The new thing in the food blog world is over sharing weekly meal plans.  It takes the every popular WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) and expands it into WIAFD (What I Ate For Dinner) or WIAFDAWLAIYC (What I Ate For Dinner All Week Long As If You Care).

I have to confess . . . I care.  I like reading these posts.  Cooking dinner has become such a chore lately and I find myself preparing the same meals over and over as well as stressing all day over what I’m going to make and then tossing stuff into the oven last minute.

Trying to get dinner on the table with Sweetey Petey running around the house like a mad banshee was hard enough . . . with a new baby in the mix it’ll be nearly impossible without a plan.

So I made a plan.

Excel

I created an excel spreadsheet with spaces for meal plans, suggestions for daily protein and lists of the healthiest fruits and veggies that I think we should be eating on a regular basis.  It gives me the option of listing seven meals and crossing off food as we eat it.  As I get rolling with this system hopefully I can flip back through previous weeks to see that we haven’t eaten broccoli in a while or have been seriously carrot deficient or have eaten way too much spaghetti squash and not enough butternut.  Can one eat too much spaghetti squash???  I’m not sure they can, but you get the idea.

I’m also using this as a way to test out some of the cookbooks in my massive collection.  Most weeks I will just add a few new recipes so as not to overwhelm myself and the best recipes will be added to our family recipe binder.

This past week I tested out The Working Stiff Cookbook.

Woring Stiff Cookbook

I picked this up on clearance at a used book store many many moons ago . . . you know, back when I worked.  Out of the house that is because I clearly still work I just no longer get paid for it.

So here’s my week worth of dinners, in no particular order.  Food in purple and bold are recipes from the cookbook.

Meal 1: spaghetti (squash) with portobellos, prosciutto and cream with pan fried tilapia

Spag Squash RW

Tilapia RW

Meal 2: chicken breasts with artichokes and mushrooms over gluten free orzo pasta with steamed carrots and no sugar added apricot jelly 

Chx Artichokes RW

Meal 3: frittata rustica with Paleo coconut flour “cornbread” and roasted asparagus.

Frittata RW

Meal 4: butternut squash soup with salad topped with hard boiled egg, blackberries, parmesan cheese and leftover sliced chicken breast

Soup and salad RW

Meal 5: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with leftover butternut squash soup

Sammy and Soup RW

Meal 6: Pulled pork and coleslaw (good friends made this meal and dropped it off to us)

Pig Title RW

Meal 7: burgers on gluten free bagels with homemade guac and GMO free corn chips and leftover steamed carrots with no sugar added jelly

Hamburger

There was supposed to be a salmon recipe from the cookbook as well, but I got lazy and bumped it for the easy grilled sandwich and leftover soup night.  I’ve bumped the salmon recipe to another week instead.

So . . .  what did I think of this book so far?

I give it a C+ and here’s why.

The spaghetti with cream sauce reminded me of a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was a kid.  So I will probably make mom’s dish instead of this one.  It’s simple yet decadent, although with heavy whipping cream as a main ingredient I wouldn’t suggest you make this dish every week.

The chicken breast was good . . . but I was not a fan of the artichokes.  I think it was the white wine sauce.  And the artichokes.  I don’t think I like artichokes, which stinks because they are good for you – iron rich and help ease digestion.  I have a recipe for artichoke meatloaf that I do really enjoy so for now I think I’ll stick with that to get my artichokes in.

The frittata was an excellent way to use up the eggs we’ve amassed since all seven of our chickens are now laying.  And breakfast for dinner (brinner) is always a win in my book.  This recipe is easily customizable with different veggies and cheeses as well.  But (yes, there’s a but) while it was good I recently made some omelet muffins that are a similar concept but were better.

The butternut squash soup was delightful and much easier to make than I would have thought.  The spices (ginger, coriander, cinnamon and clove) lent a sweet side to this dish which I enjoyed but I do think the soup could have used another layer.  Perhaps replacing some of the water with homemade chicken stock and maybe adding in an herb.  I think sage would be nice here.  Once I add a few things I think I’ll add this soup to our recipe binder.

My two complaints are one, while the recipes were good they were maybe a smidge “meh” and two, the recipes take longer than the book claims, especially those that need to be reduced like the artichoke and mushroom sauce (90 seconds my arse) and the soup.

We’ll see how the salmon recipe fares and for now I think the book will stay in my collection (I’ll revisit it again someday.)  There’s an interesting recipe for steak cooked in a paper bag I’m curious to try.

– Joanna

Question of the Day: How do you feel about artichokes?  Yay?  Nay?  Meh?  Do you like reading these sorts of posts?  It took too long to put together for me to make this a weekly thing right now but it was fun and I may do it again in the future.

Before I get into the Unroasted Roasted Vegetable Soup,

I’d like to take a few paragraphs to talk about a fellow blogger, Aly of Fudging Ahead.

If your first thought was I must have won another blog award to be spreading the Blog Love, you’d be wrong.  I’ve won nothing.  Not by anyone else, that is.  I have seriously considered bestowing an award upon myself, though, to make this post legit.  Perhaps the I’m Awesome and I Know It award.  I even made my own crappy graphic that designer pal Calee will probably virtually kick my ass for.

Nah.  It’s not that bad.  As Cinnamon might say, whatevs.  Feel free to swipe it and award it to yourself if you please.  No reason not to give the ol’ self esteem a little boost from time to time.

But back to Aly.

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Ahhhhh Monday.  We meet again.  I used to assume when I became a SAHM days would lose their meaning and a Tuesday would be the same as a Sunday.  Nope.  Mondays are still cringe worthy and Fridays are still much anticipated.  Saturdays are still the absolute best day of the week of course.  Not sure why that is exactly.  It just is.

This past Saturday was, obviously then, absolutely awesome.  We took the Pete to the Zoo for the first time and while he was more interested in his lunch than the elephants, it was a gorgeous day for a nice walk in the faux wild.

As a side note, I thought “faux” was spelled “feux” but to be sure I googled it.  The Urban Dictionary told me that “feux” is the way a dumbass spells “faux”.   Thanks Urban Dictionary.  Thanks a lot.  Moving on.

I’ll share more of our Zoo trip later this week or next, but for now suffice it to say that Saturday was awesome.  Sunday was pretty great too . . . except for one teensy tiny thing.  The Destroyer destroyed again.  Sigh.  No, it wasn’t the carpet or the couch or (gasp) my brand new Spongy Poof from Cinnamon at Eat Pray Tri.  It was this guy.

Well, that’s what’s left of him anyway.  No, it doesn’t look like it was anything in the first place. No, I’m not nuts.  That is, er, was my newest favorite photography prop.  I found this lovely bit of bark in the yard and he was perfect for holding vegetables.  See?

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Big Brother is becoming more like Big Brother every day.

We’ve all been to school.  We’ve all read George Orwell’s 1984.  If your recall of this classic novel has gone the way of your recall of the anatomy of a frog, let me refresh things for you.  Better yet, let’s let Wikipedia do it.

“Big Brother is the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state where the ruling Party wields total power for its own sake over the inhabitants.  Everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities and they are constantly reminded of this.  “Big Brother” has entered the lexicon as a synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil liberties.”

Clearly Big Brother is well, Big Brother.  Or rather CBS is Big Brother.  I get that.  We all get that.  It’s why the freaking show is named that for Pete’s sake (sorry Pete).

But Big Brother has gone through numerous changes over the years.  In Season 1 the viewers evicted players.  Season 2 brought the HOH or Head of Household.  Season 3 started the POV or Power of Veto.  Season 4 started the Jury.  By Season 5 Big Brother was closest to the Big Brother we know today and most seasons featured a twist.

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