So this week is the first week in a long time that I haven't put together a specific meal plan - and I have a really good reason. Here is an iPhone panorama of the current state of my kitchen:
The good news is, this empty room should be filled with gorgeous new cabinets and counters by the end of the week. We are both really excited about the facelift - our former kitchen was functional enough, but definitely not what two people who believe the kitchen to be the most important room in the house think it should be! I will post some pictures once we have it done, but for now I thought I'd share some tips for eating gluten free when your kitchen is out of commission.
- Use the grill - we use our grill a lot anyway, but when you can't cook inside or wash dishes, outdoor cooking is crucial! Our microwave is currently sitting on the floor of our office and have no counters, so I also bought a lot of easily grillable veggies for the week that also don't need much prep, like zucchini and corn on the cob, that we could throw on the grill along with the meat.
- Stockpile - I always bring my lunch to work since there aren't a lot of GF-friendly options around my office, and I wanted to get that food prep out of the way right away. This weekend before the demo I defrosted a whole bunch of chicken breasts and we grilled them all at once along with our dinner last night, so I have a guaranteed protein for salads that'll last the week as I have no idea what we will have in the way of leftovers each day.
- Take advantage of small appliances - in our case, a rice cooker and toaster oven. All the rice cooker needs is a tiny bit of space and a plug, and the bowl of the cooker cleans easily by just rinsing it. I've also got our toaster oven set up on the floor in the living room for quick reheats of leftovers or to make baked potatoes or heat up our favorite Ore Ida potatoes (the floor is tile, so no risk of heat damage).
- Minimize dirty dishes - no kitchen sink and no dishwasher means my washing options involve the bathroom sink or tub, so this is the one week of the year I will eat off of paper plates every meal with impunity! Also, a great tip to avoid unnecessarily dirtying pans is to line baking sheets or casserole dishes in tinfoil - this is something I do regularly and we still always get good results. For the dishes we do have to use, we're rinsing them off in the bathroom and putting them in a big plastic tub we set up in the guest room.
- When in doubt, get takeout! - this is definitely a last resort for us, since eating restaurant food is not only more challenging when gluten free, it's also significantly more expensive. But on our big demo day Saturday, we ordered in Domino's pizza for lunch (despite all the negative publicity, I have had Domino's gluten-free pizza several times without any glutening incidents) and that night we went out for dinner to our favorite local Thai restaurant, Siam City - my absolutely delectable pad thai is pictured. I'm also thinking I'll hit up Boston Market this week for one of their family meals, since I know I'll be trying to put as much time as possible into getting the kitchen back together after each step of the installation process.