March 2009 Simplicity Circle Newsletter

“A Simple Meal”
Simple Life


When I was raising my children and working a full time job, there was just no time to prepare what I thought was a healthy meal! Just no time! I was like a woman on a mission between the hours of 5pm-7pm, getting home, talking to my kids, picking up, dropping off, coordinating, meetings, errands, preparation, activities, etc…Looking back, I honestly do not know how I got things done until I quit and started a part time job. On top of that, every year come February I would run out of ideas to prepare meals. So what is a mother/father to do during this crazy time of day?!

Simplicity is an intentional process in your life, and you decide where you can begin.

I remember one of the first places I started was to stop using paper napkins and use cloth napkins. I felt a great sense of change in this small of act.

I learned to whip up a meal within 30 minutes and rarely use a recipe. For the most part, I mastered my process of preparing a simple meal over time. I found my way of simplifying this part in my life just by putting my focus on simplifying meals. By asking myself the question, “How do I simplify mealtime? What I learned is not going to be your way, but it may point the way for you, or at least trigger an insight for you.

So here are some tips I can share with you, pick just one and start there, or none at all. Just allow them to jump start ideas for your style of living.

*Look for ways to simplify your kitchen to where you only have the tools you love and use. More on this next month.

Whatever entree I have, I often just add a salad, cut raw veggies, or coleslaw to it. For example,

Pizza and salad
Casserole and cut veggies
Beans w/ rice and salad
Soup and cut veggies
Chicken and cole slaw
Mac N Cheese and salad

*I change the contents of the salad with different lettuces and veggies to experience variety and color in the meal.

*I chop and steam most fresh vegetables in a shallow pan of water, add some olive oil, cover and simmer until tender. Stop cooking and drain water, pour my favorite dressing (choosing from a variety of flavors, such as Italian, olive oil and Braggs Aminos (similar to soy sauce, get at health food stores), ginger, lemon, or a vinaigrette or sprinkle cheese), and let sit for about 5 minutes.

*I steam chicken or fish fillets (not ones coated with bread crumbs) in a covered shallow pan of water, until meat is cooked. Stop cooking and drain water. Pour on my choice of sauce (barbecue, honey mustard, Italian dressing, tamari sauce, lemon dressing, etc). Let sit for 5 minutes.

*I buy convenience foods to help me build the meal with ease. Examples: Buy canned beans, frozen lasagna, shredded carrots, Brunswick stew, mash potatoes, or baked chicken (cold is even cheaper). Make life easy.

*I never plan an entire meal, I start with what I want to eat or what I have on hand and add 2 or 3 other side dishes, keeping a variety of foods on hand. I buy about 3 or 4 different kinds of meats, carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes) and veggies at the store. Oh, and I definitely “shop” in my pantry and throughout the house just before going to the grocery store to see what I need. This alone has saved me lots of guesswork! Generally, I only go the store once a week or every 2 weeks.

*I designated one or more nights for a planned meal, such as every Tuesday was Leftover Night, or every Wednesday was Pizza Night. This helps take the guesswork out when that evening comes up. We also did a Game Night on occasion for the kids and they had to help prepare dinner as well as choose a game. They loved it!

*Whatever the contents or size of the meal it needs one major component to be simple and that is, to be created in the “flow”. In other words, with ease and joy, coming from the heart and your desired appetite. Ha! What does that mean exactly, in the “flow”? It means when you want to fix this meal, when the right time and desire are working together. If not, a fast food meal bought out can easily be considered “simple and in the flow”. Oh … and add a salad to that….HA! The key is to not feel rushed, guilty, short changed, overburdened, ridged, overwhelmed, or frustrated.

*Another way of creating simplicity in our meals is not so much its preparation, but what is going on when we are eating. You might want to consider turning off the TV and have a real conversation with your family. Just setting a specific time and place for meals is enough to create harmony.

Take time and pleasure in your meals….they truly are one of our treasures to be experienced in our ordinary daily life. You know, this is Wabi Sabi !! (Don’t know what that is? Give me a call-Ha!).

Bring Beauty to your table if nothing else, like candles, gentle music, shared moments of the day, friendship, gratitude, cherished dishes, flowers or just evergreen branches from the garden, a tablecloth, a quick note of love in a lunch box or a special stone from your walk.

“You owe it to everyone you love (including yourself) to find pockets of tranquility in your busy world. ”

-George Bernanos

I saw this neat website on Oprah’s website. This is a really great way to reduce our grocery bill. (My daughter, the Coupon Queen is going to love this!)

http://www.couponmom.com/

Christine Lynn
Simple Living LLC
804-869-4909
Christine@SimpleLivingNow.com
SimpleLivingNow.com
“Gently Showing Others Another Way”

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