Monday, February 3, 2014

Summer eating..

Hello! Quick question. Do you meal plan? I always have the best intentions of meal planning but never seem to stick with it on a regular basis. It works for a few weeks or maybe even a season but then I always seem to revert back to my five-thirty ways of rummaging through the fridge to find ingredients that I can turn into a meal...fast!

During the summer holidays it was really nice to be able to think of something to make for dinner and have the time to see it through - no kids' sporting drop offs or pick ups from friends houses to manage around the dinner preparations. There is no doubt that life definitely runs a lot more smoothly for us when I take the time to plan a week or a fortnight of meals. To keep myself motivated I'm keeping a record of what we've been eating lately, which I can jump back to if I find myself in that five-thirty black hole again..

1. Mixed vegetable frittata - so easy, this is my favourite kind of 5:30 slap dash dinner. It goes down well with a serve or two of homemade pickles, which reminds me - I must make more. Who knew cauliflower could be so good in pickle form?

2. Chargrilled vegies - good, honest, simple fare that always tastes good.

3. A favourite of summer - the humble bbq. I love that there are so few dishes to clean up afterwards..oh, and hubby does the 'cooking'.

4. Sweet potato and bean salad - this is one I like to play with. I like to add different types of toasted seeds/nuts and experiment with different dressings (balsamic/olive oil, mustard vinaigrette etc). It never disappoints.

5. As it says - banana and chia pancakes. Gluten and dairy free. Recipe here.

6. Blaukraut - German fermented red cabbage. This was my first successful attempt into homemade lacto-fermented vegetables and it's really good! Great to have on the side of a lunch or dinner plate.

7. Ahh, yes, the chip debate. My kids love 'em, heck, even I do, too! They just taste soo good, but are horridly bad for us. I was pleased to discover that sweet potato and parsnips make perfectly acceptable chips that fill that void in my appetite. The kids, well they are still in the convincing stage..

8. Lentil and radish salad - yum! Easy. Must plant more radishes..


9. I had never made scotch eggs until just recently when we went on holiday and I gave it a go in a meatloaf. It was gooood! And a real hit with the kids. I used 5 or 6 hardboiled eggs in the 1kg meatloaf - although next time will add a couple more. Youngish people find great delight in receiving their dinner with the surprise inside! A good one for hot days too, as it can be made ahead and served after it has had a chance to cool down, alongside a salad or two.

10. Sauerkraut - the second attempt. This one is a white cabbage, celery, carrot and apple concoction. I have commenced consumption and am finding it tastier that the blaukraut mentioned earlier..

11. Love a roast lamb. Always have, always will.

12. And it's all the nicer if the roast lamb is made into Greek souvlakis by the 14yo. Yum!! She had wrap bread. I didn't. It was still tasty as ever.



13. Another easy five o'clocker - the Thai green curry. One pot, half an hour and it's done. Plus I get to use some of our kaffir lime leaves from the tree and feel quietly pleased about that. What's not to like here?

14. Smoothies for breakfast. Any combination of fruits suits me just fine. Frozen fruits are best for that extra thickness! The youngest is fun to have along on this morning ride too.

15. Yes, I realise, a gluten free pizza is just completely wrong...but when the rest of the family is dining on crusted, yeasted, melted delights for dinner, what IS a girl to do? Seriously! It actually didn't taste that bad..surprisingly.

16. Ok, this one needs work - a quinoa and vegetable stuffed pumpkin. I don't know the exact origins of the idea but found it was calling at to me to be made..remarkably earlier than 5:30! Gotta love that. Cooked quinoa, sauteed onion, carrot, parsnip, chorizo and zuccini with a bunch of clashing spices and then baked in the pumpkin for a good hour, plus. Yuh...kind of ok, although seriously not a hit with the younger members of the family. More refinements necessary. Advice please?

Do you meal plan? Or are you a 5:30 scrambler like me? Is there any hope for us?

20 comments:

  1. I don't meal plan, because I don't actually eat scheduled meals these days. But I do try to always have something healthy on hand that is ready to eat...carrot slaw in the fridge, for example, or at least small servings of homecooked foods in the freezer, that can be reheated in a very few minutes. Even just washed and cut up fresh veggies and/or small cubes of cheese for a little snack. Maybe I'm just a poorly-disciplined eater, but I've learned that being able to immediately have a few bites of something "good" prevents a LOT of "bad" eating.

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    1. Great advice, Quinn! I love a slaw in the fridge, too. :)

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  2. I should make meal plans - but I usually I try to whip up something healthy from the stuff that is the kitchen / fridge / freezer / garden ;-)

    We make our own blaukraut as well, but it's not lacto-fermented. We shred the cabbage, then bottle with a mix of vinegar, apple juice, brown sugar and spices that has be brought to boiling point. Seal the jars, then sterilise them for 30 minutes at 100 degrees.
    The blaukraut can either be eaten raw, or cooked - cook it slowly with a bit more apple juice or wine, and add finely sliced apples. Goes very well with dark meats (such as duck, or game).



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    1. Ahh, thankyou, cbkrgathome for the blaukraut recipe! Much appreciated.

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  3. I menu plan on Mondays with my two girlfriends. We meet for a coffee straight after drop off then do our menu plans for the week bouncing ideas off one another depending on what after school activities we have on and then grocery shop and go hope. It's a great catch up after the weekend. We had roast lamb last night which was so delicious. Regards Kathy a, Brisbane, Australia

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    1. What a brilliant idea, Kathy! Loving this and what a perfect start to the week it would be.. :)

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  4. I feel your dilemma! I have given meal planning a go, once a year or so, but I only last a few weeks too! I enjoy it when I do plan but just can't keep up the momentum. And it's very difficult when there's garden produce to be used or a box of cheap veg from a road side stall that needs cooking up!!!
    Now I just plan for each day the evening before. I write it down in my diary/planner as I'm thinking of what other things need to be done the next day. Today it's quinoa, stewed apples and yoghurt for brekky, salad wraps for lunch and zucchini slice and salad for dinner. I have bottled apples to use up, plenty of eggs, zucchini and salad in the garden!!
    I am liking this way much better than either the planning or the 5.30 scramble!!!

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    1. Yes, I think I am more of a spontaneous cook too, Evi. I think it's a fear of being 'locked in' when I might want to change my mind later, according to how many eggs the hens lay or what is pulled from the garden. Having bottled preserves is always a good back up for those 'empty' times. ;)

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  5. I am a menu planner through and through. I've discovered one of the tricks to it is to only plan 5 meals for the week, because invariably there are leftovers or veggies from the garden that need using, having two free days a week allows for that. I find I spend less and waste less when I menu plan. I really wish you would throw some recipes our way for some of those delicious looking dishes though.

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    1. Yes, there are always leftovers, aren't there, Cheryl! It's a never ending merry-go-round.

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  6. Your food pics are fantastic......
    thank you
    x x

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  7. LIke Cheryl above, I usually meal plan for 5 meals. The other 2 are leftover "banquet" from other meals combined with whatever vegetables are left in the fridge.

    Please post your lentil and radish salad recipe :-)

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    1. It's really simple, Heather..hardly worth a post. Just empty a tin of drained and rinsed lentils into a bowl, add a few thinly sliced radishes and spanish onions and some chopped herbs and your favourite vinaigrette to combine. Easy peasy ;)

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  8. I am halfway through a post about how I finally won the battle with meal planning. When I post it I will let you know as it may work for you.

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    1. That would be great, Fiona! Thankyou :)

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  9. I started meal planning nearly five years ago just after my youngest was born as I found it made my days much easier. I have continued to do it every week for that entire time and cannot imagine not doing it now. I recently added lunches to my planning so both meals are now planned. I have a list of seven meals for each but don't assign a day to each one.

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    1. That's fantastic, sustainablemum!! Do you do a rotation of weekly plans? It would be great to have a folder of recipes that you could just work from regularly....

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  10. Your dinners all look amazing! I do a mixture of planning and non-planning ... mostly the latter, lately! I guess it all depends on how much time I have to make my shopping list. Otherwise I'm happy to decide at the shops. I'm catering for four different diets each night (only my husband can/will eat anything) and sometimes it does my head in to think of that many meals with all the variations a week in advance. My small brain manages that decision better one night at a time. And guess what, so far we haven't missed a dinner once! ;-)

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  11. Thanks for this post - I too love your photography and the inspiration of seeing what you've put together!

    For me, meal planning is like swallowing bad tasting medicine - not nice to go through, but I know it's good for me! I used to regularly do a month at a time when I lived in the country and did a big shop monthly but have been slack for a few years. Last month I wrestled with it once again and it has been such a relief! It can be a challenge to find the right balance of new things to try and old favourites, and I don't always stick to the plan but that's ok too. The best thing is to make sure that you make double amounts as often as possible, even if it's just a part of the recipe like a curry paste, so that half can be frozen for when you're having a bad day or need a break. I save all my monthly lists and we note what worked and what didn't - it's interesting to look back and see how our eating habits have changed. I also keep a list in the front of my recipe folder of our favourite recipes and the quick and easy things that you don't always think of when your head's in a muddle.

    blessings,

    Kelly

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Thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hi. I enjoy reading your comments and just love to hear what you are up to.

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