Menu Plan: Aug 19-26

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you make plans, and then they get dashed completely, so you make other plans, and those change too? It's Tuesday and I have adjusted our menu plan for the week three times already. That's why I haven't gotten a menu blog up yet! But I may as well post it, regardless of what else changes.

Part of the problem is that Pops refuses to participate in the weekly menu planning. We ask him if he has any requests, and he says no (or sometimes asks for a roast or something). We ask if there are any plans this week and he says no. Then suddenly the dinner that was planned for 7pm needs to be switched to 6 or 9 because he has a meeting to go to, or the day planned for leftovers requires a more constructed meal because they're having guests over for cards or they've decided to go out. When these things result in whatever was planned got getting eaten, it also results in more waste than I'm comfortable having. It's frustrating.

It's also difficult for me to accept that some of these decisions are not personal. For example, cooking a meal that he's requested or been excited about in the past, then having it go uneaten because he opts for going out to Carls Jr. instead. On both sides of my family, feeding people is a way to say you care for them. Having that rejected feels like a personal rejection, either of my food choices, my skill, or my love/caring for that person. Even though I know, logically, that's not it at all.

Since many of these choices seem to be on days where leftovers or vegetarian meals are planned, I find myself trying to create work-arounds to avoid the situation being repeated, or at least to avoid wasted food. I tell myself that at least part of it is him being reluctant to accept a partially-vegetarian diet--even if he ate these meals before, he's now keenly aware that they are vegetarian and rebelling against them. And I know part of it is simply him refusing to "relinquish" control of his schedule by refusing to share it. When one has been living a certain way for a long time, adapting is frustrating and difficult. I don't blame him for that! Even when it's frustrating to the rest of us.

Fortunately, as Mr. Moon and I were discussing this, venting and brain storming, I realized that working around these issues actually is a natural result of successfully accomplishing some other goals: Namely, batch cooking and scheduling regular freezer-meals. When those meals can be cooked from frozen, there is no wasted food if they get swapped for a night on the town. When we cook meals in appropriate portions, there are no leftovers to worry about going bad. And when we cook in batches to freeze all leftovers as a matter of course, the same result: no leftovers to spoil.

This week is sort of an in-between week, dealing with these frustrations and only partially enacting a new plan. We'll get to the new plan after this week's menu because my brain is insisting I write the entry in a past-present-future sense. Seems as good an idea as any.

We had a lovely chicken dinner with some out of town guests on Sunday--a Thanksgiving-type meal. I'd been craving for weeks. Monday, Mum & Pops went out to dinner with said guests. Tonight is a low-key night of soup and sandwiches, maybe leftovers from their dinner, I don't know. It's more Fend For Yourself.

Tomorrow,  split pea soup in the crockpot with homemade chicken broth and aging bacon--I'm leaving out my customary turkey leg because of the expense when I can make a perfectly delightful soup with ingredients on hand.

Ravioli has been a migrating dinner as changes have been made the last couple days, but it's set for Thursday. As the only whole wheat ravioli I've found is super expensive, I'll be having spaghetti while everyone else has ravioli from the freezer. This is one of those freezer meals I was discussing, if it doesn't happen there's no harm done.

Salmon is on sale this week, and we've all been craving it. So a nice, light, baked salmon dinner is in the works for Friday when Mr. Moon will be home to bake it.

Saturday, another crockpot meal with leftovers, my ever-changing tortilla soup. It's become apparent that the only thing in this soup that's perishable that we own right now is the leftover pulled chicken, so this may become a different freezer meal night. Who knows?! But it needs to be easy since Mr. Moon works a late shift.

Sunday, an out of town family member will be getting here. We're not sure what time his flight is due, but we are under the impression from Pops that the guest will not be joining us for dinner. Mum is convinced he will be, so we compromised on making a meal that is easily expandable: Broccoli Mac & Cheese. This is also something we can freeze leftovers into portion sizes, so even if we make extras and no one eats them, nothing should go to waste.

Next week, we have a lot of family coming into town for a funeral of Mr. Moon's beloved grandmother. The funeral itself is on Thursday, the brothers get in the day before, but we don't know what times or what days to expect them to eat here. Flexibility will be required, and this would have been a perfect time to have a stock of meals on hand that could go from freezer to oven. Alas, it's not to be. Mr. Moon and I are going to have to spend some time before our menu meeting taking an inventory and brainstorming some simple meals that will leave plenty of time for socializing with out of town family and being able to feed them as necessary. We are also hoping that by Sunday we will have any idea what day, if any, we may be hosting a family get-together. So next week's menu should be interesting. Plus I'm considering revamping the white board a little bit. Brain storming in progress.


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