Making New Habits

I’ve been trying to feed my family better.

I’ve tried “light-on-the-grains-veggie-loaded” meals and I’ve tried the “I-barely-use-the-oven-only-the-frying-pan” meals, but the ones that everyone eats the best (even moody toddlers who may or may not like something depending on the day) are the “real” meals made in the oven.

All last winter, I was focused on Weight Watchers and somehow I thought that casseroles and baked potatoes were too high calorie to eat while committed to a healthy lifestyle.

Now I’m realizing that when we eat a warm and satisfying meal, everyone is happier, eats better and more satisfied.

Two nights ago, I made a tuna casserole my mom had made a million times when I was a kid. Very easy.

A cup of noodles (I always use whole wheat and I used macaroni but it would do well with egg noodles);
a cup of milk (I’d like to use skim, but instead went with Leila’s 2% lactose free milk so her stomach wouldn’t get upset);
a can of creamed mushroom or celery or chicken soup (I used chicken because I don’t like mushroom soup, and I also used the low-fat, low-sodium option, although someone suggested skim milk powder mixed with broth for a lower fat alternative – which I’ll try);
a can of tuna (I always buy yellowfin -in water as opposed to oil- because it’s lower in mercury);
a cup of frozen peas;
top with grated cheese, if you want
dump it all in a casserole dish, stir with a wodden spoon just to get everything mixed up and bake for an hour.

Today I put together a Pork and Tomato Ragout, which is actually a slow cooker recipe, but my slow cooker is hard to clean and I have a pretty red casserole dish that I like to use so I just put everything into it (2lbs pork stew meat, 2lbs chopped red-skinned potatoes, 14oz can of diced tomatoes, 11/4cup white wine, garlic) and will put it in the oven around four. I’ll probably cook some broccoli too, to add a green. Leila will not touch potatoes, but if I can get her to eat some pork and broccoli, I’ll be happy.

I’ve started letting the girls run and burn off some steam after lunch and before nap and during that time, I clean the kitchen’s morning mess and get as much ready for supper as I can. It makes the afternoons much easier.

In the past two days, I’ve made two batches of muffins (some went directly into the freezer) to replace the snacks of cereal bars and goldfish crackers. Like I told my mom, they’re not sugar free, but they’re preservative free.

Eventually, I’d like to switch to organic meat and milk, but our grocery store doesn’t carry much organic choice, and the price is an issue too. At least for now, I can offer balanced, home cooked meals.

Things have been good this week, and I’ve been keeping myself busy in the kitchen and with the girls. My goal is to establish our eating habits this way, and although I know there will be times when the world is falling around my shoulders and we end up eating toast for supper, if it’s established, we’ll always come back to it.

(Also, Alena was sent home from daycare today with pink eye. Am currently using over-the-counter eye drops and waiting for our appointment tomorrow. As soon as they said those two words, my eyes got itchy. Blergh.)

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