Monday, August 18, 2014

Logging on for a Whole30: Day 0, The Planning!

Sunday was my day of planning. Almost all day I worked on a meal plan for 7 days = roughly 16-18 meals for an average of 3 people. It was kind of tough and overwhelming until I came across a tip in one of my new cookbooks, Well Fed 2: "don't try to be a recipe hero, just keep it simple for the first 1 or 2 weeks."

Oh, well NOW you mention that. But that's something I can do - mediocre, simple, easy, mindless, etc. hah! 

So I used the formula in Well Fed (the 1st installment of recipe excellence) and figured out about how much food I would need to prepare these 16ish meals. I would need too cook 2lbs of chicken, 2lbs of beef, and a boatload of veggies. Thankfully, we're already a customer of Healthy Home Foods and had LOTSA food delivered for our freezer about 6 months ago - so part of my shopping was going to be done right in our garage! Hooray!

I decided to work with a concept called "Hot Plates" that the genius behind Well Fed recommends: cook what you can now - meats veggies, casseroles, and assemble later when you need them. Most things only need a quick zap or a flip or two in a hot oiled pan and within 15 minutes you're eating. This is especially convenient given two nights a week I'm in high gear to get out of the office, pick up the oldest child, get home, eat and feed, and then get back out the door to make it to CrossFit in time to avoid doing I-was-late-to-class burpees, all within 2 hours. Doable, but now it's gonna be super doable.

I found a weekly menu template that wasn't ridiculously cheesy, and chiseled my penciled ideas to my metaphorical stone, hung the printed copy on the fridge and waited for questions and comments that I inevitably wouldn't care about anyways. I'd done it! I'd completed a weekly meal plan, all I had to do now was cook it all up.

I headed out to our local "farmers market" that's always open, Boone Hall Farms Market, and picked up what local veggies I could - kale, potatoes, garlic, peaches, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and an apple. I made a mental note not to go at the end of the weekend next time to have a better selection. Harris Teeter was on the way home and that place was NUTS! Turns out it was double coupon weekend (I can only focus on one purpose per shopping trip, this one was not saving double monies). I grabbed my eggs, some veggies, prosciutto, pecans, some plain & chocolate almond milk for Josh to try, and some other boring stuff. 

I offloaded my haul and stared at it. Ugh. "This is not a chore, it's a privilege" I kept thinking. Because honestly it is a privilege to be able to match my knowledge with the ability to execute it. But the boys got to go to the pool and I got to have a panic attack in the kitchen so I'm sure you can understand my frustration... right?

Anyways, yesterday I prepared the ingredients to make my hot plates, and a few things to make two additional recipes that I threw in (where I'll actually make an effort and even have time to sprinkle the veggies with loooooove.) I pulled out the trusty cast iron pan and began cooking right at 6 and plopped on the couch with Husband for an eat-good-food-reminder (movie: Food, Inc.) at 9 - with most clean-up complete and everything stuffed into the fridge to await their fixin'. In three hours I leisurely turned out 2lbs of baked chicken, 2lbs of ground beef/bison sausage mix, 3 sweet potatoes, 14 breakfast frittata muffins, rinsed/chopped/par-cooked brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli, AND rinsed/dried/chopped kale to make kale chips...sometime this week.

Here's the blankity blank one, and here is our week 1 plan:
HP LOvers = Hot Plate leftovers
WF = a recipe from Well Fed 
French Fries = only for SOME people.

You'll also notice I didn't include any snacks (except the day that I created this) because your meals should be filling enough on their own that you don't need anything between them. ...Should. We'll see; I'm just gonna take extra vegetables because if I'm really hungry and not just bored, veggies will sound like a great snack!

I'll be over here eating my prosciutto wrapped frittatas all at one time, if anyone needs me...