Sunday, August 7, 2011

Of Meal Trains and Obsessions

I am very lucky to live in an amazing neighborhood. Lots of kids, families that look out for each other, blah blah blah. And meal trains.

Our 'hood has recently seen a small surge in the baby-popping out frequency - our fourth new baby in a year is due in a few weeks. This includes me (L was born in December). We have a neighborhood meal train, where a family delivers a complete meal to the new baby's family (I'm sure we would do this for other big life events too, but right now, we just cover the babies). There are even meal train calendar/organizers available online.

Tonight it's my turn to deliver a meal to baby A, so I made lasagna. I'm not going to post the recipe, because it is from the box of Barilla's No-Boil Lasagna, which is obviously just off-the-shelf. I've made this a bunch, and it always turns out great (and feeds a ton of people). I'm also including a packaged salad and store-bought cookies (i.e., no recipes). However, to stay true to the challenge, I will not use this particular recipe again. (Side note: I am not cooking for our family tonight, because the hubs has a soccer coaching meeting.)

That, however, brings me to the second part of my post - obsessions. The whole point of this project is to use all of the recipes I have without repeats, for a year. And I have too many. So WHY, WHY, WHY did I walk into Mustard Seed yesterday with the good intention of purchasing a simple pint of strawberries, and walk out, $45 later, with way too much stuff AND two new recipe sources (a cookbook and magazine)? Because I am obsessed. I can't pass up a pretty food picture and the promise of easy, healthy meals.

I am also obsessive with my planning process. So, when planning my weekly meals, I forced myself to use one recipe from each of the new books/magazines.

Planning process?

Yes. Every Saturday p.m. or Sunday morning, I go through the weekly schedule with the hubs, then select my recipes for the week, and shop for all of the ingredients on Sunday morning. Right now, I can tell you what I am having for breakfast, lunch and dinner tonight through Friday lunch. It usually takes a couple of hours (mostly sorting through the recipes), but it makes life so much easier.

And for those who know me, NO, I do not put the meal plan on an Excel spreadsheet - although I have been tempted.

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