The Great Meal Planning Experiment

 

Image courtesy The Graphics Fairy

The good news is that our errand routes take us past a good, inexpensive ($5 and change) Chinese takeout place as well as several Subways (the only fast food I like).

The bad news is that we started relying on them a little too much. In addition to a lot of leftovers going to waste (boo), I started feeling bloated from the sodium and Mystery know what else. Not good. Hubby’s blood pressure started creeping up the dial. Even worse, considering that his mom had chronic headaches and kidney problems from hers.

On top of that, the takeout containers and sauce packets collecting in the fridge doors were getting out of hand.

We talked it over and decided that advance prep and planning would be a good thing.  I don’t think it will be that difficult to plan out what we’re going to eat this week. Saturday I made a Crock-Pot full of chicken caccitore (ok, you caught me–a couple pounds of thighs, drumsticks, and wings braised in a high quality jarred pasta sauce. Sunday I tried a new-to-us recipe involving tofu whipped into a creamy sauce, pasta, and veggies. The author called it a “quiche.” I called it a “casserole.” If one were to make the sauce, change up the seasonings and veggies, and pour it into a pie crust, you would have a respectable vegan quiche. I’ll try that next time.  I’ll invest some time today in prepping hummus and a bowl of fruit salad to go with what I made.

With those two meals, we have plenty to get us through at lunch and dinner until I run errands further east later this week. Before I go, we’ll look at recipes and plan things from there.

Breakfast is not included. We get up at different times because, well, we do. Hubby needs to be out of the house by 6:15 on school days or face a 45 minute commute more than doubling. He sleeps in until the call of nature rouses him on other days. Except for eggs, hummus, and the occasional batch of muffins, we both have our individual preferences in the morning. He likes his plain bagels. I like oatmeal or yogurt.

So we begin. Say tuned for updates.

 

 

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Garden Report for 5/31/17

Hubby built the raised bed for the garden last week. It’s 4’x8’x18″ and can accommodate all kinds of root depth.

We filled it with some fine organic soil premixed with sand (for drainage) and compost (for nutrients). After we shoveled the beautiful dirt into the bed frame, I tucked the seeds into it. Short and root crops go along the eastern edge. The taller, bushier ones went to the west side. I  watered, watered some more, and hoped for the best. We have tomatoes, some herbs, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, radishes, heirloom carrots, and spinach incubating in their lovely bed. Now we wait.

image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

I hadn’t planted in seven springs. The last garden came into being just after Orion made his journey across the Rainbow Bridge. In the haze of early grief,  I half-heartedly poked holes in the ground, stuck the young plants into them, and watered. And walked away. And still had decent produce, including a zucchini the size of a baseball bat. Really. As I cleaned out the bed that fall, I bumped something buried in the leaves with my foot. There was the zucchini. Hubby and I didn’t know if we should cook with it, bronze it for posterity, or apply for an open carry permit.

I think I made some bread with it, and soup.  Good soup, if I remember correctly.

This year, I wanted, needed to get my hands back into the dirt. I needed to do something, anything to counterbalance the craziness in the world. Working with the cycle of nature keeps me sane, reminds me that all things will pass, eventually, and to have patience as they come to fruition.

Plus as the meme says, I’ll get tomatoes. You can’t beat that.

The Therapeutic Value of Cooking

I’ve been cooking more than usual this week. Mercury is still in retro; the heavy snow from Monday’s storm followed by yesterday’s rain and wind-driven melting challenged one of the sump pumps to the breaking point; my mainstay paid writing job has been put on hold indefinitely; and of course, Oakley ate a few too many biskies, leading to 2 AM runs in the yard.

So I’ve cooked. Turkey chili, a rotisserie chicken, a cake made with almond and coconut flours, socca with fresh cilantro to go with the chili. The cake was based on a very simple French recipe; the other dishes are regular batters in the culinary lineup. It’s kept me pleasantly busy during the interminable wait for the weather to level out. 

Signs that spring can’t be too far off are coming up here and there. Strawberries glisten like rubies at the store and early greens are coming in to play. Mercury will get its act together on the 28th and go forward. And we shall as well.