Dinner Menu for the week of July 28th

What.a.week.  It seemed longer than normal because I was busy at work.

Also, like a total nut job, I signed up for this beta group that is testing some new food app.  They are giving me a cool hundo, but it requires that I document every single thing that we eat, and also send in photos of everything by email.  ‘Cause I definitely have that kind of time.  You can thank the beta for all of the photos in this post.  🙂

On Sunday last week, I made some ridiculous crepes.  I know I say this a lot, but make these please.  WOW.

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We used the rest of the roasted peaches to make home made ice cream!  YUM!

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Rounding out the reviews on last week’s menu, the peanut noodles were good, but I forgot to put in the green onions.  Bummer, because the recipe needs them.  Coming in second to the crepes was the salmon.  Big time sale at Whole Foods on fresh, wild salmon.  Yes please.

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Sunday:  We still have chicken from our yummy whole chicken in the crock pot, so we will be using lettuce and cucumber from our garden to make a yummy chicken cobb salad.

Monday:  The remainder of the chicken will be used to make open-face chicken-avocado-cheese melts.  PS, Everyone needs a toaster oven.

Tuesday:  Whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce

Wednesday:  Defrosted potato, cheese and bacon soup

Thursday:  Quinoa, sweet potato and apple salad

Friday:  Grilled steak and a salad with strawberries, sliced almonds, poppy seeds and a balsamic/olive oil dressing.

Saturday:  Avocado, egg, cheese and bacon wraps

On August 1st, it will mark 4 months since we started making an effort to eat real food.  What a journey.  It still requires planning and discipline, but it is starting to become predictable.  I set aside time to hit up the farmer’s market, meal plan, and do my prep.  There is still plenty of time left over to snuggle some cute boys.

I am still working on using leftovers, and going to the fridge to make a meal first before heading to the store.  I am still finding too many science experiments in my fridge.  We will get there, and the time will all be worth it in the end.

Have a great week!

S

Dinner Menu for the week of July 21st

Dave was out of town on business last week.  He arrived home late last night, and today I got several hours of freedom.  I people watched at a cafe, got some new yoga pants (aka sit around the house and lounge pants – since I do not do yoga) and got a fabulous recharge.  I am ready for the week!

While he was gone, I surprised myself, and actually made/attempted almost everything on my menu last week.  The only failure was the gnocchi.  It was WAY too ambitious to try these for the first time ever while rocking the solo parenting gig.  I ended up scrapping the whole meal, and made a pb and honey sandwich.  Lame.   The pork medallions were AMAZING, and so were the zucchini boats.

This is what they looked like the first time I made them.

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They needed a little something before, so this week I added quinoa (boiled in veggie broth), and sauteed the peppers, garlic and tomatoes with the pulp from the inside of the zucchini.  SO easy, and really great flavor.

Here is what is planned for this week.  Swapping the fish and brinner nights due to a Whole Foods sale on Salmon.

Sunday:  Brinner of whole wheat crepes and roasted honey peaches with whipped cream.  Planning to just use the roasting method and leave off the last few steps in the recipe.  Will post pics on the facebook page.

Monday:  Chicken enchilada soup from the freezer

Tuesday: Peanut noodles with veggies.  Using this recipe for inspiration, but leaving out the chicken, and roasting some zucchini and red peppers.

Wednesday:  Left over peanut noodles

Thursday: Bacon cheese burgers with a salad using lettuce from my garden!!!

Friday:  Whole chicken in the crock pot (We make this every few weeks, then also use the carcass for stock) with cheesy broccoli orzo.  I get twitchy when I run out of the amazing stock, and I just used my last bag from the freezer over a week ago.  Also, can I tell you how excited I am to have found an amazing source for whole chickens that are pastured and local!!!  I set up an order for two birds every month that will be picked up at the train station about 2 minutes from my house.  Yes, yes Lord AMEN!!!

Saturday:  Blackened Salmon with Mango Avocado salsa is on the bill with corn on the cob.

Tomorrow is going to be another day of stocking the freezer.  Zucchini muffins and strawberry ice cream are on my agenda.  Yes, ice cream counts as something I “cook” ahead.  🙂

I will leave you with my favorite pics from the week.  Featuring, a curious boy in a CSA box, and sweet boy enjoying the summer blackberries.

Lucas1 Tiny1

My Race – Lessons in Perseverance and Priorities

My house keeper comes every other Wednesday.  I greet her each time with a lengthy apology about why my house is in its current state.  Embarrassed, I leave her money on the counter and sneak out with the boys.  We come home an hour later, and her team has erased weeks worth of filth and grime.  It is a miracle.  Every time, it is a miracle.  Just a few short hours after we get home, when the smell of our botanical cleaning products has faded, it is hard to tell that she was ever here.  By the time the boys are in bed, the only evidence left is a master bedroom with a made up bed.  Everything else is a sh*t show.

Many well-meaning peeps have tried to comfort me by mentioning that this toddler phase is hard.  You are “in the weeds” they say.  It will get better they say.  I have even heard that I will MISS this time.  Yay?

Our brand of weeds seem to grow tall in cycles.  Just as we mow down one large crop of them, I can see more growing again, and we enter a new phase.

My current dream is to get to the stage where the boys can both get in the car on their own.  I imagine saying…”Ok boys, go hop in the car,” and having them be able to follow those direction and execute the command.  Leaving home on my own with both boys is a dance of grabbing one, and pushing the door closed on the other to prevent escape. Then, I go back in to rescue the one that has fallen to pieces on the floor because you clearly left without him.  While I am out, unless I bring the gargantuan double stroller on every errand, one of the two of them can/will RUN away.  They are fast little minions.

Just the other day, I did not have the stroller, so I popped Lucas in the ergo to run in and pick up Trevor from school.  So here we come out the school doors and Trevor takes off.  I run as fast as is possible with a kid strapped to my front and grab him. I am quickly faced with a decision about how to get them into the car.  I tried to trap Trevor in between the car door and my body while muscling Lucas out of the ergo and into his seat.  I realized after two jail breaks, that I should just get Trevor in first.  I walk around and use my leg to sort of scoop Trevor’s bum up while lifting his arms.  The whole process was crap, and I was sweating once they were both buckled.  If anyone witnessed…

Speaking of Trevor, his speech is coming along.  Slow, but steady.  He is also making progress in his gross motor development.  At a few months shy of three, he went down several stairs this week without holding someone’s hand, or a rail.  HUGE win!  If we just keep doing the next best thing for him, he will get there.  Trevor graduates out of his group speech class at age three, so we will have to transition him to a regular pre-school.  SOB.  I am still looking into which one.  SHHHHHHH, I know that I should have already decided.

Dave is traveling this week, and work has been crazy, and my nanny was unable to come on Monday.  Since it is now Thursday, it must mean I survived the first few days.  I have no memory of the specifics, with the exception of the clean sheets yesterday.  I remember those.

Overall, I am feeling out of balance.  My real food adventures have finally started to get easier, but they do still require more time than I seem to have available.  I have a few commitments outside of the home as well (besides actual work), and I am trying to fit those in.  It took someone asking me if I was ill for me to finally go buy clothes that fit.  I just did not have time to go shopping alone.

I read an article last week about being balanced as a mom that also works.  There were several tips that stuck out, but here are two of my favorites.

  1. Determine what is most important.  The mom suggested gauging your priorities by asking: “Will this be important in 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 years?”  If it will be important in 10 years, make that your first priority.  (Needless to say, I finished setting up college accounts for our boys that same week.)  I loved this so much that it is written on my white board at work.  I need constant reminders to have a long term focus.  Facebook, you are SO 10 minutes, Pinterest meal searching, you are pretty 10 days, but my faith and my family’s wellness (time with my boys, our health – including what we eat, and paying off debt) are the epitome of 10 years and beyond.
  2. Choose something to sacrifice.  It is clear to any visitor (including the aforementioned cleaning lady) that I am sacrificing the state of my home.  My close friends will also attest to my lack of response to phone calls, text messages and even emails.  I need to be stalked.  I am SURE that the author was not intending to indicate friendships should be sacrificed.  So, I guess I have to get honest about what else needs to go in order for me to focus on the things that fall into the “10 year” category.

I sat this week in the evenings while Dave has been gone, and reflected on priorities, and sacrifice.  It makes me misty, and so frustrated that my “want monster” keeps whispering lies.  His influence has led to my wants overpowering my needs.  It is causing the unbalanced feeling, and it is a daily or hourly choice to have a long term focus.  It is all a choice.

My periods of calm are merely water breaks in life’s race.  It is not the finish yet.

This is my race.  The one I was meant to run.  It is exhausting, and dirty, and it is hard to see the finish.  But it is mine.  I have everything I need.

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”    Hebrews 12:1 – The Message

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Blackberries

I love summer fruit. The stone fruits are amazing…yes. Blackberries though…they are my very very favorite.

Our neighbor has a blackberry bush that crawls over our fence. I have been eyeing the budding fruit for weeks, and the time finally came on Friday to pick a few! Now…besides just popping them like candy, what could I make with these?!?!

Just a few days prior, another neighbor brought over several lemons from her yard. When I saw them on the counter, the decision was made! Using this recipe for inspiration, I give you…

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Blackberries

Makes about a dozen muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup organic honey
1 cup whole fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp poppy seeds
24-36 blackberries depending on preference

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375, and prepare a muffin pan with olive oil spray or muffin cups.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk. Add the oil, honey, yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk together.

3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until combined.

4. Fill the muffin cups half full, then add 2 to 3 blackberries depending on preference. Cover the blackberries with additional batter until almost full.

5. Cook 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

6. Enjoy the flavor explosion.

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Optionally, you can drizzle with a honey-lemon juice-powdered sugar concoction. I just added enough of each item until it tasted amazing, then I spread a thin layer over the top.

Despite having made these yesterday, they are all gone.

Dinner Menu for the week of July 14th

Getting right to the menu this week.  Sleep is calling.

Sunday: Grilled salmon salad with corn on the cob

Monday: Left over chili and cornbread from last week’s menu

Tuesday: Honey lemon pork tenderloin medallions with cheesy broccoli orzo.  Subbing in whole wheat orzo.

Wednesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwich

Thursday:  Sweet potato gnocchi!!!

Friday: Stuffed zucchini boats with tomatoes, quinoa, green peppers and parm cheese

Saturday:  Strawberry waffles.  (I am really loving brinner on the weekends btw.)

Tomorrow is going to be another cookapalooza because Dave is traveling a few days next week.  I have to stock up on some snack items, and fill the freezer with a few meals.  Also, I rocked out some AMAZING muffins tonight.  I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Nighty night…

Dinner Menu for the week of July 7th

It has been so very nice to have a few days off, and to have Dave home.  We went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, enjoyed a Fourth of July parade, and took turns sleeping in.  SLEEPING IN!  Despite the few relaxing days, I have neglected food shopping and bulk cooking.  Oy!

While I put together a menu for dinner each week, there is so much more planning and cooking that we do every week.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and all of the prep that is needed for each nightly meal.  In addition, we are still working on Trevor’s limited palate.  He does eat real food, but we cycle through the same 10 or so items that he will gladly swallow.  So…cooking for him adds to the to do list.  Thank goodness Lucas will eat anything.  Then when he is done, he will eat what is left on Trevor’s plate.

So, taking a few days off from food duties, leads to Dave standing in front of an open fridge/cabinet in search of something to eat for lunch or snacks.  It is time to get cracking.  Tomorrow is going to be a cook/prep/freeze ahead day.

For this week’s menu, I am doing a week of repeats.  These are all getting made again because they were a hit in a past menu.  Some of my very faves will not be highlighted simply because I will not have ingredients.  The items I picked can either help me stock my freezer (chili), or will be easily made with much of what I have on hand.  I am excited!

Sunday: Chili and cornbread.  For the chili, I leave out the sugar, bacon bits, hotsauce, and corn chips.  I use one whole beer.  Cornbread recipe is modified to use whole corn meal (that I will grind in my Vitamix from organic popcorn!!!), whole wheat flour (ground in the Vitamix from whole wheat berries!), olive oil instead of veg, no sugar, and a bit more honey.  This meal usually does a really good job of stocking the freezer.

Monday: Left over potato soup (on last week’s menu) and a small salad.

Tuesday: Chicken pot pie I plan to make this interesting by not using any crust, and instead covering the top of the filling with whole wheat biscuit dough that will be dropped on top prior to cooking. I tried this the last time, and it was AMAZING!!! I will post pics of the process.

Wednesday: Lemon Butter Salmon, and steamed broccoli. Plan to add some garlic to the salmon prior to baking.

Thursday: Spring quinoa salad.  Just plain delish!  Naturally there would have to be a quinoa dish right?!?!

Friday: Chicken Parmesan cutlets over whole wheat spaghetti with corn on the cobb.

Saturday: Spinach quiche

Last week I promised pictures of my sweet little garden project.  Oh how it has grown!  Today I added four types of lettuce and two types of kale.  I had to move the peppers to the front too because the monster zucchini and cucumber plants were trying to swallow them.

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Before I wrap up, I have a request.  If anyone out there has a favorite real food recipe, please post a link to it in a comment.  Or, even if it is not made with real food ingredients, but it is a favorite, I might be able to modify it by swapping a few things out.  PLEASE send me some inspiration!

Have a great week!