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.

bundt

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.

chickensoup_horiz

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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Weekly Meal Plan, March 10

Well, hello there.

Last week I took an inadvertent break from the blog to sort of mentally regroup (and binge on House of Cards). This winter has been kind of weird in Texas, and after my sprouting garden got pummeled by the last round of cold, I just needed a break. But thankfully, now it’s Daylight Savings Time as well as spring break, so things are a little, well, brighter around here.

flowers_purple

This weekend we also did a bit of cleaning and organizing, creating a “data center” bookshelf in the office for school papers, mail, and more, as well as building a wheeled shelving unit that will now serve as my photography cart. The cart is really exciting for me, considering my photos lately had been taken on a piece of drywall set on an ottoman on top of an under-bed storage box. Now my linens and props are all in one place, and I can wheel the cart in front of the window for photos, or back to the corner for storage.

With life literally more organized, I think things will be back into the right swing again.

Here’s this week’s menu! Since I’ve been doing so many recipe roundups for my job, I’m taking inspiration from Whole Foods Market and using a few of their recipes this week.

Monday: Roasted Salmon and Asparagus

Tuesday: Mango-Quinoa Salad

Wednesday: Chorizo and Purple Hull Peas

Thursday: Brown Rice with Chicken and Broccoli

Friday: Lentil Sloppy Joes

Saturday: Homemade pizza

Sunday: Milk-Braised Pork Brisket

I’m excited about the pork brisket, which I’ve never had before. I picked it up at the butcher shop on a whim – the butcher was so enthusiastic about it that I figured I couldn’t turn back. Saturday I’m heading to Rachael Ray’s annual SXSW party at Stubb’s, so I’m sure I won’t want to make anything too hard after being in that huge crowd for hours. Luckily pizza dough is easy and everyone can help with the toppings.

What are you making this week?

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More Cluck for Your Buck – Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

A super simple recipe to use up chicken leftovers.

Barbecue chicken sandwich

Still have leftover chicken?

One of my favorite ways to use leftover chicken or turkey is in a sandwich. Sure, you could just stick some meat in bread and call it a day, but I like to make these hot sandwiches instead. It’s hardly any work, and can be customized a variety of ways depending on what toppings or sauce you use. Next time I make them, I’m going to be sure to have pineapple on hand, because I love pairing up sweet fruit with spicy sauces.

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