Monday, January 23, 2012

meal planning (part the second)

Okay, so I walked you through my basics for setting up my meal-planning chart a week ago, and now I'm back to tell you about how I fnish it and execute. 

Some people only make a loose meal plan where they schedule dinners, but leave other meals and snacks up in the air.  I have tried this approach and it makes me feel a little out of control.  Plus it doesn't really help with the whole grocery purchasing aspect.  So, I plan everything.  Now whether I stick to that plan or not - who knows?  But at least I have a plan.  I have something to fall back on, or check in on when I feel that the week is spinning out too fast. 

Something else I have to contend with is the fact that my husband works a very irregular schedule (restaurant industry), and I have frequent night meetings as part of my ministry.  So, this week, for instance, I have something Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights.  This means I don't have four hours to make dinner on those nights.  Oh, and add to that a full week of office hours as well (except Thursday, my day off).  Sigh.  Now I'm depressed thinking about that.

Okay, back to menu planning.  Once I've got the dinners all scheduled in, I look at whether I have any lunch meetings planned for the week.  If so, then I'll think about the menu at the restaurant where we're going and try to get a loose idea of what I might eat, so the proteins stay balanced.  If I'm just going to be doing a quick lunch break at home I usually plan to eat a sandwich or a salad.  We don't have a microwave, so anything requiring a long heat-up time is pretty much out.  This salad is one of my favorites for a quick lunch. 

And then, finally, breakfasts and snacks.  I discovered several months ago that my body doesn't like grains in the morning.  They make me feel sluggish and foggy.  Before that I had been on a long kick of steel-cut oats (they help milk production), and then after that a long kick of buttered toast.  While both of these things are highly tasty and filling, they just weren't making me feel my best at the start of a long day.  I tend to eat the same thing every morning for long stretches of time (like a month or so) before I get sick of it.  It just takes the guesswork out of mornings and I love the comfort of a routine.  One thing I ALWAYS have in the morning is coffee and milk (as long as there is time to grind and brew it).  I believe I described my beloved Bialetti in a blog ode here.  I used to be a one-cup gal, and then I had a baby.  Now I drink two strong cups in the morning, with plenty of whole milk.  Since my epiphany about grains, I had been having apples and peanut butter for breakfast.  I recently discovered I have borderline hypothyroidism, so I'm trying to avoid goitrogenic foods (i.e. things that can aggravate this condition).  Peanuts are one of them!  So I guess it will be almond butter from hereonout. 

I also need to do a whole paragraph about eggs.  Since pregnancy and the Brewer diet, I have considered eggs a staple in my diet.  Especially when I can get my hands on pastured, free-range chicken eggs (hard in the winter since they are usually in moult), I eat a lot of them.  Since my newest epiphany about goitrogenic foods, I've been having two scrambled eggs every morning.  I know, I know - the cholesterol-phobes would have you think that's too many.  However, I had a lipid panel about a month ago as part of my ordination paperwork (you have no idea how invasive those questions are), and my numbers were perfect.  I have my own theories on why heart disease occurs, but I'll keep my quackery to myself for now!

I've been awfully tangent-y this morning, but it boils down to this:  scrambled eggs with coffee and milk for breakfast; fruit, nuts, cheese, crackers for snacks; salads and sandwiches (or maybe leftover soup) for lunch.  Amen. 

Here's my method for scrambled eggs:

2 eggs (try to get pasture-fed - the yolks will be an incredible color you've never seen before!)
splash of whole milk or cream
shredded cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk or cream.  Mix up with a fork until it's a uniform color and texture.  Add the cheese to the mixture if you're using it.  Melt a teaspoon or two of butter into a small skillet over medium heat (I don't do non-stick.  Teflon scares me and I don't want it in my body). Once the butter stops bubbling, add the egg mixture.  Use a rubber spatula to stir continually until you reach the doneness you desire.  My husband likes them more runny, I like them more solid.  Add salt and pepper just before you put them on a plate and enjoy!

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