Weekly Meal Plan, March 24

Quick meal plan! I spent the weekend in College Station learning a lot and eating a ton of amazing food – I’ll be posting a recap as soon as I can parse all my thoughts into something cohesive.

I got a couple review copies of new cookbooks last week that I’m excited to try out, so depending what I get at the markets, the menu might change (as always). A couple of the meals I hope to be able to blog about, so keep your eyes peeled.

One of these weeks I’ll just make meals from recipes that already exist on the blog. (Ha, ha, says every other food blogger out there.)

Monday: Mac & Cheese

Tuesday: Beef Taco Bake

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Grilled Salmon and beets

Friday: Homemade Pan Pizza

Saturday: Roast Chicken

Sunday: Chicken Pasta Salad

What are you making this week?

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Carrot Fritters

We love carrots around here. Even though they’re a root vegetable and therefore meant for colder times of the year, we are lucky to be able to get fresh local carrots practically year-round. The sweet carrots we get from the farmers market can’t be beat, especially if you enjoy the varieties that come in hues other than orange — white, yellow, and purple frequently make appearances at the farm stand.

Carrot Fritters

I don’t fry foods much at home, mostly because I make a terrible mess and invariably end up burning myself with hot oil. If I’m going to the trouble of it, I want the end result to be tasty, but also have a layer of nutrition to it to (so I don’t feel quite so bad about the oil). When it comes to fritters, carrots are a natural fit because they’re easy to shred and crisp up easily.

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Weekly Meal Plan, March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Even though we have a bit of Irish in our ancestry, we don’t celebrate the day much. We’ve got our requisite green on, but otherwise it’s just like any other day around here.

We only made 3 of the 7 planned meals last week, though we managed to only do takeout one night, heading to our local family Italian place for pizza. I don’t mind too much when we go off plan if we’re still cooking at home, so it’s a good thing that I keep a few different options in the freezer for those situations.

This week I’m heading to a conference about Texas agriculture, so they boys get the fun of eating whatever they want. Hopefully that means they’ll be responsibly balanced, but you never know.

Here’s a super-shortened meal plan for the week, with holdovers from last week.

Monday: Lentil sloppy joes

Tuesday: Chicken, roasted butternut squash, sauteed spinach

Wednesday: Mini meatloaves, roasted beets

Sunday: Milk-Braised Pork Brisket

What are you making this week?

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Sunday’s Song: Clutter

We live cluttered lives. It seems to be an inherently American thing, that there is just always so much stuff around.

We are forever trying to get rid of the extra stuff in our house, and yet as soon as one bag goes out, another seems to come in. And even when we finally get a handle on the physical trappings, our minds are always moving, never slowing down.

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The other day I spent a few glorious hours at the spa. As I sat in the sauna, reveling in the quiet surrounding me, I attempted to create a quiet in my mind as well. But I couldn’t clear out the thoughts, as one task after the other popped into my brain, just as soon as I was able to quash the previous thread.

Maybe this is the curse of a busy person, of one who thrives best when they have multiple projects pulling them in every direction. As much as we say calm, calm, calm when we close our eyes, the fact is that most of us can’t keep our ideas at a low enough simmer that we can get to sleep easily. This may or may not be why I tend to fall into a blissful nap when the baby goes down for his.

Over the years I’ve become an extremely organized person, writing down lists upon lists and obsessing over organizational furniture. (I am an IKEA pro.) I use Google Calendar and a paper calendar, the latter of which I write tasks into each day. And then sometimes write those same tasks onto the next day. And the next, until they get done.

Writing everything down helps me keep my mind a little less cluttered. More Zen. Just like when I empty a dozen hangers in the closet, or clear off a section of the bookshelf.

Have nothing that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful or both.

The way I tackle clutter, I try to apply to my whole life. Filtering. Removing what agitates me. Leaving room for growth.

It’s hard letting go of some of those things. I’ve let go of some extremely personal things to make way for my family to bloom, to grow into its own. Every day it’s hard, and yet we can’t go running back to what we’ve removed from our lives. There’s a reason it had to leave in the first place. A single sheet of paper becomes a mountain if left unchecked.

Those little boxes on the to-do list are more than just boxes. Sometimes, they’re what keep us afloat.

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More Cluck for Your Buck – Homemade Alphabet Chicken Soup

Rounding out More Cluck for Your Buck with soup made from your chicken bones.

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The weather can’t make up its mind.

One day it is brilliantly gorgeous, with the sun piercing through our protective lenses and making everyone yearn to be a cat lounging in the warmth. The next day ice has travelled through, killing our burgeoning tomato plants, and along with it, our hopes for an early spring.

Living in Texas, we generally only get to complain about the weather when it’s 110 for the fifteenth day in a row, but this winter has given us the opportunity to get in on the action the rest of the country gets. Although, I know, for all my complaints, we still have it pretty darn good.

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More Cluck for Your Buck – Sundried Tomato & Chicken Ravioli

Homemade pasta is easier than you think, and ravioli is only two extra steps away!

Sundried Tomato and Chicken Ravioli

When the pre-Black Friday sales started popping up in my inbox, I mostly ignored them. But for whatever reason, I headed over to Amazon and was immediately sucked in by their deal on a pasta roller.

I had been thinking about getting one for years but never bit the proverbial bullet, assuming that it would just become one of those kitchen tools that looks nice but in reality sits in the box for years, until you finally admit it would have a better home under the lights of Goodwill. But with our larger kitchen island, now I had plenty of space to roll out pasta, and I jumped.

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