Writing about writing, and also about food #20170724

Hello there. I’m never sure about how to start these things, but I wanted to check in and say that I *have* in fact been writing. I still haven’t been publishing much, because the writing that I’ve been doing has only been to help me wrestle with some private issues. I have yet to actually get into a formal writing practice, in spite of the fact that I’ve written out many rules and lofty goals about said practice. Here are some quotes, courtesy of GoodReads.com, to get us started:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

With that being said, here’s what is coming out of my writing-faucet today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about nutrition, life style, and food as fuel lately. I’m right at the top of the healthy weight range for my age and height, and I’ve been actively working on my general health for some time. What most recently refocused my attention on this subject was my 8-year-old son eating three cheeseburgers in one meal. Three. Cheeseburgers. This would have been an enormous meal for a fully grown adult. I would like it noted that he received permission from a relative (who was not me) to eat this much because he claimed to still be hungry. I personally doubt that he was eating too quickly to feel how full he was, he is a young man who both enjoys the taste of food and enjoys showing off how much he can put away. The showing off part is what I believe got us into trouble on this particular occasion.

What I’m now calling The Cheeseburger Incident started a family conversation about food as fuel. I spoke with my son about why three cheeseburgers is not a healthy amount of fuel for your body, what your body does with that extra fuel, and what would be a better approach. I told him he would have to check in with a parent about his portions until he showed us that he was making good decisions for himself. We started having the food as fuel discussion more regularly, and I now encourage him almost daily to listen to what his body is telling him about being full. Promising dessert “when you have room again” after listening to your body about being full has been very helpful.

I’m not sure my son will be ready to make his own portion decisions any time soon, but I’m ok with that for the time being. What I realized during that conversation is that I haven’t been doing a great job of taking my own advice on the subject. I’m guilty of over eating, and I’m probably setting the example of showing-off-eating. I’m guilty of throwing together a meal that’s quick and easy, but not necessarily healthy. I am the primary food supplier to a small group of young-and-impressionable humans, and the Cheeseburger Incident has me focused again on all our eating, activity, and health.

I should note here that I really enjoy this focus on health, and while I still have a ways to go, I enjoy making better food choices for our family. Please share your preferred diet choice, recipes, etc with me here, or on whatever social platform you desire.


Menu Plan #20141027 & the Perils of Pie

apple pies

So! This weekend, I made my first apple pie of the season. I made Lucinda Scala Quinn’s basic pie crust, which is amaaaaazing, but I overworked the dough a bit. It was still delightfully flakey, but it was a touch on the tough side. I don’t think it was a “pie fail” because over all it was still super mega delicious, but it could have and should have been better.

The good news is I still have ten thousand pounds of Haralson apples and can try again. And THIS time, I will quadruple my efforts to Not. Overwork. The Pie Dough. The filling, as usual was spot on, though I may reduce the sugar a bit for a more prominent sweet & sour balance. I usually mix in some granny smiths, but I blew my entire apple budget at the orchard with these beauties, so adjusting the sugar will have to do.

I’ll post the exact filling stuff after I get it down to a science, but it’s pretty similar to this recipe from the Minute Tapioca box, I just use part brown sugar and fancy spices from Penzeys.


Ok! Meal plan time. I am in a serious budget crunch at the end of this month, so I’m doing as little grocery shopping as possible. Here’s what’s on the menu.

  • Monday Our schedule is all funky this week, so Monday is my kid free day. I’m going to make chicken & black bean taco bowls. All I need to get for this about $2 worth of produce from my local Asian grocery- cilantro, limes and a tomato. The rest I have on hand. (PS, I’ll be defrosting my beef and making a batch of bread dough tonight)
  • Tuesday Shredded beef sandwiches on homemade buns from last night’s dough, corn and salad. I have all the ingredients friends, it’s just a matter of throwing it all together.
  • Wednesday Teriyaki chicken, broccoli, stir fried rice noodles with cabbage and carrots. Because the family loves it and I won’t need to buy anything for it.
  • Thursday This is Darian’s kindergarten potluck, I’ll be bringing two batches of his favorite garlic/onion wheat dinner buns to share. Plus this is a bonus overnight! I have the day off on Friday because the boys have no school, so I get to keep them both.
  • Friday Daaaaaaaaay offfff!!!! It’s Halloween. We’re getting together with friends, and it’s going to be a crockpot-a-palooza. I’ll be bringing my modified version of this tortellini soup, adding shredded chicken, roasted red peppers, and Parmesan cheese. I’ll also make some kinda crusty bread to bring with. I have nearly all the ingredients for this, but I’ll need to pick up two packs of tortellini from Trader Joe’s for about $4, and spinach for $1.29.
  • Weekend With my grocery budget renewed, I’ll take stock of my existing foods and replenish as needed. Insert more pie making here. And also cookies.

Welp, that’s all folks! Because I was able to get some extra meat on sale earlier this month and freeze it, and take advantage of all the goodness in my fridge, I’ll make it through the work week spending about $10 on new groceries. Including the cost of the ingredients I already have, the total would be more like $75, but to me that still has success written all over it.

Monday Motivation

This morning, after a horrible night’s sleep, I find myself lacking motivation. Everything is… Fine. However, waking up no less than 15 times last night has left me more than a bit underwhelmed. My solution? Insert quotes, and add a few extra cups of tea.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.” – Ruth Gordon

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.” – Khalil Gibran

Last week, I went off of my menu plan. My son caught a stomach bug, then I ended up fighting it off, but not without some serious sleeping. Thankfully I had help, and was able to take the rest I needed. The result is at least one, if not more, of these meals are fairly similar to last week’s menu, because I still have all the ingredients and I refuse to let them go to waste.

  • Monday Lemon/Garlic Chicken, topped with sweet peppers, onions and melted cheese. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans.
  • Tuesday Spinach Lasagna with broccoli and garlic bubble bread
  • Wednesday Last week’s salad that didn’t happen- Romaine with a variety of veggies, craisins, cheddar cheese, chicken, balsamic dressing, and croutons. Served over pesto rice because that’s how I make it an entree I’m genuinely satisfied with.
  • Thursday Sloppy Joes on home made buns. Broccoli slaw with apples, green onion, and Italian dressing.
  • Friday Peanut Teriayki Chicken, fried rice, prefab potstickers, and soy glazed green beans.
  • Saturday/Sunday Mostly leftovers- I’m headed to Menomonie, WI for a friend’s birthday on Saturday night. If we run out of leftovers by Sunday night, I’ll make baked fish and a salad.

I think I’ll blame feeling a bit off today on last night’s sleep, and last week’s sickness. I feel better about the world now that I’ve laid out the week’s meals. What do you do to improve your mood?