Monday, May 20, 2013

My non-Pinterest-worthy Dinner

This post is expanding on the sentiments that led me to write these words on facebook today:

Forget pinterest. We are having canned soup tonight. I think there is something wrong with the fact that I often feel guilty preparing or eating processed food.

Today I knew I needed to go to the store to get some essentials - bread, milk, etc. But as far as planning a week's worth of beautiful meals, I didn't think I had the energy to do that. I began browsing Pinterest as I often do these days, for inspiration. But I just wasn't up for making one of those dinners today! Whats more, the clouds and drizzle outside were making good old-fashioned boxed corn bread sound really good. So This is what I came up with for tonight:

We had cornbread (I mixed in some leftover cream of corn I had in the fridge)
Frozen green peas with butter and garlic salt
For Jeff: Western Family canned Bean and Bacon Soup with leftover mozzarella cheese
For me: Thai Kitchen spring onion soup

Also notice our card table from Walmart with no tablecloth. Pinterest worthy? Nope! But doesn't dinner look good? ...It was! For dessert we're actually having strawberry banana kale smoothies, but I won't include pictures because that might actually be something you could find on Pinterest. : )

Now this is not meant to be a rant against Pinterest. I do enjoy my account. And I have found many recipes on there. This is a just health-conscious, young-married, PKUer who is pregnant and on a limited budget saying that it is ok to have a box dinner every once in a while!

I studied health in college...I definitely believe that nutrition is important. Nutrition is preventative medice for most chronic diseases. We are what we eat. I subscribe to the philosophy of Michael Pollan -- real food is best. I even follow the 100 Days of Real Food blog on facebook. I am just trying to be realistic with the stage of life I am in right now.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am all about balance and moderation. I feel that nutrition is important - but does that mean I need to stress about menu planning, cooking and using produce before it goes bad? Does that mean I need to spend what little money we have on organic food? I don't think so.

Here are some meals I made for Jeff, one when we were dating, the other the first few weeks into our marriage.
Tilapia, green beans, carrots and brussel sprouts, sweet potato fries

Whole grain spaghetti, chicken, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, home-made pesto

I was pretty proud of those meals. But trying to do a meal like that night after night is exhausting! Fortunately Jeff assured me that I didn't need to a have a fresh vegetable every night. That was a huge relief. But I think with all the Pins and blogs of beautiful, home-made, locally grown organic meals out there we start to feel like that is what is expected of us.

And here is a novel idea: frozen vegetables and canned fruit are still good for you! They still have most of the nutritional value as fresh produce. It's better to eat canned fruit than none at all. And it's better to eat canned fruit and frozen beans at dinner and feel more full and therefore eat less junk after dinner. Here is an insightful video from Dr. Oz. I agree that most of America could benefit so much from simply eating more fruits and vegetables in a day, that worrying about whether it's fresh and organic or not, from a public health perspective, isn't a could use of time, energy or money.

I really like the way my mom did it growing up- we always had a fruit and vegetable with dinner. Sometimes it was fresh salad or seasonal fruit, but often it was canned fruit and frozen veggies. But I believe that routine gave us a very nutritious diet. So that is the pattern I am trying to emulate. Someday I have every intention of having a big garden for my family, but until then, I'm going to cook frozen green beans for my husband and I.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

St. George and Zions Trip

We decided to on one last trip before this baby comes. A "babymoon", if you will! : ) It needed to be close by. St. George is somewhere I've heard a lot about but had never been to. So that was the plan! And we made sure to visit Zion's National Park while we were there. I am the trip planner in our marriage. It's interesting, because in my family my Dad did the trip planning. But I inherited the love of it from him. And in Jeff's family his mom was the trip planner and he doesn't have any interest in it. So I do it and I love it! This trip brought back a lot of good memories of all the awesome trips my family has been on and made Jeff and I look forward to taking our future family on fun trips.

Ok first of all, at this random gas station in small town, Utah on our way down I-15 there was a petting zoo....with zebras! I got to touch a zebra! I saw a little coin operated machine with food in it -- so I think these animals are so accustomed to getting food from people that they just come right up to you. I pet the donkey too. And then liberally applied hand sanitizer. There were cute baby goats, mini-ponies, peacocks and ostriches too!


We drove down Thursday night and stayed in a hotel in St. George two nights. Friday we went to the St. George Temple.

After a lunch of leftovers in our hotel we went around town to visit historic sites. We went to Brigham Young's winter home and the tabernacle and got lovely tours from the senior missionaries there. We went to a bookshop I literally found just browsing through google maps of the area. By the way, we do not have smart phones and we didn't bring any mobile devices. I wrote down directions beforehand and we used the old-fashioned map! The Utah grid system definitely helps with this endeavor.

I got used copies of Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Jeff got 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I recently decided the has come in my life to read this classic. I was watching the BBC movie again the other day and was reminded how much I just love the way they talk! It's so thorough and clear. I was trying to decide if I should fork out the money to buy a copy or just get it from the library. Getting it for $4 at a used bookstore seemed like a great compromise. And I love this cover!
8 months pregnant and feeling good!

At an art gallery we stopped at
Saturday we went to Zion's National Park. It was beautiful. It was fun to see so many different people -- nice young families, outdoor enthusiasts, Asian tourists, adventuresome retired people, and even the occasional pregnant lady! 

There were plenty of "easy hikes" for people in like myself and they were very clearly outlined in the info guide. We took the tram all the way in and started with a nice riverside walk. On the way back Jeff did a more strenuous trail for his man-hike. I walked an easy trail and waited for him at the lodge. When he got back we did one more easy hike to the Emerald Pools.

Kolob Canyons

The sites were beautiful and it is wonderful to be in the outdoors and a part of something so good our country has to offer. I feel like National parks bring out the decent people of society. It gives me hope for our country.

"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."     -Wallace Stegner, 1983

Kolob Canyons

aww :)

Zion's National Park

A little river side seating for lunch


"There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us."      -Franklin D. Roosevelt