Since turning our family’s lifestyle on its head recently, and moving to a slower-paced region down country, I’ve had more time to reflect on what really matters day to day.
Yesterday’s Mother’s Day was a reminder how much value is placed on me, as a mum of two boys, and how to enjoy and appreciate the little things. We all know mums do a great deal to keep things ticking along smoothly behind the scenes and it’s apparent if her wheels fall off, the household can turn to chaos very quickly.
With my work-life balance now in check, I can spend more quality time with the kids, and whilst I’ll never claim to be a domestic goddess, I’ve reintroduced some structure to our dinner meal planning and found my love for cooking again. It’s a win-win – I feel satisfied researching some meal ideas and implementing them into our week, and the family get to enjoy dinners made with love and devotion. I wish I could say every meal is received with a big smile and a positive response, but this isn’t always the case with my 5 and 7 year old sons, who will often have an opinion before its served as they peer over the sauce pan on the hob. Any set backs are always made up by my partner’s reaction, because he gratefully eats anything I make (and he jokes if it means he doesn’t have to cook, he’s happy).
I try to base my meal planning on the protein component as the hero of the dish, then aim to get as many different veges in each dish as possible. Variety means family are exposed to a range of flavours, textures and nutrients. Is it just me, or when getting lunch on the run, do you consciously opt for something that won’t be on the dinner plate that night? I think I have a meal duplication phobia.
With the recent #WorldIronWeek being a salient reminder of how we’re eating and the effects of making nutritious decisions on your health status, I like to incorporate iron-rich meals staggered across the week, so whether it’s following the 3-4 red meals per week, or every second day, alternating with a fish, chicken or vegetarian dish, the nutritionist in me is happy, and the family’s taste buds even happier.
And what makes me content in the kitchen at this time of year? Having my trusted crockpot on hand to do all the work, especially on the days where the kids extracurricular activities are scheduled during the ‘witching hour’.
Yesterday afternoon I pulled out the crockpot and asked my partner for one of his beers – it was 2 in the afternoon, he was intrigued and questioned if it was in aid of celebrating Mother’s Day. In a way, yes, as it was going into the Pulled Beef that was planned for our dinner. So easy and quick to pull together, and ready to eat when we returned from our family outing.
The only faux pas? I didn't remove the pieces of orange rind before serving, so someone wasn't too happy to bite in to it, oops.