Sunday, April 6, 2014

happy week, still lacking pictures

this is part of a shawl i knit for my mother-in-law, who is having two upcoming surgeries. i love the simple pattern and the colors of the yarn. I used Madeline Tosh in Filigree, and the pattern is a paid pattern called Simple Things on Ravelry.

I have way more pictures than this to share but the uploader is difficult with slow Internet. Just have to be patient!

I wanted to post my menu plan here. It's Sunday so we're going to enjoy a slow-cooked grassfed beef stew and sage-rosemary mashed potatoes. I've already prepped the chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and bacon for tomorrow night's cobb salads. We're kind of on a cobb kick lately. They are so fresh!

Here is the plan for the coming week. We have been eating a mix of paleo and vegetarian meals (i'm a believer in moderation for all things, but definitely less grain/gluten overall), we almost always do tacos on tuesdays (lately grassfed beef) and homemade pizza, either meat or veg, on fridays.

I would like you to once again be reminded that I refuse to eat ANY factory (even plain "organic") meat. makes me a restaurant vegan (i sometimes eat dairy and eggs depending on my mood and whether or not i can swallow my ethics on those rare occasions).

the first set of meals is totally planned and has already been shopped for. the second set is fluid and changes throughout the week as i revisit it. i love making menu plans and looking at both online recipes, old favorites, and my numerous cookbooks (I'm currently not allowing myself to obtain ANY more cookbooks, to see which ones I currently own I actually use). Might post that list sometime, too. I'd like to get a few good paleo cookbooks as well. Any recommendations?

These are dinners. Lunches are a mixed bag, usually leftovers, simple sandwiches, apples with nut butter, homemade "trail mix" (like sunflower seeds/almonds/chocolate chips), dried nuts/fruit, tortilla chips/veggies with hummus, that sort of thing. And to be honest occasionally i flub it with planning and i go down the road and get some sort of vegetarian wrap at the coffeeshop. I plan on making salmon salad with arugula this week, too. We also have some grassfed beef chili in the freezer that reheats extremely well. for breakfasts we do green smoothies, pre-made (by me! not a company) breakfast sammies that we reheat in the toaster oven. john likes bagels and cream cheese. we both like organic raisin bran, i add pecans and dried cherries or raisins to mine. i like oatmeal too but sometimes it has a rancid taste. i need to start stashing it in the freezer.

Finally, I find that I need two small snacks a day (once before lunch, once mid-afternoon). Usually they are tiny but protein-packed.

Anyway, right, the dinners -- you will see too that I often write prep/shopping ingredients to myself within each day. I post the dinners on some scrap paper on the fridge so my husband can get excited about them too and isn't in the dark if for instance it's "leftovers" (to him this could mean Subway, or a tuna sandwich, or whatever) and I'm not home yet (working late, swimming, whatever).

mon cobb salad, make mexican rice for tuesday night :-)  -- the chicken/bacon/egg for these I prepped while making sunday's dinner. all set to be assembled and eaten quick. easy meals are awesome on mondays.

tues tacos (beef) and mexican rice (freeze leftover rice)

wed conchiglie pasta (this is an AMAZING vegetarian concoction using a homemade greek yogurt and green pea sauce, and feta, from the Jerusalem cookbook)

thurs leftovers

fri pizza (pepperoni and spinach)

sat pork and bacon meatloaf with marinara to top, side of greens (arugula dressed with oil, s&p) (paleo meal)

sun zucchini or spaghetti squash pasta with sausage and marinara (paleo meal)

mon leftovers (make shredded chicken for dinner tomorrow night, use crockpot see bookmark)

tues tacos (shredded chicken, reheated) with newman's salsa! with leftover (freezer) mexican rice, reheated

wed noodles with tofu/cashews/asparagus (heart of the plate -- sometimes I write the cookbook or say "bookmarks" if it's on the computer so I know where to find the recipe)

thurs paleo stir fry with kale (buy a bag fresh at food lion) and sausage and red pepper (paleo)

fri pizza (veggies -- onion, broccoli, red bell pepper)

SHOP (every 2-3 weeks due to living FAR from tj's/wfm, usually on friday nights or somewhere thereabouts. the stores are dead at this time, they're also dead early sunday mornings and monday nights)

I felt like the last plan was really meat heavy, so this will eventually mix more veggie meals in. Remember -- eat food, mostly plants, not too much. my current manifesto :-) Obviously these meals aren't definitively planned yet but they are sketched. Do we ever deviate from the plan? Rarely -- saves us money on going out, and keeps food waste from happening -- but yeah, of course. There are DAYS. Where we end up at our favorite Mexican watering hole with a huge burrito in front of us. Sometimes I swap an easier meal if a slightly harder one is planned and I just don't feel like it. Sometimes I forget to soak beans or defrost meat and that's why swaps occur. We often put off pizza for a day if there are too many leftovers or dinner just has to happen too late for some reason. This is life, folks. Not set in stone. But the menu plans, boy do they help. Especially with shopping.

ANYway .... here's the second plan for this month. So far.

sat mashed potato bar :-) :-) toppings :: bacon/scallions/sour cream/(see Heather's page for ideas)
sun paleo
mon off - shredded chicken tacos in the crockpot with mexican rice
tues -- leftover tacos and rice
wed-- paleo
thurs salmon burgers and ???
fri pizza (sausage, bacon, onion)
sat vegetarian
sun pork roast with mashed potatoes and veg of some sort
m leftovers from sunday
tu tacos (beef)
we vegetarian -- pasta dish?
th premade burgers, homemade french fries, fresh greens salad (cold) -- VERY simple
fr pizza (vegetarian)
sat hearty vegetarian dish

Another 2 rules in the kitchen I've learned to faithfully abide by ::

mise en place (everything ready and portioned/chopped/prepped appropriately before just reading the recipe and happily watching it come together)

clean as you go. when you cook from scratch the downside is a TON of dishes (my husband always notices this one ... .lucky for me he's so good about taking out the trash, which I hate)

I'm interested in beginning to save some vegetable peelings to make stock, once we move we might have an additional freezer in the house. Would love a good chicken or beef stock recipe if you have it. We're not composters for now, but I hate just throwing all this good organic matter away, or to my dog.

I've just polished off my second bowl of beef stew. If you are going to eat like this remember to exercise (I walked two miles and swam nearly 3/4 mile today). In fact just because I'm on a roll here is what I ate today, and it's how I try to eat every day.

guilty indulgences :: 3 sea salt dark chocolate covered almonds, one small caramel cashew cookie from tj's (bought those for hubby, a cookie freak. i can take or leave cookies.)

breakfast:: smoothie -- almond milk, 2% yogurt, raw kale, chia seeds, maca powder, honey, frozen bananas, cinnamon, vanilla extract, sunflower seed butter

2 mile walk

lunch :: spicy brussels sprouts stir fry with snap peas and walnuts, salmon burger on a 100% whole wheat bun (if i wasn't going to the gym I would have skipped the bread, I do not think even this organic bread is good for our bodies overall but it won't hurt a workout)

3/4 mile swim (laps)

post-workout snack :: fresh strawberries and a few small pieces of sharp cheddar cheese, also a hard-boiled egg b/c i was still hungry

dinner :: two bowls of beef stew and mashed potatoes.

In other news ...

I've finished Four Spirits and am back on to Dickens' Bleak House. I also really want to read The Snow Child. From the library I have out Eating on the Wild Side.

I've started taking prenatal vitamins (holy 6 per day!!) and a DHA supplement. I swear my hair is already softer.

I'm finishing two shawls and a cowl that have been on the needles far too long before I start anything else. Then I want to start a mother's day shawl (same as the one pictured but more of a slate gray color) and work on a long-forgotten shawl for my grandma and try making a dishcloth leftover from the hibernate retreat i took with Heather this winter. I have some pretty purple Aunt Lydia's crochet thread for that.

No, I am not pregnant!! Just erm ... prepping the vessel :-)

There are just 9 more weeks of school and then a 10-day break until I jump right back in at the new school. Yikes !!

Happy week, everyone ...

love and light,



  1. of course i love your michael pollan personal motto. you eat so well! i eat well, too, and from scratch but i envy the variety of food choices that comes from spending a bit more on diverse foods that can be more expensive. the nuts and dried fruit, superfood supplements, probiotics, the chia and maca and hemp seeds. health is worth every penny of course..

  2. Gorgeous shawl!! Plus, yay Bleak House. Definitely a favorite. :-)