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  • Menu Plan Monday: Week of March 16, 2015

    Since I was too busy to make a new healthy dish last week, I tried a new-to-me “healthy food” – kombucha. I probably should have done my research ahead of time, but to be honest, I didn’t think I would like it. However, I carefully studied the options in the refrigerated case at Ralphs, and selected one that sounded like it would actually taste good: Bucha Sparkling Kombucha Tea in guava-mango flavor.

    Sparkling Kombucha Tea

    Shockingly (to me, at least), it was really good! Although, it was a bit pricey at $3.79 per bottle – definitely not something I could make an everyday habit. But I could have it once or twice a week. So I thought I’d tell you all about the health benefits of kombucha – only to come across this Mayo Clinic article stating that kombucha contains “vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds,” which supposedly “can stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, and improve digestion and liver function.” The article concludes, however, that “there isn’t good evidence that kombucha tea delivers on its health claims” but may cause harm, and therefore, “the prudent approach is to avoid kombucha tea until more definitive information is available.” The article does speculate that the harm comes from making kombucha at home using a non-sterile fermenting process that increases the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria. So I really don’t think the bottled product I bought is going to hurt me in any way. And I really did like it, so I’ll probably get it again.

    For this week’s healthy dish, I’m trying Kale Sprouts, which I found at Trader Joe’s and couldn’t resist. After all, I like kale and I like Brussels sprouts, and the green and purple together is just fascinating. I will probably sauté them and will report back later this week.

    In the meantime, looking at my calendar, it hits me that we are fully in the swing of our busy season again, with multiple sports, practices, and teams per kid. Here’s my plan for this week:

    Monday:
    Breakfast – Cinnamon Rolls, fruit
    Dinner – Sashimi, Rice, sauteed kale sprouts

    Tuesday:
    Breakfast – Cereal, fruit
    Dinner – Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Sardines

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast – Granola and Yogurt
    Dinner – Dinner out

    Thursday:
    Breakfast – Blueberry Muffins
    Dinner – Dinner out

    Friday:
    Breakfast – Toaster Pastries
    Dinner – Lobster Rolls, crudite

    Saturday Dinner: Dinner out

    Sunday Dinner: Dinner out

    See more weekly menus at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


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    Menu Plan Monday: Week of March 9, 2015

    I’m not sure what happened last week, except that I completely fell off the menu planning wagon. I just didn’t feel like planning my meals, but you know what? I spent the rest of the week wishing I had! Not that we didn’t eat pretty well, but I spent a lot more time than usual trying to figure out what the heck I was going to make each night. So I’m definitely back on the wagon this week.

    As for last week’s healthy dish, I did roast beets for the first time ever and totally forgot to take a photo. It was super easy to do, and I put on disposable latex gloves for the skin removal part, so I didn’t stain my hands purple. I liked them so much, I ordered them again in my next CSA box!

    Having gotten back on the menu planning wagon, however, I’m looking at our schedule for this coming week and see that we’re actually super busy and eating out several days. I don’t know that I’ll have the time or inclination to cook a new ingredient or dish this week, given our rather crazy schedule. So instead of putting that pressure on myself, I’m going to try kombucha. It’s supposed to be healthy, but nothing I’ve ever read about it has made me think it sounds inviting. And yes, I’m afraid to try it. Which is exactly why I’ll give it a go.

    And here’s my plan for this week:

    Monday:
    Breakfast – Cereal
    Dinner – Eating out

    Tuesday:
    Breakfast – Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches
    Dinner – Sandwiches, Crudite

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast – Pancakes
    Dinner – Dinner out

    Thursday:
    Breakfast – Granola and yogurt
    Dinner – Pasta Salad

    Friday:
    Breakfast – Apple Yogurt Cake
    Dinner – Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

    Saturday Dinner: Leftovers

    Sunday Dinner: Breakfast (French toast, sausage, fruit)

    See more weekly menus at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


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    Menu Plan Monday: Week of February 23, 2015

    Last week’s healthy dish was supposed to be refried beans, but my fear of cooking with dried beans remains intact because I never got around to it. But in the spirit of the challenge, I at least tried a new “healthy food” – rice milk. Admittedly, whether rice milk qualifies as health food is arguable – it’s got pros and cons like most foods – but I figured the important thing was that I try it, since I was really reluctant and even afraid because I didn’t think I would like it.

    And I didn’t. It tasted like sweet, watery rice, and I would prefer to eat my rice than drink it. But given how apprehensive I was, I’m proud of myself just for trying it. It also made me realize just how reluctant I am to go outside of my comfort zone when it comes to food. I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater, so it was eye-opening to see how averse I was to trying a food I didn’t think I was going to like. That in turn has given me a new perspective about putting new foods in front of my children and expecting them to try everything!

    For this week’s healthy dish, I’m going to back to fresh beets. I have a fear of working with them, and especially cooking them, because of the potential mess. But I’ve got beets coming in my CSA box, and I’m going to roast them for a simple salad with fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. Wish me luck!

    Here’s my plan for this week:

    Monday:
    Breakfast – Toast or Bagels
    Dinner – Cauliflower Sardine Pasta

    Tuesday:
    Breakfast – Granola and yogurt
    Dinner – Meatball Heroes, Sweet Potato Fries

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast – Jam Tarts
    Dinner – Homemade Pizza {plus several extra for the freezer}, salad

    Thursday:
    Breakfast – Breakfast Sandwiches
    Dinner – Cold Cut Sandwiches, Chips, Crudite

    Friday:
    Breakfast – Jam Filled Chocolate Chip Muffins
    Dinner – Alton Brown’s Sardine Avocado Sandwich

    Saturday Dinner: Leftovers

    Sunday Dinner: French Toast, Sausage, Fruit

    See more weekly menus at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


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    Menu Plan Monday: Week of February 16, 2015

    Last week’s healthy dish was Cauliflower, Romanesco & Broccoli Gratin – I didn’t get a picture, and I don’t think you could have made out the Romanesco cauliflower anyway, since everything was mixed into a white cheese sauce. The casserole was a little bland but a nice way to eat some really healthy cruciferous veggies. The Romanesco retained more of its body than the cauliflower and broccoli, so it had still had a nice crunch after baking. I would definitely be willing to cook it again, but I don’t know that I would go out of my way to get it when cauliflower is so readily available.

    This week, I’m going to try once again to conquer my fear of dried beans. People cook with them all the time, I know, so they shouldn’t be so intimidating – but I’ve worked with them in the past and not loved the results. But I’m determined to master them this year.

    With apologies to everyone trying to dig their way out of winter, it’s been crazy hot here in Southern California, with temps hitting the 90’s in my area. Soup has suddenly become unappealing, and I’m focusing on baking that can be done in my toaster oven instead of the big oven to minimize heat production. Hopefully by the end of the week, temps will start coming down! In the meantime, here’s what I’m planning for this week:

    Monday Dinner – Pasta with Cauliflower, Raisins and Anchovies

    Tuesday:
    Breakfast – Blueberry Muffins
    Dinner – Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese, Garlic Knots

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast – Granola and yogurt
    Dinner – Meatloaf Burgers {didn’t get to these last week}, some kind of veggie

    Thursday:
    Breakfast – Jam Tarts
    Dinner – Tamale Casserole using leftover frozen Sriracha BBQ Pulled Pork, Slow Cooker Refried Beans, salad

    Friday:
    Breakfast – Bagels and Cream Cheese
    Dinner – Tuna Melts, Sweet Potato Fries

    Saturday Dinner – Gruyere Popover Sandwiches with Fried Eggs and Creamed Spinach

    Sunday Dinner – Dinner out

    See more weekly menus at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


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    Menu Plan Monday: Week of February 9, 2015

    Last week was a messy week as far as cooking and trying those new healthy products went. I only sorta stuck to my meal plan, and I only tried one of the three products on my list, kefir:

    Trying kefir | ChiefFamilyOfficer.com

    Kefir is a “fermented milk drink” that contains many strains of probiotics, which supposedly aid digestion, immunity, and more. I decided to try Lifeway ProBugs, because a woman in line behind me at Whole Foods raved about them, and I thought it would be sweeter since it’s aimed at kids. It was really tangy though – in fact, too tangy for my taste, although maybe I’ll get used to it. My fourth-grader hated it, and I didn’t even make my sweet-toothed second-grader try it.

    This week’s new healthy dish will involve a new-to-me vegetable called Romanesco cauliflower, which is coming in my CSA box. According to the farm, Romanesco “florets have the same texture as a white cauliflower, but the flavor is more earthy, with a slightly nutty flavor.” We’ll see!

    And here’s what I’m planning for the whole week:

    Monday:
    Breakfast – Pancakes
    Dinner – Spaghetti Bolognese, Sauteed Green Beans, Garlic Knots

    Tuesday:
    Breakfast – Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches
    Dinner – Miso Chicken, Rice, some kind of veggie

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast – Oatmeal
    Dinner – Pan Bagnat, Chips, and Fruit

    Thursday:
    Breakfast – Best Ever Blueberry Muffins
    Dinner – Meatloaf Burgers, Cauliflower, Romanesco and Broccoli Gratin, Garlic Knots

    Friday:
    Breakfast – Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola {recipe forthcoming}
    Dinner – “Un”Stuffed Cabbage Soup, bread

    Saturday:
    Dinner – Leftovers It’s Valentine’s Day! We can’t have leftovers!
    -> New plan: Lobster, Steamed artichokes, Chocolate Mousse

    Sunday:
    Dinner – Dinner out

    See more weekly menus at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


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