Weekly Meal Plan 10/5-10/11

Hey there people! I don’t know what the weather is doing in your neck o the woods, but here in Mid-Maryland, we’re breathing a pretty big sigh of relief as all relevant storm systems head out to sea. Bye bye wind. Bye bye rain. Thanks for taking it easier on us this time. I sincerely hope that wherever you are, and especially if you’re on the SouthEastern seaboard, you made it through this one unscathed.

We’ve got a lot brewing here because for some ridiculous reason, Mr. Little Sis and I decided we didn’t have enough to do. He has added a graduate program to his two jobs and I’ve added some classes, a gigging band, and some freelance work to mine. There, how’s that? Busy enough for you? Why, yes, yes it is. Thank you very much. I am having to very much rely on all my prior thinking about quick real food as we never seem to have enough time to do the slow cooking thing – well at least until Crock Pot season, which is almost here. So forgive the inelegance of these plans, I’m doing my best. And I’m willing to bet there are at least a few of you out there who don’t have enough time to cook for long either – so here we go.

Monday: Tacos with Stupid Fast Chili filling and quinoa, cut veggies

Tuesday: Spinach Chickpea Burgers, green salad, roasted cauliflower

Wednesday: varia-bowls with rice noodles, baked tofu, pickled carrots and chopped veg

Thursday: Kichadi, peas, green salad

Friday: Dinner at the Gig (if you live in MD, head on over to Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick. We play at 7)

Saturday: Dinner at Bigg Sis’ house (Yay!)

Sunday: homemade pasta, green salad

Adult Lunches: Leftover Chili as taco salad, Cold Kickin’ Soup (yep, it’s here – poor Mr. Little Sis)

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Here’s hoping your hamster wheel is spinning at a pace that works for you OR that you’re in one of those hamster balls so you’re actually able to go somewhere with your spinning. ;-) Have a great week!

Weekly Meal Plan 9/14-9/20

I began writing this post and realized that I wasn’t in fact writing this post at all, but another one that discusses overcommitment and its toll on our spirits. I’ve saved that and set it aside in favor of meeting this particular commitment, albeit a day late. If you don’t see the irony here, you probably need more rest too. ;-)

In all seriousness, my relative persistence in posting a meal plan is very helpful to me personally. I mean, I hope it helps you as well, but really, when I take the time to do it, I am actually planning our meals – something that doesn’t necessarily happen if I don’t sit down and write a post about it. You are keeping me accountable whether you’re using these or not – look how powerful you are! The exercise is also useful because of its unassailably necessary nature. This is not to suggest that we will expire if I don’t make a meal plan, or to indicate that I am completely unrealistic and believe that it is never okay to fly by the seat of your pants for a day or so because you just can’t do one more thing right now. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m able to make those adjustments from time to time, but when it comes down to brass tacks, we need to eat.

I say it all the time in these meal plans – “here’s what’s going on in our house… but we still need to eat.” No matter what chaos or drama emerges, no matter what the dog eats and requires emergency veterinary intervention for, no matter which car or house part needs fixing or replacing, we need to eat, and when I plan what we eat, all of those other parts work better and are less stressful. It’s a little tiny slice of domestic magic that does not always shine so brightly in the abstract when it’s on a checklist of too many other important things.

So thank you for holding me accountable, reminding me that there IS something I can do right now to make all of our lives easier this week.

Monday: Southwestern Salad, whole wheat bread

Tuesday: Chickpeas, Potatoes, and Tomatoes (very much like this dish); sautéed green beans, bell peppers

Wednesday: Miso Soup, green salad

Thursday: Nutshroom Burgers, veggies for burger toppings, steamed broccoli

Friday: Homemade Pizza (artichokes and onions and no moo for me!), cut veggies

Saturday: Thirty Minute Bean and Bulgur Chili, green salad, rice or taco shells to go with

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Easiest Tomato Sauce Ever and spinach, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Homemade Smoothie Pouches (these reusable food pouches are the bomb!) – just search smoothie in the search bar, we’ve got lots

Adult Lunches: Cold Kickin’ Soup (It’s coming. I can feel it.)

Here’s hoping your priorities are clear and well aligned with your values… okay, that’s too much. I hope you have a super week.

Weekly Meal Plan 9/7-9/15

It’s hardly fair to post what my meal plan was for today when 1) it has already occurred and 2) I didn’t have anything to do with planning or preparing it, but oh well. Fair shmair, right? Yes I have young children and have little regard for claims about what is fair at this point… I digress…

So we’re still having a heat wave here in Mid-Maryland, and to be perfectly honest, I’m over it. Maybe not as over it as all of the trees and bushes in my yard, but I’m over it nonetheless. I’ve had to dessert my usual total disregard for watering plants other than food generators in the interest of maintaining the living privacy protectors and clean air generators around me. I simply focus on different plants every day and hope it’s enough. The rain barrel will run dry soon, however, so do a little rain dance or something. I’m sure I’m not the only one who could use it. Perhaps if we all did it together? In the meantime I’m going to need to whip up a kid friendly plan this week as Mr. Little Sis will be traveling a great deal and I am simply not up to challenging their palates as much when I don’t have any reinforcements available. Kid friendly food it is!

Monday: Cookout at Sweetie Dad and Super Stepmom’s

Tuesday: Veggie-Full Picadillo (Big Sis’ new innovation on an old favorite), green salad

Wednesday: Tacos (with leftover Picadillo and lots of chopped veggies)

Thursday: Zucheesey Noodles, Broccoli, Green Salad

Friday: Sprouted Pizza Bagels, cut veggies. The ultimate cheat. I buy sprouted grain bagels and the kids make pizza bagels with them. They’re happy; I’m happy. Win Win.

Saturday: Gazpacho, Avocado Toast, Kale salad

Sunday: Homemade pasta with pesto, Spinach salad

Lunchbox Treats: Homemade Applesauce

Adult Lunches: Leftovers, Baked Tofu (I got a deal on some tofu and need to use it up – sounds sinister doesn’t it? “Psst. Hey, you, you want some tofu? I got a deal for you.”

Here’s hoping all your meals are met with great anticipation and equally great praise and that all of your tofu is purchased from legitimate but reasonable retailers.

Weakly Meal Plan

And that is no typo. Despite my best intentions (it being the new school year and everyone being so Gung Ho about all new and resumed ventures… I have run into a stumbling block, and for once it is not one of my own devising. My dear refrigerator has decided that this second week of school is a good time to crap out. It’s not completely fatal, but I am, unfortunately, not equipped to handle the problem. This puts a significant cramp in my meal plan planning. While I doubt the plan I’m about to offer is the most appealing you’ve ever seen, those of you with adequate domestic experience will doubtless recognize it as “one of those weeks.” Here’s hoping all of your appliances are sturdy and easy to fix.

Monday: Leftovers (to prevent waste while fridge is not cold), cut veggies

Tuesday: Potato Squashers, Sunflower Cheese, green salad

Wednesday: Pakistani Lentil Kima

Thursday: Slow and Simple Tortillas, Rice and Beans

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Dinner with friends

Sunday: Homemade pasta with pesto

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Adult Lunches: Salad until the greens run out or the fridge gets fixed


Weekly Meal Plan Returns!

That time has come. The end of the summer and beginning of school. The peak of the season for so much fresh produce; the beginning of cool evenings. Fall is coming, but it’s really not quite here yet. Perfect. My twin third graders return to school with new backpacks full of new supplies, new lunch boxes, and no small amount of hope. In honor of their rapidly increasing maturity, which sometimes shows itself in less than pleasant ways, I am doing an experiment. Today as we ate Sunday lunch I polled the table and gave each member the opportunity to suggest a meal for the upcoming week. Sure way to get some buy in at meal time, right? Right?! I’ll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, I’ll share with you our plan for the upcoming week.

Monday: Yellow Split Pea and Green Onion Lettuce Wraps from my latest cook book acquisition, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, baked tofu, pickled carrots and green beans (my pick and it seems to me the best one for the hot day we’re going to have tomorrow)

Tuesday: Zucchini “Crab” Cakes, Grilled Corn, Tomato and Nectarine Salad

Wednesday: Chickpea and Cashew Tikka Masala (Little Man’s choice, and yes, that makes me really happy),sautéed green beans, green salad

Thursday: Lentil Casserole (Ms. Picky Pants’ choice – on Thursday because it’s not going to be as hot that day), steamed broccoli, green salad

Friday: homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday:  Baked Falafel from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out cookbook, which I can’t recommend enthusiastically enough), falafel fixings and chopped veggies

Sunday: homemade pasta with raw spinach and fresh pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Summer’s End Zucchini Bread (because I still have about 25 pounds of zucchini sitting on the counter, even after the “crab” cakes

Adult Lunches: kale and romaine salads with miso dressing (because it’s been a long and unruly summer – we’ll be having a lot of salads for a little while to slim down for winter… wait… I think we’re doing it wrong)

May all your nights be cool and clear and all of your first days be joyful! Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly (well mostly) Meal Plan 7/13-7/19

So, yeah, you might have noticed I haven’t done this for a while. Sorry about that. I mean it – I’m really sorry. We have been in the best kind of whirlwind with school ending, quite a bit of traveling, home renovations, big positive decisions, and friends having babies. See what I mean? Okay, without details it probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can assure you that you wanted no part of any meal plan I might have been able to offer these past few weeks.

And now we are home. I have beaten back the weeds (and the cucumbers which were choking the tomatoes) in the garden. I have reclaimed the patio from the weeds and moss (um hello, what is with all the freaking rain?!) and mowed the lawn several times. I’ve done the loads of laundry that result from travel and chaos. I’ve gotten the kids working on the summer math program their school (insert curse words anywhere in the preceding phrase for accuracy) recommended over the summer to prevent summer learning loss. I’ve earned the dog’s forgiveness for his first kennel experience and I’ve admitted that it’s possible that I’ve endured yet another hormone shift that makes my metabolism something less than the wonder that it used to be. As you can see, much of my business has been internal and a little crazy. It’s okay to think it. I’m aware. But I’m home. And I’m finding my compass. And all is well, and in fact better for having visited amazing seashores, distant relatives, friends who are chosen family, and discovered that my kids are actually funny and interesting people. Funny and interesting people who still need to eat, so in order to cease this unrequested and unwarranted vomitous revelation, I shall get on with planning the week of the return to normalcy.

Monday: Lentil Casserole, sauteed zucchini, green salad, zucchini bread for dessert

Tuesday: Zucchini “Crab” Cakes, Grilled Corn, Sauteed Green Beans

Wednesday: Power Tabbouleh; Lentils, Potatoes, and Tomatoes; Green Salad

Thursday: Dinner at Beans in the Belfry before singing a little

Friday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Zucchini boats with quinoa and vegan sausage (I’ll let you know and yes, we have a LOT of zucchini this year)

Sunday: Homemade pasta, pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: HAHAHAHAHA! Okay, I will be toting some zucchini bread bits around.

Adult Lunches: These now include the children and I’m realizing my planning is entirely inadequate in this arena. More on this topic later, maybe… we’ll see.

I sincerely hope you’ve been having as much fund as I have and have perhaps been faced with exactly the number of life altering decisions that you are comfortable with. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 6/8-6/14

Strawberries, strawberries everywhere!! My own patch has been super productive this year and WOW are they sweet and delicious and red all the way through. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try some homegrown or farmers market berries. Many of those available in the store have been bred to last a long time, but have lost some of their essential strawberry-ness. I am a strawberry freak and will happily even eat the bland cousins of my own garden strawberries when they are at their lowest price in early summer. I watch all my little strawberries closely (I mean the ones I’m not eating or putting in food) and when they get dusky (a little too dark, just pre-rot), I freeze them for use in smoothies. More on making the most of strawberries here.

So this week, since I’m inundated with strawberries, I thought it might be fun to experiment a little. Some savory strawberry dishes sound like just the ticket. Add to that a warm week and the annoying continuation of the cabinet renovation project and some cool dishes sound like a good way to go.

Monday: Strawberry Pistachio Quinoa with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette, grilled corn, sautéed green beans

Tuesday: Strawberry Tomato and Fennel Gazpacho, Mixed Grain Bread, Smoky Baba Ghanoush, green salad

Wednesday: Vegan French Toast with Balsamic or Rosemaried Strawberries (working on the details there but thinking something like this)

Thursday: Asian Varia-Bowls (good for hot weather), chopped veggies, pickled carrots

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Cucumber Soup with Herbed Cucumber Relish, Mixed Grain Bread,

Sunday: Homemade Kale Pasta with Basil Pesto, Massaged Kale Salad

Lunchbox Treats: Yeah, we have 8 school days left. I’m not baking right now. Sue me.

Adult Lunches: We will be meditating in the remaining quiet for lunch (and eating leftovers)


I hope it is a little less sultry and steamy where you are, and that your strawberries are plump and plentiful. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 6/1-6/7

Okay, so while I was blathering about all the stuff happening, I forgot to reveal the reality about May and June for us. It is one LONG celebration. Mr. Little Sis’ birthday was at the beginning of May. Something happened in the middle, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was – oh right, Mother’s Day. Then we had one nephew graduating, one sister’s birthday (yes,, that’s Bigg Sis)… oh, and wait a freaking minute! Did I mention she moved. She moved, she moved she moved. Sorry sorry Tennessee, but now my Bigg Sis is right near MEEEEEEE!

So you’d think that was enough celebrating, right?! But wait, there’s more! This weekend Mr. Little Sis and I will celebrate 16 years of marriage (at Ms. Picky Pants’ dance recital). and then Father’s Day and then my birthday and then the last day of school party, and then we’re going on a trip and then it’s the fourth of July (which we spend with friends). I feel like I’m exhaling crepe paper right now. Happy Everything!

Monday: Indian Summer Cold Sesame Noodles, spinach and cut veggies

Tuesday: Mulligatawny Soup, Oat Uttapam, pickled carrots, green salad

Wednesday: Lentil Casserole (a brief cold spell predicted this week says I may be able to appease Ms. Picky Pants with this very warm and hearty dish one more time this year), sautéed green beans, pickled carrots

Thursday: Strawberry Kale Salad with Almonds, crusty wheat bread

Friday: Homemade PIzza, cut veggies

Saturday: Dairy Free Womanicotti, bruschetta, green salad

Sunday: Homemade Pasta, Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Lunchbox Treats: Almond Lemon Jots

Adult Lunches: leftover sesame noodles, salad and soup (we rarely have leftover lentil casserole anymore…)


Here’s hoping your upcoming week is full of real food, loving family and true friends… oh, and a celebration or two if that’s your thing! Eat well, be well friends!

Weekly Meal Plan 5/25-5/31

I am alive. THAT was a long week. So, remember how last week I posted that I’d be late with the meal plan because my husband was away and my daughter was throwing up? Yeah, when’s the last time THAT was a one day problem. It’s been a long and tiring week although everyone was home and well in time for the weekend and this weekend has been really swell. Lots of time spent with friends and lots of almost summer weather. Tons of time in the garden and things are really looking pretty good. I’m liking the straw as mulch I’ve tried this year, and I’m just glad with all the events planned for May and June that I’ve found a little time to weed and water.

This week will, I do hope, be more pleasant than last, but it’s still pretty full. We’re enjoying the last few hours away from our usual responsibilities here today and then we have 3 short days until the next celebration, when my nephew graduates from high school (not Bigg Sis’ son – I have many nephews). Then there’s a pool party with friends and time to see BIGG SISSSSSSS! Yay! I keep having to remind myself to care about these last few weeks of school for the kids. “Finish strong.”  Yeah, how about we just finish, K? With all the parties and chaos it seems particularly important to me to plan some healthful meals so we can be sure we don’t only survive on party food (wait, is that bad?). So… the week.

Monday: Vegan French Toast with Garden Strawberries (yeah, okay, not the most healthful, but a great way to welcome the strawberries that I picked this morning), Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Tuesday: Chickpea and Cashew Tikka Masala, green salad

Wednesday: Lentil Bulgur Burgers, Power Tabbouleh, cut veggies and pickles

Thursday: Company Good Pea Soup (we’ve got garden peas y’all), crusty wheat bread and green salad

Friday: Graduation Party

Saturday: Pool Party at Friends’ House

Sunday: homemade pasta, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Adult Lunches: Salad City, some greens ready in the garden too!

I hope your week is full of celebrations, even if they are small ones and that your early summer is proving fruitful.

More On Sleep and Awareness

Well-BeingEven though it’s Monday, I won’t be posting a meal plan today. Not because I don’t want to, but because I am totally impaired. It is not possible for me to write a meal plan today. Those of you who’ve been playing along may know that I have some determination to get more sleep this year.These last two days have been a major fail on that score as I have a sick little one (why does vomit only happen in the middle of the night?) and I’ve gotten very little sleep… hence the impairment and lack of meal plan. I’m shooting for tomorrow on that.

As for the larger sleep  goal, while I can’t say definitively that I have gotten more sleep all the time, I do think an important trend has emerged. I have become significantly more aware of the negative impact of not getting enough sleep and I have become quicker to recognize when I’m not getting enough sleep. I’ve made some observations lately that have been critical to the development of my sleep practice.

First of all, I now have a FitBit. Now, I know I know we’ve said you don’t need to spend money to get more fit and you don’t. HOWEVER, I’ve really been struggling with acknowledging my fluctuating reality in getting exercise and feeling good. I needed a reality device. I needed the equivalent of the pedometer I got after I gave birth to twins. The cool thing about the FitBit is that it also tracks how long I sleep. This dumb (and slightly creepy tracking me) little device has made the connection between the amount of sleep I get and my mood the next day crystal clear. I’ve only had it for a little while, but in that little while Mr. Little Sis has been away on business. A good time to make a change in my own behavior. Earlier to bed it was and guess what? When I get more sleep, I like my kids a WHOLE LOT MORE. I am more patient. I find humor in situations that would otherwise aggravate me. I’m more willing to be in the moment and enjoy them, to play with them rather than just do what’s required to get through the day. And know what else? Even with all that zen lahddie-dahddie fun with my kids, I still got a ton of stuff done in the yard and the garden AND made decent progress on the cabinet project.  It seems so silly, so simple. It couldn’t possibly be as simple as that, right? It couldn’t just be that we need more sleep… or could it?

For a little reinforcement of that learning, while Mr. Little Sis has been away the kids got sick (which almost always happens and I don’t really want to think about how that can be true). We’ve had some nights with very little sleep. And know what? (I realize I sound like a 5 year with all the “know whats”; I don’t really care.) Adults are no different than children. We all have a harder time holding it together when we don’t get enough sleep. My two, who really are generally well behaved and affable seem to have a limit of two fundamental problems. Lack of adequate sleep is one seriously fundamental problem. What that means is that one other thing being wrong on a sort of basic level means game over. I’m hungry and you’re not giving me food right now, tears. I feel yucky and you’re not making it go away, tears. I can’t find the Lego piece that you just stepped on and nearly broke your foot, tears.

Yes, kids can be like this, but in particular TIRED kids are like this at my house. Two things help: 1) more sleep and 2) acknowledging out loud to them that they are tired and you understand it’s hard to deal with things when you’re tired. Tears stop, sometimes there’s even an apology. Then we fix the secondary problem because without a fever there is no napping at our house anymore. Here’s a banana. Everything’s okay. Really.

Well-BeingAll of this gives me significant pause. It seems, from this long and rambling series of observations about sleep while I’m completely exhausted. Perhaps it is not just my children that can only have 1 fundamental problem at a time. Given inadequate sleep any other problem of any significance becomes too much to handle. All problems added on to too little sleep also become much larger than they are in reality – I’m hungry for a snack becomes tears. I can’t find my Lego becomes tears. My boss didn’t love my presentation… My car broke down… The dog ate 2 pounds of chocolate chips (yes, this is a real example and also occurred while Mr. Little Sis was out of town and required me to make the dog vomit, we’re a regular vomitorium)… tears or an adult over-reacty equivalent. What would happen if we all just got more sleep? Would we be more productive? Would we be more tolerant of each other? Would we remember to enjoy the good things? Hmmmm. I’m going to make sure to get more sleep tonight (assuming the vomit part is over, which with twins is a big assumption) and see about all of that. Anybody want to join me? I mean in your bed, of course. My sick child and misbehaving dog will be in mine.

Sleep well, be well friends.