Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting Ready for the Week Ahead and Looking Back

I started this post...then saved the draft...and came back to it when the week was done.  That's the reason for the odd title.

Whenever things don't go smoothly, I always think it can be helped with a bit more organization.  Being organized...and taking the time to do that upfront seems to pay off for me with decreased stress during the week.

I like to use the weekend to get a bit ahead on things....meals planned, groceries purchased, house cleaned (lowering standards helps with this as well). I'm off work on Wednesdays so it gives me a bit of time to regroup (and wash sheets), so I know that day is coming too. Busy weekends sometimes get in the way of that ideal of organization; however, I can usually find a tiny bit of time to pull it together.

Lemon biscotti was the "something fun" for the menu this week.  

Like I have mentioned in previous posts, I make a menu for the next grouping of days and start from there.  Typically the items requiring the fresher ingredients are in the earlier part of the week.  I made sushi the day I bought most of the ingredients.  Arugula pizza...early part of the week.  Stir fry (or some such vegetable user recipe) is usually an end of the week/clean out the fridge meal.  Crockpot can be just about any night since we get home late from swim practice most evenings.  Roasting sweet potatoes and bacon for pasta....hmmm...that would be a Saturday or Sunday meal.

Although I don't mind the feeling of trying to throw together a dinner at the last minute (and find the pantry challenge a bit of fun on occasion), I do like to have a plan ahead of time.  It just helps the week feel a bit better to me by not trying to think of a dinner plan at 7 or even 8pm!  I try not to be so rigid I can't go with a spontaneous moment; however, with homework and music practice and swimming, that isn't too likely anyway.

What really happened was that I made the tamale pie filling and froze it in a ziploc.  That way I would have something ready for the end of the week but wouldn't be watching produce wilt before my eyes.  I also realized that the mushrooms for stir fry weren't going to make it toward the latter part of the week.  So, I took some ground pork out of the freezer and cooked that along with multiple veggies and froze that whole bag for egg rolls(see picture below).  Both of those things took off a bit of pressure with fresh vegetables going bad.  I feel like I have failed when I have to throw an ingredient; and having the ziploc ready to go gets me a bit ahead another day. Umm...that would be a win/win.

Saturday was the sweet potato/bacon pasta and Sunday was the arugula pizza.  That meant Monday we were having the Buffalo Chicken soup.  That was planned as a birthday meal for Paul.  I suspect he'll want to grill some hunk of meat next weekend, so we'll do that celebration later.

Tuesday...on the Tuesdays that Eleanor swims morning only I have time to put together a nicer dinner after her violin lesson.  Some weeks she swims both morning and afternoon (or maybe even just afternoon on rare weeks), so I need something that can be pulled together quickly.  This was a quick cooking Tuesday, so I pulled out that eggroll filling from the freezer before leaving for work.

The items that are the ones requiring me to go to the grocery store are coffee and fruit.  When we run out of fruit...we need groceries.  I can usually pinch hit a dinner from items I already have either ingredients in the pantry or something in the depths of the freezer Coffee...yea....must have that.  I keep an emergency one pot stash hidden...just in case.  I guess it's like the reserve toilet paper roll I have too.  Can't run out of either of those things.

Time to get ready for another week!
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