Weekly Meal Plan 12/21-12/26

Just a few days left before chaos erupts… or not. I was reminded today by a very dear truth teller that the level of chaos and the degree to which it has anything to do with me is at the very least partially within my own control. Breathing deep, rolling along. Kids have one more day of school. My studies are on hold for two weeks. I’m going to start seeing this whole thing as one big breath. Rolling along. With chocolate… And maybe wine.

In the meantime we have to eat some scraped together meals that can be made and consumed between baking and choral practices.

Monday: whole wheat pasta with raw spinach and the Easiest Tomato Sauce Ever, cut veggies

Tuesday: Leftover Pot Pie  – taco pie style with Slow Cooker Burrito filling from last week (frozen double batch, oh yeah), green salad

Wednesday: Lentil, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Soup, green salad, wheat bread

Thursday: Dinner at Bigg Sis’ house

Friday: Dinner with Super Stepmom and Sweetie Dad

Saturday: Dinner with Mr. Little Sis’ family

Sunday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

  

That’s it for me this week, friends. Got presents to wrap. I’ll chime in sometime tomorrow or Wednesday with the last installment of Whole for the Holidays. I hope your preparations are going at your pace and your holiday season honors your heart.

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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 11/16-11/22

Hey there friends. Do you feel it coming? The holiday hoopla approacheth. There are plenty of great things about the holidays, but I’m the first to admit that I have been known to succumb to the pressure of over-scheduling, panicking about outcomes, and generally not enjoying myself very much during a time that’s supposed to be, at the heart of it, enjoyable. In discussing the increasing anticipation of this holiday onslaught, a delightful and helpful friend shared with me that she has begun doing her holidays exactly the way she wants. She is kind about it, but makes plans with people she wants to see, brings the food she wants to eat, and gives gifts she feels good about, buying them throughout the year when she sees something that inspires delight and seems to call out to a person she knows.

Hmmmm… this sounds like just the kind of advice I’ve laid out in the past, you know how our holiday traditions are our own, how we decide what celebration looks like, and that we have the power to change it. Apparently I can do this at other times of the year but the Thanksgivukkahmas season overpowers my will. This year I’m going to try to do something different. I don’t quite know what it is yet, but I’m gonna try to stay in my happy place, say no when I need to, and be REALLY present for the moments I say yes to. That’s my plan. You are welcome to it if it suits you.

With all that said, those holidays aren’t here yet, and it seems I need to be present in my kitchen for several days before then in order to keep the wheels on the bus going round and round. Mr. Little Sis’ travel schedule will be slowing down again, so I will, blessedly be able to experiment a little more in the kitchen again (ya gotta be able to count on one enthusiastic recipient), and who knows, maybe I’ll get my act together enough to tell you about it. This week’s experiments are all pulled from the November issue of Vegetarian Times.

Monday: Quinoa and Black Bean Stew from Vegetarian Times with Miso-Lime Sweet Potato Dip and chips, cut veggies

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Sushi Bowls from Vegetarian Times

Wednesday: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Whole Wheat Bread, Green salad

Thursday:  Nutshroom Burgers, sautéed green beans, green salad

Friday: homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Sweet and Sour Lentils, Sprout Namul, cut veggies

Sunday: homemade pasta with mushroom sauce, sautéed greens, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Drops

Adult Lunches: Brussel Sprouts with Kimchi from Vegetarian Times

So that’s what we’re up to this week! I am going to walk my big furry baby in the sunshine and imagine holidays my way. Here’s hoping you have a little sun and at least one living creature near you that thinks you’re the berries. 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 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 4/13-4/19

“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 3/16-3/22

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!

 

 

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.

Weekly Meal Plan 2/23-3/1

The calendar is telling me it’s time to start my seedlings. My frozen fingers are telling me that’s preposterous. I may defy my fingers and begin some of the earliest crops, and those that do well waiting to go in (like peppers). There’s nothing that adds a little hope like a seedling poking it’s head up out of the dirt. Any other gardeners up there afraid to trust their calendars? What I DO know is that it is going to be yet another cold week here whether I start my seedlings or not, so continuing the theme of warm and warming seems like a great idea. Before we know it we’ll be trying to think of cold meals to cool us off… right, RIGHT?! I hope wherever you are the weather is treating you reasonably well and you at least have warming company.

Monday: Slow Cooker Black Bean, Barley, and Corn Burritos, chopped veggies, green salad

Tuesday: Rice Noodles with Fabu Asian Peanut Sauce, peas, and chopped veggies

Wednesday: Spinach Chickpea Burgers, oven fries, Fancy Shmancy Green Beans with Clementines and Pecans, salad

Thursday: Leftover Pot Pie (with burrito filling to make a taco pie)

Friday: Homemade Pizza (roasted artichokes, onions, and sunflower cheese for mine please – yum!)

Saturday: Cashew and Carrot Curry, green salad, sautéed green beans

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Easiest Tomato Sauce Ever and Nutshroom Neatballs, and Moo-less Flavorful Parmesan Sprinkles

Lunchbox Treat: Intensely Good Banana Bread

Adult Lunches: Potato and Chickpea Soup

  

Wow am I hungry now. While this posting of meal plans has been great for planning purposes and has DEFINITELY saved me both money and time, it sure does make me hungry while I’m doing it! Time for some leftover pasta! Eat well, be well friends!