Another Week, Another Plan

I survived a week, y'all!  Actually, week 1 of my new meal planning went surprisingly well.  My fridge was full to bursting at the beginning, but by the end, I just had a few sets of leftovers that I've actually worked into this week's plan.  The prepped lunches and breakfasts made each morning move very smoothly.  Sometimes I was extra lazy at home and then packed up my breakfast to lug to the office too.
Dinner wasn't a perfect system.  I came home, we went for a swim, took a shower, then started prep and I pulled off some tasty meals.  But I still found myself wanting to plop on the couch after dinner rather than clean up the fresh mess I had made.  That part is simply going to come down to sheer willpower... and sometimes, I will be going to bed with a messy kitchen.  But hey, that's life. 

I'm pretty excited about this week's plan again,
and I've had a really busy day in the kitchen getting ready for it.  First things first though, I broke in my new waffle iron with a batch of Brittany Angell's Extra Crispy Paleo Waffles, which were amazing and a fulfilling treat after being totally waffle-less for over a year.  On that note, I've decided that every weekend, I will enjoy a totally SWYPO paleo treat, such as waffles or pancakes or, heck, donuts.  Because, life is too short and I spent too much time craving and not enough time having!

Also, shout out to my new Misto!  It's advertised as a "low fat cooking" tool, but I just see it as all the convenience of Pam with none of the gross! It's basically a refillable pressurized spray bottle, which I filled with olive oil and used to keep my waffle iron happily greased. Plus, mine is purple.  Boom.

Anyway, after my amazing breakfast, I went shopping for the week's needs.  I won't try to tell you how to be paleo on a budget or any of that shenanigans because, honestly, I haven't figured it out.  Phil and I spent a lot on groceries for 2 people.  He eats a LOT, and, I guess, so do I.  for about $100, I got: 
4lbs ground beef (conventional 97%)
1lb boneless chicken thighs (step 2)
1.5lbs pork chops (conventional)
2 dozen free range eggs
a whole lotta non-organic produce
a few canned/jarred essentials like coconut milk, salsa, almond butter, olives
random needs like paper towels

Now, I'm listing the "quality" of the meats and produce I got for a reason.  Grass-fed/pastured/free-range/organic is amazing and I would love to buy it all that way, but I already spent $100 on just this, so you really have to pick and choose what is most important!

I buy low fat ground beef because the most toxins of conventional beef are found in the fat.  When I can, I get "slightly better" raised chicken breasts and thighs, and I always aim for the highest quality eggs, because those things aren't a huge price hike (think about it: if you buy 1-2 dozen eggs a week, would you rather pay $5 for battery caged chicken eggs or $10 for eggs from hopeful happy hens?). I usually get my eggs from a local farm, but the egg scare has her pretty out of stock lately.  Unfortunately, I just get regular pork because it's really all that's available around here and I refuse to give up pork entirely.

When it comes to produce, I consistently get my spinach, kale and carrots organic because they are still affordable and I don't trust my ability to properly wash greens, but I have been getting conventional everything else for now.  Baby steps, people.

I got home, stashed the goods, did some dishes and started what became 5 hours of cooking.  Oof.  You'll notice that lunch this week mentions rope vieja, which I actually made last week.  Well, I happened to have used a 3 pound chuck roast, so I have just a few leftovers... But that made this easier, because all I had to do was cook up some rice. 

While I had my rice going in the rice maker (such a handy gadget!), I roasted a spaghetti squash, prepped a meatloaf and chopped baby potatoes.  The loaf and potatoes went in around when the squash came out, then I prepped my frittata and threw that in.

Once the rice was done, I threw it in my cast iron pan with bacon grease, tomato paste and spices and cooked it up like the Cuban cauli rice in Juli Bauer's Crockpot Ropa Vieja recipe because we want more carbs for our lunches.  I steamed some green beans, shredded my spaghetti squash and grilled some chicken thighs, then finally made a batch of mayo and Sunshine Sauce.  It all sounds like it should have gone so much faster!

Still, doesn't look too shabby, does it?  My frittata ended up just being spinach and tomato, because the chorizo was in the freezer (oops).  Guest star is the bottle of local wine that fueled me through the cook-up. I didn't bother to portion out Phil's rope vieja and rice because, frankly, I was out of containers.  He eats lunch at home anyway, I think he can manage that much.

The spaghetti squash, chicken thighs and sunshine sauce are all going to be featured in Monday night's pad thai (courtesy of Mel Joulwan), which I'll pretty much just be able to throw together in a pan.  Looking forward to that!

After all that, I STILL made dinner!  Balsamic bacon brussels (from The Frugal Paleo cookbook) and grilled honey mustard SHARK steak, an interesting experience.

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