Sunday, January 11, 2009

A good start to 2009

Happy New Year!

If I have one "motto" for 2009, I think it will be "Keep it simple but effective". I'm tired of trying to do everything all at once and ending up doing nothing. Ever feel that way?

So, no big challenges, no grand plan to reinvent the wheel. We have a new plan at Weight Watchers and I'm approaching it as a new member. I'm reading the plan, following the plan as written without any attempt to "better the plan".

I've also started a major decluttering of the house. It's the second time we do it, and this time it's for real. We plan on moving this year, so I'm pairing down what I own to the minimum. It's so refreshing to let go of stuff and just go back to the essential! I love it!

I'm also simplified my cooking a lot. I got to the point where cooking meant 2-3 hours in the kitchen, to the point where I wasn't enjoying cooking anymore.

I've been trying now to cook once for at least 2 days of food. This started with a need to save money, and now honestly, it makes my life much easier.

Here's a few sample of my "cook now eat a few meals":

Barley Pilaf:

Thursday night we had a vegetarian attack. I made a Spicy Barley Pilaf that I served with roasted asparagus and zucchini slices.

The following day we ate the leftover barley with sandwiches.

I know, barley with bread, carbs galore, but see? that's what I mean by keeping it simple. I wanted bread and barley, I had bread and barley. Counted it, end of the story.

Last summer I would have felt the need to cook something complicated because you just can't have bread with barley. Guess what? I did, and I survived!

Caribbean Drumsticks
and Vegetable Rice:

Saturday we had a lot to do so early in the morning I prepared everything to make Caribbean Drumsticks in the crock pot. I went to Costco and put the chicken to cook when I came back.

It cooked all day smelling just heavenly.

When we started getting hungry, I threw chopped onion, carrots, celery and red bell pepper in the chopper attachment of my immersion blender. Minced all that and sauteed it a few minutes in a pan.

In the meantime, I microwaved Trader Joes frozen brown rice. Once the vegetables were softened (2-3 minutes of cooking) I added the rice, a little bit of broth, salt and pepper.

Dinner! With about 10 minutes (or less) of preparation.

I had leftovers of both the chicken and the rice. I also saved the cooking juice from the chicken. With that and the jalapeno chicken sausages I bought today at Trader Joes I was planning on making a soup later this week, but my husband had a great idea:

I sauteed 2 sliced sausages in my pan, added the cooking juices from the chicken last night, the rest of the chicken and 1/3 cup of edamame. I cooked that covered for about 2 minutes, added the rice, mixing well, a little broth, covered again and cooked for another 2 minutes.

I served that with green salad and baby carrots:

The chicken and rice mixture was pretty spicy, so the simple cold vegetables were a good "neutral" to eat with it.

We still have half left for lunch tomorrow. So with 1 crock pot recipe, we have 3 meals!

So simple and uncomplicated is the rule, and so far we're enjoying it!!

Be good n stuff!

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