Monday, July 18, 2011

Whoa! Planning Meals and Cleaning the Kitchen!

Beef with Zucs
All about food.  But then, isn't it always?  My friend and I tried a new approach last week.  We planned 4 days worth of meals, bought all the ingredients, and cooked everything at once.  We packed each dish in serving size containers and and lovingly placed them in the fridge for easy hunger access.  This took the thinking out of feeding the family.  All our meals were paleo (no grain, no dairy).  The only catch:  it took us about 6 hours to cook and prep, plus a couple hours of planning.  But, we did get to hang out, and girl friend time always rocks.

Beef and Mushroom Goulash
She came over to my house and I think gained an appreciation for why it's so difficult for me to cook something without burning or at least over cooking.  The kids dutifully interjected and distracted as often as possible, "Mom, can I have some lemon-aid?...Mom, where's my train?... Mama, play with me."  Luck for ME the food turned out great since at least SHE was paying attention to cooking.  I helped.  Chop the onions and stuff.

Since taking such a major chunk of time out completely exhausted me, and tested the kid's patience; this week I'm trying a hybrid approach.  I'm meal planning: selecting what recipes I'd like to make for the next four days, listing the ingredients to buy, and prepping the day before.  I'm cooking the day of eating.  Having a CSA complicates this a bit, since I don't know exactly what veggies will come.  But I'm going to wait until after the pick up to solidify the shopping list and make adjustments to the recipe list.

Fish and Tomato and Almond
So far so good.  I posted the entrees on the fridge, so I can remember what to prep next.  Prepping the day before is especially important since many of my recipes are Nourishing Traditions and require soaking or stock.  The list on the fridge has already saved my butt twice as I remembered to take the fish/chicken/etc out of the freezer to defrost the day before (I almost always used to forget!).

And in major developments: Kaio has started eating vegetables!  I watched today with wonder, surprise, and jubilation as he devoured chicken pesto for lunch, cod and potato salad for dinner, and all his lettuce.  Last week he even ate squash soup and sauteed kale.  Amazing.  This is the kid who lived off rice, beans, lentils, and fruit for most of his 4 year life.  It seems my plan of cutting him off from grains worked magic.  Either that or taking him out of preschool, where he'd eat processed Gluten Free snacks twice a day.  Either that or meal planning makes me a better cook.  Probably ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Beach Style Brazilian Fish
He didn't even complain before taking a bite out of the cod and potato salad.  Usually, lunch and dinner always begins with a fight.  We fight to get him to sit at the table.  Then he protests that the food is "yucky" and we have to coax him through the meal.  The best tactic we've found is to say, "Kaio, I'm going to eat your food."  Then he comes running over screaming, "Nooooo!"  and complains a bit but eventually eats.  But today, no fight.  He even asked for thirds!  I seriously could not believe it.

In other MAJOR developments: the kitchen is clean.  It used to be NASTY.  Embarrassingly nasty because I absolutely abhorred wiping.  Looking at that dirty sponge, getting my hands wet, and all that yuck provided too much deterrent.  Mari and I just lived with the splattered food stains all over.  We're not clean freaks as you can tell.

Then, at the last trip to Trader Joe's, something possessed me to pick up a bottle of their Cedar and Sage scented cleaning solution.  I don't know if it's new, or if I've just never seen it before, or if the hand of God guided me.  I love the smell of cedar.  I actually wanted "Cedar" as the name for our little girl.  But tree names are not ok for girls in Portuguese since they are grammatically masculine.

So now, I like cleaning!  I wiped everything down: the kitchen, the bathroom, the foyer, the dining room!  I surprised my mom yesterday, "It's really clean.  I've never seen it this clean."

Yep, that's me.  Turning into a regular June Cleaver.

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