oz full-fat cheese, plus 1 piece of whole grain toast. Or dinner leftovers with good protein and veg, or a mcmuffin-y sandwich with veg on the side. YMMV but this is working really well for me. When you say you started off well at b'fast, this sounds to me like you're not eating much. Do NOT undereat! It's a setup for disaster. And drink that water! emoticon

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TRACYLYNN853 4/3/2013 10:21PM

    Ya I agree, crockpots are good, and you can make anything in them.

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BETHS60 4/3/2013 6:22PM

    When I used to have to go to the office, I used to leave the crock pot on all day. I never had a problem. And it was so nice to come home to a dinner that was nearly done and delicious smells wafting through the house. I just made sure that nothing was touching the crock post.

My husband had to go out of town some times when the kids were little. Here are some ideas.
1. Not everything has to be cooked. Adding some sliced apples and carrot sticks can make any meal more nutritious. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are delicious raw. They are sweet and very kid-friendly.
2. Ants-on-a-log. It's like pb&j, but healthier. Put peanut butter on some celery and stick raisins on it. It's got fruit, vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, and a fun name which lets a 4-year-old imagine she is eating bugs.
Also, you can slice a banana lengthwise and spread it with peanut butter, and put it back together. It's like a sandwich, but healthier. I've done the same thing with apple slices, too.
3. If I was feeling bad about not providing a hot meal for my children, I would heat a can of baked beans, and I felt like it almost counted, even if I was really only serving sandwiches.
4. When the kids were little, they used to sell macaroni in the shape of dinosaurs. I would heat soup stock (homemade, if I had it, or boxed if I didn't) and boil the noodles in it. Soup in 10 minutes! Then we would add frozen peas so the soup wouldn't be so hot. I haven't seen dinosaur noodles in a long time, but I think you can still get alphabets or other fun shapes.

Hang in there!

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LIV2RIDE 4/3/2013 5:08PM

    The crockpot is a very good option. There are lots of things you could make and have lots of leftovers. Other than that I love a grain (rice, quinoa, couscous etc.) and steamed veggies. You can even saute them and put them over the rice. When I don't feel like cooking I will heat up some baked beans and a sweat potato, maybe toss in some steamed broccoli. I love snobby joes (lentil version of sloppy joes) with some sweet potato fries and a veggie. Soups are great and filling.

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OOLALA53 4/2/2013 11:50PM

    Crockpots are MADE to be left alone! This is from the official Crockpot site: Can slow cookers be unattended?
Crock-PotŪ Slow Cookers are designed to run all day. The outer heating base will be hot as it cooks. The heating element in the heating base functions at a low wattage and may be used on your countertops.

I have a collection of bottled sauces I've experimented with over the years. They don't have a lot of preservatives, etc. I also tend to cook large batches of grains and freeze them. Same with beans. I keep frozen and fresh veggies on hand. I sometimes buy a roasted chicken. That lasts me quite a few meals. When I used to buy hamburger, I'd form it into burgers before freezing it. These cook up faster than you'd think. Keep tortillas and whole wheat pitas around. I heat the food separately or together for variety and add the sauces. Most of my dinners take only 10-15 minutes to heat and assemble.

BTW, I live alone and almost always have, but I still make myself meals almost every day. It's just a matter of learning to have the foods on hand. It didn't happen overnight, but it happened! emoticon

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DETERMINED_ME 4/2/2013 11:49PM

    I love my crock pot meals! I understand being nervous about using it when not home but I love using mine anytime.

I use SP recipes all the time. We like trying new things (the kids don't) but we do. Just keep pushing, you'll get there.

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SEATTLE58 4/2/2013 10:44PM

    SP recipes are so good here and I've tried so many. It's fun to browse around and figure out what you and your daughter would want. You can make some dishes for eating some now and then freeze for take-out later. I love alot of the Mexican ones with corn tortillas like stuffed with cooked chicken breasts, cut up and with a mixture of low-fat soups, chilis, salsa, reduced fat cheeses, red. fat sour cream, olives, whatever kind of things you like and with using some of the mixture for filling the tortillas and with putting the rest on top of the tortillas rolled up and with cheese sprinkles last minutes, it can get quite yummy. I try to stay away from pastas and white rice and potatoes too, like you. The flour tortillas work good also, they just count up faster. That's one idea anyway. There are lots of other things to try that I know you'd love! You're doing so good, just keep doing all your good things and I will too!
emoticon emoticon Karen

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-BENI- 4/2/2013 10:13PM

    Oh Susan good thing we don't live near each other! We'd surely be having Cadbury Egg snacks together - I too love them!!!

I don't like using a slow cooker when I'm not home either. What about making soups or stews if you like them.

It still will take time to make the changes. Hang in there, you're doing great!
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