Things my Therapist told me (meal plan 11/15-11/22)

It is winter here.

It’s not snowing yet, but it is cold enough to need coats, & most importantly the sun is setting at 4:40 now, which means that when I work I won’t get home before dark until mid-January when the days get longer again. Right now the wind is whipping outside blowing frigid rain in all directions. If there were daylight we’d see white caps on the lake, but alas it is dark. Making lots of things in the crockpot lately. Dark evenings means lighting candles, fuzzy slippers, chili & stew & early bedtime.

I’m thinking a lot lately about mindfulness, about being present, & about how my attitude affects my experience. I am working on being present – present to my feelings, present to my kids, present to my husband. I’m thinking a lot about routine – I am the type of person who desperately needs routine & structure.

So, back at it, shall we? How’s the week look?

Sunday – we haven’t done this in a while – roast beef, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans.

Monday – nothing going on, everyone is home – chili is a good meal for miserable weather, & maybe some good bread to go with it.

Tuesday – husband is working for three days in a row this week, but I still want a good dinner for the kids & me. Maybe pasta pie? I want to see if this is something I can do in the crock pot.

Wednesday – chicken & rice soup & grilled cheese sandwiches. I made the broth last week from the bones of a rotisserie chicken because I’m a baller, but you can buy broth if you have a life or whatever.

Thursday – spaghetti & meatballs, a family favorite.

Friday – stuffed peppers – using a “stuffing” of quinoa, onion, spinach, cheese & whatever else is around.

Saturday – honestly probably picking up takeout. I’m just trying to be real here.

Sunday – feast of Christ the King! Fetucini Alfredo, oven-roasted chicken breasts, & greens. Cake (boxed, with canned frosting) for dessert.
Ok, what are you eating this week?

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Sorry ’bout it… (meal plan 10/26-11/1)

I’m not very good at adult. It’s just the reality of who & what I am. We had son family stuff come up & I haven’t quite been able to get my shit together since. 

So, here’s my attempt at getting back on track:

Sunday 10/25 – having family over, let’s say pulled pork & coleslaw & maybe salt potatoes.

Monday 10/26 – the one night of the week husband will be home for dinner. How about mushroom chicken in the crock pot & steamed veggies?

Tuesday 10/27 – I have a meeting & husband works, can you say mac & cheese for everyone?

Wednesday 10/28 – husband works. DIY grilled cheese? It is the Feast of Sts Simon & Jude so I feel like something festive is appropriate. Idk, I can’t muster much on solo nights.

Thursday 10/29 –  husband *may* be home for dinner, so crock pot meatloaf, green beans, & sweet potatoes.

Friday 10/30 – breakfast for dinner! An egg bake with spinach, cheese, mushrooms, onions, etc. 

Saturday – probably dinner at my parents’ so we can take the kids trick or treating,

Sunday – 1/1 – feast of all saints & my brother’s birthday. Having my family over for dinner. My brother (turning 14) has requested fettuccini Alfredo with peas & grilled chicken.

There you go! 

My mom will be here with me on Sunday to prep, so I may even be able to do a real prep post for you. 
Have a stellar week you guys!

Meal Plan 9.27 – 10.2

Well, another week has come and gone, and we stuck to the meal plan pretty well! How are you holding up with this? 
Probably better than me. 
I’m feeling horribly “meh” about just about everything right now, and the challenge of this new school, this new group of students is wearing me down. Still no childcare finalized, still feeling unsettled. It’s been a tough week for a lot of different reasons.
So, I need some bright spots in my week, I need something to look forward to, something to be excited about, and because I am me – that thing is probably going to be food.
Here goes:
Sunday: Dinner at my mom & dad’s – something I will not make or plan or prep. Amazing.
Monday: Nothing on the calendar, so I have time for something more complicated & delicious. Gonna make something my kids really like: hand-cut, hand-breaded chicken fingers, roasted broccoli (dinosaur trees), sweet potatoes (yams), and (boxed) brownies. And ice cream. Hey, I warned you.
Tuesday: Husband has a work thing, but it’s also Michaelmas, so grilled cheese bar for me & the kids.
Wednesday: Tuesday was a feast for us (read more here if you want) BUT because of Husband’s work, we – as a family – are abrogating it. SO – Roast chicken, mashed carrots, mashed potatoes, and pie. Whether I make or buy the pie will depend on how the week unfolds (read: how Tuesday goes).
Thursday: Another night that Husband works, so frozen pizza, wine, and ice cream. #sorryI’mnotsorry

*A note about this, though – this is a win. I’m not picking up drive through, so I’m saving money. And probably calories. Idk, I hope anyway
Friday: Eggplant parmigiana. Done.
Don’t ask me about Saturday. I can’t think that far ahead.
Also I fail at shopping list. Sorry.

A prep post

If we are being real, the meal planning isnt what saves time & makes life easier during the week. It’s the prep that makes the difference. 

This is obvious once you think about it: I can cut vegetables for four meals at the same time on Saturday, or I can do it four different times – after work, while my kids are melting down. I can clean up the prep work once, or four times. When I figured this out it blew my mind that I’d never thought of it before.

So, as an example: this coming week we are having chili, chicken fajitas, quinoa risotto, & a roast chicken dinner. On Saturday I slept in – all the way to 6:45, & at 7 I was in the kitchen making breakfast. Eggs, bacon, coffee, cinnamon rolls – we do weekend right.

At eight breakfast was done & cleared away, the kids were playing contentedly in the living room, & I was starting meal prep. By 10:15 the kitchen was clean, everything was done, & I was hanging out with my kids.

Here’s basically what I did:

Chili: the big one here is browning the meat. I saved the bacon grease in the pan, diced an onion, crushed a clove of garlic in & then added the pound of ground beef once the house smelled delicious. Flavored that with spices (oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, a little seasoned salt, we are out of chili powder, go figure).

I let that sit & started chopping veggies for the fajitas & the risotto. 

Fajitas: this is all cutting. I tried to keep all the veggie cutting combined, so peppers & onions were cut, then I contaminated the cutting board with raw chicken. The package came with five breasts, so I took one & cut it in half to make two thinner pieces (like down the middle from the top? Idk how to describe this)

Anyway.

I sliced the chicken breasts into fajita-sized- strips & put them in a gallon size bag with the onion, pepper, & some seasonings (oregano, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin…) & boom, Monday’s dinner is prepped. I put the other 2.5 chicken breasts in a separate ziplock bag in the freezer. Boom, next week supplies already.

Roast Chicken: Sunday we were having a roast chicken dinner & my mentality is if I have to clean up raw chicken mess, then I may as well kill two meals with one mess, y’know? So I got my old friend oven bags & some garlic cloves & I prepared the chicken for Sunday (post to come). 

Quinoa risotto: you can read the recipe here, & I basically did exactly that. I loaded the dishwasher & wiped the counters down while the quinoa cooked, & then put it all in an oven & microwave safe bowl & tossed it in the fridge. 

Start to finish just a hair over 2 hours & that includes stops to calm cranky babies & one diaper change. Not a bad price to pay for peace & calm in the coming week.

Ok, what are your meal prep secrets??

Chili

image

This recipe is actually my father’s. It’s more of a ratio than a recipe, but hopefully you realize that that is just how we roll.
It’s best if you let it simmer for a loooong tiiiime in a crock pot. My dad is not a crock pot person, though, so he lets it simmer for a looooong tiiiiiiime on the stove on low. I have done both. I find the crock pot easier.

1lb ground beef

one onion

one bell pepper

one can of black beans

one can of ‘chili beans’

one can of chili-ready tomatoes

a mess of chili-related spices (cumin, chili powder, red pepper, oregano, etc)

I add, but my dad doesn’t: one can of mushrooms.

You can basically add whatever you want. I mean, obviously, it’s your chili. Do you.

Dice the onion and the pepper, and throw them in a nice big skillet/pan thing. Maybe with some butter. Maybe with a tiny bit of olive oil. I’ve done it with coconut oil, but Husband did not like that.

When the kitchen starts to smell delicious, add the ground beef & brown it. While browning it, add spices & salt, & all that. When the meat is browned, put it in the crock pot. Add all the cans of everything. Cook on low for an entire day.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese, & – if you’re feeling saucy – with bacon. Yes, of course.