Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A week of meals in one day - review

So, here are my thoughts on the week of cooking in one day so far:

1. It was a lot of fun, but probably not the thing to do on a Monday evening. It took me about 3 hours of cooking (on and off) and cleaning to produce five almost complete meals. If you had a lazy Sunday afternoon, it would be perfect. I am hopeful though that my effort last night will make the rest of the week easier.

2. Use recipes that go well together. Although you could probably do this with any recipes, using the TV show guide was helpful to me - one of the meat items was used for two meals (and this seems to be a theme on the show), most of the meals used similar ingredients (less shopping/cost) and the meal variety was terrific. I'm sure I could put this together on my own, but it would add to the time.

3. Watch your cost. I didn't do any substituting of ingredients (although I could have with the recipes involved), and I already had two of the cuts of meat on hand, so my grocery bill wasn't bad - I spent $60.12 at Meijer, but that also included bread, yogurt, a few staples I was out of, etc. Cheese and crab meat were the most expensive items but if I'd had more time I could have gotten them for less by going to another store.

4. Start with a clean kitchen and empty dishwasher. My kitchen was clean, but my dishwasher was half full and I had to run it halfway through my cooking marathon.

5. If the dishes make more than you need, go ahead and freeze the rest. The mac and cheese dish made a TON - I ended up making one for the adults, a small plain container of mac and cheese for the kids and still had a decent dish that I just put in the freezer - enough for my family another night!

So far, I have to say that the food from this episode appears to be excellent. The pork tacos were amazing! I would make these again for guests in a heartbeat. They were so easy and so flavorful. Adding the pickled onion and cabbage was genius. I also added a bit of sour cream but it wasn't needed. We had enough for dinner last night and lunch for my hubby and myself today. If they are too hot for children, you could just pull some of the meat out and serve it alone to the children.

I'll comment on the other dinners next week. But so far, so good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday and Monday musings!

First snow day of the year - so early! I can hear the kids downstairs playing together while my hubby keeps an eye on them so I can work. It's fun to hear them negotiating their play ("How about you be Robin and you can save me . . .").

I have lots of last minute Christmas things to tie up this week, so I'm going to try something new for dinners. Rachael Ray (I know, you love her or hate her) has a new show on the Cooking Channel called "A week in a day" where she makes five meals in one afternoon/evening. I've taped a few of them on the DVR and finally watched one the other night - looks like some great recipes and since I have nothing going on this evening - I'm going to give it a try. Best part is that I have most of the ingredients on hand - thanks to our cow and pig in the freezer all I have to buy meat wise is some crab. So, this week's meal plan is courtesy of Rachael Ray - I'll post next week on how it went:

Monday - pulled pork tacos

Tuesday - Crabcake mac & cheese (I'll make a small dish plain for the kids), spinach

Wednesday - Date night

Thursday - Ratatouille

Friday - Meatloaf & Couscous

Saturday - Christmas Party

Sunday - Pork Ragu

Sounds yummy right? Plus a nice variety of meals - since I love to cook, I'm eager to try this out. All the recipes can be found at The Cooking Channel

For more great menu ideas, check out Organizing Junkie!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Step 3 - the life you've always wanted

Look back at last week's list - anything jump out at you? Sometimes taking a few days break can really make a difference in your feelings about something.

Okay, pick one item and do it this week! Write it on your calendar, block time out, whatever you need to do, just do it.

By this time next week you'll be one step closer!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Next step toward the life you want

So, now that we've thought a bit about what we would do, let's take some steps toward getting there!

I'm a list maker, so I always like to start off with a list. Take a look back at the first question I posed:

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

If you haven't already, write down your "answer." It may be a list of jobs you think you'd enjoy, it may be a new sport or hobby you'd like to try, it might be a way of raising your family, or living day to day. Doesn't really matter as long as it's what is important to you.

Got your list? Pick out one or two items and re-write them each on their own page. Now, take some time and brainstorm things you could do today or this week to get started on your journey.

Here's an example:

Learn to play the guitar

1. Research local classes
2. Look online for workbooks
3. Talk to friends to see if any of them play

These are all easy steps that could be taken immediately that would eventually bring you to your end goal. Plus it's so much easier to say "today I'm going to research some local guitar classes," than to just say "I'm going to learn to play the guitar."

No need to actually take action yet, just make your list of action items and think about them overnight. If you are really fired up, go ahead and start doing a bit of work. If not, wait until next week and we'll get back to them.