After a relaxing, snowed-in weekend at the Cape, we are back in the city + I’m pretending to be ready to take on the week.
Salad is from, um, my fridge… wooden pineapple is from Homegoods.
The laundry’s done, the gas tank is full, workouts are scheduled + I even blocked out some time for painting this week. I apparently only imagined I did the dishes and I have lost all motivation to unpack… but hey. Can’t win ’em all.
I found last week’s meal plan was really helpful in my efforts to not eat Cheez-It-type-things for dinner. It motivated me to try a few new recipes and revisit some old favorites. So here I am, avoiding the dishes and cooking up this week’s meal plan.
I know some people prefer to plan meals for specific days (and maybe one day I will be that organized slash maybe one day my children will keep a reliable routine lasting longer than three days), but for now a more flexible approach seems to work well.
I like being able to look at a fairly limited list (as opposed to searching through an entire cookbook, or the entire internet, or my entire memory of anything I’ve ever made or eaten), assessing what I have time and energy for, and making whichever option makes the most sense. This generally indecisive lady is all about limited (yet delicious) choices.
Plus… taking the guesswork out of what to make each night leaves me with just enough extra time to, you know, come up with an excuse to not do the dishes.
We haven’t been home enough to commit to a full CSA share, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the weekly boxes (a best guess at each week’s contents is posted on Mondays and you can order as late as Wednesday night for a Friday pick up at the farm), which currently cost $23.
We’re home all week and you know I love a good bunch of carrots and berries by the pint, so I got my order in right away. We met my mom at Ward’s (word to the wise: it’s really busy there at lunch time) and I really appreciated having her there to helpnavigate with Grace and baby Nick. Our first stop was the animals, or as Grace calls them, “the little friends.”
My mom and Grace picked up our Farmer’s Choice boxes at the back of the store and grabbed a table outside in the shade, while I ordered smoothies and tried my best to not knock over produce displays with Nick’s stroller. Small life goals. That’s how we roll these days.
Mo’ berry for her, Green Machine for me
Once we were outside, I couldn’t resist taking a peek in the box.
This week’s Farmer’s Choice box contained
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb Romano beans
1 Green bell pepper
1 lb wax beans
1 head of fennel
1 pint of blueberries
1 bunch of Bok Choy
1 lb of squash
I picked up a pint of strawberries and some new potatoes at the farm store to round our my order.
Meal planning with the Farmer’s Choice box
Lettuce: Use in salads; lettuce wraps with black beans, corn and pico de gallo
Carrots and Romano beans: Use in salads; as a snack with hummus
Green bell pepper: Greek salad (I’ve been eating a simple mix of peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta and fresh oregano all week)
Onions: Use in an easy summer gazpacho; and roasted with new potatoes and thyme
Most days, my meal planning (if you can call it that) goes something like this:
Consider what we have on the counter, in the cabinets, in the fridge and sprouting on the deck
Hold baby Nick with one hand, rummage with the other hand
Hope something miraculously falls out and a. doesn’t hit me or Nick in the head and b. somehow lands in my mouth and c. is delicious. Oh, and nutritious.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a perfectly made summer salad fall into my mouth. Or onto my head, for that matter. As with most (all?) good things, it takes a bit of work. But not much. This is summer, after all. If you’re wondering what to eat in the summer, I’ve got a few (simple, delicious) ideas.
WHAT TO EAT IN THE SUMMER | 4 FAVORITE SALADS
Mixed greens with pears, bleu cheese, walnuts + dried cranberries
This is really as easy as slicing a pear and throwing it, along with everything else, into a bowl. I added a drizzle of Champagne vinaigrette because I like to pretend I’m fancy. In reality: It’s well past noon and I haven’t showered yet. Also, I just congratulated myself on wearing my “nice” sweat pants.
I basically eat this breakfast, lunch and dinner… all summer long. The heirloom tomatoes are Canadian, but the mozzarella is from Rhode Island and the basil is from South Boston (more specifically: my deck). So… it’s mostly #eatlocal. Or whatever.
Both babes were asleep at the same time for an entire 11 minutes last week, so I made myself an extra pretty platter from which to dine solo while Nick was traveling. That was a long sentence. The salad didn’t last nearly as long.
Chopped salad with sprouts
I tend to chop a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week for easy salads such as this. Instead of the usual greens, though, I used some Earth Salad (sprouted lentils, sprouted chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) that I picked up at Whole Foods in the South End (it’s in the cooler next to the salad greens, alongside the cooked lentils).
Speaking of cooked lentils, I keep a package or two in the fridge because I am lazy like to avoid cooking as much as possible when it’s 90 degrees out. And because I love making this salad. And because I’m lazy.
I’m thrilled (and grateful!) that my recipe was included in Wayfair’s Simply Summer Recipes cookbook. The cookbook is free to download and features over 100 pages of summer recipes created by bloggers and tested by Wayfair team members. I love that they included their own notes after testing each dish. I hope you’ll check it out!
True Life: If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. And sometimes even if I write it down, it doesn’t get done (can’t win ’em all). And sometimes I write down things I’ve already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing something off. Whatever. Here’s a free printable.
I use a weekly planner (the Get to Work Book — love it) to keep track of appointments, writing and art projects and general “to dos,” and Co-Schedule for an editorial calendar, but I prefer something simple when it comes to my weekly plan. After a little design trial and error, I came up with this pretty number, and thought I’d share it. Feel free to download and print and plan all kinds of things.
I stick with a Monday start partly to pretend I’m a sophisticated non-American (just kidding… kind of) but mostly because I like carving out time on Sundays to plan for the week ahead. If you’d prefer a file with a Sunday start, reach out or leave a comment below and I’m sure I can help you out.
You might use this weekly planning printable for
A gratitude diary
1-2 must dos (or want to dos) per day
I laminated mine using a 3M self-sealing pouch (you can find them on Amazon in packages of 10 for less than $10, or in the office supply aisle at Target) and use a fine tip dry erase marker, rather than printing a new page every week (I feel like I am forever living dangerously… in the low ink zone).
Time to go write something down. And maybe, eventually do that something.
First things first: Thank you so much for all the love and kind words about our happy news!
We had great luck at this week’s farmers market at Crescent Ridge. The farm animals were out and about, the weather was perfect, and we scored some really beautiful produce.
Eggs for Nick (and eggshells for me to grow little plants in)
Raspberries, blueberries and and a basket of “pretty uglies” tomatoes from Ward’s Berry Farm
Peaches and peppers from Silvia Farms
Needless to say, we also got ice cream. With sprinkles.
We’ve already done some serious damage on the berries, but the rest will go into breakfast parfaits and a blueberry + thyme lemonade I’ve been dreaming about (probably the most pregnant thing I’ve said today). I’m also planning on a tomato tart and 900 Caprese salads. As for the peppers, they are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Anywaaaay…. I hope your week is off to a lovely, delicious start. To quote my animal-obsessed child, “Bye, goats. I love you.”
My favorite meals are snacks. A little of this, a little of that. While I’ll (almost) never say no to chocolate, I tend to prefer salty over sweet.
Check out Clark’s sweet new handbag.
I was finishing up my grocery shopping a few months ago when I spotted Pearls Olives to Go on the shelf. I love green olives, and thought these little cups would be the perfect salty addition to workday lunches. The mess-free, single-serve cups are easy to open and don’t contain any liquid, making them perfect for snacking on the go.
Just a couple days later, my friends at Sweat Pink/Fit Approach reached out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the product. I had already whipped through the first package I bought, so saying ‘yes’ was a no-brainer. Pearls Olives to Go are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, vegan and contain no trans-fats or GMOs. Most importantly (kind of): they’re really, really good.
Snacks for Lunch
I’ve been pairing a cup of Olives to Go with some of my other favorite lunchtime snacks to round out the meal. A few standbys:
Cut vegetables: peppers, carrots, cucumbers and snap peas
Baked or roasted sweet potatoes
For those of you in Boston, you’ll find a coupon for Pearls Olives to Go in the Globe, Herald and other area newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd. Pearls Olives to Go can be purchased locally at Shaws and Demoulas/Market Basket, and at many nationwide retailers including Target.
As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I received product and compensation for this post. Thoughts, opinions and snackiness are all my own. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with brands I love. And I appreciate your continued support. For real.
A few years back, when eating small meals throughout the day came into vogue, I was like… Duh. Been doing that for ages. (I think that was the only time in my life I’ve been ahead of the curve and/or a tiny bit hipsterish.) For better or for worse, I’d much rather graze than eat an entire meal of food. Except at dinner time. It’s nice (and, I think, important) to make time to sit down as a little family.
Meal planning and prep, for me, is really more snack planning and prep. I whipped up a few especially good snacks this week, including the dill, lemon and garlic kale chips below. One look at our fridge will tell you that kale is in season in New England. And that I can’t resist a farm stand deal.
Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips
1 bunch of kale, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 heaping teaspoons fresh dill
zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Wash your kale and blot it dry with a paper towel. Remove stems and cut or tear leaves into small pieces.
In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, garlic, dill and lemon zest.
I hate when people say massage the kale, but um… massage the kale, and make sure it is evenly coated in oil and that your other ingredients are well distributed.
Artfully (just kidding…) arrange kale on your baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until crispy, but not… burnt). Let your kale chips cool before eating.
I love the combination of lemon and fresh herbs (and who can say no to garlic?), and while I will always have a thing for actual chips, these kale chips are a great way to green up my afternoon snacking.
While the kale chips were baking, I chopped up some vegetables for salads and baby food purees and scrolled through the new fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for some snack prep inspiration. I purchased the plan a few years ago, and love when new updates are released to members. There are so many vegan recipes that I am looking forward to making from the fall edition. I started with their spicy roasted chickpeas, frozen yogurt blueberries and Heart Beet juice (pictured above). Each recipe only took a few minutes to prepare, as I (miraculously) had all the ingredients on hand.
One shortcut (I’m all about the shortcuts, ’bout the shortcuts, no longcuts) I’m willing to pay a bit extra for these days are packaged, cooked organic beets. Same goes for butternut squash (for safety reasons alone, it’s worth the price — you do not want to be see me wrestle a squash while wielding a sharp knife) and other tough produce that Grace seems to love. I’m finding that so many of the snacks and meals I’m planning for the week can be seasoned and then pureed or mashed for her to enjoy, too.
Speaking of that lovely baby, we have had a rough couple of weeks sleep-wise. I suppose we needed to make progress in order to regress (some good ol’ parent spin zone talk for you), but we’ve been firmly in the grips of a sleep regression lately. As much as I want to reach for the Diet Coke (like, a hundred of them) in times like these, I know that more caffeine is probably not the answer.
I’m making good on my October goals by getting out of my own way, and ensuring I have better choices on hand: lots of iced green tea (I brew a pitcher and divide it up once it has cooled), fresh juice, and plenty of water to pair with all those meals snacks.