Kitchen Nightmares

Life doesn’t always go according to your plan.  In fact, it likes to do it’s own thing regardless of what you would like to happen.  This concept has always been a source of struggle and stress for me.  I am a person that likes to plan and organize and know exactly what is going to happen.  I tend to get a little anxious (ok, make that a lot anxious) when things do not go according to my plan.  This is something that I have been working on and one of my goals this year is to be able to go with the flow more.  Well, life heard that and decided to throw me a curve ball this week.

Last Sunday my oven broke.  I know this might not seem like a huge problem to some, but I rely heavily on my oven.  Not only do I use it for dinner every night, on Sunday I usually do a lot of my meal prep for the week so that I have easy access to healthy food no matter what.  I was a little stressed last Sunday when I realized AFTER I had made a bunch of things to put in the oven that it wasn’t getting hot.  I was even more stressed when the repair guy came on Monday but wouldn’t be able to actually fix the oven until Tuesday.  And I might have had a small meltdown Tuesday night in the middle of cooking dinner when I realized that the oven was no longer regulating the temperature and my food was burning to a crisp, error codes on the oven were shouting at me, and all the smoke detectors were going off at once.

Luckily, my oven did not catch on fire... yet

Luckily, my oven did not catch on fire… yet

Yes, it has been a little bit difficult here in the Dawson kitchen this week.  My oven is still broken, but after my panic attack on Tuesday, I took a deep breath and realized everything was going to be just fine.  I could still eat and eat well, I would just have to get a little creative.  This is where having a well stocked pantry and freezer come in handy as well as having some know-how in the kitchen have really saved the day.  I wanted to share some of the tips and foods I had on hand so in case you have a kitchen nightmare, you can also have a back up plan and won’t have to worry about eating well.

Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers.  This was a big help to me this past week.  I usually make bigger dinners and use the leftovers for lunches or sides for other meals.  Having those extra servings of food helped to round out some of the meals I made this week so that my husband and I had full meals even without the food I usually prep on Sunday.  I also have a freezer full of soups, stews, and chilis that I have made in my slow cooker.  Again, it was really helpful to be able to pull a healthy meal out of the freezer and heat it up.  I’ve said it many times, leftovers are your friends and they have certainly saved my butt this week.

Beans, grains, and legumes, oh my!  Having a good stock of dried/canned beans, grains, and legumes like lentils on hand is another great way to make filling healthy meals.  You don’t have to use an oven to make these and they fill you up with tons of healthy fiber.  Plus they are easy to throw into any meal, and you can season them to your liking.  I usually always have black beans, chickpeas, white beans, and lentils on hand and throw them into anything from frittatas to lettuce wraps.  If you don’t have time to use dried beans, canned works well too.  Just make sure you read the label and rinse the beans before you use them.

Be flexible on cooking methods.  I learned this week that there are actually a lot of ways to cook things the way I like without using the oven.  For instance, I usually roast sweet potatoes in the oven but found out they taste just as delicious cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stove top.  Sauteing vegetables in a little EVOO tastes just as good, if not better, than roasting them in the oven.  I had to step out of my comfort zone and go to other methods of cooking this week and it has worked out pretty well.  Friday night I came up with a really yummy collard green wrap that I cooked on the stove top with a homemade sweet and sour sauce.  I would have never thought of that if I had my oven working.  Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen and broaden your cooking skills.  You never know when you might have to switch things up.  Plus, it’s fun to eat your regular foods in a different way!

While I am really hoping that my oven will get back to normal this week, I have learned that I can survive (for a little while) without it.  I didn’t have to totally derail my healthy eating or go hungry just because my normal method of cooking wasn’t an option.  The same goes for you  Just because something may come up in your day to day healthy eating plan doesn’t mean you have to throw your hands in the air and resort to McDonald’s.  Take a second to assess what you have, be a little creative and flexible, and come up with a new eating plan for the time being.  If life were always easy, we would never learn that we have it in us to rise above the problems thrown at us.  Pretty neat lesson to learn from a broken oven, huh?

Have a great Monday everyone!