Weekly Meal Plan 12/7-12/13

So I was thinking of skipping this bit this week. I’ve got a LOT to do, and then it occurred to me. We still need to eat. So really, the five extra minutes spent sharing a meal plan with you isn’t that big of a time thang after all. If I skip it, I won’t make a plan, and then I’ll be scrambling all week, which definitely won’t help me get these things done… Yeah. So I am here, joyfully… really. Okay, maybe just as a demonstration that there are, in fact, habits that are worth the time in terms of the amount of stress they save us in the long run. I am your living example… on that point only… seriously, that’s a lot of pressure.

And, a few words of prefacing here. I am blessed with a large pantry. It’s a closet basically, with shelves and such. The ONLY bad thing about a big pantry is that sometimes it’s hard to see everything you have and as a result some items may sit around for quite some time. It is my belief that even shelf stable food items really aren’t at their best after some time, so I’m making an effort in these last few weeks of the year to dig to the back of the pantry and use up those items that seem to have been sitting the longest. While I’m doing that I’ll take a look at my spice jars and see if there are any still there from the cretaceous period and give them the boot.

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Weekly Meal Plan 11/2-11/8/15

Well hello there everybody! We’ve made it over the first of the cool weather holiday hurdles! My kids came home when their candy collection units (CCUs) were too heavy to proceed. Smart Mr. Little Sis dictated the policy that if you want to even think about eating it, you gotta carry it. And so they returned with an insane haul and with the inevitable but thus far delayed conclusion that the buckets I bought them as toddlers have, in fact, become too small for their growing candy collection needs. I was hoping they wouldn’t think of that for another year.

They returned home and began the horse trading that marks a truly successful Halloween. I stood nearby, biting my tongue and only occasionally intervening when the swindle was too great to be tolerated.

Having thoroughly enjoyed their costumed candy beggary, now’s where things get really fun for one of my little people. Poor little man has oral surgery in the morning. Poor little man’s face is too small for all of poor little man’s teeth, so we’re in a very long process that I’m assured will result in a healthy and happy mouth full of teeth with which he will eat me out of house and home if he continues at the current rate. The impact of this particular saga on this week’s menu is that I’m reasonably certain that little man will have little to no interest in anything but soft food for a few days, so forgive me if part of the menu seems to lack a little in the texture department. Feel free to add nuts at your own discretion. 🙂

Monday: Amazing Applesauce on Whole Wheat Sesame Pancakes, cooked carrots

Tuesday: Lentil, Mushroom and Sweet Potato Soup, wheat bread, green salad or green smoothies if it’s still painful for the boy

Wednesday: rice noodle Varia Bowls with Half Raw Stir Fry and cashews

Thursday: Curried Coconut Quinoa and Greens with Roasted Cauliflower

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Cooking Class for the Kids? An experiment we’re toying with.

Sunday: Homemade Pasta

Lunchbox Treats: Halloween candy will be enjoyed this week, in their lunch, and yes I realize that is unkind to the teacher.

Adult Lunches: Creamy Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

 

So that’ what we’ll be gumming for dinner down here. I hope all of your meals are toothsome. Eat well, be well friends!

Weekly Meal Plan 3/2-3/8

So, my kids are off from school… again… No we don’t want to play in the snow. No, it’s not a winter wonderland. It’s an icy school canceling mess. I can only begin to imagine how folks are faring north of us. I, for one, have had enough of winter. Uncle. We admit defeat. Go away. I don’t even need it to be extra warm or sunny, just stop sending frozen bits of crap to the ground. Thank you. Oh, yeah, and here’s the meal plan.

Monday: Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup and Kale, Lemon, and Cilantro Sandwiches (from The Engine 2 Diet, and yes we had this soup pretty recently but it was so popular and the weather is so lousy I think it deserves a replay)

Tuesday: Zucheesy Noodles, Roasted Cabbage, green salad

Wednesday: Vegetable Tempura with Orange Lemongrass Dipping Sauce and Jicama Rice (from Ani’s Raw Food Asia)

Thursday: Mung Bean Stew (the forecast dictates yet another stew day, and no, I don’t want to talk about that), No Fear Homemade Whole Wheat Bread, green salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Birthday Party for a Friend (Yay!)

Sunday: Homemade Pasta w/Pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treat: Three Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies (I’ll share if this goes well)

Adult Lunches: leftover soup and leftover Slow Cooker Black Bean, Barley and Corn Burritos

 

After I get that tomato soup going, I think the only reasonable thing to do is to plant some seeds to sprout inside in an attempt to remind myself that this is, in fact, a seasonal situation. Here’s hoping the ice dams in your gutters have melted and that your bellies are full of veggies and love. Eat well, be well friends.

Thank you, Thank You Sam I Am

Thank you, thank you Sam I am, because if it weren’t for my willingness to try zucchini again, I would never have been able to eat this for dinner last night. It is zuchinni manicotti from Laughing Seed* in Asheville, NC. It was unbelievable, fantastic, otherworldly. Really, really good. And the funny thing is that the “noodle” in this manicotti, as you may have guessed from the picture is simply very thinly sliced raw zuchinni. I do not like raw zucchini, Sam I am. I will not eat it in a boat. I will not eat it with a goat. I will not eat it and I’m not bashful; I will not eat eat it while I’m in Asheville…. Unless it’s this…. Holy Moly.

It was filled with what I believe was some sort of cashew cream and grated zucchini with pesto. Chunky marinara as a sauce, and drizzled basil infused olive oil. Olives on the plate and a basil garnish, as you can see. It was all raw and while not cold, not heated. I will not eat a cold squash dish; I will not eat it with a catfish. I will not eat it in the mountains; I will not eat it in the fountain… until this dish, which I fully intend to attempt to reproduce at home and will eat in a fountain to amuse you…

In the past, as you may have guessed, I have not been a fan of zucchini, and more recently while having conceded to eating cooked zucchini, I have specifically been an anti-fan of raw zucchini in any form. The interesting lesson for me over the years is that from time to time, one dish that can transform how we feel about a food that we have “always hated.”  I will try it Sam I am.  If you will leave me be, I will try it.  This has happened twice for me with the unlikely zucchini.

My relationship with zucchini began in a more modest preparation than the spectacular raw zucchini manicotti – a baby step that was a bit of a squash revelation for me. If you are not a zucchini fan, you may want to give it a go; if you are, try a new way. As I recall,l I read about this preparation in Cook’s Illustrated and it turned me on to zucchini – and helped me identify what I didn’t like about the veggie as usually cooked. It was the mush. I don’t like sliced sautéed squash because it gets too mushy. So here, we are, another way…

Grate Green Zucchini
I usually prepare at least three average sized zucchini at a time in this way to serve as a side dish. Wash the zukes, cut the ends off. Using the large side of a box grater, grate the little devils almost to the core. Do NOT grate the middle part with the seeds; this is where all the liquid is. Put grated zucchini into a fine strainer or sieve. Add a quarter teaspoon of salt and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Occasionally stir and press down to encourage the liquid to leave.  Give the zucchini one final (and thorough) press from the top. Remove to a towel and squeeze out as much remaining liquid as possible. Warm small amount of olive oil in pan on lower medium heat. Add zucchini to pan and sauté, stirring gently until the green from the skin becomes more vibrant and the flesh is slightly softer. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also like a little lemon with mine. We like ours as a simple side, but it also good mixed into any number of dishes, and added to sandwiches, tortillas, you know how we roll over here. Before you know it, you may be adding sautéed zukes to all kinds of things… and one day, you may even find yourself slicing some paper thin to wrap around some basil cream… Delish!

*For those of you interested in the restaurant, or in vegetarian and vegan cuisine specifically, we also ordered a fantastic seitan curry and the boy had a seitan and hempseed burger. My picky one was delighted to sample the pita pizza. We all enjoyed the dinner immensely, ate at a table outside in the 78 degree sunshine and relished our last evening in North Carolina.