Dinner Score, Week 23

Jumping right in–

  • Mon: navy beans and escarole with sausage
  • Tues:  grilled chicken thighs on sticks, rice, carrots & bell peppers, garden salad, oranges, corn on the cob
  •       many food groups represented!

    many food groups represented!

    Wed:  mac and cheese, cucumbers, blackberries

  • Thurs:  Chinese Take-out!
  • Fri: Date Night and Leftover Buffet!
photo 4

light is odd, it was NOT that orangey!

I’m not even putting the scores up there. It’s nearly six months into the Internet Accountability Project. You know what the score here is–two good days, one half-assed day and two days completely off the rails.  That’s an 8 point week, and we all know it.

Here’s the original plan:

  • Mon: sandwiches, and white beans with escarole & sausage
  • Tues: chicken pot pie, fruit and garden salad
  • Wed: bbq chicken mac and cheese, fruit & veg
  • Thurs: baked deviled eggs, garden salad, grits
  • Fri: Taco Tuesday on Freedom Friday. 

I did start amazingly well.  That’s what happens when your neighbor shows up with a huge sack of escarole.  You have to eat things your neighbors give you. It’s a rule.  DH has a rule that if a toddler offers him food he has to eat it, in order to reinforce the idea that sharing and being thoughtful of others is a good thing (also that food is good. the man is a fan of food).  I have a rule that if a neighbor shows up with something they grew, it’s getting eaten.

Unless it’s that weird death fruit. I’m not eating that. Even Andrew Zimmern spit out durian, and he is the grown-up globetrotting Mikey of the Food Channel.  He’ll eat anything.

Truth be told, I was the only one that ate the beans/escarole/sausage for dinner on Monday. Everyone else opted for a sandwich. But they gave it a try first, and that’s fine with me.

   this was really good

this was really good

I think the end of the week derailed due to a combination of me making a plan that I knew might not be received well (the baked deviled eggs thing is something only I like, for some mysterious reason) and us hitting another stretch of weeks that have a lot of socializing/sports/activities.  Opening my fridge right now would show a lot of takeout containers and leftover Chinese food.  But we all got to see friends and get our activities done, so that’s the upside.

Also a fun point? WordPress doesn’t think ‘escarole’ is a thing, so it keeps trying to suggest other things.  Mostly ‘estragole’ which looks like this:

Screen shot 2015-04-20 at 1.13.17 AM

and not really like the leafy stuff in the bowl over there. Though it is in some leafy thingsLooking at you bay and tarragon!

See you tomorrow for the meal plan! Cheep Cheep!


Week 16 Dinner Score

Mistakes were made. The plan was a good one (that chicken on Monday? the leftovers were supposed to turn into the chicken fried rice for Wednesday. smart!), and was manageable. 

But it was cold here this week. Texas cold, to be sure, but still cold. I was tired and cranky.  So we wound up eating what was in the fridge and having less-than-composed meals.

Which is okay.  Sometimes that happens.  I still followed through with Thursday being Boy’s night to fix dinner, and Friday is Tiny’s.  They both stuck with the whole meal all the way to clean up, and are both still daydreaming of being on Master Chef Jr.

The plan:

  • Mon:  roasted chicken thighs, green beans, spinach salad, raspberries.
  • Tues: salmon, asparagus, blackberries,
  • Wed: chicken fried rice, egg drop soup, steamed spinach, fruit & vegphoto 1
  • Thurs: clam chowder, potato soup, fresh bread, fruit, cheese
  • Fri: tuna noodle casserole, salad

The actual:

  • Mon: roasted chicken thighs, green beans, spinach salad, raspberries. 3 points.
  • Tues:   leftover pork, cantelope, mashed potatoes, peas. 1 point.
  • Wed: Chinese takeout. 0 points.photo 2
  • Thurs: soup & sandwiches, salad, blackberries. 2 points.
  • Fri:  pasta, meatballs, tomato sauce, Caesar salad. 2 points.

So I’m on the very low end of respectable at 8 points.Two meals got 2 points for being basically on the plan and nutritious, just on the wrong day.  The one point meal was a solid meal but not the plan. 

The take out is no points, but we were all really happy–we hadn’t had anything from First Wok in a while. Turns out it’s been so long that the kids have added a whole section of the menu to the list of things they’ll eat.  Chicken lo mein, welcome to Rancho del Cheepie!  It was also lunch the next day, and the good kind of leftovers (meaning the kids can all fix themselves plates without needing an assist from me). So even though it was a no point night, I can’t really bring myself to be upset about it.

You’ll have noticed that the tuna noodle casserole is missing.  I’d forgotten that Friday was Tiny’s night, and since she hates tuna I couldn’t really have her be the one that cooked it.  Plus, she might have messed it up, and then I’d be eating terrible lunch all week! Can’t have that.  This week though, it’s a casserole whose time has come, and you can look forward to hearing how well-received it was.

Or who wound up eating cereal for dinner.

Cheep Cheep!

Week 14 Dinner Score

It’s tough following a perfect week, especially knowing how hard pulling that week together was. This week I did cave to a night out, but it was a totally fun night and worth it! Scoring, I’ll accommodate the fact that I had a great night out with my husband in the scoring.

  • Mon: Refrigerator Buffet
  • Tue:  chicken soup, rolls, garden salad, apples.
  • Wed:  Prince Spaghetti Day! pasta, sausage, caesar salad, blackberries.
  • Thur:  pork fried rice, pineapple, snap peas.
  • Fri:  macaroni and cheese, fruit, veg.

Actual:photo 1

  • Mon: Refrigerator Buffet. 3 points.
  • Tue: chicken soup, fresh baked rolls, salad, berries. 3 points.
  • Wed: mac and cheese, chicken tenders, apples, broccoli, carrots/snap pephotoas/bell peppers with ranch. 2 points.
  • Thur: pizza, apples, carrots, bell peppers. Date Night for me and DH. 2 points.
  • Fri: chicken pasta Helper (one skillet meal with pasta and sauce). 1 point.

I love this! 11 points. That’s great. I’m going to hit up a bar graph for the last 14 weeks and see how I’m doing weekly and monthly.  So excited!

Dinner Score, Week 12

For everyone that’s had their mind clouded with cholesterol and poor choices since the Super Bowl, here’s the plan for last week:

  • Mon: beef curry w/rice, spinach, berries
  • Tue:  baked chicken thighs, fruit, veg, carrot sticks
  • Wed:  Prince Spaghetti Day!
  • Thur: osso bucco, polenta, broccoli, fruit
  • Fri:  Fish Fry!

Nothing crazy, no wild ambition to go all Hell’s Kitchen and make a Beef Wellington so Gordon Ramsay can holler about soggy pastry.  Let’s go to the videotape:

  • Mon: beef curry w/rice, berries, cucumber and carrot sticks. 3 points.
  • Tue:  baked chicken thighs, spinach, grapes, cauliflower.  3 points.
  • Wed:  out with friends to fried things and sunshine. 1 point.
  • Thur: homemade pasta, meatballs, caesar salad, apples. 3 points.
  • Fri:  hot dogs, cauliflower, raw vegetable, strawberries, s’mores. 2 points.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

A 12 pointer! That’s a good week.  One meal shifted (spaghetti day), and one changed (minus osso bucco, add hot dog), but over all the week went as expected.  The osso bucco got moved to the weekend, and  the original night out was planned as a Fish Fry night turned into a different night out with friends.

Monday night’s dinner was the funny curry sauce I bought at Fiesta and tweeted about. What, you don’t follow CheepieAustin on Twitter? Why not?  If it’s just because you don’t do Twitter, that’s not a good reason. I don’t do Twitter either, as evidenced by the facts that I feel compelled to capitalize it, I often forget to hashtag, and I’m being followed by more than one racecar driver for reasons deeply unclear to me.

That sauce is not going to be a favorite.  It’s not even in the running. It’s a kind of fruity horrifying thing, and the fact that  I laughed at  the tagline ‘just add mutton’ was less funny once my house smelled like this stuff!  It was very odd. 

Friday night was originally a night out for fried catfish and hushpuppies.  The remix to hot dogs was the result of Tiny wanting to cook her dinner over a fire in the fireplace, since it’d gotten so chilly out.  It was a good plan, but the fire Boy built was so hot that nobody could stand in front of it long enough to cook a hot dog, so a kitchen assist was necessary.  By the time s’mores were needed, the fire had burnt down a bit, thank goodness.

Overall I’m pleased with the week.  Let’s hope I can say the same next week!

Cheep Cheep!

This Week’s Dinners, Week 7

The goals were simple this week, and made with the many school and social plans in mind. It was a partly successful week.Where partly is ‘if this were a class in school, you’d be getting quite a few notes home about not being precisely ‘successful’, young lady’.

Here’s the goal list:

  • Mon: salmon croquettes, rice, steamed spinach, sliced apples, carrot sticks
  • Tue:  soup & salad
  • Wed: Prince Spaghetti Day!  spaghetti and meatballs. possibly homemade tortellini if I feel ambitious. caesar salad. peas. fruit.
  • Thur:  Breakfast for Dinner. 
  • Fri: Movie Night!

And the actual:

  • Mon: salmon croquettes, steamed spinach, carrot sticks, apple slices, rice. 4 people. Score: 2 points.
    Tue:  spaghetti, cooked broccoli/cauliflower, carrot sticks, oranges. 3 people.  Score: 0.5 points.
  • Wed: sandwiches, leftovers. 3 people, not together. Score: 0
  • Thurs: meatballs, fishsticks, macaroni and cheese, cucumbers, apple and orange slices. 4 people, not together. Score: 0.5 points.
  • Fri: burgers at movie night. no supplement with healthy stuff. 3 people. Score: 1 point.

As ever, with DH coming home at variable times, and Eldest having two performances  this week it was tough.  We did manage to not eat take out, so that’s a step in the right direction. P. Terry’s was looming large in my mind on Wed and Thurs, but we ate at home, and that’s always been a tough call when I know we’ll all be happy with fries.

So I’m well back into failing range, but given a week involving banging up the car, working a fundraiser and planning another, and the general mayhem that the holiday season brings, like school posters needing supplies (?) and hosting an origami bird sale in the front yard (!?!), that I didn’t order pizza, pick up burgers, and then go right back to Conan’s for more pizza the night after that is a miracle indeed.

Week 7

  • Score: 4/10
  • Plan followed?: 2.5/5 (half point for spaghetti on the wrong night)
  • Effort?: low

Tune in later today for this week’s Goal Post!  Cheep Cheep!

This Week’s Dinners, Week 6

This week was a recovery week, given the holiday travels. Generally, we eat out too much on a recovery week, because DH and I feel an acute lack of tex-mex immediately on leaving Texas, and it takes us 2-3 doses to recover. My sub goal, after a perfect 10 for family dinner, was to just not eat out this week. Even with all my plans, we often eat out not as a whole family but as a subset. The Call of the Queso is a lure, among us.

Here’s the goal for this week, written after Monday’s supper, looking at a vacation-empty fridge and with an eye toward the pantry and freezer:

  • Mon: tri tip, salad, broccoli/cauliflower, applesauce, cucumber and carrots
  • Tue:  Taco Tuesday!  tacos al pastor, refried beans, queso,tortillas and fixings
  • Wed: Prince Spaghetti day!  alfredo noodles, roasted chicken legs, carrots, salad
  • Thur: egg drop soup, fried rice
  • Fri: pizza/calzone night!

And the actual:

  • Mon:   It’s possible for my self-esteem I should always make the plan after the fact. 4 people. Score: 1.5 points.
  • Tue:  Taco Tuesday! completely as advertised.  7:30 pm. 5 people. Score: 2 points.
  • Wed: Prince Spaghetti day! also as advertised. 7:15 pm. 4 people. Score: 1.5 points.
  • Thur: Refrigerator Buffet.Varied times. 5 people, different times. Score: 0.5 points.
  • Fri: Pizza Night. No calzones, which should mean zero points, but I’m a wuss. 8:30pm. 4 people. Score: 1.5 points.

This is a marked improvement from the Land of 4s!   In the land of 7.0!  This is a lofty area, indeed.

I think what helped me this week was standing in front of the empty fridge, and being able to plan from the freezer/pantry. I posted in front of a zero shopping idea, and it worked. I bought fruit and vegetables, but other than that it was a pantry freezer/week.  I should work on doing that more.

Week 6

  • Score: 7.0/10
  • Plan followed?: 4/5 (point off for Refrigerator buffet)
  • Effort?: middle

This is a definite boost, after the last two weeks.  Tomorrow’s Goal Post will be centered around what was successful this week–using what’s on hand, and supplementing.

This Weeks Dinners, Week 4

Looking back, I see the error of my ways. This week’s plan was a very pretty week, and I feel like I need to make sure my meal plan is pretty, and will be up to snuff for friends and strangers reading it.

In reality, I was pretty sure my week would look nothing like this list. I did try to take things into account–I knew Tuesday would kick my ass, so planned for a crockpot meal, Thursday I made a guess at a birthday meal for Tiny.  But with DH’s new work schedule, four (!) sleepovers, and a movie night party at the house, this was likely the worst score yet. Let’s see the box score!

Here’s the Goal Post:

  • Mon: chicken korma, rice, stir fry broccoli and carrots, raspberries
  • Tue: crockpot beef stew, green salad, peas, cuties
  • Wed:  grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and leftovers
  • Thur:  salmon, angel hair pasta, caesar salad, pears
  • Fri:  Backyard Movie Night! Popcorn and S’mores for all!

And the Actual:

  • Mon:  spontaneous date night, kids ate at home. Score: 0 points.
  • Tue: kids: grilled cheese, carrot sticks, cuties, apples. adults: grilled ham and cheese and soup. 5 people, in shifts. Score: 0.5 points.
  • Wed: crockpot beef stew. 4 people. various times. Score: 0.5 points
  • Thur: P Terry’s, at request of the birthday kid. 6pm. 4 people. Score: 1 point.
  • Fri: Backyard movie night! 6pm. 5 people + guests. Score: 2 points.

I’m giving myself leniency here, and I’m still only at 4 points! Even if the meal wasn’t correct for that day, I gave myself a half point for Wednesday, because it was in the week, and everyone home that night ate some.

Tuesday was a throwback to something I did a lot when the kids were younger. My husband works late, and usually gets home somewhere from 7-9pm. So I’d do ‘nursery supper’, which was feeding the kids earlier, and eating with him when he got home–usually in front of the tv. I gave myself a half point for all of us eating at home, if separately.

I don’t regret doing this, because it was necessary given our schedules. Well, maybe not the tv part. That might not have been strictly necessary, though we did bond a lot over My Name is Earl  (Stay rad, Crab Man!).  I do think that early pattern is playing part in how difficult it is to get everyone to the table at 7pm on a regular basis.  Getting this new routine in place hasn’t happened yet, but I am still hopeful!

The spontaneous date night was funny, because I actually brought up that I would have to give myself zero points for the day. Husband said, ” Okay, no points for you!”, and grabbed his coat. The lure of quiet, calm talk and deep fried things won over the Internet Accountability Plan. I love my Cheepsters, but I don’t turn down fried jalepenos very often.

So this is a step backward, here at the end of Month 1. That’ll happen. It was a week with three home-cooked meals, four if you were a kid living here, and that’s better than some weeks we’ve had her at Rancho del Cheepie. Still a solid fail, but it was a fail ending in style–that movie night rocked!

Lessons from this week: be more honest about what the week holds.

Week 4

  • Score: 4.0 /10
  • Plan followed?: 2.5/5 (half-point for the crockpot meal on wrong day, full points Thur/Fri)
  • Effort?: tiresome. 75%.

Tomorrow the new weekly plan will be up. Cheep Cheep!

This Week’s Dinners, Week 3

This week hit a new snag–I didn’t keep track of dinners.  I’m going to go ahead and blame Daylight Savings Time, because that was popular this week.

So this is me, trying to reconstruct our week from memory.  Given I forgot and left a kid at a dance class this week, we’ll have to hope for the best here (and be grateful to kind people who are understanding when you are late to pick up a kid).

This was the plan, which I helpfully copied from the Sunday Night Goal Post:

  • Mon: pork fried rice, stir-fried cabbage, berries, tomato salad.
  • Tue: Election Returns Night! Crockpot chicken, homemade bread, caesar salad.
  • Wed: take out!
  • Thur: baked ziti, spinach salad, apples
  • Fri: salmon, couscous, chopped salad, fruit.

And this is the actual, reconstructed from my noggin:

  • Mon:  pork fried rice, stir-fried cabbage and apples, berries, tomato salad, green salad. 7:15pm. 5 people. Score: 2 points.
  • Tue: Taco Tuesday! crockpot chicken, tortillas, shredded cheese, refried beans, caesar salad, berries, cucumbers. 5 people. Score: 2 points.
  • Wed: night out together. 5 people. Score: 2 points.
  • Thur: meant it to be leftovers, people wound up eating out, separately. Score: 0 points.
  • Fri:  Pizza Night. 6:30pm. 4 people. Score: 0.5 points.

What we have here is a Wednesday Night breakdown, but on Thursday. For three days I followed the plan, and then it went kerflooey, right down the tubes.  Not only were we not eating together, but we spent money eating out separately!

I wonder if I didn’t follow the plan on Monday would the entire week go off the rails, or would I recover mid-week?  I’m sure we’ll see sometime soon.

Thursday was a kid-event that had Tiny and I out of the house from 6-8pm. I’d tried to encourage leftovers, but Family Dinner doesn’t happen if Mom isn’t there, and the lure of Tex-Mex held sway.

I had a plan on Friday, but pizza won. Sometimes, you just have to let pizza win and watch some tv, and that’s what I did. If we’d all sat at the table to eat it, or even eaten in the same room, I’d have given myself a whole point. As it was, we were all looking at different screens and I’m giving myself the half-point for just all interacting while getting pizza out of the box.

This week tied last week. I’m now really wondering if a 10 is possible for us. I also wonder what our scores were before I was making an effort. My guess is a 4 or so.

Week 3

  • Score: 6.5 /10
  • Plan followed?: 3/5
  • Effort?: medium. 50%.

Look for the Weekly Dinner Plan post tomorrow! Cheep Cheep!


P.S. The text editor really, really didn’t want me to publish this post with the word kerflooey. Which is ridiculous, everyone knows what that word means. So I tried to look it up in the dictionary, and it isn’t there. I disagree with Mr. Dictionary on this matter.

What is there? Kerchoo. You’ll be happy to know that kerchoo means ‘ahchoo’.  Not kidding even a little.  Thanks, Dictionary!

This Week’s Dinners, Week 2

Overall, I’d say this was an improved week. Carrot soup didn’t happen, but we had two new foods in the form of sunflower sprouts and risotto.

The risotto was a technical glitch, as a kid made the completely reasonable guess that risotto was rice, and should go in the rice cooker.  Dump enough butter and parmesan on things, and you can correct a lot of mistakes. If not everyone liked it, it was still a kid helping make dinner, and this is a Good Thing, as Martha might say.

Here’s the plan:

  • Mon:  salmon croquettes, sesame rice, peas, fruit, tomato salad
  • Tue:  Taco tuesday–chicken, beans, cheese, tortillas and fixings, fruit, green salad
  • Wed:  baked ziti, caesar salad, carrot and celery sticks
  • Thur:  Refrigerator Buffet! and Carrot Soup!
  • Fri:  Halloween! Pizza and candy for all!

Here’s the actual:

  • Mon: salmon patties, risotto, sliced oranges, peas. tomato salad. 7:30 pm. 5 people. Score: 2 points.
  • Tue: Taco Tuesday! Ground beef, cheese, chicken enchiladas. green salad, broccoli, sunflower sprouts and carrot sticks, black beans and tortillas. 7:30 pm. 5 people. Score: 2 point.
  • Wed: mac and cheese. caesar salad. apples. broccoli. 7:15 pm. Girls dinner, 3 people. Score: 1 point.
  • Thurs: chicken strips, fries, broccoli, apples, green salad. Kids only.  Score: 1 point.
  • Fri: pizza at Halloween party. Score: 0.5 points.

Given last weeks 5, this is a better showing. 6.5/10 is still not a great grade, but it’s reflecting more of us sitting down together more of the time, which is what  this is all about.

One of the kids gave me the score for Friday. I’d been inclined to give myself one point, because it was the plan, after all, even if we didn’t exactly eat together.  Kid replied, “Mom, I had cake for dinner. Half a point.”  I’m inclined to agree.  We didn’t eat together, we didn’t eat a healthy meal, so I get a half point for at least sticking to the plan.

Interesting scoring problems keep coming up. Wednesday was still a pasta night, but I didn’t have time to shop that day so ziti was out, and the guys weren’t home.  I gave myself a half-point each for getting three of us to the table and for a decently well-rounded meal.  Thursday became impromptu date night, so again, half-point each for getting three kids to the table to eat a meal with more than two food groups represented.

I felt better about how we did this week. The pattern of sticking to the plan earlier and derailing on Wednesday is interesting. Will it continue? I don’t know. Theoretically, it should be the day I’m most solid, because that’s the day I have the most free time.  I’d never noticed this trend before I started the Weekly Dinner Plan project. We’ll see how it goes this week.

Week 2

  • Score: 6.5 /10
  • Plan followed?: 3/5
  • Effort?: mediumish. 70%.

Look for the Weekly Dinner Plan post tomorrow! Cheep Cheep!

This Week’s Dinners

So. Here we are. First week done. Not to spoil you or anything, but I think this will be easy to keep as a recurring feature, given the room for improvement. To recap, this was the plan for the week:

  • Mon:  pork fried rice, broccoli, apples, spinach salad
  • Tue:  leftover posole (from the weekend), cornbread, avocado, grapes
  • Wed:  baked chicken thighs, pasta with garlic and oil, carrot and celery sticks, steamed spinach
  • Thur:  Refrigerator Buffet! (need a refresher on this? check here)
  • Fri:  Octoberfest party with friends

Here’s the actual:

  • Mon: pork fried rice, spinach and feta salad, bananas, cucumber and celery sticks. 7:15 pm. people attending: 4. Score: 1 point.
  • Tue: leftover posole, chicken and stars soup, wheat bread, spinach and feta salad, apples, avocado. Broccoli forgotten in microwave. 7:00 pm. people attending: 5. Score: 1.5 points.
  • Wed: cheese pizza from the freezer, cucumber slices.  8:00pm.  people attending: 2. Score: 0 points.
  • Thur: broiled salmon, broccoli, blackberries, caesar salad, butter noodles, pesto, cucumber and carrots. 7:15 pm. people attending: 5. Score: 2 points.
  • Fri: German food at Octoberfest. 7:00 pm.  people attending: 3. Score: 0.5 points.

Wednesday was clearly the problem day, but Thursday was a good recovery.  My scoring system is arbitrary, invented on the spot each night when I wrote down what we’d had for dinner.  I took one whole point off if everyone wasn’t present, and a half point off for missing a food group. Out of a possible 10 points, this week was a 5. A flunk! With a plan, good intentions and internet accountability, I still fail family dinner.

Week 1

  • Score: 5/10
  • Plan followed?: 3/5
  • Effort?: medium

Tomorrow is another day. Surely, next week will be better. Halloween can’t disrupt a whole week, right? RIGHT?