Fast Food-Like Substances vs Real Food Fast

Some of you may recognize the expression on my face. I went straight from work to the track tonight and did a pretty challenging workout. It felt great, but now I’m starving, and I’m walking into my kitchen long after 8pm. I passed umpteen drive-thrus, quickie marts and fast service restaurants, so, why, you may ask, didn’t I just pick up dinner on the way home or order a pizza?


I truly believe that putting together a home cooked dinner doesn’t have to be an arduous time-consuming task, and the benefits of eating a meal made with fresh ingredients are tremendous, especially after a workout. So here’s how this went down…

8:15pm: Arrived home (and took snarky photo while stomach growled loudly). Super fast shower to get off the funk.

8:22pm: Turned the oven to 400F to preheat. Lined a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and grabbed a bag of pre-washed green beans out of the fridge (thank you, Wegmans!), along with a red bell pepper, a container of pre-washed spinach (thank you,MOMs!), and some bell pepper and carrot that I had pre-chopped and left in the fridge ready to go.

8:24pm: Sliced the red bell pepper into thin strips and threw it on to the cookie sheet along with the green beans. Sprinkled a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt and cumin seeds over the vegetables and tossed well. Drained and rinsed a can of chickpeas and put half the can on to the cookie sheet. Popped the cookie sheet into the oven.

8:26pm: Measured out two servings of quinoa and threw it into a dry pot to toast.

8:28pm: Assembled salads with spinach, carrot, bell pepper and sliced an avocado to go on top. Added a sprinkling of granola (thank you, Michele’s Granola!) for crunch.

8:31pm: Added chopped onion (already prepped and waiting for me in the fridge) to the quinoa, poured in water and brought to a simmer.

8:33pm: Salad time! Enjoyed my salad with John (who had also come in starving). Before sitting down, I put a leftover container of coconut curry sauce I made for Sunday night dinner in the microwave. If I didn’t have that sauce, I would have looked for something jarred—a good quality of tomato sauce would have been fine—or I may have thrown together a quick sauce with tahini and lemon, or tahini, miso paste and rice vinegar.

8:56pm: Pulled the green beans out of the oven. Put quinoa on the plates, topped with the roasty veggies and topped with the sauce.

8:58pm: Sat down to enjoy the rest of dinner.

Sure, instead of taking that time to assemble dinner, I could have answered emails, maybe taken a leisurely shower, tortured the cats by crinkling paper just out of reach, but I know my body will thank me for feeding it well after a tough workout.