a triumphant return to blogging!

Well, if you consider the discussion of mundanities like my menu planning triumphant.

My meal planning and production style is still evolving, and with a toddler and preschooler it's necessary to be flexible, but generally what happens is:

We have one primary meal for supper-- because that's all I have the energy to cook, even though I do love cooking-- and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Leftovers that go uneaten for more than a couple of days get divvied up into portions and stuck in the freezer for revival later.

For breakfast we usually have eggs, oatmeal (old-fashioned, not instant) or yogurt (homemade!) smoothies or, less frequently, bagels or cold cereal. The kids are more likely to eat the latter. I try for eggs most of the time (scrambled with cheese and lots of spinach, or with a sliced tomato on the side in season), as I have found that a high protein breakfast is really helpful for weight control. On the weekends we typically have a vegetable quiche of some kind on Saturday and pancakes and bacon on Sunday.

Daily snacks are usually string cheese (yay, protein!), seasonal whole fruit and munchable veggies like baby carrots or celery sticks.

One predictable effect of my visits to my parents' home is to make me appreciate how much my diet has improved over the years. After a visit to the House of Meat, Starches and Dessert, I really miss my mostly vegetable, whole grain and legume diet. So I was pretty excited to get back into my own kitchen and my own dear Wegman's and plan a nice tasty menu for this week:


(Sorry for the extreme close-up; the bowl was sitting on my embarassingly dirty kitchen island.)

Pioneer Woman's Black-Eyed Pea Salad (the cilantro-free version, of course) with Moosewood Cornbread, which, YES, uses sugar. I know. I fail as a true Southerner. Moving on...

Slow Cooker Bean, Sweet Potato & Corn Stew from Veggie Meal Plans. Instead of the cannelini and lima beans called for in the recipe, I am using black beans, since they are the kind my husband will eat-- and, frankly, they are my favorite, too.

Khichdi with Peas, Carrots & Cauliflower. I love Indian food, but Peter's not a huge fan of curry, so recipes like this one, which we both like very much, are happy finds for me. The only change I'm making is to use powdered versions of some of the whole spices she calls for, because even the Indian aisle at my beloved Wegman's doesn't have everything.

Hummus & Whole Wheat Pita with Cucumbers, Sprouts & Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I don't have a set recipe for hummus-- I just add chickpeas, tahini, EVOO, garlic, lemon juice and salt to the food processor until it tastes right-- or actually, until it tastes-- to me, anyway-- as if it could use just a touch more garlic, since it always gets more garlicky as it sits. My beloved Wegman's offers great whole wheat pita, free of HFCS or trans fats, so I usually just buy it there rather than make my own, although I have made it on occasion.

C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) or Freezer Fishing

The above mentioned spinach quiche for breakfast, then we have an all-day meeting at church where lunch will be provided for us, then more leftovers at home. My mnemonic for quiche is 3-6-12: 3 eggs, 6 ounces of shredded cheese (usually comes out to about a cup and a half) and 12 ounces of half and half (or cream if I have it). Sometimes I bother to make a crust, sometimes I don't. I pile a green vegetable (broccoli and spinach are the two I use most frequently) into the pie plate, sprinkle the cheese over, beat the cream and eggs together with whatever spices I feel like adding (lately, white pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and always plenty of salt), pour over all and bake at, oh, 375F or so until it doesn't jiggle too much in the middle.

I'll probably go grocery shopping again Friday or so, and will plan Sunday's meals into the next week's menu.

The above menu has a lot of what I aim for when I plan our meals: protein-rich combinations of whole grains and legumes, lots of vegetables and a wide variety of them, and mostly meals than can be cooked in one or two dishes and that freeze well. That mostly vegetable meals are incredibly easy on the budget doesn't hurt, either.

Also, I use butter and salt unstintingly and unashamedly in my cooking. They make everything taste better. I might be more concerned about their health effects if our diet was full of meat and processed foods, but it isn't, so I'm not.

What about you? How are you cooking these days?


Kelly @ Love Well said...

Coming off two solid weeks of celebrating, I'm ready for vegetable soup. I make my next menu tomorrow. It will be filled with meals that are simple to prepare and soul-satisfying. After all, it's 12 today.

Jen said...

I just sent you a recipe on facebook for baked oatmeal which has greatly helped breakfast here.

Also- here's a great quick Hoppin John recipe:
3 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can black eyed peas undrained
1 cup uncooked quick long grain rice (I used regular rice and just adjusted the cooking time)
2 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

cook bacon until crisp. add celery & onion; saute until veggies are tender.
stir in water and peas; bring to a boil.
cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 min.
stir in rice, parsley and thyme. remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 min. (HERE IS WHERE I ADJUSTED AND KEPT IT COOKING A BIT WITH THE REGULAR RICE)
until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Julia said...

We are eating whatever people from church are bringing us or whatever we can scrounge up from our freezer. :) The new baby is 2 weeks old today and we have done only the barest of cooking since coming home from the hospital. Your menu planning makes me want to get back in the swing of things, though; maybe in another week or so...

Recovering Sociopath said...

Jen, the oatmeal recipe looks delicious-- I am going to try it next week.

Julia, we never ate so well as when we had new babies in the house! Church lady food is one of my favorite kinds.

happygeek said...

We are still adjusting the shift work so my menu has been sporadic to say the least. I really, really hate making a big meal for two tired kids and then arguing with them alone about getting it down so when daddy is working supper consists of fruit, veggies and sandwiches.
Mother of the year, here I come.
Your menu looks awesome!

Beck said...

I am barely cooking ANYTHING these days, a leftover from our Christmas Lethargy. I made a shepherd's pie last night and my husband practically WEPT when he came in the front door because there was ACTUAL food cooking and not, like, tacos. Again.

Yeah, I'd probably starve to death if my parents were feeding me again.