Meal Plan – Week 2 – and A New Recipe Experiment

So here we are, week two. Some weeks there is more time to make a detailed meal plan, involving all three meals. Realistically, though, our breakfasts are similar – smoothie or oatmeal, sometimes granola, and the occasional egg dish. Lunches generally consist of a salad, some soup (made ahead and frozen or in the fridge), or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. So we just made a list of dinners which we know by heart, or can easily find in a recipe book or favourite website.

Here’s the list:

Chili-stuffed squash

Mushroom and lentil cottage pie

Fish risotto

Lamb stew

Country captain chicken

Salmon patties

Homemade pizza

Once again we took stock of what was already in the house (the acorn squash needed to be used up from the holidays, although it will keep almost indefinitely in a cool place – and you might remember the veggie chili from a few days ago, leftover in the freezer). We needed some refreshing in the fridge – greens, salad stuff. We had used up the potatoes, and there was no lamb for the stew or fish for the risotto. Otherwise, most things were on hand.

We also tried this with squash recently, from one of our go-to sites, Cooking Light. It’s very searchable, by ingredient, name, or cooking method, and also, downloadable to apps like Paprika. We did make some adaptations to the recipe, since we hate dirtying extra dishes. First, we chopped the bacon, and put it on the parchment along with the squash rings. It was perfectly done at the same time as the rest of the recipe. Our rating? Delicious! (Also, since we don’t want to waste food, we baked all the leftover squash bits, sprayed with oil and sprinkled with chili powder, on a separate tray to be used in other recipes).

Thanks for visiting! Do you have meal planning challenges you wrestle with, or problems in using things you meant to make, but didn’t? I love to find novel ways to use up things that didn’t quite fit the plan.

We Grew 1001 Balcony Tomatoes (OK, Quite a Few)

fresh tomatoes Fresh, ripe tomatoes, warm off the vine. You might think you need a plot of land, or at least a large-ish garden to make this happen, but we have been happily surprised with the productivity of our condo garden this first year. We have planters on our balcony, as well as a metre-square plot in the building’s communal roof garden (a yard, if you’re using imperial measures).

We’ve been incorporating fresh tomatoes into our menu for a couple of weeks now, and have even canned a couple of jars. Small-batch canning is easy cooking tomatoesenough; you really just need a big poaching eggs in tomatopot of boiling water that is deeper than your canning jars. I’ll blog about that another time.

Today’s recipe is for a favourite breakfast of ours. Simply chop a big bunch of tomatoes. Add herbs if you like; we had a bit of basil and also a smoky chipotle in adobo which we chopped and put in the pot. Get the tomatoes really simmering. Once you’ve got them bubbling away, crack in a few eggs, one or two per person. I find the easiest way to do this is to crack them one at a time into a small bowl or cup, and gently pour into the tomatoes. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to medium-low, and check every couple of minutes until they are poached as you like. (Probably 5 or 6 minutes). Typically this is just enough time to make some toast.

This is an easy lunch or brunch dish, or a hearty, healthy, low-fat breakfast.

Eggs tomatoes and sourdough

Good Habits Die Hard!

  

For the first day in what seems like ages, we aren’t getting our exercise by chucking hundreds of kilos of snow and ice around. But all that “necessary exercise” has made us feel fitter and more able to push ourselves during our regular workouts, as we return to normal. Not only that, but local spring veg (albeit indoor-grown) are making an appearance to give us hope. This morning, homemade whole grain bread topped with local cream cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber, a poached egg, and a little chipotle powder to wake up the taste buds.

Thanks to Denise MacLean pottery for making the beautiful mug!

We do eat more than breakfast. Really!

Looking over recent posts was very revealing. So much breakfast! Perhaps it is because that is when there is time to write. Who knows? So today, once again, a report on the start of the day.

The chill is in the air, a harbinger of fall. Heather and thistles bloom in the garden. I don’t want to face autumn, but it will come, regardless. So we might as well do it with a full tummy. This morning’s egg features mushrooms, some chopped chard and tarragon from our garden, and a little cheddar cheese. The jam on the toast is local, too…made here at home.

This isn’t our only meal of the day, though. Tonight we’ll be joining our friends at Ratinaud for Les Saucisses en Folie. Real local charcuterie…you can’t get much better. Perhaps a reason to love the end of summer, after all. Unfortunately tickets are sold out. But you can taste their delicious wares at the Kitchen Table on some Friday or Saturday soon, and we are sure they will be worth the wait.

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We've got avocado's number…

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This morning we were out for a walk in the early morning, keeping our commitment to be fitter, not fatter, in 2014. This is especially important if you’ve had far too much fun with friends or family on the weekend. Don’t give up, just get on track.

Breakfast was a healthy affair – a piece of plain wheat toast, topped with 1/3 of an avocado mashed with lemon juice, 1/3 of a medium tomato, diced, a poached egg and a sprinkle of lemon pepper for me, and two servings for the big guy.

We’re so grateful that the good weather continues and we can get outside and keep fit without ending up drenched or freezing! Hope you’re having a healthy, happy day as well.

In the Pink

20120804-084101.jpg. This morning’s breakfast: a feast of colour. Tandoori cured pickerel from Hooked, some heritage tomatoes from the farmer’s market and the first from our garden, and a scrambled egg. Watching the Olympics. What a great start to the day. Go Canada!

Stacking Up to be a Great Day

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How to start the day? Perhaps like this! For two, begin by poaching two fresh, large eggs. Meanwhile, toast a whole wheat English muffin.

Spread some of Kozlik’s Dijon by Anton on each muffin half. Top this with some Char Pastrami from Hooked. Next, a thick slice of fresh yellow tomato and a basil leaf from the garden. Finish the stack with the soft poached egg and a sprinkling of paprika. Serve with a cup of Prince of Darkness coffee…we got ours at Better Bulk on the Danforth. You’ll wake up your mouth!

Go West(ern)!

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It’s a big week for us, with an important project that is using up lots of our energy. So something healthy is the best way to start the day. In our case, a good old-fashioned western sandwich, on whole wheat bread, dressed up with a tiny sprinkling of cheese and some cherry tomatoes. Thanks to Better Bulk, Plank Road Market, Royal Beef and Rowe Farms for the ingredients…all just a walk away!

It's Beginning to Taste a Lot Like…Christmas?

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Back from a long walk in preparation for a busy day, I thought some French toast would be nice. But alas we were out of bread. My resourceful husband seized on an idea. Why not use up that leftover panettone that has been lurking in the freezer since Christmas? If you live in an Italian neighbourhood, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll receive one of these eggy breads over the holidays, and frequently, multiples. They’re often studded with raisins or dried fruit, and hold together beautifully when dipped in egg and cooked. We had ours with a bit of sliced banana and some Canadian maple syrup. Today’s gonna be great!

Feeling a Little Cheesy…

It’s the time of year when minds turn to winter weight loss. But we’re not big believers in the quick fix. What gets us into a mess can often be turned around to get us out. We’re free of holiday distractions and back into our normal “eat less, move more” routine. Today though, the Toronto weather is still in the deep freeze. (Yes Winnipeg, we hear you laughing…) it made us want a warm and satisfying breakfast.

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For 330 calories, here’s what we had: 2 large eggs, scrambled in a nonstick pan and topped with 1/2 ounce of Shropshire Blue cheese. On the side, a slice of whole wheat toast with 2 teaspoons of blueberry-raspberry jam we made back in the summer (thanks, East Lynn Farmer’s Market!) and half a small hothouse local tomato.

Starting the day in a satisfied frame of mind!

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