Meal Plan 03/12/2018 - 03/16/2018

I struggled to make last week's meal plan but I was glad to have done it once I stopped my grumbling. I didn't manage to stick to it for the duration of the week, and full disclosure: we ended up ordering pizza on Friday, but I'm still calling it a success. It motivated me enough to stick with it this week. It was nice to feel less frantic in the kitchen and when I did manage to cook, we had lovely leftovers to take to work for lunch the following day. 

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Monday: Instant Pot Fiasco Beans for Meatless Monday (I saw these on Holly Burns's Instagram Stories and haven't stopped thinking about them since. I'm guessing the rest of my family is not going to be enthused so I reckon I'll have a lot of leftovers to take for lunch this week.) I'll serve with Bang Bang Broccoli and quick pickled red onions and purple cabbage. 

Tuesday: Spaghetti Bolognese (Shawn's on spaghetti squash)

Wednesday: Panko-crusted chicken tenders served with roasted sweet potato spears, leftover Bang Bang Broccoli, and a lemon garlic yogurt dip.

Thursday: Leftover roasted sweet potato spears topped with leftover spaghetti sauce. I'm planning to melt cheddar cheese on top and add a sprinkle of spring onions for a sort of chili-fries-esque comfort food dish. Is it Thursday yet?

Friday: Instant Pot Coconut Fish Curry made with whatever looks good at the fishmonger. I'll serve it on top of steamed rice with Thai Cucumber Salad on the side. 

Look, I realize how basic I'm about to sound but here it is: the best thing I've done in the kitchen lately is meal prepping on Sunday. It's not enough to make my plan and do my grocery shopping; I need to get a head start on the week. I'm extremely fortunate to only work in the office three days per week but those three days are an absolute shit show if I don't prepare in advance. Today I soaked my beans for tomorrow's meal, and prepared my sides. I made Tuesday's Bolognese sauce and froze a portion for Thursday's meal. It took a couple hours to get it all done but it's going to make my week run more smoothly so it was worth it.

What's on your meal plan this week? How do you prep for the week?

Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies do not make any sense. Let's start with the name: Spicy Oatmeal Cookies. Spicy, to me, means hot like a chili pepper. These cookies are not hot like a chili pepper. They're spiced. They contain nutmeg and cloves and taste a little bit like autumn. But they're not spicy. They don't even contain cinnamon, which I would consider the "spiciest" oatmeal cookie spice, you know? Next, they contain no chocolate. None. No cocoa powder, no chocolate chips, nary a chocolate chunk in sight. What even is the point? Also, these are crunchy cookies. I definitely prefer to stay in the land of ooey, gooey, chewy cookies.  Finally, the most egregious abuses of baked goods: they contain nuts. Not almonds or pecans, the less offensive of the nut world. Walnuts. The worst. 

And yet, when my sister texted me a picture of the recipe card where she recorded Mom's Spicy Oatmeal Cookies we remember so fondly from childhood, I couldn't wait to get baking. The only substitution I made was to use butter in place of shortening; the rest I kept exactly how my mom used to make when we were kids. And they are perfection. Grady won't eat them because of all the bits, Poppy can't eat them because she's allergic, and Shawn just looks confused whenever he bites into one and realizes all over again that these are non-chocolate cookies, but I don't care. They are exactly how I remember them.

A quick note: you might be tempted to skip the almond extract because it seems a bit fuss-ass to have both vanilla and almond extract but please, for the sake of your cookies, resist. Use both and revel in the tastiness. 

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Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
7/8 cup all-purpose flour (whaaaaat? I know. I just used my one cup measure and scooped out a heaping tablespoon. Old recipes are weird.)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup medium shred, unsweetened coconut
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture just until combined.

Add coconut, oatmeal, and walnuts.

Form dough into small balls. Flatten slightly. Place on baking sheet spaced approximately 1.5 inches apart.

Bake 12 - 14 minutes until lightly golden.

Enjoy! 

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

Meal Plan 02/19/2018 - 02/23/2018

I've completely fallen off the meal planning track and I'm suffering. Life feels scattered and chaotic right now and having a small measure of organization in the kitchen would bring me some relief. Also, my slow-cooker died a fiery death last week so I jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon and I need to learn how to use it. Meal planning ahoy!

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Monday: Instant Pot Kalua Pig by Nom Nom Paleo

Tuesday: Taco salad with leftover pork that we'll crisp under the broiler for a couple minutes.

Wednesday: Instant Pot White Chicken Chili served with cornbread.

Thursday: Shredded chicken enchiladas. 

Friday: leftovers? Pizza? Snacky dinner? Choose your own adventure? 

What are you eating this week?

Exploring my Options with HelloFresh (and having fun in the process!)

The top shelf of my fridge is where condiments go to die. 

That's not an exaggeration. The top shelf of my fridge is completely unusable. It's a bottle and jar graveyard, filled to the brim with discarded mustards and rejected jams. It's shameful. I hold onto things I don't like and won't use because I feel some sort of obligation. We spent money on those things so we're going to keep them, in our fridge, forever. It makes no sense. 

This is one of the (many) reasons I'm enjoying HelloFresh so much. It gives us the opportunity to try different tastes and explore new sauces and condiments without committing to an entire bottle. Last week we had Sesame Soy Steak Bibimbap which included Gochujang, a Korean red chili paste that I don't normally have in my flavour arsenal. Shawn and I both really enjoyed the spicy tang and I can see myself buying it in the future because I already know we both like it. It's a no-risk grocery purchase, destined to be consumed instead of abandoned on the top shelf of disappointment. 

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I don't consider myself a picky eater but I definitely fall into a rut of my tried and true meals. HelloFresh forces me to eat a little outside my comfort zone while at the same time giving me the flexibility to choose "safer" meals when I'm feeling less adventurous. It's inspiring me to explore different spices and be open to unfamiliar flavour profiles. HelloFresh adds an element of excitement to mundane weekday cooking and I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to give it a try.

If you're interested in trying HelloFresh for yourself, click here for $40 0ff your first box (affiliate link: I will receive $25 off my next box if you sign up using my link).

Read more about my adventures with HelloFresh here:

GET DINNER ON THE TABLE WITH HELLOFRESH CANADA

MAKE WEEKDAY MEALS CONVENIENT AND STRESS-FREE WITH HELLOFRESH

HACK YOUR HELLOFRESH MEALS FOR YUMMY LEFTOVERS

RECLAIMING DATE NIGHT WITH HELLOFRESH

{Disclosure: I received product in exchange for this review; all opinions stated are my own. Since trying this service on a review basis, I have signed up as a paid customer. I truly enjoy and fully endorse HelloFresh Canada.}