Meal Plan Monday – November 21, 2011

It’s a special week this week, THANKSGIVING!!!!  This year is a little different than most in that we’re planning on having a very small Thanksgiving dinner and we have a wedding to go to that will keep us pretty busy.  This year Thanksgiving will be at our house and it will be Mr. Crunchycake, Miss K, and both sets of our parents.  So just seven of us chowing down this year and baby hardly counts because she still eats so little.  It’s going to be a non-conventional holiday meal for us; my husband and I are the only ones who would be eating turkey and neither of us LOVE it so we’re going to skip the turkey and make a vegetarian main dish (blasphemy! – I know.)  It feels a little weird but it just makes sense.  Three of our four parents are vegetarians and the fourth doesn’t eat much meat.  So might as well spend efforts on food that we’ll all be able to enjoy.  Sadly I still don’t know what that main dish will be.  I better figure it out today!  It’s a busy week so I don’t know how much cooking I’ll be doing outside of Thursday…

Sunday: Refrigerator clean up!  Need to make room for food on Thursday!  We had salad, enchiladas, pasta, grapes, and rice from earlier in the week and cleaned up some tupperware.

Monday:  We’re driving down to San Diego to see some friends and meet their new baby.  He’s only a couple months old.  So I’m not sure what we’re going to do for dinner.  Probably catch something on the way back home.

Tuesday:  Eggrolls and Salad

Wednesday: Wedding Events start at 6:00 pm so I think we’re eating there.

Thursday:  Need to figure out the main dish!!!!  EeEEkk!  Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, butternut squash, roasted yams, garlic bread, pumpkin donuts, and possibly pecan pie.  It seems like I’m missing some sides so I’ll clean this up a bit.

Friday: Wedding event during the day, not sure about dinner so if we eat at home, I’ll just make a pizza and some salad

Saturday:  Wedding reception

Meal Plan Monday – November 14, 2011

It was a good weekend, full of newborn yumminess.  Our nephew arrived on Friday and has officially stolen the hearts of everyone who’s seen him.  HE’S JUST SO TINY!  I love it.  Since I had babies on the brain (mine was off the charts cute this weekend too), I hadn’t put much thought into what to eat so I guess I oughtta do that now!  Here we go:

Sunday: Had take-out pizza night.  It seems like the crunchycake family is beginning to see a trend with this ritual.

Monday:  Looks like Mr. Crunchycake will be home late.  I’ll make a soup/sammy combo of some sort for myself.

Tuesday:  Egg rolls, Bok Choy Salad, possibly tofu and fried rice.  Hoping to take this over to my SIL’s house.  If in-laws join us, I’ll make the tofu and rice too.  If not, we might just stick to egg rolls and salad.  By the way, is it eggrolls or is it egg rolls?  WordPress is  correcting the spelling of eggrolls so maybe it’s egg rolls…Although it’s also correcting WordPress, so I don’t know what to believe.

Wednesday:  Pasta with Arrabiata sauce and Roasted Butternut Squash – saw these recipes on babycenter.com and they sound awesome.

Thursday:  If we don’t make the tofu on Tuesday, I’ll make Green Curry Tofu and RiceIf we do make it on Tuesday, I think I’ll just make some Mediterranean Puff Pastry Chicken

Friday: Out

Saturday:  Chipotle Enchiladas, Guacamole, Cilantro Lime Rice, Salsa, Chips, and some sort of dessert.  Some friends are coming over for dinner and the husband likes spicy food.  I thought this would fit the bill.

 

Feeding the Beast

I spend a lot of time thinking about what to feed our daughter and how much to feed our daughter.  She’s almost ten months old and has been eating solids since she was six months old.  So far she’s been a pretty good eater but lately I’m noticing she tends to eat at two extremes of the spectrum.  Either she wants soft, easy to swallow purees that I spoon feed to her OR she wants finger foods that she can pick up and eat herself.  The latter of these seems to take forever and makes a mess, which honestly, makes me not want to do it but I know she needs to develop her skill in this area.  So I give her stuff like toast, scrambled eggs, cheerios, and puffs that she can pick up and stuff in her mouth.

I’m trying to ease her into table food but am still worried about some foods – are they too spicy?  Too much salt?  Does it have sugar?  She has no teeth – will she be ok or will she choke?  I’ve also found that as she’s eating more like us and less like a baby, I am buying more processed foods.  For example, over the last week, she’s had bread, butter, frozen peas and blueberries, canned lentil soup, store bought apple sauce, mixed grain cereal and canned pumpkin.  I actually don’t like giving her puffs – I feel like it’s just baby junk food.  The label says Organic, so I feel a little better but really, so what if it’s organic?  Does it have any natural nutritional value?  I’m still feeding her fresh foods like bananas, avocados, oatmeal, quinoa, eggs, edamame, persimmons, sweet potatoes, yams,  and zucchini but if I’m buying her store bought apple sauce, how is that any “better” than buying gerber baby foods?

I guess what I’m struggling with is what’s best for our baby to eat?  In general, I’m keeping her away from too much sodium, stuff that is barely food, and foods that have been stripped of their nutrients.  The crazy part is that most of what we eat DOES have sugar and it DOES have sodium and it IS stripped of so many nutrients.  I’m trying to give my family better food choices but it’s hard in today’s world.  We’ve developed a taste for unhealthy, non-nutrient-rich “foods.”  It’s been a week now that we’ve cut out refined sugars.  And every single day, I feel like drinking soda or an iced tea with high fructose corn syrup based flavors or some halloween candy.  I’ve committed to less fast food too. So what do I do?  I buy chips and some nacho cheese and eat it at home.  It’s my loop hole.  Reality is that it’s really tough for me to be good all the time so we’re taking it one day at a time.

What I’m hoping for is to have significantly reduced all that bad food by the time my daughter can recognize what we’re eating and ask for it too.  I just want her to have good eating habits.  But I also know that if I shelter her from normal foods too much, she might become an overly picky eater.  There must be a balance we can find.  i think the key is to make foods at home as often as possible.  Be in control of our food choices, rather than succumbing to whatever is convenient and offered out there in the world.  Although looking at this week’s meal plan, I realize there are very few veggies and fruits on the list.  And the holidays are coming up.  It won’t be easy to avoid all the sweets.  Man.  I thought feeding our little beast was hard.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that battling what the beastly food industry is feeding us is harder!

Meal Plan Monday – November 7, 2011

Well, it’s a new week and time to figure out what we’re going to eat.  Looks like nothing crazy at this point since I haven’t really put much thought into it.  Today’s been a busy day already and dinner’s right around the corner!!!

Sunday: Take out (pizza)

Monday: Burritos

Tuesday: Arroz con Pollo

Wednesday:  Mac and Cheese, Broccoli, tomato and Avocado salad

Thursday: Vegetarian Chili

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Quiche

Lots of carry-overs from last week!

Miss K. STILL hasn’t tried yogurt so we’re going to do it for sure this week!

 

Meal Plan Monday – October 31, 2011

It’s a spooky meal plan this week, folks! Okay, fine.  There’s nothing spooky about it. I just feel like there oughtta be since today’s Halloween. OHere’s what we’re thinking we’ll dine on for the next several days:

Sunday: Returned from our trip so we picked up dinner.

Monday: Meeting some friends for Trick-or-Treating so we’ll be eating at their place.

Tuesday:  Pad Thai and Asian Salad

Wednesday: Soup and Sammies

Thursday:  Quiche and Salad

Friday:  Arroz con Pollo

Saturday:  Going to my mom’s house to celebrate Indian New Year (Diwali).  Plan is to pig out.

As for Miss K, we’re going to be introducing Yogurt and possibly persimmons into her diet this week.  My in-laws sent a whole bunch of delicious home grown persimmons for us to enjoy so my goal is to not waste a single one of them.  I have to do some research to see if it’s ok for Miss K to eat them.  They’re the super awesome crunchy sweet kind so I may need to steam them a little to soften them.  I have a feeling she’s going to love them, especially since they were grown with love by her very own grandparents.  Happy Halloween and be safe out there!

 

Meal Plan Monday – Week of October 24, 2011

Even though it’s a short week this time, I don’t know what the heck to make this week.  I guess that’s the point of this post.  Figure it out, dummy.  Let’s see:

Sunday:  Hubby picked up some In n Out.  Just realized I used up my once a week fast food run.  No soda though, so at least there’s that.

Monday: Soup and Sammies

Tuesday:  Burritos

Wednesday:  Mac n Cheese and veggies

Thursday: Take-out

Friday: Traveling, so not sure if we’ll be eating out at the in-laws.  Probably out since it’ll be a little late by the time we get there. 

Saturday:  Attending a wedding reception

So it’s not looking so good for my goal of eating four homemade meals this week unless I figure something out for Thursday and/or Friday.  My husband requested that we go out on Thursday and I think it makes sense.  I guess it’s ok, though.  I’m still recovering and want to keep stuff easy this week (as you can probably tell by the menu choices).

I’m going to introduce two new foods to Miss K: bread and yogurt.  In addition to that, she’ll have her usual pumpkin, apples, bananas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, peas, zucchini, eggs and quinoa.  Maybe khichadi too.  Maybe not.  We’ll see.

Update Sunday – October 23, 2011

Messing up my back at the end of the week did a real number on my goals this week, unfortunately.  Here’s a rundown:

Meal Plan

I’m not 100% sure but I think I only cooked twice this week.  I made the Spicy Sausage Broccoli Rabe Parmesan.  Hubby thought it was ok but I really liked it.  Then when I ate some left overs the next day I loved it.  THEN when I polished off the left overs on the third day, I wished we had more.  I liked the slight bite of the broccoli rabe along with the hint of spiciness.  I think I’ll add this to the list of meals we’ll have “every once in a while” since my husband thought it was just ok.  On Tuesday (I think it was Tuesday), I made the Spanikopita with a side of some couscous (Ya!  I used some of the couscous at long last!).  Again, I liked these better than my husband did.  We both agreed that these would be better as appetizers than dinner.  Maybe Spanikopita is never meant to be a meal.  I dunno.  I can’t for the life of me remember what we had on Wednesday.  I know my husband picked up dinner on Thursday because that’s when I pulled the muscle.  We picked up some dinner and took it to a friend’s house to see their new baby (oh, how I love newborns) on Friday and went to another friend’s home for a dinner party on Saturday.  Not great.

#10 on the LIST: Limit Fast Food
Not good this week.  REALLY not good.  Had fast food THREE times this week, twice for lunch and once for a snack that I probably didn’t really need.  And it was all pretty bad stuff – Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-e and McDonalds.  And of course along with it, I blew my goals for…

#11 on the LIST: Limit Soda to once a month

Ya, every time we got fast food, I had a soda.  Sigh.  One sweet tea and two Dr. Peppers.  Damn it.

So clearly, I get a sad face for performance against my goals this week.  Wop wop wop.

But really, I feel like this guy, sad and embarrassed:

#5 on the LIST – Eat homemade meals at least 4 nights a week

For some people, like my mom, this one is ridiculous.  To her, the thought of eating out so often just doesn’t make sense.  Why would you go out when it can be cheaper and faster to just make food at home?  Well, because I’ve never done it consistently so I have neither the habit nor the natural ability to throw together a meal.  And I’ve always had a lot of excuses.  I work late.  I work hard.  I’m pregnant.  I’m tired.  I didn’t plan.  I don’t know what to make.  My husband doesn’t mind.  But the truth is we both grew up in homes where our mothers cooked us meals from scratch almost every night.  We’d go out on Saturdays but pretty much every other night my mom made us food.  And often lunch on the weekends and weekdays too.  But for whatever reason, I became dependent on picking up food or eating out.  My husband and I used to eat out a lot.  It was fun trying new restaurants.  It was easy to pick food up on the way home and eat while watching an episode or two (or three) of our favorite shows.  And we felt we could afford it so why not?  I guess I always made a few meals at home but was never consistent with it.  I want to change that.

I want to change because we eat unhealthily and we gain weight when we eat out.  I want to change because my husband deserves better.  I want to change because I want to instill healthy eating habits in my daughter.  I want to change because I feel proud of myself when I know I’ve made a good meal.  I want to change because putting food on the table for my family is my responsibility and it IS a joy and yet I treat it like a challenging chore.  So I’m working on it, one week at a time.  My goal for the rest of 2011 is to make a homemade dinner for my family at least four nights a week.  It sounds lame but it’s a start.

When I started writing this post, I started looking for stats to make myself feel better.  I couldn’t be the only one, right?  Well it turns out that by and large, Americans do eat at home with their families.  Granted, the trend is increasing to have take-out, frozen and pre-prepared foods than fresh meals, but people eat at home.  So why can’t we?

So far, in the month and a half that I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve been successful – five weeks in a row where we’ve had 4-6 meals at home each week and we’re on track for this week too.  If I can be consistent with this, then in 2012, I’ll try to up it to 5 nights a week and then I’ll be satisfied.  I’ll continue to update in the weekly meal planning and weekly update posts.

Meal Plan Monday – Week of October 16, 2011

Alrighty, it’s a new week, time to figure out what the heck we’re going to eat this week…here’s what I’m-a-thinkin’:

Sunday: Grill Cheese and chicken wontons (hubby grabbed a sandwich while out so I ate a quickie dinner)

Monday:  Spicy Sausage Broccoli Rabe Parmesan  – don’t know if this will go over well with the spouse but we’ll give it a try.  Broccoli Rabe is good for you!

Tuesday:  Pizza Night!

Wednesday:  Spanikopita, Greek Salad,  and maybe some of that stinkin’ couscous

Thursday:  Take out

Friday:  Soup and Sandwiches

Saturday: Going to a friend’s house for dinner (free pass for cooking!)

Miss K. is trying a few new things this week – regular oatmeal without being ground up into a flour first, eggs, and possibly if I feel brave by the end of the week, yoghurt or pasta.  She’ll also have her usual sweet potatoes, zucchini, multi-grain cereal, bananas, plums, peaches, pumpkin and avocado.  I need to make her some more quinoa too, so I’ll see if I can work that in too.


 

Update Sunday – October 16, 2011

We did a pretty good job sticking to the menu this week.  Made Pad Thai with a salad on the side for dinner on Monday after eating out on Sunday.  The salad is a tried and true, so no surprises there.  The pad thai, on the other hand, threw me for a loop.  I went to the market at like 3:00 on Monday, with no real plan on what we’d eat and a really skimpy grocery list. I half thought we’d just eat out but I came across some pad thai noodles and some pad thai simmer sauce.  Eh, why not?  So I threw together the noodles, some crushed peanuts, tofu, green onions, and scrambled an egg in the pan.  Mixed in the sauce and voila – dinner. I thought it sucked but my husband liked it!  Only thing was I think there was too many noodles for the amount of sauce, so next time I’ll cut back on the noodles.  Tuesday we had enchiladas, no big deal there.  Was in a rush so didn’t make guacamole.  Mixed around the days a bit and made shells and cheese with an avocado, tomato, broccoli, and cucumber salad on the side on Wednesday.  Husband picked up dinner on Thursday and we tried the pesto grilled cheese sandwiches along with soup on Friday.  They were ok but we used store bought pesto, which wasn’t great.  Saturday I made black bean burgers for the first time.  I started with this basic recipe but made some modifications.  I bought slider buns and made the mix into eight small sliders instead of four burgers.  Panko breadcrumbs were more accessible to me so I used those instead of normal breadcrumbs.  Also made a chipotle mayo and added it, along with a slice of tomato and a 1/4 of a slice of provolone to the burger.  Baked some fries in the toaster oven and called it a meal.  The mayo was a bit overwhelming and the burgers were a bit dry because of the panko but otherwise these were ok.

Didn’t get around to making the sweet potato, lentils or quinoa for baby but she did have everything else as well as peas.  She also had khichadi again this week.  I think it’s good for her – lentils provide protein and we throw in peas and spinach to up the nutritional value.  Ya!  That means we ate dinner at home FIVE days this week – we can check off #5 on the LIST – Eat homemade meals eat least 4 days a week.

I was sick this week, which is another bring-er on-er of bad eating habits.  My goal for October is to only have fast food once a week and soda once a week.  I craved bad food and soda all week.  But I made it. I had Arby’s on Monday for lunch, which included a Dr. Pepper (naturally) so I blew my cheats all in one bad girl meal at the beginning of the week.  I will say though, this was the first week that I really thought was tough with the soda challenge.  I didn’t need the fast food because I had plenty of foods prepared for lunch and had a plan for dinner.  So yay me.  I still want a Dr. Pepper today but haven’t had one yet.  We get a smiley face for this week because we can also check off meeting the goals for #10 on the LIST – Limit fast food and #11 – Limit soda.