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 10/12-10/18

Well hey there friends. Gearing up for what looks like a strangely variable week here in Mid-Maryland. The weather map has one of those big dips on it with lots of arrows and color variation. Yeah, so I’m checking highs and lows… Am I the only one who does this to decide what to eat? There are some things I just don’t like when it’s hot. Soup is okay, but stew is out. No stew when hot. It is written… right here… on this blog.

At any rate I’ve got a handle on the weather and I’m beginning to get a handle on our evening activities around here. As I think I’ve mentioned before Mr. Little Sis and I have added some diversions and obligations to our various to do lists and as a result evenings have gotten a lot busier. I recently considered sending everyone on their way with a packed lunch that is dinner sized to justify just having toast and salad for dinner as that’s about all I want by the end of these busy days. I decided pretty quickly that while that would be fine with me, it would be a generally unpopular move that I would then have to discuss…. that sounded more annoying than finding the energy for a legitimate evening meal. So, back to those highs and lows. This week begins Crock Pot week – no it’s not a national Facebook thing, at least not yet. I just mean in my house, the Crock Pot can now legitimately make its grand fall entrance. It’s not going to get above 75, so out comes the Crock Pot to help make sense of the increasingly stupid schedule.

Monday: (Baseball, schedule shift, normally Thursday, band practice for Mom cancelled) Sesame Whole Wheat Pancakes with sliced peaches, cut carrot sticks (every once in a while breakfast for dinner makes people really happy)

Tuesday: (violin and viola lessons, Crock Pot required) Slow Cooker (No Cream) Creamy Tomato Soup; Multigrain Bread, green salad

Wednesday: (Mom has choir) Lentil Bulgur Burgers, Roasted Potatoes, Green Salad

Thursday: (no baseball but conference call for Mom) Zucheesey Noodles, sautéed green beans, roasted cauliflower

Friday: (kids are out of school for no apparent reason, no this doesn’t necessarily affect the dinner, just thought I’d throw it in there for kicks) Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday:  Mee Goreng (an experiment from a new book that if I have my act adequately together enough I will tell you about later… pretty sure that’s how I used to do this)

Sunday: (choir, baseball, and then) Homemade Pasta for friends, Easiest Pasta Sauce Ever and Pesto, Broccoli Meatballs, Green Salad

Adult Lunches: Leftover Potato Squashers from last week

Lunchbox Treats: Leftover Fruit & Veggie Smoothies in these bad boys

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Here’s hoping your highs and lows are within your tolerance level and that your curveballs are only temporary deviations! Eat well, be well friends!

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.

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 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 2/16-2/22

I am so blessed. A surprise drop in from good friends, lots of music, lots of play, and now a lovely snow falling in a way that makes me think we might score an unanticipated weekend recovery day with sledding tomorrow. Yay! Bring on the snow gear! Bring on the hot chocolate! Bring on the hot food! There is little better in winter than a bona fide meteorological excuse for eating comfort food. And so we shall proceed this week. Light and refreshing? No – that’s not what we’re shooting for. We want warm, belly filling, and homey.

Monday: Mulligatawny Soup, served with brown rice, salad, and some cooling plain yogurt for the kids

Tuesday: Mushroom Stroganoff over whole wheat noodles (from the The Engine 2 Diet, green salad, wilted mediterranean kale

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup, Multigrain Bread, sunflower cheese, cut veggies

Thursday: Rockin’ Gluten Free Falafel, whole wheat pitas, sandwich veggies, carrot fries, green salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Cauliflower Steaks, quinoa, sautéed green beans, salad

Sunday: Homemade Pasta

Hot Breakfasts: Oatmeal (like this one from Bg Sis), Hot & Hearty Quinoa Porridge

Lunchbox Treats: Almond Lemon Jots

Adult Lunches: Picadillo

  

Yay! A week’s worth of comforting belly warming food and a snow covered landscape to look at while I eat. I hope your meteorological desires are being met and that you are enjoying a warm bowl of yum! Eat well, be well friends!

Weekly Meal Plan 2/9-2/15

I’m told that it was on this day in 1870 that the National Weather Service was established (then called something else and under the war department). While I’m generally glad to have weather forecasting information; today’s forecast does not exactly put me in a celebratory mood. While last winter we had a lot of snow and I confess to having grown weary with the constant uncertainty about the school schedule in that situation, I have come to the conclusion that snow is preferable to the usual mid-Maryland winter weather event offering: wintry mix. While we have rain at the moment, temperatures will drop and tonight we’ll have our beloved Mid-Atlantic travel boondoggle that includes sleet and snow, and over time maybe also some freezing rain. Not quite cold enough for graupel. If you live somewhere warmer, you get rain. If you live somewhere colder, you get snow. Here, we get about 12 variations on slippery snow/rain – let’s call it snain. With the grey skies and no hope of a lovely blanket of snow and sledding, I am quite tempted to take comfort in my non-snow blanket and just hibernate for a few days until the temperatures change again. Comfort food and experimentation might help keep the wheels turning.

Monday: Lentil Casserole (we didn’t have this last week because the stomach bug spread), sautéed green beans, green salad

Tuesday:  Roasted sweet potatoes and plantains (similar to Naturally Sweet Sweet Potatoes), Spicy Hemp Breakfast Sausages, spinach and orange salad

Wednesday: Lentil Bulghur Burgers, roasted potatoes, cut veggies and freezer pickles

Thursday: Korean BBQ Tofu Tacos, green salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Dinner Out

Sunday: Homemade Pasta, green salad

Lunchbox Treat: Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Adult Lunches: Cold Kickin’ Soup – no we’re not currently sick, but I think a little immunity boost would do us some good right now.

  

I feel better already just from talking about all that yummy food. Pair that with another night of good sleep and I’m sure things will seem much brighter. I have been getting more sleep (generally, not necessarily consistently) and I have to say that it’s pretty clear how much difference an extra hour makes for me. It’s easier to wake up in the morning. I’m more productive when I’m awake. I’m more patient and more resilient in the face of a problem. I am working on shoring up my resolve and continuing to eliminate or sideline the obstacles that prevent me from getting enough sleep, interfering with my Year of Well-Being. Hope you are rested and enjoying a sunny day in spirit if not in reality. Eat well, be well friends!

Weekly Meal Plan 12/1-12/7

Holy crow where is the time going?! I can’t believe I just typed those dates in… I sincerely hope you all have had a lovely weekend, and if you’re in the U.S. a superb Thanksgiving. We enjoyed our feast, spent some good time together, watched the kids play in the first snowfall and visited with old friends. We’re now working our way through what’s left of the leftovers and trying to get our heads around the fact that Christmas is around the proverbial corner. But even with leftovers and post/pre holiday chaos, there’s cooking to do and meals to eat, so while I’m a little late in the day, I’m keeping my promise to myself and those of you who heard me say it. 😉 A week of healthful yum for all of us.

Monday: Leftover Mashed Potato Soup, homemade wheat bread, green beans and green salad

Tuesday: Spicy Mushroom Gumbo (using a recipe in More with Less as guidance), brown rice, cut cucumbers, roasted root veggies

Wednesday:  Rockin’ GF Falafel, roasted potatoes, green salad with tahini dressing

Thursday: Leftoverlicious Lentil Casserole, steamed broccoli, cut cucumbers

Friday: Homemade Pizza, carrot fries, salad

Saturday: Middle Eastern Chickpeas with Spinach (Moosewood Low Fat Favorites), Power Tabbouleh, green salad

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with spinach, red peppers and green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Almond Joy Brownies

Parent Lunches: leftovers of all of the above as I will be making double batches 🙂

Hope you all have a super duper week.

Weekly Meal Plan 11/24-11/30

Hey Friends! The idea of doing a meal plan this week is particularly daunting for some reason. As I think I’ve mentioned before, the holidays tend to put me in something of a state, and the closer the holiday, the harder it becomes to focus on anything but “the meal” or “the moment.” Perhaps then this is the most important kind of post to write. Perhaps taking a few minutes to focus on the other meals that we’ll be eating this week will help me gain perspective, will help me slow down a little and remember that every holiday is also a day amongst many others. That day will not be perfect no matter what I do, and being sure I am well nourished and balanced because of my efforts leading up to and away from that celebration can only help me relax and enjoy myself. WIth that in mind I will attempt to do slightly more than the slapdash job of a menu plan that I promised myself I would complete today. 😉 Or maybe it will be slapdash, but it will be done and that will be good enough. Even a quick plan full of healthy homemade food is better than nothing, right?

 photo 2268252a-418c-4369-a086-5da064f1dedf.jpgMonday: Varia Bowls with rice noodles (this didn’t happen last week due to a sick kid preventing rice noodle procurement), tofu and veggies (it’s 70 degrees here today?!)

Tuesday: Burritos with the last of the peppers from the garden

Wednesday: Mulligatawny Soup, Homemade Bread, Green Salad

Thursday: Thanksgiving (see this post for ideas about what we’ll be eating)

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Dinner with Friends – Yay!!

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with Spinach, Green Salad

You’ve likely noticed the repetitive homemade pizza and pasta phenomenon. These are two meals that my kids love (no shocker there) and that the big people in the house thoroughly enjoy as well. Because we stretch our kids so regularly with new and unusual foods, we greatly enjoy these regularly scheduled opportunities to enjoy a healthy homemade version of something they genuinely love. They eat. They don’t grouse. We eat. We don’t’ grouse. 😉 Grouse-free evenings are an important part of any family dining strategy. Here’s hoping that your holiday is low stress, delicious, and full of good times with good company.