One thing that moving around quite a bit in the last few years has taught me is this – that we can actually do a lot with very little.
Going along the line of living more with less (a topic I wrote about a few weeks back), I’ve realized that we really don’t need a lot to be happy.
Not only that, I’ve learnt that we often don’t realize how much we actually can do with the things that we have, however little they may seem.
Those of you who move around often (whether from one apartment to another, or one country to another), probably already know this – the act of packing up to travel somewhere else often leads to us deciding which of our possessions are essential, and which of those are simply peripheral.
After we’ve finally contemplated and decided on what we choose to keep, we either donate or discard the rest, ready to move onto the next destination, making room and space for new things and new experiences.
When Juan and I were preparing for the big move from our Las Canitas apartment in Buenos Aires to fly to the States, we couldn’t understand how such a tiny one-bedroom apartment could contain so many things. We spent an entire week clearing and cleaning, putting object after object in boxes and plastic bags – separating those to be kept, from those to be thrown, from those to be given away.
Of all the many things that I gave away (or passed to friends for temporary storage), it was my kitchen appliances, utensils and cutlery that I’d found most difficult to part with.
After all, my life had become so deeply woven with cooking in the past few years, that it was as if I was parting with my most precious treasures. I packed up bowls, pans, cups, and baking essentials like muffin molds and cake tins, along with my beloved blender, toaster and waffle maker, and then passed them to friends for safekeeping.
When we first moved to our new apartment in DC’s West End neighborhood, which came fully-furnished with a complete set of cutlery and some necessary appliances, the kitchen didn’t exactly feel like my kitchen. In the same way that it takes getting used to a new country, or city or neighborhood, it takes quite a bit of time to become familiar with a kitchen and ease into it.
After almost six weeks of using the kitchen, though, I’ve finally gotten the hang of the electric oven (we used to have a gas oven in Argentina), and we’ve come to love the convenience of having a dishwasher. I’ll dare to say even though the entire house tends to smell of whatever it is we’re cooking on the stove, I’m starting to get my groove once more and take ownership of the kitchen.
Given that I currently spend a large portion of my day at home – writing, testing recipes and photographing food – I’ve come to become good friends with my new kitchen, even if it may not have the pretty Chinese teapot I bought a few months ago, or the entire range of baking molds I used to have.
I just make do with what I have.
In the same way, when I sometimes finish my morning writing just before lunchtime, I stand at the fridge door and rummage through the food in it, searching for inspiration for lunch while my stomach growls anxiously.
There are days when we’ve just done grocery shopping and the fridge is bursting with color and all types of meats and seasonal produce; and then there are other days, when there is more empty space than food, and maybe all that I have to use are a couple of eggs and some leftover salad vegetables.
On the days where there isn’t much to work with, I have to be creative. You know what people say – the lesser you have, the more creative you are forced to be. In Nicole’s words, I try making something out of nothing.
One of those days inspired a simple but different type of lunch – healthy omelet wraps filled with sliced button mushrooms, spinach and lettuce – a tasty vegetarian meal that surprisingly takes up very little time and ingredients. It’s a light dish that’s bright, vibrant and refreshing – perfect for those days when you’re not too hungry and want something quick and fresh instead.
I hope you’ll love it as much as I did!
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup chopped spring onions
- 1 cup of sliced button mushrooms
- 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup of fresh torn lettuce leaves
- Salad of your choice, to accompany omelet wraps
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the ½ cup of water
- Add in salt and pepper and beat some more
- Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat
- Pour half the beaten egg mixture into the skillet, making sure the entire surface is covered
- Sprinkle half the amount of spring onion evenly on the top of the omelet and let it cook gently before flipping over to the other side (about 2 - 3 minutes). Once the other side is cooked, remove omelet from skillet and set aside.
- Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture and spring onions
- Place omelets (spring onion side facing down) on a large plate
- Dividen sliced mushrooms, spinach and lettuce evenly between both omelet and roll the omelets like you would roll a burrito
- Serve omelet wraps with salad of your choice