Motivational Hole and Meal Planning

I have a lot of passion for food.  Food is the main thing I am thinking about at all times.  Even when I am not hungry, I'm often daydreaming about what I will make and/or eat later when I am inevitably hungry again.  That passion, plus a love of cooking that developed when I began my whole foods lifestyle over two years ago, led me to begin this blog.
But unfortunately, I have discovered that the passion alone is not enough.  While I love to eat and often to cook, it is somewhat rare that I "create" or invent awesome new things to share.  So, once again, I've hit a long dry spell and abandoned this page. I really try not to look down on myself for my "failure" or for "giving up", but sometimes those feelings sneak in, that I will never be a real food blogger like some of the people I idolize and follow regularly, simply because I am too lazy and don't have enough willpower to put the work into creating.  
We all find ways to make ourselves feel small.  It's amazing the damage we can do to ourselves just by looking at our own lives versus another's.  But hey, its a work in progress.  I'm a work in progress. And that's ok.  You know what I'm gonna do?  Keep blogging.  
It feels awesome to think that someone is reading this and appreciating my words, and maybe even feeling inspired or enjoying the recipes I created.  But even if not one person glances at this, I need to write.  Even if I don't have a recipe to share, I still have words and experiences that could help someone.  And myself.  
So today, I'm going to tell you a little about what I HAVE been up to, rather than moping about what I HAVEN'T. The boy is in flight school for the army, which is why I am currently living in Alabama, and he started up classes again this week after a couple months' break.  During his break, I leaned on him a LOT for cooking and cleaning, because he had the time and I didn't have the energy or motivation (there's that word again).  His time has disintegrated to almost nothing as of today and I knew I needed to step up.  Last go around, I did ok, cooking dinners and trying to leave leftovers for lunches.  But, I felt disorganized and tired and, too often, there were either no leftovers, or Phil didn't want them, so he'd go for fast food and I'd scrounge for whatever.  So this was a slow death of a system.  
THIS TIME, I went in prepared.  I decided it was time to take on the time honored tradition of meal planning and prep. Dun dun dun.  I reached out to my awesome friends on TwoGrand (a social media food photo journaling app that is great for bonding with fellow health nuts and enjoying some good old food porn) for some suggestions on delicious prep food and went to work. This was my week one plan:

It went through a few modifications, but the idea was this: on Sunday, I'll prep a large, low carb, easy breakfast for me for the week (the boy doesn't eat breakfast and I've given up there), two lunches so we can alternate meals to reduce boredom and, each day, I'll cook dinner.  Everything is loosely or almost Whole30 friendly, because if I have good food ready to go, I'm less likely to cave to my cravings for naughty things, like the Urban Poser Dutch Baby I really wanted to make on Sunday (and frankly might make this weekend, if I'm still craving it).  Fridays are my cooking "day off" so the boy can get fast food for lunch and we'll probably go out for dinner.  Sundays will be a busy, big food prep day and then I only have to worry about making dinner, which makes life much less exhausting, when I'm not trying to make breakfast and lunch in the morning, plus dinner at night (BONUS: so much less dishes after dinner when there is nothing in the sink from the morning). 
So, yesterday was my first big food prep day.  I'm pretty damn proud of what I accomplished.  I made a batch of Mel Joulwan's Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (which was ten times more amazing than I expected, I only wanted to use up old zucchini), and a large frittata made with a pound of homemade pork sausage (I like Gutsy By Nature's breakfast sausage), meatball marinara, 2 roasted spaghetti squash, mayo and lemonade.  Plus, I set Monday's tandoori chicken to marinating.  I didn't have to prep two lunches this time because we took a few things out of the freezer (it was too full, oops).  Still, busy day.

Suggestions to make everything easier:

Get soups and sauces that need to cook a while to bubbling ASAP, then ignore them.  

Find a baking temperature that works for all the things you are prepping.  My frittata and squash both baked at 375, so I threw them all in together.

Fridge Tetris
For marinara, it's much faster to start with a sauce you already like and add to it.  I used my favorite Classico tomato basil (DOES have sugar, so not ok for Whole30) and threw in plain tomato sauce and spices till it was doubled in quantity and extra delicious.

So what did I do?  First, I browned up my pork sausage, while sautéing the onions and chopping zucchini for soup.   Then I poured the sausage into the casserole pan to cool and started browning my meatballs (NOT very efficient, but I love pan cooked meatballs).  I got the zuke soup simmering and threw my sauce ingredients together to warm.  As I finished each batch of balls (three pounds of meatballs take a while), I threw them into the simmering sauce to finish cooking.  I topped my pork sausage with spinach and eggs and sent it into the fire, then split open and added the spaghetti squash to the oven also.  During any down time, I washed dishes.  SO MANY DISHES.
Once things finished, I started taking them out and trying to figure out how to tetris everything into my very full fridge.  This was the hardest part, but I think I did pretty darned good!

The last steps, when everything else was done, was mayo, lemonade and tandoori marinade, then I still had some serious evening chill time.  Not a bad day, huh?
Here's a tease of what I ate today:

"Tandoori" chicken with The Domestic Man's Aloo Gobi Matar

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