Seven Quick Takes – Travel and Changes

Take 1

When the Man is home, mornings run on a tight schedule. Any breakfast needing more than three minutes prep just doesn’t work. Dishes requiring extra time (pancakes, bacon and eggs, french toast, etc.) or heating the oven/stovetop are saved for weekends. Unfortunately, this means we get stuck in a boring and non-filling cycle: toast, cereal, and microwaved oatmeal. This spring I’m creating a breakfast menu with more variety – meals that can be prepared (or reheated) in under five minutes, aren’t pre-packaged, and contain plenty of nutrition from fruit, whole grains, and protein to fuel our mornings. So far I’ve come up with:

  • Overnight crockpot oatmeal – toppings set out the night before and leftovers used for pan-fried oatmeal the next day
  • Smoothies – fruit prepped the night before or at the week’s beginning
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Baked sausage and apples – cooked in advance and microwaved for breakfast
  • Waffles, cooked in advance and frozen, then toasted and served with peanut butter for protein.
  • Breakfast sandwiches/tortillas with ham, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs or pre-cooked potatoes
  • Muffins – oatmeal, banana, bran, etc.
  • Breakfast casseroles cooked in advance – microwaved eggs don’t taste that great, so this is a maybe
  • Toast/bagels/English muffins
  • Sausage biscuits/bagels/muffins – sausage patties fried in advance, and reheated in the mornings for the sandwiches.
  • Berry, granola, and yogurt parfaits

Do you have any favorite fast breakfasts you’d recommend?

Take 2

After a fun week in Germany with in-laws, I came home to this news about a potential hold on military pay. We have savings in the bank, and we’ll be fine if a budget isn’t approved immediately. However, our friends are all military families, many with young kids. Military pay doesn’t go far, and many military personnel have to budget carefully to make it through from payday to payday with slim reserves. The conservative in me loves the idea of choking off government spending until an agreement on fiscal responsibility is forced through. The military spouse side knows that many of our friends and neighbors will struggle to pay rent and buy groceries with delayed or partial pay. Our civilian contractor friends would be furloughed. An IOU does not pay the electric bill. There’s no easy answer. Pray for both wisdom for our elected officials and provision for government employees and their families.

Take 3

Jet lag coming home across the Atlantic always floors me. I’m wide awake at two in the morning, and nodding off when it’s time to focus, hungry for meals I don’t even like, then not interested in any food when it’s time to eat. Yesterday evening I sat down to dry my hair after a shower. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up at five this morning with a damp towel in my hand, all the lights on and my evening’s work unfinished. Oops.

Take 4

Jet lag notwithstanding, being back in Europe was wonderful. Family time, pastries, sight-seeing, pastries, long walks, pastries, concerts, pastries, art, pastries, beautiful Potsdam, pastries, the medieval hilltop city of Meissen, pastries, rebuilt Dresden, pastries, boat ride, pastries, concentration camp, pastries, history, pastries, nice people, pastries, reading, pastries, sisters-in-law, pastries, Chinese cooking tips, pastries, lovely scenery, pastries… You get the idea. Did I mention the pastries?

Take 5

While I ate pastries, the Man continued his own adventures abroad. In addition to traumas, internal medicine cases, pediatrics, and the common cold, he just treated his first…dog.

Take 6

We began having long-distance movie dates while dating. Carl lived in Texas and I lived in Chicago. We’d plan the week’s movie in advance, pop it in at the same time, then call each other back to discuss and share our favorite bits. The timing is less exact when he’s in Afghanistan but we still enjoy watching the same movies “together”. The latest choice finally reached Afghanistan from amazon, so after many months impatiently resisting temptation I got to start the highly acclaimed Downton Abbey series this week. So far it’s fantastic – BBC/Masterpiece wins again! 

Take 7

This is my first real southern spring, and it’s beautiful. It starts with gradually warming temperatures. Then one day, the Bradford Pear trees explode into bloom in every yard, accompanied by the forsythia. The crabapple trees and magnolias aren’t far behind, as crocuses and daffodils push up in the flower beds. Just as the Bradford’s begin to fade, the Dogwood trees and Azaleas burst out in a visual cacophony of pinks and whites. There are flowering trees and bushes in every yard, and it’s fun seeing what treasures our garden holds since it’s our first Spring in this home – it turns out we have tulips, lilies, and a great many flowering plants I can’t identify.

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