Are you the kind of person who shops once a week, tries to pick up everything you might need for lunches and dinners in one go? I am! Possibly because of kids, but also I used to do the same in NYC when Fresh Direct started delivering groceries. One thing that always seems to happen though, if I miss a day off my meal plan, the whole plan goes to heck. And then I get towards the end of the week and all of those beautiful veggies and fruits that I had initially had great plans for...well they're all about to go off and it just seems so wasteful.
Yesterday was like that...my husband did a brilliant job caring for our darling babes whilst I was in Indianapolis for 4 days, but as he isn't a huge veg guy anyway, cooking them was completely off the table. Which meant that upon my return, all of those veggies needed to be used ASAP! Similarly, the fruit was starting to peak. So I decided to channel Martha Stewart (wouldn't it be awesome if we could do this, for real?!) and got my domestic goddess on!
The easiest way to use up a whole shedload of assorted vegetables? ROAST those babies! Easy as well - just chop them up around the same size (I went with 1 inch dice, where possible), toss them in some nice olive oil, throw on some kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, and stick them in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 450. Easy peasy. Plus, there are so many ways you can use them once they're all roasted and tender and delicious...think beyond a simple side dish (although they sit nicely on the side of most mains!). I threw them into a pasta primavera last night - using store-bought ravioli because again, they needed to be eaten! - but you can just as easily fold a nice wrap around them with some hummus or deli turkey, or puree them and add to a soup or sauce for depth (& hidden vegetable nutrients!), include them in the layers of tortilla, cheese, and sauce of an enchilada baked casserole, or even just throw them into some prepared wild rice or quinoa with some Greek cheese. Basically, you can do no wrong with roasted veggies.
Now I could have roasted all of them but I also wanted to make something baby-appropriate and although she'd love the flavor, all that salt is just not great for a small child. So I held some of the chopped veg to the side and made quite literally, the easiest lentil soup EVER. Sautéed some chopped onion, carrot, and celery for a few minutes, added the chopped sweet potato, the stock and the lentils, and simmered away for 20 minutes. Voila! Blended to a smooth consistency and it was perfect for Peanut! I had a bowl myself later on - with some added salt & pepper it was gorgeous. Simple, but lovely. (If I was really making it for myself I might have added some chorizo during the simmering, for some salty flavor - next time!)
On to the fruit situation....I had a bowl full of bananas that were already past their prime. So I did what anyone in that pickle would do - I baked banana bread! I toyed with the idea of banana muffins a bit but I found a great recipe for gluten free bread, so I decided to try that out and see how it was. You guys, it is seriously the best banana bread! Forget gluten free, it's amazing whether it has gluten or not!! You must try it - the recipe is here. Bug adores it! She's my unofficial barometer of deliciousness and she was all over this - requesting it 3 times today. (She is my daughter of course, so any time there's an option for cream cheese, she finds it..!)
So there you go. All of that seems crazy to do in one day - much less 3 hours - but I was totally back in my kitchen vibe. I love that it's come back! AND I love that Peanut's nap overlapped with Bug's yesterday, which is really why all of this was possible. Bug woke up just before I baked the bread, so she 'helped' me - in her favorite apron, naturally. :)
Do you ever have these spurts of domesticity?! How do you use up fruits and veg when you need to? Please share your ideas in the comments, I always am in need!