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Discussion Starter #1
And I mean really burnt out on it. Complicated recipes, cooking, washing excessive amounts of dishes, the whole bit. I don't know if it's the holidays or what, but I really want to start a simpler, quicker way of eating that doesn't involve copious amounts of junk food. When I get home from work, I want to be able to grab something quick, wolf it down, and go on to something else.<br><br><br><br>
Here's my thoughts on it so far:<br><br>
- smoothies (breakfast)<br><br>
- pasta/bean salads (lunch)<br><br>
- LOTS of whole raw fruits and vegetables (primarily for snacking) as well as nuts like almonds and soy nuts<br><br>
- trail mix<br><br>
- soups<br><br>
- salads<br><br>
- sandwich spreads<br><br><br><br>
I'm really interested in raw foods, vegan meals (though it doesn't have to be vegan) and stuff that is low-prep/easy clean-up. I've felt like crap the last few days, and I know that while part of it is just post-flu blahs, part of it is also that I haven't been eating like I should.<br><br><br><br>
My question is, does the above meal plan seem like a good one? I am not adverse to <i>some</i> cooked food (maybe baking up a loaf of quickbread like banana bread on the weekend to munch throughout the early part of the week, or some premade sauces for quick pasta/rice dishes) but I'd prefer most of it to be of the "eat it and be done" variety. I also don't have to have a huge variety of food either - I'm pretty happy eating the same stuff day in and day out, if I like it.<br><br><br><br>
Any suggestions? My main reasoning for wanting to simplify my food options (other than cooking burnout) is that I am getting back into painting, which involves plenty of its own prepwork and clean-up without adding in an evening meal on top of it. I want to come home from work and be able to paint for at least several hours a night, since once a start a canvas I HATE to stop. In school this would lead me to paint for 8 hours or so at a time, but now that I have a real job that's just not really an option. Still, I'd like to get in as much uninterrupted work as I can.
 

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I totally know what you mean, and go through phases like that all of the time. I think that your current ideas look great, as long as you get plenty of variety. Also, when you are in the mood, try cooking and freezing for later.
 

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without really going into it, I'd recommend cooking some multi use meals (chili, beans and rice, etc.) and freezing it. If you make a large pot, you can freeze it and save time later.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, I hadn't even considered mass meals/freezing for later, and we have plenty of room in the freezer for that kind of thing. Something like this would be pretty convenient, since it would allow me to set something out to thaw as soon as I get home, go about my evening chores, set up my art stuff, then go back and eat quickly before settling in to work for the night. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Does anybody have any idea how long a fruit salad (prepared with lemon juice as a preservative) would last in the fridge? Would it last a whole week, or do you think I'd have to make another one mid-week? I was thinking I could make a huge one on Sunday nights, then just take a scoop or so out throughout the week to munch for breakfast or pack in my lunchbox. Same deal with vegetable salads as well. But I'd hate to prepare a huge salad with something as expensive as fruit, then have it go bad halfway through the week and have to waste food.<br><br><br><br>
I might just have to choose two days a week (Sunday and Wednesday) as food prep days, and just make sure that those days I fix up everything I need for the rest of the week...<br><br><br><br>
Smoothies are something I wouldn't mind making every day though, as I can just chuck some greens and fruit in the blender and fire it up while my coffee brews and I make my rounds to check on the menagerie.
 

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I agree with the above: What I do is cook once or twice a week, fill up a several meal-sized tupperware boxes and put them in the freezer. Each individual container will have rice/meal or combinations of curries or similar. All I then need to do is pop it into the microwave and viola dinner is ready. You can also cook two meals on a quiet weekend and freeze those into containers thereby increasing your choice (and reducing your time cooking for following weeks). Right now, I have 4 differrent homecooked 'ready meal's in my freezer, all really tasty stuff I made myself. I don't have to cook again for well over a week if I don't want to.<br><br><br><br>
I would also suggest you look into getting a crockpot. All you do is throw a few ingredients into it in the morniing, set it on low, then when you get home dinner is ready to eat. Super easy, tasty and no effort at all. Soups, stews, chilli, so much more with no effort.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Edit: dang I type too slow!
 

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Like Falaf said, crock pots are WAY useful. We just used ours yesterday for chili.
 

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If you are warried about your intake of vitamins and minerals, have you considered adding supplements to your diet? I take small amounts every day becouse most of my food is just carbo-energy boost.<br><br><br><br>
edit: I mean, if you switch from cooking to fast food, you could still maintain mineral/vitamin intake with farmaceutical products.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
*facepalm* Can't believe I forgot about the crockpot, that's a <i>fabulous</i> idea! Heck, I could even just use the crockpot to make my mega-meals, and then I'd only have to clean it once or twice a week.<br><br><br><br>
Green - I have a bottle of multivitamins (supposedly your full set for each day) but I've been horrible about taking them the last few months. Guess I should get back on that - set a reminder on my cell phone or something. I'm thinking about picking up some kind of protein powder for smoothies, since that's what I'm more concerned with skipping out on. I get plenty of carbs, but ever since I stopped eating meat I'm bad about making sure I get enough beans, soy, etc...I like beans but canned ones are not my favorite and I'm bad about remembering to soak the dried ones overnight first, so a lot of the time I end up having to skip them in a meal simply because I forgot to put them out.
 

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I hear ya, Kellye. I don't care much for fussing in the kitchen either. (And I just remembered that I forgot to either put some dry beans in water to soak so I can cook them tonight, or to put a container of pre-cooked but frozen beans out to thaw...) Convenience foods are expensive and often not quite as healthy as what we make ourselves, but they often are tasty. And convenient.<br><br><br><br>
But that's what I do: cook a lot of something, usually on a weekend, which can be frozen in portions- such as beans, or loaves of bread. My meals do get into a rut though. I wind up eating a lot of rice with a vegetable and some of those beans stirred in. Tasty and healthy enough, I suppose, but it gets old. There are only so many herb combinations that go on it.<br><br><br><br>
Enjoy your painting! My Mom liked art, as did one of my aunts (Mom's sister-in-law). I have a water color painting of a local landmark my aunt did.<br><br><br><br>
(I have trouble remembering to take supplements too!)
 

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Piggybacking on what The Tom said, it can take some ingenuity. We've found versatility with Chili by making a big cornbread as well with chili or with soymilk for breakfast. To change up our red beans and rice, we used tofurky? sausages and it was pretty damn good. I think the trick is to make a large base and experiment with adding things to it to break up the monotony.
 

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When I started to feel that way the end of last semester, the slow cooker my bf gave me was my new best friend.<br><br><br><br>
I have one really good recipe for lentil soup and another one for minestrone, I can give you if you PM me. They're not mine, but I got them from sites I no longer have saved.<br><br><br><br>
You can also make dessert with it, along with oatmeal. You set it and forget it. It was wonderful to come home to a delicious wholesome and healthy meal. They're not very expensive either.<br><br><br><br>
I used one cutting board to chop things on. I stored to the soup in the removable slow cooker dish. Very little clean up, meals took about 5 - 10 minutes prep time, depending upon cutting skills. :)
 

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I'm pretty darn particular about my fruit. I don't like it cold. I like it room temperature but I buy cases of bananas so when they get ripe sometimes I freeze them (make sure they are really ripe [if you do eat them] and they are good for making smoothies). I think your fruit salad would stay good for about 2-3 days in the fridge.<br><br><br><br>
How about greens salads with avocado? The greens would provide plenty of protein (depending on how much you ate).<br><br><br><br>
Good for you!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">How about greens salads with avocado? The greens would provide plenty of protein (depending on how much you ate).</div>
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^ I absolutely <i>adore</i> avocado (one of those weird fruit I'd never even considered eating until I went vegetarian - I was a meat and potatoes girl for real).<br><br><br><br>
I think green salads with chopped avocado would be marvelous!<br><br><br><br>
I like some fruit cold and some fruit room temp, it really just depends what it is. But I love keeping a big bowl of apples, oranges and bananas on the bar, so when I'm in a rush I can just grab a couple of pieces of fruit and go. Bananas are one of the most convenient foods I think...they even have their own wrapper! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
Thanks guys! If you have any more tips, keep 'em coming! When I get paid I'm going to outfit myself to eat simply for the next few weeks and see how well I adjust. Another reason I'm trying to get closer to a whole foods/vegan type diet is that the processed foods and cheese that I've been replacing meat with the last few weeks is playing havoc with my digestive system on top of everything else, and I know from past experience that eating wholesome, simple foods makes me feel 100% better overall, so while it's not exactly a New Year's resolution, that's the direction I'd like to take my diet in.<br><br><br><br>
Cooking is fun, but I find I'm as easily satisfied with some fruit and a quick bowl of noodles with broth as I am with a full meal, and I just don't crave cooked food often enough for it to be worth making for just myself (really not even enough to bother making for just me and my roommate, but he's fully capable of fending for himself if he still wants to go all out.)<br><br><br><br>
Any ideas for "quick" cooking too, please throw my way since I'm not trying to go 100% raw or anything. I am considering getting a bamboo steamer to go over one of my pots, so if I do want a fast cooked meal, I can just steam some veggies, make up a pot of Chinese rice, and dribble some soy sauce or teriyaki over it. Done.<br><br><br><br>
It doesn't help that the flu has left me with almost no appetite at all - I've lost about four pounds since Christmas Day. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not the way I'd prefer to do it either.
 

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Some quick, no brainer, no prep things I do are<br><br><br><br>
1 cup of chickpeas with a tablespoon or two of barbecue sauce<br><br>
1 cup of black beans with about 1/4 cup salsa<br><br>
1 Soy yogurt with 1/4 granola and maybe a banana cut up or just whole on the side<br><br>
PB & J is quick and easy, although I usually just do peanut butter, no jelly<br><br><br><br>
I do the freezer method fairly often as well. Lasagna, soups, chili, quick breads, rice, beans.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">1 cup of chickpeas with a tablespoon or two of barbecue sauce<br><br>
1 cup of black beans with about 1/4 cup salsa<br><br>
1 Soy yogurt with 1/4 granola and maybe a banana cut up or just whole on the side<br><br>
PB & J is quick and easy, although I usually just do peanut butter, no jelly</div>
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These sound good FC! I'm particularly intrigued by the chickpeas and BBQ sauce, lol...but I could happily live on peanut butter sandwiches. It's the bachelorette meal I fall back on most often when I don't feel like doing a damned thing in the kitchen. (Now if I could only convince myself that a sandwich does not require chips on the side!)
 

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I still have my student cookbook filled with really simple recipes that only use 5-10 ingredients, tops. You could dig out one of your easy cookbooks or get a new one filled with simple recipes. I always refer to it when I get sick of cooking stuff. Pasta, pizza, fajhitas, soup and sandwiches, french toast, pancakes, tofu nuggets with baked potatoes are easy. You could make a huge batch of soup and freeze portions, then at lunch/dinner you can have a soup-salad-sandwich meal.<br><br><br><br>
ETA:<br><br><br><br>
Easy Stirfry<br><br>
-2 tsp freshly grated ginger<br><br>
- 1 clove of garlic, minced<br><br>
- 1-2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen or fresh, whatever)<br><br>
- 1 block chopped tofu, 1 can chickpeas, or beans<br><br>
- rice, quinoa or couscous<br><br><br><br>
sauce<br><br>
-1tbsp soy sauce<br><br>
-1tbsp honey (or you could try agave stuff)<br><br>
-1tbsp sweet chili sauce<br><br><br><br>
Start the rice in one pot. Head the garlic and ginger in a wok with some oil for a few minutes. Add the veggies and chickpeas to the wok. Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl. Once stirfry veggies are done, stir in the sauce and serve over rice. If making enough for two people, I like to double amount of sauce. Yum.
 

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<i>Kellye has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.</i><br><br><br><br><b>Lentil Soup:</b><br><br><br><br>
Ingredients<br><br><br><br>
* 1 onion, chopped<br><br>
* 1/4 cup olive oil<br><br>
* 2 carrots, diced<br><br>
* 2 stalks celery, chopped<br><br>
* 2 cloves garlic, minced<br><br>
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano<br><br>
* 1 bay leaf<br><br>
* 1 teaspoon dried basil<br><br>
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes<br><br>
* 2 cups dry lentils<br><br>
* 8 cups water<br><br>
* 1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced<br><br>
* 2 tablespoons vinegar<br><br>
* salt to taste<br><br>
* ground black pepper to taste<br><br><br><br>
Directions<br><br><br><br>
1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.<br><br>
2. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.<br><br><br><br>
That is the stove top version. I just dumped everything into the crockpot and set it on low for about 7 to 8 hours. Probably would set on high for 4 or 5. I used a bigger can of tomatoes, so you might want to add a little extra liquid of some sort. I also followed suggestions on the site and used a "no chicken broth" but veggie broth apparently works well too. :) I have no problem with my spinach a little mushy, but you might want to add it when you just get home or something.<br><br><br><br><b><br><br>
Minestrone:</b><br><br><br><br>
I actually found the minestrone recipe because I didn't have it in my recipe book yet, so it was still saved.<br><br>
Here it is: <b><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robin-miller/minestrone-soup-with-pasta-beans-and-vegetables-recipe/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/r...ipe/index.html</a></b><br><br><br><br><br><br>
I think you'll love them, even my boyfriend who hates eating vegetables loved them. :)<br><br>
Happy (slow) cooking. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry about that s0ad, I'm HORRIBLE about cleaning out my inboxes. And thanks a bunch! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smitten.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smitten:"><br><br><br><br>
Chrysalis - I'll have to try that stir fry, thanks! I hadn't thought about baked potatoes, but that would totally be doable too. Twice-baked even! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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the fruit salad can even last 3+ days, and I don't use lemon juice in mine. Love the crockpot. There are tons of veg crockpot recipes online too if you look.<br><br><br><br>
My fav quick meal is to make some quick brown rice, add salsa, black beans, some mexicorn or frozen corn, (cheese too) and heat till completely heated...so quick and easy....it's freezable or will last for days in the fridge without worries.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Photojess</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
My fav quick meal is to make some quick brown rice, add salsa, black beans, some mexicorn or frozen corn, (cheese too) and heat till completely heated...so quick and easy....it's freezable or will last for days in the fridge without worries.</div>
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Sounds good Jess, thank you! I love stuff that lasts safely for several days in the fridge, as a) I have a tendency to forget about leftovers until they're supporting a microscopic colony, and b) I'm really weird about eating stuff that doesn't keep well. [Bad case of food poisoning last year.]
 
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