The Weekly Wrap #14

06.27.2021

On Fridays, I sit down to meal plan for the week. Some weeks it's easy; some weeks it's hard. This was a hard week. We dine out one dinner a week, so there are six dinners to fill. Neither the husband or I had a craving to slot in to one of the spots. So, six dinners, no cravings, and a toddler who is mostly consuming berries and quesadillas. 

I mentally went through our freezer to base dinners off of what needs to be eaten. This week, that meant a half pound of ground pork and some chicken breast. Monday is meatless so I searched my vegetarian tag in Evernote. Saturday dinner is almost always shrimp. Sunday night dinner has to be a slow cooker or quick since we have a standing family FaceTime that wraps up right before dinner time. Even with these parameters, I struggled this week. I would default to all pasta and/or cheese based recipes. That doesn't work when you're trying to get your kiddo to try new foods.

I love food. In high school, I even considered going to culinary school. Cooking is not a chore to me - but the planning can be. It's hard to balance a week of dinners when you want an assortment of ingredients, need to use certain ingredients by a certain time, and have to consider the whims of a toddler who adores peas one day and pushes them away the next.

I eventually settled on a menu but I get why so many people just order in, get pizza, or simply pour out some cereal. Meal planning can be tough, but I like that it helps me reduce food waste, limits our shops to once a week, and makes the rest of the week easy. I may struggle to meal plan, but at least that battle is limited to one day a week.

​How do you decide on dinner?

I’m just a few pages away from polishing off Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. This section is the afterward which was added in the updated edition. It’s interesting to see him compare his time in the kitchen with the way things are now.

For work, I started reading I Came as a Shadow by John Thompson. It’s the common read title for the upcoming academic year. The library provides a support guide to help faculty with assignments and to direct students to research. So, I read the books to enable me to put that together. I’m learning a lot about basketball - but that’s actually the least interesting stuff in the book. The writing style is more interview transcript than narrative which is not to my taste, but the substance makes up for that. Would recommend.

  • Explaining baking soda versus baking powder. [WaPo]

  • The case for better "Out of Office" messages. [Galaxy Brain]

  • This wood art is incredible! [Colossal

  • What to do when the power goes out. [Real Simple]

  • Video game music is my secret productivity hack. I like the Assassin's Creed soundtracks. [Lifehacker]

  • Tiny forests for big cities. [NatGeo]

  • Motherhood is just a bundled riot of emotions. [WaPo]

  • Pre-toddler and pre-pandemic,  I was a part of a D&D group, I can attest to the accuracy of this glorious TikTok. [@blumineck]

  • The amazing aural artistry of foley work. [Great Big Story]

  • We continue our binge watching of Doctor Who. Sometimes, this show is more like the horror genre than sci-fi. I am not a huge fan of jump scares and all that but the writing is so good that I endure for this series. [HBO Max]

  • I had a solo parenting night last week. That meant I wanted a dinner on the menu that was fast, easy, and toddler approved. I fell back on a favorite - tortellini, peas, and pesto. No recipe. Just those three ingredients.

  • I found a recipe from our rotation that works great with cauliflower rice - curry beef and peas. Since there are potatoes, you don't miss the starch of rice. Since it's saucy, the cauliflower rice takes on a great flavor. I like to throw a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top. I've also made this with naan (or pita) and it's tasty that way as well. [Budget Bytes]

DC had a string of glorious weather days. It was so nice, we were able to turn off our AC and open the windows. For over 48 hours, we got to enjoy shockingly low humidity and gentle breezes. It's back to the sweat box now, but I am going to savor the memory of those days and add them to my happy place.

Years ago, I coveted my mom’s rechargeable booklight. She gifted me one for Christmas. It’s been a great tool for reading in bed at night BUT I found another use. I clipped it to my second monitor and now it serves as a “here’s my face” light for Zoom calls. Sure, it’s not as good as a professional ring light, but it was on hand, easy to rig up, and works. I wish I had thought of using it earlier.

I gave myself an arbitrary deadline of June 30 on several work projects. I hate missing deadlines. So this will be me as I try to wrap up all these things by COB Wednesday.