Weekly Meal Plan 1/12-1/18

Eight years ago today the sonographer asked if I thought I could cry when the obstetrician came in to examine me. Being 38 weeks pregnant with robust sized twins I squeaked out: “You betcha,” before I started crying right then and there. An hour later we were headed to the hospital and our lives were changed forever. Today as we celebrate an “ice day” here in mid-Maryland, which for those of you in different climates means the roads were deemed impassable early this morning and are now simply wet, I am also attempting to wrap a present or two, bake a cake, salvage the brownies I made to take to school and plan our meals for the week, all of these with a lot more company than I had planned to have. ūüôā Ice day aside, we shall celebrate, and celebrate well as we always do. And I will watch in amazement as these little creatures become more and more like big independent people‚Ķ who need to eat, so let’s get on with this thing, shall we?

Monday: Zucheesy Noodles, green salad, and birthday cake made using this cupcake recipe

Tuesday: Nutshroom Burgers, roasted potatoes, green beans

Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup, homemade bread, spreads (hummus, baba ganoush), green salad

Thursday: Rice Noodles with wilted Asian greens and chopped veggies

Friday: homemade pizza

Saturday: Mung Bean Stew, brown rice, green salad

Sunday: homemade pasta

lunchbox treats: birthday leftovers

Adult lunches: leftover soup and nutshroom burgers (double batch for freezing)

 

I hope your week is full of healthful food, joyful days, and plenty of rest. I have been putting myself to bed earlier for the last week or so and have noticed a big difference. In addition to thinking about better food (like in Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals), we’re turning our attention to a broader notion of well-being in our new series A Year of Well-Being. Join Us!

Weekly Meal Plan 11/17-11/23

How we react to things is a really good indicator of our core, our essence, those fundamental and if not unchangeable, at least strongly resilient parts of ourselves. This last week we discovered (while having someone complete one repair on our heat system) that a significant section of our venting was, in fact, not even connected to the thing that makes the heat. We have lived here for over seven years.

My husband, in a display of his generously sunny disposition, responded with “Yay! It’s finally going to be warmer in a big section of the house.” And I know he’s right, and I’m happy about it too. But right there along with my happy, is a calculator of all the wasted heating dollars, and frustration with all the HVAC people who’ve been here before now‚Ķ because REALLY?! So, it’s fixed, and as tonight it seems that winter has arrived, I’m happy about it too. Really I am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want warm comfort food, because just like my dollar wasting calculator, my desire for comfort food is core, basic me-ness. I’m pretty sure both my love of comforting belly warming foods and frugal dishes¬†show up in this menu. Hopefully all my sunny people will eat them and still stay their wonderful sunny selves. Hope your week reveals something essential about you that you just love.

 photo b4b5fa15-af38-4aaf-93a3-efb49641c748.jpgMonday: 30 Minute Bean and Bulgur Chili, Quinoa, Cornbread, Green Salad

Tuesday: Lentil/Bulgur Burgers, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli, Green Salad

Wednesday:  Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, Mixed Grain Bread, Green Salad

Thursday: Asian Varia Bowl with Rice Noodles, Veggies

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Cut Veggies

Saturday: Baked Butternut Squash Risotto, Green Beans, Green Salad

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Spinach and Pesto

Adult Lunches:¬†leftover chili, leftover Cold Kickin’ Soup

Lunchbox Treat: Peanut Butter Crisp Cookies (yes, I will share this one…)

  

I had completely forgotten about those cookies. Yeah, I gotta go. Hope your week is as easy or as hard as you need it to be and that all of your vents are properly connected. Eat well, be well friends!

Pantry Fare

Real foods are the best foods. ¬† Well… okay I’m gonna say it. ¬†Real foods are the only foods. ¬†The other things are chemicals and synthetics that we’ve been convinced will satisfy us. ¬†So there. ¬†Even in the real food category, however, some are better than others. ¬†While we could get into a lengthy discussion of nutrition benefits, I have to admit that the real foods that earn my highest praise are often those that are not only nutritious, but the most versatile. ¬†Versatile real foods allow the greatest number of variations without too much skill building and are real pantry boons (especially if they are CHEAP).

And so, I return joyfully to my previous post on recalibrating our grocery bill. ¬†Things are going pretty well in this department, and the pantry is finally thinning enough that I can see what’s in there and what’s not. ¬†I can also feel out what we actually NEED based on how many times I look for something that is already gone. ¬†Granted, I am no longer prepared in the event of a nuclear disaster as I was prior to attempting to ease up on the grocery mania, but we still could eat for a while out of that pantry…. ¬†Based on my experiments this week, I WILL make sure that I’m always stocked with bulgur and lentils. ¬†I’ve continued playing with the lentil-bulgur mix and I’ve discovered a home run that is kid approved (yes, even the picky one). ¬†It is also one of those lovely recipes that provides lots of opportunity for the less mature members of the family to participate in the cooking (I am talking about my children here, in case you were wondering if that was a jab at my wonderful and very mature husband). ¬†I give you Mini Neatloaves. (Applause)

Mini Neatloaves –¬†Served our family of 4 two dinners with 2 adult lunches left.¬†Inspired by Confetti Mini-Meatloaf on Spark Recipes

  • 4c lentil-bulgur mix
  • 3c rolled oats
  • 1 med onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3c mushrooms ( I used reconstituted dried)
  • 2/3 c diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce – we had leftover pasta sauce to use up)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 eggs (I used flax)
  • 1 t mustard powder
  • 2 t marjoram
  • 1T creaminess (milk, mayo, yogurt… whatever.. I needed this because I mixed in the remainder of the leftover lentil-bulgur taco mix and it needed some mellowing)
  • 3T Braggs or soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350. ¬†Lightly oil two muffin tins – you can also use a loaf pan, but I’m just gonna tell you that’s not as fun. ¬†If you’re making flax eggs, prepare them first so they have time to set up. ¬†Put lentil-bulgur mix and oats in large bowl. ¬†Put veggies in food processor and process until they are no longer distinguishable as individual bits to your pickiest eater (you may not need to be quite as thorough as I was on this front). ¬†Add veggie slush to bowl. ¬†Add spices and flax eggs and mix. ¬†I added about of cup of leftover peas that were in my fridge. ¬†(My two still love measuring so they helped a lot on this part). ¬†Mix until well combined.

Recruit volunteers to fill muffin tins with neat loaf mix. ¬†Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes (Watch closely as we had little people crises and I’m not sure I got the time exactly right.) ¬†If you make a loaf, you will need to cook it longer. ¬†If you make one enormous meatball, you’d better make a lot of spaghetti.

I served ours on a bed of orzo (insurance), beet salad with orange dressing, and cucumber slices. ¬†We got 100% approval rating and all parties ate more neat loaves than orzo. ¬†The ¬†younger crowd enjoyed theirs with a little ketchup (don’t judge). ¬†Most everyone enjoyed the beets as well (she just doesn’t like beets, even with orange juice in the picture).

Absolutely delish. ¬†Oh, and if you’re wondering about the dressing, it was simply an attempt to get my daughter to eat beets. ¬†3T orange juice, 1T olive oil, small squeeze honey, pinch salt. ¬†While it didn’t change my daughter’s mind about the beautiful beets that we grew and that she helped harvest from the garden, the rest of us enjoyed it, and found it especially yummy when it slid from our beets into our orzo and onto our cucumber slices. ¬†Summer is fabulous. Hope yours is delish as well.