Meal Plan Sunday

Here we are again getting ready to begin another week! But there is pizza to look forward to on Friday, so we’ve got that going for us, which is good.

Here are a couple of highlights from last week’s kitchen efforts:

Crockpot Thai curry and brown rice. Garbanzos, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. They all hold up pretty well in the crock all day, especially if you cut the peppers a bit bigger. Cannot recommend strongly enough going to an Asian grocery for imported Thai curry pastes. The flavor is noticeably better.
Antipasto-ish salad. The protein was roasted garbanzo beans and I just went to town with artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes, olives, peppers, and so on.

Sunday: Caesar salads (CW)

Monday: Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps à là PF Chang’s. These are super tasty but require a good amount of chopping. I like to make a double batch of the filling and repurpose some of it for another meal — see Wednesday.

Tuesday: chicken salad, maybe in sandwiches? CW is in charge of this one.

Wednesday: Rice bowl featuring sushi rice, leftover lettuce wrap filling as the protein, some other veggies, and yum yum sauce.

Thursday: BLTs (CW)

Friday: Pizza, New York Style. Will do one pepperoni and one veggie + Field Roast.

There you have it! Let me know if you’re making anything great this week, especially if it’s vegetarian or can be easily made to be.

Meal Plan Sunday

One of our traditions is that on Sunday mornings we do a little informal kitchen inventory and menu planning and then go to the grocery store for our weekly provisions. It’s a nice bonus to do it at a time when the rest of the world is at church because then we can shop in a near-empty store. We’ve been going to Aldi lately, which maybe I’ll say more about at another time, but right now I’ll tell you that we got everything we needed for these meals plus, you know, the rest of our weekly stuff, for about $150. We used to spend $200-250 at Kroger. So satisfying!

I figured I’d share the menu plan, but before I get into it, here are a couple of things I made last week that I really liked:

One of many variations on a grains/greens/beans bowl. Tahini yogurt sauce and roasted sweet potatoes make this one of my favorites.
Butternut squash risotto with a poached egg. Could have used some kind of toasted nuts or something for crunch.

Here’s the plan for this week — and, if I think of it, I’ll follow up next Sunday with photos of the favorites:

Sunday: Three Cheese Tortellini with mushrooms, kale, and Field Roast (CW)

Monday: Big Salad. Probably a kale base with slow-roasted tomatoes, roasted garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta. Maybe a grain as well.

Tuesday: Jambalaya (CW)

Wednesday: Slow-cooker curry and brown rice. Coconut milk base with sweet potatoes, bell peppers, garbanzo beans, and some really good Thai red curry paste from the Asian supermarket.

Thursday: Some kind of wild rice soup that CW is making from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Friday: Creamy tomato soup (also from AYIAVK) and grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m going to get the Good Bread.

Six Years

It’s our six year anniversary! I went back to look for wedding and honeymoon photos for this post and had a lovely stroll down memory lane.

2013

The day feels so crisp in my memory, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. I think primarily that’s because our day-to-day life has changed so much since having the twins. Like today, we spent the morning snuggled up in bed with them while they watched Curious George and we got an extra half hour of sleep, allowing us to get out of bed at the luxurious hour of 6:45. We wrangled them in the yard while I cleaned off the back porch and CW mowed the lawn, both of us legitimately excited to get these two neglected chores checked off. Right now, CW has taken them down to the neighborhood playground and I’m here enjoying the quiet house for a little while (a truly great gift!).

Tonight, though, we will head out on a date and enjoy some of our favorite special-occasion treats — fresh oysters, martinis, something wonderful for dinner, dessert with Really Good Coffee, and possibly an additional drink at a Second Location — and we’ll get a lyft back home so no one has to be the driver. We’ll get to have a whole night of enjoyable conversation without (we hope) anyone interrupting us to scream about anything.

I braved my TimeHop app today for oyster photos (please note that is November 9, 2019 and therefore I only looked back at the previous two years; I could not really bear to go back three years to see the morning-after-the-election tears) just to show you our tradition. I’ll make sure to snap another one tonight!

2019 and better than ever

Fridays

I work from home on Fridays, so it’s a great opportunity for me to head out for a longer run on a day when it won’t eat into family time (just work time, heh). I love starting my day this way, and I often make it even more fun by running in a different part of town after dropping the kids off at school.

Their “school” is a daycare, by the way, which means that they have to provide meals— breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. They don’t also have to provide breakfast and coffee for parents, but they do. In the parents’ lounge just off the main entrance, there’s always a huge pot of coffee and a tray of something like muffins, mini bagels, or biscuits. But on Fridays, there are cinnamon rolls. Warm, soft, cinnamon rolls with a drizzle of icing on them. Y’all. They are SO GOOD.

What I’ve been doing is grabbing one on my way out the door and leaving it in my car for post-run fuel. It’s not exactly still warm an hour later, but it’s still pretty damned delicious. Today I even leveled up by placing a mobile order with Starbucks to pick up right after my run so I had hot coffee to go with it. It’s taken me over forty years, but I feel like I’ve finally learned some things about how to do life.

November is Here

Today feels like one of those days when everything is coming together perfectly. The weather finally got cold, for one thing. I went out for a run this morning and needed long sleeves. I swear there is nothing more wonderfully invigorating than a long-ish run in the cold.

Long-ish, you know. Long-er. Long-adjacent. I went for 6.2 miles today, also known as 10 kilometers. Not on purpose; it just wound up being a perfect 10K route that I ran serendipitously and by feel. The trees are starting to turn; the sidewalks are littered with the pine needles, acorns, and other seasonal detritus; the parks are full of older people walking their dogs and children collecting leaves and sticks. At home afterward I had hot coffee waiting for me and a slice of leftover pumpkin bread I could pop in the toaster.

My main task for work today is to make some significant progress toward finishing the novel I’m teaching in a couple of weeks. It’s rare that I assign a book I haven’t yet read, but I have it on good authority that this one will be a great addition to my class, so it’s time to dig in. I suppose I’ll have to spend some amount of hours today reading, snuggled on the couch with a blanket and another cup of coffee. I cannot complain about this life. It’s a work-from-home day, by the way, which is what allows me to do things like go for a 6-mile run and then read on the couch all day on a Friday. Yes, I am grateful for the flexibility of my job and no, I do not take it for granted.

Tonight is Pizza Friday, and I am making a couple of New York-style pies featuring this dough recipe (which is pretty much flawless) and maybe the kids will be in a happy mood when they get home and maybe we’ll watch a movie and have some leftover Halloween candy. Hell, man; anything is possible.

Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t want to miss my daily blog post, but the kids came home from a half day at school and absolutely would not nap (preferred screaming) so it’s been all hands on deck.

I was planning to make my apple and pumpkin pies and the cranberry sauce tonight but I felt like I got run over by a truck (and by “a truck” I mean “endless toddler screaming x2”) and I told CW I might have to just make one pie and wait until Friday to make the other one. He was like, “OK, that’s fine! Whatever you need! Let me know how I can help!”

But then after the kids went to bed he immediately put on his apron and got me a drink and we made a game plan together to get all our prep done. He had already been planning to do the green bean casserole and then he jumped in and made the pumpkin pie filling and decorated it and did the cranberry sauce. All I had to do was the apple pie filling and the dough rolling (and I latticed and decorated the apple pie, which I’d been ready to forego, but I had the energy to do it with some of the other tasks taken off my list).

We always share the workload, but today was a real gold star for the team. Everything got done and we had a good time doing it. Phew.

Thanksgiving Prep

Let’s chat about Thanksgiving! I love getting prepared for the holiday and planning and making all of the food. So cozy! So festive! So much opportunity to drink coffee or wine or whatever and hang out in the kitchen.  It’s just the four of us on the day, but we’ll have friends over Saturday for pie and drinks. So far, we have planned our menu and done the shopping and made a plan for executing everything. Here’s what we’re doing:

Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, bacon, mimosas and/or Bloody Marys.

Turkey: CW is fully in charge of this. Will do Thursday, obviously.

Mashed Potatoes: also CW’s domain. He will probably make these on Thursday, but may do them ahead of time.

Roasted Root Vegetables: This one is mine. I’m doing sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions with some simple olive oil, salt, and herbs, roasted until they start to caramelize. So good. Will do these on Thursday.

Green Bean Casserole: CW does this one. Will assemble Wednesday night and bake on Thursday.

Cranberry Sauce: Mine. Do you have a favorite recipe for this? I seem to remember not loving the one I did last year (too runny). Will do this Wednesday and chill overnight.

Apple Pie: Mine. I do a double crust with lattice and/or braiding of some kind. Crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Pie: I do a single (traditional pastry) crust with some ornamentation on top. Filling recipe from the Libby’s can but I add more spices.

I’ve made the dough for the pie crusts already (did this tonight after the kids went to bed and enjoyed a glass of wine while working on it — perfect example of the spirit of Thanksgiving) and will make fillings and bake them both tomorrow evening.

In the past, I have also done a Tofurky or Celebration Roast for a vegetarian option, but this year, I think I will just stick to sides as vegetarian options. (I am the only person who cares and I just have limited resources and don’t want to make an additional protein if I’m the only one eating it.)

We don’t generally do stuffing, so I should probably pick up some bread or rolls or something, right? I forgot about that. I also need to buy some sugar, which I just realized we are almost out of.  Hmmm. Am I forgetting anything else?