Posted in Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Lemon and Sage Salmon

Mmmm… Salmon. Yesterday I previewed a lemon sage salmon and it. was. so. good!

I’ve been trying to simplify our menu-planning efforts by making meals that are repeatable, if not predictable. For example, fish once/week, vegetarian meal, something with beef, something with chicken, something with pork. That gets us through the work week, and then the weekends are usually scavenging whatever is left.

Monday I made unstuffed peppers and that recipe was *really* good. I could’ve skipped the cheese, but why would I? It also came together really easily.. ground beef, bell peppers, seasonings, (cook), pasta sauce, beef stock, pasta, (cook), cheese, stir, serve.


Here’s the recipe, if you can call it that…The salmon was moist and delicious when we had it for dinner last night. I bought a 1.5lb fillet from our local grocer and sliced up 4 portions at home. From there, I drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned with lemon peel, sage, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 20ish minutes, squeeze fresh lemon over top and serve.

We had ours with frozen veggies and a slice of buttered bread. It might as well be dessert because the Peppridge Farm Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread was delicious. I could probably eat an entire loaf if I weren’t disciplined enough.

The cool thing about this fish (and something I didn’t appreciate until today) is that it actually reheated pretty well. I squeezed fresh lemon on top then zapped it in the microwave for 45 seconds. It didn’t get dried out at all and I actually enjoyed having left overs at work today. Do you like fish? What’s your favorite cut and method of preparation?


Posted in Food, Menu Planning

Menu planning vs menu doing

It all starts with a nice solid plan. You know? You take the inspiration from cookbooks, Pinterest, fitness blogs, Facebook, Instagram, or what have you. You put pen to paper, stylus to screen, or fingers to keyboard and you’re off! Meatless Monday,  Tenderloin Tuesday, leftovers Wednesday, chicken Thursday, pizza Friday, tacos Saturday, and Sunday you do it all over again! At least,  that’s the plan. 

This week, I got pretty far, actually. I made the menu, made the corresponding grocery list, bought said groceries, and boiled the eggs. Then,  well. 


Little Elfkin started getting sick.  Like,  both of us missed work, worked from home, and kept her out of daycare for days kind of sick. I managed to boil a couple eggs, but really, the majority of my time was spent trying to make her comfortable and watch for changes. 

We were supposed to have a paleo breakfast bake for this week’s breakfasts. We ate a lot of cereal and/or bought breakfast on the way to the office while the other parent stayed home. 

Side note: Affogato Strada Espresso is delicious. 

*weak stomach warming, skip this paragraph*

Ohhh Roseola. Not fun.  SO not fun. The thought of cooking goes right out the window when your little one is burning up,  throwing up, and refusing to eat. Her fever got so bad at one point that it caused her to throw up, even though she hadn’t eaten anything.  Poor dear. Poor Jeff, too! She got him completely and stunned him.. that didn’t stop the process, though, so she also got the floor, the changing table, and my foot. All Jeff could say was “it’s HOT.”


So, off to the ER we went, where they told us that “sometimes, sick kids throw up.” …real insightful. 

All this to say: the menu was planned, but the menu was not done. The thing is, life will always be busy and hectic and in the way. I know how to not go completely off the rails, though! Some of it is planning ahead, yes, but more of it is sticking to my plan even when nothing else does. For example, when we had Jersey Mikes, I got a “sub in a tub,” and saved about 300 calories. When having pizza, I loaded it with veggies and split half with Jeff, even though it’s a personal pizza. At the gas station, I tried to pick snacks and meals that fit into my day by checking it on My Fitness Pal (sn: Aminarra) first and making a decision based on that. 

Now, if you open my refrigerator, you’ll find cherries that have gone soft, avocado that’s seen better days, and iceberg lettuce turning yellow instead of pale green.

This week’s plan is to salvage what I can and go from there. It’s always a bit grating to waste food, so we’ve learned to live with wrinkly peppers and to adjust our expectations. The plan is much simpler this time around. Oatmeal for breakfasts, batch cooked chicken for dinner, and either salad or sandwiches for lunch. I picked up some fruit at the grocery store because whole food is fast food. This is a plan I can stick to even if life goes crazy again. It’s not easy, but is doable. So just do it. 

Posted in Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

And, I’m back…

Breakfast wrap - 2 eggs, 1 slice sharp cheddar, tortilla; oranges, sweet peppers

Is it just me, or is WordPress being weird? I usually include photos in my posts and this one *STARTED* fine, but then I went back to edit the draft of this post and the photo exploded.  The preview looks fine, but, I dunno…I’m typing right now and all I can see is the orange and it’s super zoomed in and… let’s just say it doesn’t look like an orange at the moment @_@;


I’ve been away a lot lately because, well, life happens–I needed to be there for family and so I was.  This involved going back to Canada for a funeral service just a week and a half after we had come home from Canada, but it was well worth the journey, just to gain some closure, healing, and time with family.


I’m at a point, where I want to get back to what I originally intended with this blog–cooking, working out, getting healthy.

Today, I’m spring cleaning around the apartment and I’ll be cooking up a few things for this week’s dinners.  I’ve got my grocery list planned out and the meal plans, too.  Now it’s just a matter of executing on the plan:

Monday: Chorizo Chicken Jambalaya

Tuesday: Taco Chicken Bowls

Wednesday: Wild Rice Soup – made from a mix, I’ll be adding fresh mushrooms and serving with a salad and a crusty bread.

Thursday: Spaghetti – nothing fancy, just browned beef, pasta, and sauce

Friday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Saturday: Skillet Gnocchi w/ Chard and White Beans – we’ve tried this one before, and it was terrible.  Mostly, Jeff says, because “melted spatula” wasn’t supposed to be part of the recipe.

Posted in Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Menu Making: Giada and EatBetterAmerica

I had a hard time coming up with ideas for dinner today so I put it out on Facebook and Bloop that I was trying to plan a menu and asked for people to chip in ideas.  I knew I wanted to make Momma’s Chili, but then I got recommendations for a few things from and from  At the grocery store, I got (among other things) brown rice, arugula, goat cheese, green lentils, mint, diced tomatoes, jalepeños, zucchini, pears, bananas, mushrooms, chocolate, etc.  I have all of the ingredients to make everything on my dinner menu, plus healthy snacks, breakfasts and lunches for later in the week. 

This week, we’re having all of the following:

The ‘healthified chicken skillet’ was pretty tasty.  Basically just cook chicken in a fry-pan with olive oil, salt and pepper then slice zucchini and cook in the same pan.  It was pretty tasty and came together really quickly.  Eat Better America was already linked above, so check it out–you can sort recipes by calorie count, prep time or meal type.  I like it so far.

I am really excited about the apples that Mr. and Mrs. Roomie picked up, though.  They went to an orchard today and brought home the first round of Honey Crisp apples.  Mrs. Roomie is looking around for an ‘Apple Crumble Pie’ recipe, but I’m not sure what she’s talking about so I can’t help her with that.  I just want to eat them straight-up and delicious.

I’m also excited to try a couple recipes up there.  Almost every one is new.  I’ve got 4 jalepeños to use… I haven’t quite decided if I’ll use them in the chili or if I’ll save them for the spicy Mexican dish on Friday.  I’m just excited to get cooking 😀

Tomorrow starts Phase 1, Week 2, Day 1 so I should go finish drinking my water and get some sleep 🙂

Posted in Food, Menu Planning

Super Sunday: Meal Planning Day

Every weekend, I try to reserve one of the days for menu planning.  Usually I would just throw things on the dry erase board and buy things I thought I would need for the week and hope for the best.  If the roomies liked what I had planned, then they’d have it started before I got home from work.  If not, then I would just start cooking when I got home from work.

Earlier in the week, I did an exercise where I discovered My Current Food Palette.  Using that, I found recipes that are healthy, fun, and would please the whole “family.”

Cassie (of Back to Her Rootsfame) actually supplied quite a few recipes for this week’s menu.  While I was drafting all this stuff, Rah-rah realized I was on “that one blog with the  microwave cake!” and he needed to try it.

We tried out this recipe for peanut butter microwave cake.  It turned out so good! I accidentally overcooked mine just a little bit and so to add some moisture and some zing I wanted to add some strawberry jam.  Little did I realize that I grabbed the jar of “strawbañero” jam.  Woo! That had a kick to it…

Once I had the meals figured out, it was time to compile the ingredients and figure out what I needed from the store.

I made sure to go through what I had currently so that I wasn’t buying things unnecessarily.  So that I would be sure to get all of the things that I needed, either in my cupboards or from the store, I actually went through and wrote every ingredient down and then went shopping in my kitchen for items that were needed.  I crossed out the items that I had and circled the ones that I needed.  Then I recopied it into a neat list that I could bring with me to the store.  Of course, I forgot the list at home… but, thankfully, Rah-rah was able to snap a pic with his smart phone and sent it over to my phone 🙂 The day was saved!

Now… I’ve got a pretty small kitchen, so I took the opportunity to change out a few canisters and to make sure that the fridge and the cupboards were well-organized.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

I admit, the spice cupboard (on the left) needs a little work…

This is what we use as the pantry ^-^; It’s an Island Cart from Ikea that’s against the wall…
The roomies were cool and brought home 5 different kinds of garlic for us to experiment with soon.

Once I was satisfied with the kitchen, I set to work making tonight’s dinner.

 The original plan was to cook stuff for the rest of the week, but I simply ran out of time.  I found a recipe here for a breading that I used on some Talapia for dinner tonight.  It turned out so good!  I used one of the broccoli rice sides and served it up with some grapes.  Rah-rah doesn’t necessarily like fish, so I made a make-shift tartar sauce just in case he didn’t like the fish – I just combined some miracle whip, some hellman’s mayo, pickle relish and lemon juice.  It was really good!

I had 3 servings of Talapia and 1 of Salmon and so I made all 4.  Each of us only ate 1, and so there are a couple fillets left over for tomorrow.  The seasoning really made a difference 🙂

Tomorrow, I’ve got a plan in place for burgers with sweet potato fries and mixed veggies.  I can’t wait 🙂

Posted in Food, Menu Planning

My Current Food Palette

So, growing up in the Midwest, there are certain foods that I’ve grown accustomed to eating.  When I think of how many foods are out there, this list seems even narrower.  The truth is, though, that this is my current palette–the expanded edition.  I brainstormed for almost an hour trying to think of all the foods I eat in various combinations as a part of my diet.  Over the next few months (autumn will be good for this), I hope to expand this list even more.

Things I like for Breakfast:

Eggs – Over Medium, Scrambled, Benedict

Cereal – Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut Cheerios, Oatmeal

Fruit – Bananas, Blueberries, Oranges, Strawberries, Kiwi

Other – Coffee, Chocolate Milk, Chobani Yogurt (Black Cherry, Strawberry), Toast

Things I Like for Lunch:

Fresh Foods
Fresh Foods


Deli Turkey, Deli Chicken, Grilled Chicken, Tuna Salad plus…

Provalone, Pepperjack, Cheddar plus…

Lettuce, Tomato

Sauces – Frank’s Red Hot, Miracle Whip, Yellow Mustard, Ranch, Bleu Cheese

Salad – Baby Spinach, Iceburg Lettuce, Cranberries, Nuts, Fruit

Things I like for Dinner:

Chicken – Baked, Broiled, Fried, Grilled, Hot, Cold, Kabob’d

Beef – Steaks, Burgers, Ground Beef

Seafood – Shrimp, Salmon, Tuna, Tuna Steak, Talapia, Cod, Haddock

Pork – Tenderloin, Chops, Kabob’d

Veggies – Carrots, Beets, Peas, Beans (black, green, kidney, navy, white), Broccoli, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Onion, Corn, Cucumber, Tomato, Yellow Squash

Sides – Bread, Pasta, Couscous, Brown Rice

Things I like for Snacks:

Banana, Yogurt, Grapes, Apples, Apple Sauce, Celery, Baby Carrots, Nuts, Cheese, Peanut Butter, Chocolate

So, now I challenge you to go through the same exercise: What do you like to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack?  How does it differ from my list?  Where are you from?