I’m writing this post beneath a pile of packing paper. Thankfully the remains of the box I just unpacked are not heavy. We moved 2 weeks ago and I’m just now able to unpack my kitchen, due to some painting and construction work. This is my own little version of a nightmare.
Having small children, moving, and being forced to eat out, some days for THREE meals, is very difficult. To say the lease. I probably forgot to mention that I would prefer if we ate real, nutritionally balanced food. No, that’s not a joke.
With a working refrigerator, freezer, microwave and stove, you’d think I’d be all set. Except I didn’t have any dishes, utensils, or microwave safe goodies. Shopping at the grocery store became a game of find-the-best-ready-to-eat-food. Aside from our usual staples (whole wheat wraps, hummus, Lifeway Kefir Probugs, berries, nectarines, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, Snack Salad Snap Pea Crisps, I stumbled upon a new product from Amy’s that my husband dubbed “really good” twice in the last week. It’s steel-cut oats that come frozen and in a microwaveable dish. Granted, I probably won’t use this in my “normal life” because I love making my own oatmeal. But it SAVED me during this stretch.
When we had to leave the premesis, we managed breakfast at Starbucks (oatmeal, banana, milk) and lunch at Whole Foods or local delis and restaurants. Aside from ordering pizzas twice while visitors stopped by, we’ve eated out every night since we moved. I’m dreading the first day (soon) that we tell the girls “restaurant week” is over. I can feel the backlash already. Eating out is fun. New foods, new flavors, someone else cleans up the mess. But when you HAVE to eat out, night after night…with kids, it can be a challenge. My biggest pet peeve about menus is the “kids section.” What does that mean? Kids have to eat something different than adults? Why is it always burgers or chicken fingers and fries? We have a major childhood obesity epidemic in our country. This menu selection doesn’t help. Now, don’t get too excited just yet. My daughters love french fries as much as the next kid and would eat them every day if I let them. There’s nothing wrong with french fries. Once. In. Awhile.
Which brings me back to my 2 week stint as a restaurant critic. My favorites for the girls? Sushi (they ate edamame, vegetable spring rolls, cucumber roll, sweet potato roll and they loved the kid-friendly chop sticks on-site), a yummy Italian trattoria that didn’t have a children’s menu, just said they can half any regular entree (the girls ate an asparagus appetizer, beets from my husband’s salad and the rigatoni special) and a local spot in town that served a delicious and light grilled chicken with mango sauce, jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. The girls gobbled it up. Twice. We also had our fair share of burgers and grilled cheese. But that’s how I tend to do things anyway. Everything in moderation. And whatever will get me through the day. Sometimes that means an after dinner stop at the town ice cream shop.
I can’t wait to break in my new oven.