What I Ate: Without a Kitchen

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Don’t ask me why I thought this was a good idea, but we are having our kitchen cabinets painted this week. I blame this on that silly urge to “nest.” I feel like any nagging issue in our house that needs to be fixed, needs to be fixed right away. Because who knows when we’ll have the time to do anything once we have a newborn and a toddler to deal with! I’m actually glad we’re doing it now, because it’s even more of a pain than I realized– we are cut-off from our kitchen for an entire week!

Here’s a peek at what we’re dealing with:

sealed off kitchen

I love our painters because they are being overly cautious and sealing off the entire work area, complete with a zippered plastic entry to reach the rest of our house. When they first met with me and saw that I was pregnant, we agreed to use a water-based zero VOC paint instead of their usual oil-based stuff (which can smell for months!), but I love that they are still being so cautious to keep the rest of our house paint- and smell-free.

In the midst of this process, we have moved our entire kitchen to the basement. We’re lucky in the fact that it has its own sink and fridge, so while we can’t use our stove top or oven at all this week, at least we can still have some fresh food and don’t have to rely solely on take-out. It’s just a little more challenging than normal, since doing dishes by hand is a pain and I have to walk downstairs every time I need a drink of water or my son needs a snack. (Which is always!)

Here’s how we’re handling it so far, two days in:

blender with smoothie ingredients, hand holding a peeled banana, bowl with salad, and plate with salad

Morning: The first day, I had no energy to deal with making & cleaning up a mess in the basement. So, my son ate his go-to items directly out of our fridge, including a cup of goat’s milk yogurt, fresh blueberries, a banana, and raw cashew butter off of a spoon. (He’s pretty easy.) I took a bunch of bananas to work, and ate about 4 of them throughout the morning, along with some raw cashew butter. The second day, we missed our smoothies so I broke out the blender and made my go-to smoothie with extra dates, spinach, spirulina, and collagen peptides. (The same smoothie I made last week.) On a side note, if we didn’t have a fridge to work with, we could still make this smoothie without the fresh spinach added, since the rest of the ingredients are shelf-stable.

Afternoon: I knew these Make-Ahead Lunch Bowls would come in handy! I used my Instant Pot to cook a big batch of quinoa in the basement on the counter, made a double-batch of the Creamy Italian Dressing in our blender, and then I chopped up the veggies and stored it all in our basement fridge. Now packed lunches are easy, and I keep rinsing and re-using the same bowl since we don’t have a dishwasher to use.

Snacks: I’m relying on store-bought snacks in my office for convenience, like Trader Joe’s raw mixed nuts trail mix, and fresh fruit– especially sliced watermelon! Oh, and I also like snacking on ice? I craved ice during my last pregnancy, which I attributed to the fact that I was slightly anemic, but this time around my iron levels are great and I’m still craving ice… so I’m guessing it’s a third-trimester-thing for me. (This is also the second time I’ll be in my third trimester during the hottest part of the year, so that might have something to do with it.) Austin is thrilled that I’m finally having a “craving” and has offered to go to Sonic on several occasions to get me a large cup of ice. (Weird order for them, I’m sure, but their nugget-style ice is the best!)

Dinner: It’s easier to keep my toddler out of the house at night (since he’s tempted to pull down all of the plastic sheeting protecting our kitchen) so we are probably going to rely on more restaurant meals for dinner this week. Luckily, there are some great salad options around town and that’s all we want to eat in this heat! I’m hoping these restaurant salads will help me branch out a bit when it comes to my homemade ones, because I tend to get in a rut and eat the same toppings over and over. Last night I tried a green goddess dressing and raw chopped celery on my salad, which was surprisingly good. (Normally, I hate raw celery…)

I’ll post more on this process over on my Instagram account this week, so you can see more updates there!

Reader Feedback: What are YOU eating this week? 

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Nancy Coupland

I made a batch of your oil free arugula pesto. OMG sooooo good! And totally guilt free.


Curious what water based no VOC paint brand you used. I am needing interior paint and chemical sensitive, looking into a good option. Thanks

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m not sure which brand the painters are currently using, but we found a zero-VOC paint at Lowe’s under their Valspar brand. We used the “reserve” label, because it was recommended to us, but after using it I heard that their “signature” label was actually better for application. Both are not oil-based and are considered zero VOC by the EPA standard of measurement. I couldn’t smell an odor while applying it, but there was a faint scent after it dried which went away quickly by using our attic fan and plenty of open windows for ventilation. We painted a month in advance before we planned on moving our son in, just to be sure any fumes would dissipate.


Thank you ??

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