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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Branching out...

I have decided that the only way that I am ever going to break my habit of hitting a drive thru on my way home from work is if I know that I have easy-to-prepare foods waiting for me at home that will not require an hour to cook.  I get out of work anywhere between 7 and 7:15 PM usually, and my commute home, if I don't make any stops, is about 40-45 minutes.  Therefore, I usually get home right around 8 PM, and this is too late for me to start and finish cooking dinner.  Add to that the fact that I usually try to be in bed by 9 PM if I am working the next day (because I get up at 4:30 AM to go to work), and this explains, sort of, the fast food route that I often take.  I do make sure, 90% of the time, that what I am getting fits into my calorie goals for the day (which means I eat a lot of Chick-fil-a), but it doesn't fit into my overall goals because fast food is not good for you and should not be more than an occasional meal choice.

I also really have to realize that my formerly transient life has settled into something now.  I have, in the last 11 years, spent time living with a roommate, living on my own, living with my parents and attending nursing school, living with my fiance and attending nursing school, living with my husband and attending nursing school, living with my husband and working night shift, and living with my husband and working the weekend day shift.  I have been on the weekend day shift for about a year and a half, and I don't foresee that changing for quite a while.  However, I have had such a history of things changing every few years that I have not ever really gotten into a routine.  I don't cook dinner all that often, and I often find myself reaching for convenience foods.  However, I don't want to spend the rest of my life eating this way, so it's time to realize that things don't seem like they are going to be changing much for a while, so now is the time to make a plan that I can stick to.

I don't really know that I will ever be one of those people who does all the cooking for the week on one day and fills her freezer with things that just have to be popped into the oven.  However, I can certainly cook up some grains (like maybe a pot of brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or barley) and keep them on hand for quick meals.  I can cook up some chicken or pork each week and use it in meals when I get home after work.  I can keep some beans on hand and cooked up for a quick protein option.  And I can commit to cooking dinner on the night that my husband and I are home together, instead of relying on my old stand-by of flour tortillas with cheese melted on them when I need a quick dinner.  I can keep more veggies around the house (even if they are of the frozen variety), and I can keep fewer boxed items in my pantry.  This week, I am off of work for four days, so I want to go to my local health food store and explore the bulk grain options (and restock my supply of steel cut oats).  I also want to spend some time scouring the internet for ideas for cooking up said grains.  A quick pilaf should not be that difficult, and simple stuff like that can be so yummy!

As I mentioned, I have quite a taste for flour tortillas.  I am going to try making my own this week!  I found a recipe for a whole wheat tortilla that has only four ingredients in it...whole wheat flour, water, vegetable oil (I will use canola), and salt (I will use sea salt).  In comparison, my tortillas I buy have about 20 ingredients in them, some of which I don't even know what they are for.  So this will be an interesting experiment!  I hope it works!

Other than that, this week will hopefully include four gym trips and my yoga and pilates class tonight.  And I am going to cut down on the amount of Splenda-sweetened diet flavored sparking waters I am drinking and rely more on my one liter Nalgene bottle (BPA-free!) with one packet of Wild Strawberry Crystal Lite in it.  It's double-diluted, so the taste isn't too strong, but it makes the water go down much more easily.  My goal is three bottles per day on most days.  I also recently put a Pur water filter on my kitchen faucet, and I am not hating drinking water that does not come in a bottle!  That will cut down both on the amount of money I spend on water and the amount of plastic that goes into our recycling bin.

Make it a great day, everyone!

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