Monday, March 24, 2014

The Quickly Browning Artichokes In Our Refrigerator Are Mocking Both My Silly Attempt At Meal Planning And My Inability To Prepare Them Without A Good Amount Of Online Research. I Felt Like Ina Garten When I Bought Them. I Don't Feel Like Her Now.

Grocery shopping mid-week makes me feel good inside.  In an effort to exert some control over my schedule, and to keep our food budget from skyrocketing, I try to plan out our meals and procure almost all the ingredients on Wednesday that are needed to take our family of four through the entire weekend.  I regularly believe that with a little forethought I can ride a wave of preparedness clear through to Sunday with only a possible quick trip to the store for anything I missed or couldn't buy fresh that far out.

Typically, by Friday afternoon I realize I must be delusional.

I'll joyfully whip up my first planned entree on Wednesday night - in my mind, kicking off a series of nutritious and delicious family dinners, to be enjoyed and savored by all.  Typically though, the kids come home in the early evening from practice so hungry they blow through a brick of cheese and an entire box of crackers while my pasta water is starting to boil.  By the time dinner is ready, they're still full and we end up eating about 1/4 of what I'd prepared.

That means leftovers are abundant the next day and in an effort to 'waste not want not', I serve up Wednesday's dinner (again) on Thursday - disappointed I haven't been able to make my planned Thursday meal, but grateful for the ease of an ample leftover supply.  There is wine and good TV.

Friday brings renewed hope that Thursday's planned meal will be just as fabulous whipped up a day late, but each Friday afternoon I'm faced with the unpredictable result of parenting teenagers with social lives - we could have 10 teens in the house around dinnertime or none.  Sometimes even an opportunity for a spontaneous gathering with family or friends crops up.  Or lacrosse practice runs so late that the thought of chopping and stirring for another two hours after driving a smelly carpool no longer holds much allure.  And Chipotle sounds so good.

This is why by Sunday, I have a fridge full of wilting veggies and a freezer stuffed with meat I've put on ice along with the fabulous meal it was going to star in for dinner.  Nine times out of ten, our Sunday dinner is what I intended to serve on Thursday.  But what with our family weekend plans morphing minute by minute, Sunday is often the only night we have together as a family.  It is truly one of my favorite times.  Even if we're eating off schedule.

And each week, I take basically the same approach to planning our family meals with oddly renewed hope.  Perhaps I'm an eternal optimist.  Or a slow-learner.  My guess is a bit of both.

For Meatless Monday, we'll be dining on a delicious beans and rice dish offered up by an old work pal, Erin, who I've reconnected with through Facebook and the blog.  Thanks for the recipe, Erin!  We were supposed to eat this on Saturday but, you know...

I'm wearing this.

When I pull up the weather on my computer and it says, "27 degrees, feels like 16", I do not feel joy.  Sweater weather has lost its charm.

gratitude:  saying 'no' to one thing so something better can come along, Spring Break, blankets warm from the dryer, clothing sales

thanks and love.

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