Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekly Menu: January 1-7

Working with what I already have in the house, here is the menu for the upcoming week.

Ellie Krieger's Sloppy Joes - Except, instead of putting the sloppy joes on buns, we're using corn tortillas.

Weight Watchers Cream of Broccoli Soup
grilled turkey patties on Bagel Thins (for the guys, not me)

Korean Meatballs (made with turkey)
Birdseye Steamfresh Asian Medley vegetables

broiled tilapia with garlic
sauteed onions

beef stew

curry meat sticks with eastern tomato sauce*
California blend mixed vegetables

smokey roast*
roasted Parmesan green beans*

* new-to-me recipes

Menu Planning for 2012 - Part 2

We don't have a lot of grocery shopping options here - just a Food Lion and a Harris Teeter. Our Walmart isn't a supercenter yet (though rumors have been flying for years) and to be honest, I won't buy produce at Walmart anymore after several bad experiences with it going bad very quickly. For the most part, Harris Teeter costs more than Food Lion for most things, but they do have some killer buy 2 get 3 free deals and they double coupons, so I shop there occasionally.

Here are some things I like to keep in stock:

apples, bananas, melons
green peppers, onions, carrots
black olives (Sebastian is the only one who really eats them.)
peanut butter (and Nutella for Sebastian, for now.)
sugar free or reduced sugar jelly
eggs & egg whites
winter squash (and canned pumpkin)
frozen vegetables
ground turkey
lean cuts of beef & pork
boneless skinless chicken breast
canned tuna
old fashioned oats
brown rice
dry beans & canned refried beans
whole wheat pasta (I also make my own)
cheese (shredded, sliced, blocks, sticks - you name it.)
whole grain bread (I really like Nature's Own Double Fiber, but the bread is mostly for Sebastian.)
non-sugary cereal (Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Fiber One original)
spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste
canned fruit in light syrup or water (Mostly for Sam. I'm not big on canned fruit, except for mandarin oranges.)
chicken, beef and vegetable broth (I know I should be making my own but this is much more convenient, thank you Dollar Tree.)
pickles (Sebastian considers them a vegetable and I won't argue.)
protein powder (I actually have several containers that are rather old. I doubt they are good any more. I mainly use them to make protein granola bars because as a shake, they taste like ass.)
popcorn (We use an air popper that my mother bought for me back in 1993.)

I'm sure I'm missing lots of a few things but that's pretty much what I have to work with. In my past post, I talked about how I wanted to do Weight Watchers or Primal/Paleo and keep Meatless Mondays. I also want to stick to the Power Foods (or better yet, the old Filling Foods list). Or Michi's Ladder. Or just use some damn common sense.

There's enough in my freezer to get me started for a week - several bags of frozen vegetables, various forms of poultry, lean beef. I'll go through the sales flyers this weekend to see what's on sale and go shopping Monday or Tuesday, then I'll have an idea of what Week 2 will look like. I'll be getting my recipes mainly from the following sites:

Cooking Light
Eating Well
Skinny Taste
Emily Bites
Everyday Paleo
Primal Kitchen
Paleo Parents

I copy most recipes into my much loved Living Cookbook software, which does everything under the sun, including calculate the Weight Watchers Points+ for the recipes. I admit, I am a recipe hoarder. I belong to a Living Cookbook Yahoo Group and I used to import every single recipe that came through. Now I'm much more selective, picking the things I'm likely to try, leaving pickled pig livers to the more adventurous eaters. I'm sure those are Primal foods but, really, I'll pass.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Menu Planning for 2012 - Part 1

In 2010, I challenged myself to make one new recipe per week. That went over really well for the whole family, so we're going to do it again this year. I slacked off a lot on my menu planning and cooking in 2011, and it bit me on the ass. Well, it showed up on my ass, in the form of a very large and embarrassing weight gain. I used to do monthly menus, and that worked well enough, but I think I'm going to do weekly menus this year, so I can keep my food costs down. Sam didn't get nearly as many deer this year as he did last year. We had six last year, and it lasted a good six months. This year, he got two, but he messed something up when he put them in our storage freezer and they rotted. They were two of the biggest deer he'd ever gotten, too. Major bummer.

When I was doing things monthly, I used a Google spreadsheet with links and fancy color coding for Sebastian and me, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am not getting so fancy here. I'll just list the dinners and sides, with recipe links. Lunches won't vary too much. He can buy lunch at school once a week. The rest of the time, he will probably take sandwiches, fruit or vegetable, and a snack. He is not big on variety. He likes peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, or as some people call them, peanut butter cups on bread. I need to slowly transition him to peanut butter and jelly. Nutella isn't healthy and it's not cheap. It's damn delicious, though. As far as my lunches go, I'm going to try to take leftovers. Working in a school cafeteria really sucks. We get to a free meal and though we're not supposed to nibble and sample, we do, and we all know that I have no off button when it comes to food. We do have salads every day, but we can never count on there being any left over by the time we've served all the people who count. My hours are weird. I'm not hungry enough to eat breakfast before I go in. I usually don't get hungry until around 10 AM, and the cafeteria staff eats around 12:45 PM. There are some days when I have to stay at school late, either coaching Go Far (which I will know about in advance) or subbing in the after school program (which can sometimes be very last minute).  Leftovers seem my best bet, and I'll have to start making myself eat breakfast before I leave.

So, breakfast options for Sebastian are going to be some sort of protein. I wish he would eat eggs. I don't want to give him toast for breakfast if he's going to be having sandwiches (or pizza) for lunch. I'm fine just giving him some turkey bacon or sausage for breakfast with a banana. He's not too keen on many fruits, just apples & bananas & melons. I love those, too, and I can definitely over-eat them :( I might make him some protein granola bars. He's so finicky though. He tries something and likes it, then the next day he doesn't like it. He pulls that shit with yogurt all the time. He asks for yogurt, I buy it, he loves it, then won't eat it again. It drives me insane.

For me, I can eat the same thing day after day. I had my best weight loss and stayed on plan easier when I ate an apple and a cup of cottage cheese every day for breakfast. I think I need to do that again. Most of my dinners were a lean protein and a vegetable. I need to get back to that. Oddly, it was when I started doing Weight Watchers that I started losing control. Mentally, Weight Watchers in the only thing that makes sense to me, but for my body, I think I would do better with a Primal or Paleo diet. I can give up pasta and bread and probably even potatoes (though I really like sweet potatoes) but I'm not ready to give up things like beans and quinoa and oats, none of which are really encouraged in the ancestral way of eating. I don't know that I could do dairy in moderation - I love my cheese and I "need" milk in my coffee.

I want to keep doing Meatless Mondays. I've been doing it for two years now. It's hard - I never feel satisfied on Mondays and I'm usually hungry as hell on Tuesdays. One might think that two years is "long enough" but I feel like it deserves more time than I've given it. It's hard to be Primal and meatless, but it's only one day a week. I could probably manage. If I follow the 80/20 rule (eat Primal 80% of the time) I could fit in my beans and quinoa and oats on my meatless days.

I don't know what I want to do but I have twenty-four hours to figure it out.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I just want to see if this still imports to Facebook, and how long it takes. I'm posting it at 4:36 PM on Thursday December 29, 2011.

Oh, it's nice to know Facebook no longer allows importing.