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 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.

Weekly Meal Plan 5/11-5/17

It’s been an exciting domestic week here in mid-Maryland. The kids are giving me the daily countdown on school. The garden is in and mulched with straw (which if you ever purchase is a great time to line the car with a tarp, duh… The cabinet project proceeds and in acknowledging how very long this is bound to take, I’ve surrendered to the pace and am focusing on purging things as I approach each cabinet. It has been very liberating. While there is a certain charm to a chipped cup, the ones with cracks down the side are decidedly less cute. We had a lot of cracked bits. Some will be used as plant holders, some for pencils, some for fai

ry houses, and those that still function but were unnecessary are being donated. VERY freeing. I may need to find the cracked bits in all the other rooms as well.The things that accumulate in 25 years of adulthood can be staggering. All that we don’t need and that could be of use in some other way to to some other person… staggering. Dogs shed in the spring, and I’ve always thought there was sort of a built in zen wisdom to dogs. Perhaps it’s time to take a lesson from Baxter and shed away as though it’s the most natural thing to do. Meanwhile light meals that are easy to prepare (I’m flying solo this week) and that don’t add spiritual or physical weight to this lighter feeling are the order of the day.

Monday: Rice sticks with raw veggies, cashews and Asian dressing (Bragg’s, rice vinegar and garlic chili paste)

Tuesday: Super green salad, crusty bread, seasoned chick peas, olives, pickles (it’s supposed to be H.O.T.)

Wednesday: Zucheesey Noodles, peas, green salad

Thursday: Sesame Pancakes with Honeyed Oranges and Kale Smoothies (yes, I’m playing to the kid crowd while Dad is away… can you blame me?)

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies (we eat this while we have a movie picnic in the living room)

Saturday: Creamy Daal, Vegan Palak Paneer, Naan (we’ll see about all of this, ambitious after nearly a full week flying solo)

Sunday: Pasta (from a box, Daddy’s the homemade pasta king around here) with red sauce AND pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Adult Lunches: salads, leftovers, hummus and spinach sandwiches

There. The week is much less daunting now. I hope it is for you too. 😉 Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 5/4-5/10

Wow. I kicked some major garden booty this past weekend and I am feeling pretty smug. Or at least I was feeling pretty smug until I looked at the weather forecast and realized that it’s supposed to be in the high 80s most of this week. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m A-OK with some summery days arriving, but my little newly transplanted seedlings will not like it very much. What can I do about that? Give them a little shade is what I can do. I happen to have some of the kind of cover a lot of folks use for hoops to protect from frost or bugs. Here in mid-Maryland where late winter frequently hangs out until summer can make an appearance, I have found this kind of cover to be very useful – for cold nights and sweltering “Spring” days. So starting at about 2 pm I will cover those little babies and then get on with birthday preparations… for Mr. Little Sis.

Birthday planning is one of those areas where having different family cultures can really throw a wrench in things. In my extended family birthdays are pretty low key. Like, we are happy you were born, but let’s not get carried away, okay? In Mr. Little Sis’ family it’s like the freaking circus is coming to town JUST FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY. It took me a while to realize that this basic family culture difference was at the heart of what I rightly discerned as his very polite and yet still perceptible letdown on every birthday that I have orchestrated. I’ve upped the ante for the last couple of years with positive results, but am finding myself at a bit of a loss this year in the food department of the birthday celebration. I’ll sort it out, and it will be good, but you’ll notice an incomplete spot on my meal plan… and that is SUPER irritating to my inner OCD freak. Please forgive the omission and my neurotic response to it. I hope you are having a great week, that all your endeavors are established before the heat rises on them, and that you have plenty of cool foods to eat if you will be sweating… like the ones we have here…

Monday: Umbrian Lentil Salad, Green Salad, Whole Wheat Bread, Navy Bean Herb Hummus

Tuesday: Nutshroom Burgers, Sweet and Sour Pickles, green salad

Wednesday: Mr. Little Sis’ Birthday…. aaagh I don’t have a plan and I’m FREAKING OUT. Okay, not quite freaking out, but it’s not good people. I may just let him choose whatever he wants, which could mean just about anything depending on his mood.

Thursday: Singapore NoodlesMung Bean Sprouts Namul

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Taco Salads (Picadillo as the chili, big greens and cut vegetables, some healthier tortilla chips)

Sunday: Homemade Pasta, green salad

Adult Lunches: Power Tabbouleh, Kale Avocado Sprouts Salad

Lunchbox Treats: Almond Lemon Jots

 

Looks like a great week. Nice cool summery foods to welcome what looks to be a very warm May. I hope you have a stellar week and that all the important people let you know how much they love you. Okay, maybe if just one does that it would be good. right? Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 4/27-5/3

Another day, another massive inhalation of paint fumes. But wait, you say, aren’t you concerned about your health? Aren’t you using low VOC paint? Don’t you need your brain cells Little Sis? The answers: yes (of course), yes (on the insides of the cabinets), and I guess sometimes. The cabinet project proceeds apace. I’ve finished a couple and am making my way around the first corner on the upper cabinets. Yes, this is time consuming. Yes, I now understand why people we talked to wanted to charge so very much to do this. Yes it looks fantastic, even only partially complete. And let me tell you how much more rewarding this is than any of the other chores that await, well except cooking which I still love, but confess is not quite as fun in my disarranged kitchen. I am not a terribly neat person, but I am not a big fan of a disarranged kitchen. I am working on my ability to accept said disarray as part of the process. Yeah, I’ll let you know how that’s going as soon as I rinse the sawdust out of my tea mug… For your meal planning enjoyment:

Monday: Potato Squashers, sautéed green beans, green salad

Tuesday: Easy Veggie Lo Mein (from Meatless Monday)

Wednesday: Spinach Chickpea Burgers, burger fixins, pickles and cut veggies,

Thursday: Tofu Bahn Mi, Quick Pickled Asian Carrots, green salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Chickpea and Cashew Tikka Masala

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Nofredo Sauce, green salad, Wilted Mediterranean Kale

Lunchbox Treats: Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Adult Lunches: Namuls and leftovers all week

There it is folks. We’ll see if I can stick with it enough to share a recipe with you later in the week. How’s that for some ambition? If you’ve not yet checked out our FB page, give it a like . You know you want to. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 4/20-4/26

Hey friends! We’ve had a string of lovely days here in mid-Maryland. helped friends celebrate their marriage over the weekend and got to take a lovely warm walk through our fantastic town. Came home to kids well cared for by their grandmother. All played out and happy. Supah. A lovely respite from our big cabinet project, which is still in full swing, although with a bit of an admission that the pace of last week is, in fact unsustainable. Still making plenty of progress and they’re looking really great (perhaps I’ll post a picture or two to our FB page), and I’ve made all manner of mistakes. I prefer to see them as domestic learning opportunities. What learning opportunities have you had lately? Any of yours involve band-aids?

Monday: Lentil Casserole, snap peas, green salad

Tuesday: Burritos/Taco Salads (with this Roasted Vegetable Chili)

Wednesday: Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff

Thursday: Mushroom Gumbo

Friday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Sushi Rice Salad, grilled veggies

Sunday: Homemade pasta with pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Adult Lunches: kale salads and leftovers

Happy Spring to those of you enjoying the same season that I am. I hope all of your projects go smoothly, that all your meals are delicious, and that your learning opportunities are relatively painless. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 4/13-4/19

“But I can’t. I don’t have time. I have SO much to do. There’s crap all over my counters. There’s stuff all over the table. I can barely move in my kitchen. I HAVE to finish this house project pronto. I can’t possibly stop and write a meal plan right now. No, really I can’t. I need to keep working until this thing is finished…” And so the monkeys have been shouting in my head all day. They don’t really shout – that would be too obviously hostile. It’s more of a chatter, you know, like monkeys.

You see, in my brilliance, I decided that rather than spending one more minute being annoyed with my kitchen cabinets, I would – no not pay anyone to do anything about it because I am way too cheap for such a maneuver – begin the process of refinishing them. Okay, it’s not a full on refinishing, but the details are not really all that important. Point is every inch of my cabinets needs to be touched several times with a variety of renovation products and tools – many of which create smells that are likely killing my brain. Yeah, so I started that without a single thought about what else might be on the calendar. Yep, that’s how I roll. Call me impetuous. Call me impulsive. Call me shortsighted and long on initial enthusiasm. Here’s the thing. I have a LOT of cabinets. Most of the time, that fact resides in the positive category. Today… yeah.

At any rate. I was preparing to publish a brief explanation of why I didn’t make a menu this week because totally busy, kitchen under tarps, stain all over my fingers, addled by primer fumes, and then it dawned on me (in spite of the aforementioned addled state) that this is EXACTLY when I need to make a meal plan. My week is going to be crammed and difficult. Mr. Little Sis is traveling this week. A close friend is getting married on Saturday and I have music to prepare for that. I have some resume work to do for some freelance work I’d really like to score (as long as they don’t give it to me anytime soon). I really need to make a plan for SOMETHING or the whole family logistical world is going down the crapper. So, I need a meal plan. And I need to actually spend a little longer on it than usual so I choose wisely. Momma needs a lot of help or there’ll be a whole lot of carry out, and I really don’t want to do that. So, here we go friends. A meal plan for the uber busy, slightly overwhelmed, fume addled, and admittedly a little grumpy home cook.

Monday: Varia-Bowls with Roasted Asparagus and Fabu Asian Peanut Sauce

Tuesday: Nofredo Spaghetti, peas, Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday: Chickpea Salad Sammies, Oven Fries, green salad

Thursday: Tunisian Roasted Vegetables see Bigg Sis’ tips on easy tabil and harissa here

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Wedding Dinner!! (no, not our wedding, we already did that almost 16 years ago)

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with roasted vegetables, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Yeah, I’m taking a pass here, okay? Low sugar graham crackers from a box this week friends.

Adult Lunches: Kale salad – from a bag… that’s right, I said it. This is how I cut myself some slack during a busy week. I buy kale salad in a bag. I am weird.
  

I will take some pictures later in the week and post them on our Baby Steps to Better Health FB page, which I strongly encourage you to visit. 🙂 Hope you’re managing your time and expectations better than I am this week friends. And yes, that’s a low bar, so there you go a win for the week for you – and it’s only Monday! Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan 3/30-4/5

Shakin’ the tree… Shakin’ the food rut. Shakin’ it up. Doesn’t take me long at all to slip into a pattern with this meal planning business. I get bored. They get bored. Everybody gets crabby. Okay, so there may be more to the crabbiness than the dinner menu rut. The twins have discovered Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and have lost all their regard for lights out dictates… So we’ve begun double checking, ensuring books are down (a nice problem to have, I have to admit). Compliance has increased, crabbiness is waning. If we could get a nice day or two, we just might be getting somewhere. In the meantime, Momma needs some new dinner magic. This week I’m adding a couple of recipes from the Meatless Monday website. This is a great resource for anyone trying to up the plant content of their plate, which doctors seem to be agreeing is the thing to do. What do you do when you get in a recipe rut? Me, I’m gonna shake it up a little and see where that gets me. We could all use a little tree shaking now and again.

Monday: Lentil, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Soup, Homemade Bread, green salad

Tuesday: Peppers Stuffed with Healthy Yum, roasted cauliflower, cut veggies

Wednesday: Mushroom Po’Boys (inspired by these Morel Mushroom beauties from Meatless Monday’s site – personally I don’t have a line on morel mushrooms, if you do, go for it and don’t tell anyone), sautéed green beans, green salad

Thursday: Potato pancakes, grilled vegetables, wedge salads with miso dressing

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Company Good Pea Soup, Homemade Bread, green salad

Sunday: Easter Dinner at Grammy’s

Lunchbox Treats: Awesome Oatie Bars

Adult Lunches: Avocado Radish Salad from Meatless Monday’s site

  

That’s what we’re up to. What’s new with you? What trees are you shaking? Anything fall yet? Eat well, be well friends!

Weekly Meal Plan 3/23-3/29

Another weekend behind us and 5 days of grind to get to the next one, but the next one has a date night in it!!! Wahootie! Mr. Little Sis and I will actually be leaving our house without our children and our beloved sitter (who is a kindergarten teacher, and yes that’s perfect and no, you can’t have her) will be entertaining the dynamic duo. We intend to eat something somewhere and then going to a singer songwriter coffeehouse. Perfecto. Spring is springing and now I am too.

Monday: Not Just Kramer’s Mulligatawny Soup, Homemade Whole Wheat Bread, green salad

Tuesday: Nofredo Orzo, roasted cauliflower, cut veggies

Wednesday: Lentil Bulgur Burgers, Oven Fries, green salad

Thursday: Oven Cooked Asparagus with quinoa and Mung Bean Sprout Namul (Spring has Sprung!!)

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Date Night – That’s right I said DATE NIGHT!

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Easiest Tomato Sauce Ever

Lunchbox Treats: Almond Lemon Jots

Adult Lunches: big giant salads with sauerkraut and miso dressing – don’t judge, it’s awesome

  

Here’s hoping Spring has really sprung where you are. Today was the first day our resident woodpeckers passed up the bird feeders in favor of pecking on actual trees, I imagine in search of actual bugs and stuff rather than seeds. I miss watching them – they are really cool, but I take as a sign that all is right in the world that they don’t need us anymore. Have a great week friends. Eat well, be well!

Weekly Meal Plan 3/16-3/22

My sister’s here! My sister’s here! Bigg Sis is visiting the region for a whole mess of reasons, and we get to spend some time together. Yay! We can actually cook and eat together instead of just looking at each other’s pictures! Yay! That’s the biggest thing going in our house this week. School seems to have become routine again with the snow subsiding and order has been restored, at least for now. I am obliged to provide some manner of St. Patrick’s festivities tomorrow for my holiday loving daughter, and I’ve got a whole mess of longtime on the list home improvements I should probably tackle before the spongy mud turns into actual soil out in the garden and I am able to once again ignore the inside of the house in favor of the outside (I do love that switch). Our weather looks like it’s going to be all over the map this week, so our meals will not reflect my usual climate calculations for warm and comforting or crunchy and cooling. We’re just gonna roll with what works and hope for the best!

Monday: Lentil Casserole, green beans, salad (a great choice for nights when the kids have an activity – tonight Ms. Picky Pants has dance class)

Tuesday: Chickpeas with Potatoes and Tomatoes (from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

Wednesday: Varia-Bowls with rice noodles (in anticipation of perhaps feeding Bigg Sis’ gluten free crew)

Thursday: Anything Goes Fast Burritos

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Picadillo over roasted potatoes, green salad

Sunday: Homemade Spinach Pasta with Pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Adult Lunches: We are still playing with raw soups made in the Vita-Mix – more to come on that.

Even though it’s still chilly and mornings are downright cold, the signs of Spring’s approach are all around. So I give a little yay for Spring. Here’s hoping your week looks interesting and delish!