Monday Night Goal Post

While I am trying to make sure these go up on Sunday, my life is conspiring against me. It’s possible that I’ll have to permanently shift the Sunday Night Goal Post to Monday, but for now I’m continuing to view it as an aberration. 

As with the Happy Ad Tuesday post, I’m trying not to see this as a failure, but simply an adapting of the blog to my actual life.  The blocks of time I have free to compose a post are when they are, and I’ve got to use what I can.

This week will have a head start, since I’ve already fed dinner to people, meaning I’ll get all the points for Monday.  Whoop!  I’ll add a challenge to a later weeknight to balance it out.  See if you can spot it.

Sale items this week that I’m using are: apples, bone-in chicken breasts, and avocados.

  • Mon:  baked chicken breasts, couscous, caesar salad, berries and apples, cauliflower
  • Tues:  Taco Tuesday. beef tacos, beans, pico de gallo, queso, apples, carrots
  • Wed:  Prince Spaghetti Day.  salmon ravioli, spinach salad, fruit
  • Thurs:  tomato soup and grilled cheese,  fruit, veg
  • Fri:  Family Crafty Night. coconut chicken on rice, fruit, veg

I’m feeling good about two weeks of good scores.  This week Eldest has a lot of school commitments, and Tiny is doing booths for selling cookies for Girl Scouts, so there are scheduling concerns.  With luck it’ll all work out!

Cheep Cheep!


Sunday Night Goal Post

Check Cheepie out! 

Four months in, and not only am I wrapping up loss leaders for efficient stocking up, but I am getting those Clearance aisles rounded up, tweeting (and soon pinning! look out!), Facebooking, and now, possibly for this week only, I’m inviting random internet strangers, AND MY MOM, to score me on dinner for the week.

It’s internet history, Cheepsters.

To recap things that have derailed weeks past: people not at home/sick, food that only I like, going out to eat, not looking at the calendar and Wednesday.  Wednesday really did turn out to be the biggest bitch of the list.  Apparently I’ve only got two good days in me per week for Family Dinner. 

That was true according to my very harsh personal CheepieAustin score, though.  I’m interested to see what the voting public thinks. According to everything I know about voting after living here in Austin for decades, this should prove that one out of every 20 readers will share an opinion, and most of those will be about light rail.

Cheepie will sally forth anyway!

This week’s plan:

  • Mon:  pork fried rice, peas, pineapple, spinach salad
  • Tue:  ham and bean soup, fresh bread, fruit, carrot sticks
  • Wed:  angel hair, alfredo or pesto sauce, garlic bread, ricotta cheese, sauteed vegetables, fruit
  • Thur:  leftover buffet!
  • Fri:  grilled steak, triangle potatoes, salad

And no, we’re still not going to include weekends, because I can hardly keep track of the weekday meals. It’s enough that we’re all together. If we all live off of Triscuits and cream cheese all weekend, well, that’s just my Yankee roots alive and well then, isn’t it?

Sorry mom, no liverwurst. Love you!

Sunday Night Goal Post

I realize that most of you are reading this on Monday morning (all 5 of you! I love you guys! You rock! I am having you all over for a Baked Ziti Extravaganza soon!), but I like the Sunday Night football reference of ‘Goal Post’ so I’m sticking with it. Cheepie likes birds (Cheep Cheep!)  and football, it seems.

I’m really working from the freezer for meat this week, given the space taken by turkeys. It’s also the end of the year, and while it doesn’t make sense, given I buy meat all year, I feel like I need to empty what I can from the fridge/freezer/pantry at this time.  So I want to use what I’ve got. 

I feel like I need to renew, so I’m trying to use up the pantry staples like dried beans and random condiments up, to make room. Room for what? Room for new things I find on sale and new projects!  I really want to start making vanilla, and I need to get Eldest on board with pancakes not from Bisquick. We’ve got everything to make pancakes right here, and she knows it.

So this week’s kind of plain plan, in between the big holidays:

  • Mon: meatloaf, sweet potatoes, green salad. blackberries. peas.
  • Tue: pan-fried halibut, pineapple, couscous, green salad
  • Wed: sandwiches, veggie sticks and ranch, apple slices
  • Thur: End of Term Pizza Day!
  • Fri:  Oven Ribs, potato salad, bbq etc.

Here’s hoping for the best. Cheep Cheep!

Sunday Night Goal Post

Last week went well in part because I stood in front of the open fridge and thought for a bit about how the week would go.  I realize it’s not optimal for this thinking to be done in front of an open refrigerator, but given that it got me from a 4 to a 7, I’m going to stick with it.  So give me a minute, here… Ok. Here’s my week, after looking at both the fridge and the pantry, and then remembering to ALSO check my calendar.

  • 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.  Pancakes and scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast and English muffins, berries and sliced tomatoes (those are for me)(yes, I’m going to slice them, put them on a plate like everyone will help themselves to some, and then eat them all myself with a bit of salt)(it’s not a crime)(at least not yet)(it’s ‘misrepresenting familial interest in vegetables’, at best, and I don’t think they’ve got that one on the books yet).
  • Fri: Movie Night! I will supplement cheeseburgers/chicken strips/fried cheese with fruit and veg. Enjoy a chuckle with me here, as we imagine me re-packing the cucumber rounds and cuties.

I think this is practical, and do-able, but I always think that on Sunday night.  Apparently, Sunday night is when I dream big, and somewhere about Wednesday my Dream Engine gives up and it’s all frito pie and P. Terry’s from there. So here’s hoping, my friends. Cheep Cheep!

Sunday Night Goal Post

After last week’s larger fail than usual, my plan this week will be very straightforward.  I’ll continue awarding one point for sticking with the plan, and one point for everyone showing up, with half points assigned if I think it was at least half-worthy.

This week I’m using boneless skinless chicken breasts (from now on: bscb) frozen from last week’s sale, berries, carrots (also last week), tomatoes, and apples that I bought on sale.  The rice was also a sale item, but I’m not sure which week, but I know that I always buy rice on sale.

Here’s the game plan:

  • Mon:  chicken fried rice, egg drop soup, steamed spinach, carrots and ranch, apples
  • Tue:  leftover ziti, caesar salad, celery and carrot sticks, cuties
  • Wed: baked fish, potatoes, peas, salad
  • Thur: Taco Thursday! quesadillas, beans, lettuce/tomato/cheese/sour cream, berries
  • Fri: potato soup, homemade bread, fruit & veg

Because of kid activities and meetings, I shifted Taco Tuesday, and Prince Spaghetti Day (not sure what I’m talking about? Here ya go). This is part of my be-honest-about-what-you-can-get-done enterprise. I’m feeling confident this week can work.

I’m going to write a full Grocery Theory post  later in the week, but I’d like to make a quick note about desserts and snacks. I think a lot of people lose a chunk of their grocery budget to these items, with both nutrition and frugality taking a backseat, as I’ve posted about before (remember that post where I linked the music video? and wrote a lot more about popcorn than you thought anyone really could?). Last week was a poor showing, and I think part of it was I had focused on getting meals, not just dinner but all of them, as we all do, squared away, and I forgot about having snacks and dessert on hand.

Sometimes I need to follow my own advice better! Cheep Cheep!

Sunday Night Goal Post

This week is a ‘pare down the freezer and pantry week’. With Turkey Season upon us, I need more freezer and fridge space available.  Using things that I’ve stocked up on is important if I’m going to deal with things like buying three turkeys because I found them for 59c/lb, or fifteen cans of cranberry sauce because they were 50% off (what? you don’t eat a turkey and cranberry on white bread with mayo every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas? fine, you heathen.)

Sale items I’m using this week are boneless skinless chicken breasts, raspberries, rice, and cheese (a J4U Randalls deal),

  • Mon: chicken korma, rice, stri 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!

This isn’t following the usual weekly schedule, but we’re accommodating a few different things–new work schedules, field trips and a talent show–that aren’t usually on deck, along with the freezer/pantry slimdown.

This is week 4 of the Internet-Accountable Family Dinner plan. We are having more dinners together than before.  Scoring myself seems to pry me into marshalling the troops at 7:30 pm, when otherwise I might have just put it all on the counter and yelled, “Dinner!”.  Midweek is still a hurdle, even with planned take-out breaks.

Let’s see if I break the 6.5 point ceiling this week–Cheep Cheep!

Sunday Night Goal Post

This week’s score was an improvement, and I’m hoping that sustained effort will have the family come to accept a pattern. 7pm. Dinner. At the house.  Repetition is the only strategy I’ve got right now. Fortunately, it’s also one of the reliable behavior-changers, so I’m hopeful. There’s also Tiny clanging a triangle until everyone shows up, but we’re not quite there yet.

Here’s this week’s plan. Pork, tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries (not a Wed ad post, but on FB and Twitter) were the sale items.

  • 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.

I’m interested to see if there’s a better score this week–there’s still a disruption, though Election Day isn’t near as big a meal disruptor as Halloween is.

Sunday Night Goal Post!

Hello Cheepsters! Hope everyone had a good weekend, and you’re all ready for Halloween.  It’s all over here except for the candy.  Well, that and Tiny still changing her mind about what kind of vampire to be. Pink Vampire is currently winning.

Here’s the plan for this week. Salmon is leftover from last week, sale items were: tomatoes, carrots, celery and chicken.

  • 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 hoping I beat my current record of 5 points.

…and we’re back to Scary Vampire. Or Pirate Vampire. Stay tuned!

Accountability, Internet Style!

I’ve been working on having more family dinners. Some weeks are more successful than others, but after several weeks we usually manage three. Once it was four, and we were all sort of impressed with ourselves. As if to show us we’re new at this, the universe conspired the very next week to have us count up exactly zero family dinners. Choir and theater performances, meetings and sleepovers all piled up, and it was two kids eating here, one kid eating out, and parents eating late.

Back in this post, I talked about how some reading, and having a weekly plan, helped to get us all to the table. The week we had no family dinners? No plan was made.

So, Sunday will be the day I post the plan for the week. I’ll actually type it up, and other people will read it. Saturday, I get a score!  It’ll be a way for me to set aside time to reliably make a plan, and to evaluate what is working and what isn’t.  As a bonus, all you Cheepsters get to watch!  Sometime soon I’ll put something ridiculous like ‘homemade ravioli’ on the plan, and imagine the suspense of waiting to see if I pulled it off.  It’ll be like Scandal, with a short white girl that’s much less stylish playing the lead.  And a tall beardy-headed guy playing Jake. And only dinner at risk, not national security. But maybe I get a white hat?

These plans will follow the weekly plan I’d posted earlier. That’s pretty much always in my head when I’m sorting out a week of meals. It will vary depending on what’s in my fridge/freezer, and what’s on sale.

I’m also not going to list everything–I’ve always got fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and frozen vegetables.  When we all sit down, my goal is for the plates to have: meat, cooked vegetable, raw vegetable, fruit, starch.  So if you look at the meal and think, “Wait, roast pork? That’s not a whole meal!”, you can mentally add those things. Or hell, I can just make up an abbreviation for it. CVRVFS. No. That looks like something the gynecologist would tell me needed a follow-up pap in a month.

It’ll sort itself out.  Let’s go. First public CheepieAustin Weekly Meal Plan:

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

Saturday and Sunday are still not included, because we’re all over the place those days. We might meet friends, go out, smoke BBQ for 20, there’s no telling. My goal here is the weeknight family dinner, so I’m sticking to that.

This is a light week, really. I’ve got leftovers on Tuesday and Thursday, and a night off built in.  Let’s see how I do.

Cheep Cheep!