Dinner Menu for the week of June 3rd

Last week, we took a “use it up” challenge.  We went WAY over the food budget in May, and had to put on the breaks.

I would love to report, that until Sat (when the month reset), the only food  item I purchased for home meals was milk. (I really SHOULD count the couple of i.forgot.my.DANG.lunch.at.home trips to whole foods for work lunches, but honestly…)  Dave and I even sacrificed half and half in our coffee.  I know…right?!?!  I did not think it would be possible, but it turns out that I am reminded often, that we can do hard things.  By Saturday, the fridge was SO empty, but it felt really good to have used up all of the fruit and veggies that I had on hand.

Speaking of hard things, it is in my nature to start little “projects”, then lose steam when they drag on and on and on.  I thought for sure that our real food adventure would need to be restarted several times before it really became a way of life.  Shockingly, I am mostly sticking to the menus, reading labels, and achieving 90% real food most weeks.  It feels great to commit to a life change and to see the results.  Knowing what I know about the damage done by processed foods, it is not likely that I will revert.

I digressed a bit, so here is what our dinner menu looks like for this week.

Monday:  We did not use the soup Sunday due to an impromptu BBQ at a friend’s house.  So…chicken soup it is!

Tuesday:  Grilled pork tenderloin with blueberry sauce and parm zucchini.  Blueberries were on MAJOR sale at Whole Foods, so this is the perfect way to use them up. Also, I will be grilling my pork tenderloin on a grill pan, and will not be using Mrs. Dash on anything.  Ever.  🙂

Wednesday:  BLT chopped salad.  Can.not.wait!

Thursday:  Broccoli cheddar soup

Friday:  Orange and ginger chicken thighs with roasted red potatoes and corn on the cob.  I will sub in olive oil for the processed veg oil in the recipe.

Saturday:  Take two on Poached eggs with asparagus and bacon.

Sunday:  Spicy fish tacos.  This is going to be a stretch for me, and I hope I am up for the challenge.  These look SO flippin’ good!

In related news…I am in the very early stages of building some raised veggie beds!  It will be so awesome to shop in my garden for dinner instead of the farmer’s market or grocery store.  Pics to come.

Hope everyone has a great week!

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Real Food – Day 10

Yes!  We can do hard things!  One.day.left!

Yesterday:

High – Dave worked from home, and did SUCH a good job with all of the meals.  It would have been so easy to grab easy, pre-made food for himself and the boys, but he stuck to the plan.  <Beaming>

Low – I was gone from 8am to 8pm.  LONG day, and it was awful to be gone for both lunch and dinner.  Had to let go of a bit of control.  Grumble.

Breakfast was a very safe, tropical juicy.  The boys ended up having oatmeal instead of defrosted french toast.

Another day of class, and another day of tempting pastries.  Today: my kryptonite…pumpkin bread.  It was like even Salesforce was conspiring against me.  Jerks.

I ate a pb&j, granola, a pear and some carrots for lunch.  The string cheese did not make it into my bag, and I did not eat the Lara bar.  Dave was working from home, so he ate the spinach salad that I claimed he ate the other day.  Turns out it was not eaten, so that was an easy lunch.  I am so very shocked that he wanted to avoid the mac and cheese.  Odd.  The boys had yogurt, applesauce and avocado.  Trevor also had a pb&j.

Dinner was supposed to be pork chops, zucchini and sweet potato.  Dave did have all of the ingredients to make the pork chops, but the recipe required a bit too much prep and cooking time with two minions present while working from home.  Plus, the sweet potatoes that I thought were in the fruit basket were actually already used on Saturday.  He called an audible, and made zucchini, spaghetti with red sauce and some Italian sausage that I got at the farmers market over the weekend.  Both boys really enjoyed dinner.

Dave and I had our parent class, so our dinner was eaten in the car.   The snacks at class were acceptable.  Cheese and fruit mainly.  I again was the lady checking the ingredients.  Honestly, it is not embarrassing any more, and I know how to quickly scan for the prohibited items.  BTW, did you know that orange/yellow cheese is artificially colored?!?!  Some do use naturally derived colors, but still color nonetheless.  Why why why?

I am in day 3 of class today, so we have a “plan” again.  I am prepared for things to derail, and that will have to be ok.  Breakfast did go as planned though with juicy and french toast for the boys.

We have a combination of my mama and our sweet babysitter Whitney hanging with the boys today.  Fun fact: I babysat for Whitney and her brother when they were little.  I met their family and began working for them when she was only 4!!! #howamisoold  There is a list of items that they can eat for both lunch and dinner including banana, avocado, zucchini, pear, and the remaining pasta.  I even broke down and bought some “squeezers” in the event that the options run out.

Dave is scheduled to have a lunch meeting tomorrow that will be catered.  :/  Not sure if there will be anything provided that will work, but we shall see.  This type of situation is most definitely the biggest challenge when trying to make better food choices.  It is hard to know what is in or what is used to cook your food when you are away from home.  I brought an apple, more granola, a grilled cheese and my Lara bar.  Maybe I will eat it today since it has been in my purse for three days.

Dinner for us is TBD.  It may be one of those nights where you stand in front of the fridge for a few minutes looking for inspiration.  Who knows, I might go mac and cheese.  Ha.

Last real food recap will come tomorrow.  Did I mention that we can do hard things?!?!

Real Food – Day 9

And then there were 2.  I can see the light.

Yesterday:

High – My sweet Lucas is WALKING!!!  I know this is not food related, but he is walking.  We are ultimately doing this to better our health for our boys, and so I think it totally counts.

Low – Really poor food choices at my training class.  No shock honestly.  I was glad to have come prepared.

Our juicy was a bit on the nasty side again.  It must have contained too much of something good for you.  Like beets or kale.  Normally I can hide the taste, but too few apples I guess.  Also, I was over generous with the chia.  It became a sloppy, goopy, chunky mess, and I had to fish out clumps.  Shudder.  Still learning clearly.  The boys had oatmeal.

Dave and I rushed out the door a bit later than ideal, and he dropped me off at my training on his way to the office.  Here is what I found in the classroom.  Fruit option was great, but paired with danishes and way-too-much-sugar juices.  If I am being honest, I got really close to the treats and inhaled deeply.

Day9

I gladly ate my sandwich, muffin and granola for lunch.  Somehow I ended up with Dave’s carrots, so I snacked on them also.  Over lunch I had a great convo with a co-worker that too is eliminating sugar from his diet, and trying to avoid processed food.  He also brought a peanut butter sandwich!  Refreshing!  Dave did not end up eating his pizza for lunch because he said the juicy kept him full almost all day.  He snacked on nuts and granola at work.  The boys had banana, veggie rice and strawberries for lunch.  About half of the crackers were gone, so I can assume that Trevor had those for snack.

I got home just about 5pm, and Dave was hanging with the boys.  They had already eaten some spaghetti and avocado.  Trevor enjoyed some yogurt, and Lucas ate some cheese before they headed for the bath.  Dave and I both had left over pizza.

Today, we went with another tropical juicy since she was our very favorite.  Apples, pineapple, oranges and a few carrots.    We needed a delish one after the past two choke.it.down mornings.  Took a ch-ch-ch-chia break as well.  The boys both had defrosted french toast that I made a few days back with some pear.

I brought granola, a pear, string cheese, carrots and I still have the Lara bar in my purse from yesterday.  Dave is working from home today and will dive into the left over mac and cheese.  I can only imagine he will add some salt and pepper, and maybe some additional cheese.  There are lots of options for the boys that he can make.  He may even try to share the macaroni.  I would.

Dinner is going to be buttermilk pork chops with steamed zucchini.  The boys will also have some roasted sweet potato.  Dave is finding the recipe for the pork chops, and I will link it tomorrow.

In closing, as this adventure nears the end of our 10 days, we are starting to discuss permanent changes to our diet.  We still have to work out what will be eaten in moderation, and what will be left out on purpose.  Some things are much easier to avoid than others, and I want to be realistic, not a fanatic.  More to come here.

Real Food – Day 7

I propose that we get more than two days for every weekend.  Do I have a second?  I am going to a training class for work ALL week.  This means that I will have to get organized for our last three days since I will not be at home for any of them during the day.

Yesterday went well.  Although, I have lost my voice, and Lucas is still snotty.

High – We are ALL sleeping.  For the first time in over a year, everyone is sleeping really well.  It could be coincidental timing, but I feel like I am really getting rested.

Low – Dave wants cookies.  He misses them, and tells me about it often.  Actually, he told me yesterday he was over this “thing” we were trying, and he was quitting.  I did not relent.  We can do this.  We can do hard things.  Low #2 – Real food means TONS of compost.  Tons of stinky compost that needs to be emptied a few times a day.  It also means ants and bugs in the compost bin.  Ewwww.

Breakfast was uneventful except that Lucas wanted little more than a bottle and to go to bed.  He took a very long morning nap.

After lunch, both boys took marathon naps.  Dave and I rearranged the kitchen appliance locations to make some room for Juicy to have a home on the counter.  I was getting twitchy with no room to do prep.  Like NO room.

Dinner for the boys was sweet potatoes, cheese, applesauce and steamed broccoli.  We brought everything with us to the park across the street to watch cousin Dakota play baseball.  It was nice to be outside and let Trevor run around.  We came back, we got the rice started for our dinner, got the boys in the bath and then off to bed.  Once they were in bed, I broiled the scallops.  This was by far the best meal we have had since starting this real food adventure.

Day7

We used the chicken stock from the whole chicken cooked the other night to make the brown rice, and it gave it amazing flavor.  Honestly not sure I can ever go back to canned stock or even “better than bouillon”  stock.

After dinner, we made a really tasty dessert with sliced banana, peanut butter, and drizzled honey.  WOW!!!

Day 7

Today:

Breakfast was juicy for us with some chia, and defrosted pancakes for the boys.

Lunch will be veggie rice for the boys using the rice from last night, and zucchini, asparagus and pea puree for the sauce.

Dinner tonight will be homemade pizza.  Dave is planning to have a pesto pizza, and I am going to make a margarita pizza.  The boys will most likely have a cheese version.

I will also be spending much of the day cooking some items ahead to be ready for the remaining three days.

Off to Costco to stock up on goodness!

Real Food – Day 6

Ah, the weekend!  So glad you are here.

Yesterday’s happenings:

High:  I went into the office and got a break from the kids.  Er…I was able to accomplish work-y things, and feel like a productive adult.

Low:  Real food molds too fast.

Day6

Breakfast yesterday went as planned.

Lunch was a bit of a sh*t show.  I left a bunch of things for the boys to eat, and told the nanny the rules.  Again.  When I came home, I forgot to ask her what they actually ate. Several of the items I had set aside were left uneaten on the counter.  Hmmm.  Trevor did have yogurt all over his shirt, so one can assume that he had some yogurt for lunch.  When I packed a lunch for me and Dave, I thought that I had packed enough for both of us.  Dave saw what I brought, and proceeded to ask me what I would be eating.  Sigh.  I packed two zucchini muffins, two rice cakes with peanut butter, two string cheeses, a hard boiled egg and a pear.  After half of that was gone on Dave’s snack at about 10:30, we decided to head to Whole Foods for other snackables.  We settled on a nut mix thing, and some honey sweetened granola after squinting to read the labels on the bulk bins for about 15 minutes.  We also got two Lara bars.  Those are pretty “YES please” btw!  In other news, Dave told me that he would not be eating any rice cakes in the future.  Ever.  I actually do not mind them, but he could not even choke down the two that I brought.

Dinner was sh*t show part two.  The mac and cheese was flavorless.  It needed WAY more salt and pepper.  Or bacon.  We have lots of leftovers.  :/  Lucas did not mind it, but Trevor only got a few bites down.  They both had avocado, and we made Trevor the ever so popular pb&j.  I swear he would live on those if needed.

Today:

We rocked a tropical kind of juicy this morning with pineapple, kiwi, oranges and apples.  It was SO good.

Day 6

The boys had banana and oatmeal.  After breakfast Trevor and I headed to the local farmers market to replenish our supply of fruits and veggies.

Dave and I had some defrosted chicken enchiladas from the other night.  (That night, I made a small, loaf pan size, serving with the remaining ingredients and popped it into the freezer.)  The boys had sweet potatoes for lunch with rice and beans.

For dinner, the boys are going to have some steamed broccoli, applesauce, and the rest of the sweet potatoes.  The adults are having some sauteed scallops with wild rice and broccoli.  Hope it is delish!

Happy Saturday!

Real Food – Day 5

And I thought the wheels were already off.  HA!

Yesterday:

High:  The Google machine helped me find what appears to be an OK option for Lucas’ first birthday on the 20th.  Maybe with a blueberry whip cream?  I plan to make it this weekend to be sure it will work.  You know…It needs to be vetted.  It is not because I could possibly die without something sweet.  High number two…CSA box arrived!!!  Yay for food delivered to your door.  Honestly, I was in no mood to cart two kids to the store to buy more kale.  Wait, this is the “high” section.

Day5

Low: Everything is annoying.  Yesterday, this was my annoying list:  We have too many toys, what random food remnant/crumb is stuck on the bottom of my foot, how is the coffee already gone, there are a lot of parts to Juicy, why don’t we have a pet that eats the food tossed off of the high chair, why does the neighbor have to have their scrap metal picked up during nap time, I do not have enough kitchen counter space with all of my appliances taking up so much room, how does one clean the microplane grater without grating one’s finger, why is it SO hard to find local bacon, or even bacon WITHOUT sugar added?  I am sure there are more, but typing them all out is also annoying.

I digress.  Update on meals for yesterday.

No changes for breakfast.  Went as planned. Amen.

Trevor had little more than a few bites of food for both lunch and dinner on Weds, but since he was feeling better by lunch yesterday, he was HUNGRY!  Turns out that kids will eat what they are offered when they are hungry.  Who knew.    He at some pear, blueberries (I should point out he has NEVER wanted blueberries), 6 grain whole wheat bread with cream cheese, fried egg, whole wheat crackers and two glasses of milk.  Lucas had bread and cream cheese, blueberries and some fried egg yolk.  First time he has eaten egg.  I should have snapped a picture of the face he made.  Ha.  After the initial protest, he proceeded to eat several additional pieces.

After lunch, Trevor went right to bed.  Poor guy was wrecked.  While getting him settled, Lucas (Mr. Into Stuff) stumbled upon the CSA box that I left on the floor.  Rookie move, Mama.  He found several round balls in the box (tangerines, oranges, grapefruit), and two of them fell victim to a teething monster.  The tangerine took the biggest hit.

Lucas found the tangerines

Lucas found the tangerines

Allow me to paint a picture of the events that followed…  Discovers tangerines are just the right size to hold->turns out these leak yummy fluid when punctured->yummy fluid gets all over shirt, pants, hands and face->hands rub eyes since it is almost nap time->OUCHY eyes!!!->screaming bloody murder.

It was an awesome 20 or so minutes as  I tried to submerge his upper torso/face in water, while attempting to keep the screams at a lower volume as to not wake up brother.  The silence when their naps overlapped for a brief 30 minutes was the highlight of my day.  I should note that the last time I gave him oranges it resulted in a HORRIBLE diaper rash that lasted about a week.  His poor bum may be in for another round.  😦

I ate what was left of the two eggs that I fried, and some toast with cream cheese.  Dave’s peanut butter and honey sandwich got pretty hosed on the way to work, but it was still consumed.  The big bummer of the day was that a big boss man was in town, and wanted to take him and his manager to lunch.  How do you explain that you are doing this 10 day food thing, and well, I can go and sit with you guys, but uh…right.  So he ends up going, with his cute little container of rice and beans, but then naturally feels pressure to buy something at the cafe.  He makes a choice to go with grilled onions and peppers (?!?!).  He said that he did not see ANY fruit options like a banana or apple, so this was the best purchasable veggie option. What a SAD state of affairs.  Now, I am under NO illusions that this cafe in a random office building is using unrefined/non GMO oil to grill their veggies.  So, one of us went off the tracks.

We righted the ship for dinner.  All four of us finished off the enchiladas, which were so much better the second night.  Both boys had some cheese, and Trevor also had some avocado.  Oh, and remember the artichokes that I claimed to have cooked a few nights back…right.  Found those in the veggie drawer in the fridge.  Uncooked.  We steamed them up so that they would not spoil, and put them in the fridge for tonight.  I plan to attempt home made mayo, or some sort of aioli.  Lord be with me.

After dinner, I headed off to a board meeting for my local mother’s club.  I was met with a few acceptable snack options.  Wine and grapes and cheese.  SOLD.  Before hitting the sack, I decided to torture myself with some food network shows.

Today’s plan.

The boys had french toast and bananas for breakfast, and we fired up Juicy as well.  Trevor tried some of my juicy and he loved it.  Looks like he will be having some in the mornings.

We have only 20 days to get through a jar of all fruit preserves, so lunch will be a pb&j for Trevor with tangerines.  Lucas will get some avocado, and a bit of beans/rice.  They can have strawberries and blueberries for snack.

For dinner we are having Mac and cheese.  I am super excited to try this recipe, and it seems so simple.  Hope it is as good as the picture looks!  Wanted to toss in some local bacon, but did not have any luck finding any at Whole Foods.  I need to meet some local farmers that raise swine.  We will also have the artichokes, and the boys will have steamed zucchini.

Hoping it is smooth sailing from here.  It can only get better right?!?!

Scorecard:  I am down 4 pounds total.   Dave is also down 4 total.  (His evened out)

Operation: Fill that freezer!

As I mentioned in my first post, our family has begun living on a budget. A few items that are helping us stay on track include:

  • Switching to a super concentrated and eco-friendly brand of cleaning and personal care products
  • Paying attention to, and recording per unit prices of commonly purchased food and grocery items
  • Making meals in bulk, and freezing

My food budget recently underwent an extreme makeover during a visit from my super-mom friend Val. She taught me how to leverage my freezer to reduce spending, and reduce food waste. It was a turning point. So much so, that I bought a cute little chest freezer from my friend Georgette! Note all of the empty space in there.

freezer

My latest mission is to fill my deep freezer with yummy meals that I can pop into the oven or microwave on evenings when I cannot muster the energy to cook.  (This is most nights honestly) I am also reading a great book that has some tips on cooking ahead: http://www.amazon.com/Frozen-Assets-2E-Cook-Month/dp/1402218591/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359004542&sr=8-2&keywords=cook+for+a+day+eat+for+a+month 

The book is a little agro, but I am using many of her suggestions.  One fabulous one is to just double/triple the recipe of whatever you are making some evenings, and freeze batches for another night.  Brill right?!?!

My mission to cook ahead would be so much more fun with a group. Would anyone on the peninsula like to do a “frozen meal exchange” with me?!?  We could do a 1:1 exchange of both a meal and the recipe.  This will not only give us each a bit of variety, it will expand everyone’s recipe box!

Who is in???