It’s a No-Monday-Meal-Plan Week

Happy Monday! If you’re in a part of the United States that received snow and ice over the weekend, I hope you’ve managed to dig out. Helena was one of those winter storms that mercifully skipped over upstate New York. (Since we’ve already received a good amount of snow this season, I was happy to take a pass on this one.)

I’m not doing a meal plan this week. No, I haven’t already given up on my goals for 2017. It’s been a challenging few days for my family, and our upcoming week is somewhat unpredictable.

Weekend Update

My husband’s grandmother passed away late last week. We knew her passing was coming, and were able to see her for a final time at Christmas. But – as anyone who’s lost someone close to them knows – no matter how much notice you have, it’s always difficult to say goodbye to a loved one.

On top of that, my husband came down with strep throat on Friday. He’s been quite sick – feverish, tired, and has a terrible sore throat with cough – for the past few days. He started on an antibiotic on Saturday, and we’re hoping he’ll be back to normal shortly. (Please cross your fingers that our daughter and I avoid catching it.) Needless to say, we spent the weekend hunkered down at home.

The Week Ahead

We traveled to New Jersey yesterday for my husband’s grandmother’s wake and funeral. Depending on how late the funeral and family luncheon runs on Tuesday, we’ll either head home on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. If time permits, I’d like to get to the grocery store, since I’ll be going back to work on Thursday. (I’ve been off since early November!) Otherwise, I’ll go on Friday. To get us through then, we’ll probably be eating out of the freezer and pantry, and there may be a pizza in the cards.

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Monday Meal Plan #17

Happy Monday, and happy 2017!! I hope you and your family enjoyed the holidays.

As is our tradition, we spent Christmas Eve at home, just the three of us. It’s always the only day of the year when our daughter not only puts up zero resistance to going to bed, but actually insists on going early. (Thank you NORAD Santa tracker!!) The downside is that she insists that we go to bed early, too, to make sure the house is quiet and everyone is asleep for Santa’s arrival.

We opened presents together on Christmas morning, and headed to New Jersey to spend Christmas with my husband’s family. We spent two nights in the Garden State, then stopped at my parents’ house in Orange County on the 27th. Some of my extended family members met us there, and we got to spend an afternoon catching up with them.

In the days that followed, we slowly put away the Christmas decorations, slept in a lot, went sledding, and took advantage of some post-Christmas sales. It’s going to be tough to get back into the swing of things, but as someone who likes a routine and a fresh start, I think it’ll be (mostly) good. (I am going to miss sleeping in, though…)

The Week Ahead

This is a transition week for our family. Both my husband and my daughter were off all of last week, and they’re back to work and school this week (Tuesday). We don’t have much of anything planned, with the exception of a very special dinner on Wednesday – and it won’t be made by me!!

This Week’s Meal Plan

I took a meal-planning break during the holidays, but it’s a new year, so I’m back at it! (If you read my goals for 2017 post, you know that finding a way to dread this task less is one of them.) Here’s what’s for dinner at my house this week:

  • Monday: Brinner – waffles and bacon
  • Tuesday: Pasta with butternut squash, kale, and pine nuts
  • Wednesday: It’s my bithday, so I’m not cooking. Happy birthday to me!!
  • Thusday: Chili w/ raw veggies
  • Friday:  Leftovers
  • Saturday: Baked shrimp scampi (from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics) w/ orzo and salad
  • Sunday: Lasagna soup w/ bread

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Monday Meal Plan #16

Happy Monday! We woke up to about six inches of snow on the ground, and a school cancellation. #itsstillfall Fortunately, it hasn’t gotten too cold, yet, so my daughter and I were able to get some good sledding time in.

Weekend Recap

We had a pretty low-key weekend at home, although we did host my parents for our annual Christmas celebration with them. But first, my husband and I took our daughter to the library for their gingerbread house making program. They provide the space and the materials – and the clean-up!! They don’t skimp on decorations, either. There are various kinds of sprinkles, candies, cookies, and pretzels for adorning the houses.

Hard at work!

My parents arrived Saturday afternoon. We had lunch with them, chatted, opened presents, and had our (very) early Christmas dinner with them. I had planned to make my grandmother’s shrimp scampi recipe, but remembered that my mother doesn’t like shellfish. Instead I made the Spinach in Puff Pastry recipe from Barefoot in Paris. I love it – but then again, I love anything in puff pastry! I also made the Endive, Pear, and Roquefort Salad recipe from the same book, although I left the egg yolk out of the vinaigrette. My parent spent the night at our house, then left after a quick lunch on Sunday. The rest of my day included reading the Sunday NY Times, eating, and napping. A pretty good Sunday in my book!

The Week Ahead

This is going to be my least busy week in a while. We have no holiday events or activities, nor any extracurricular activities. (Tonight’s Brownies’ meeting was cancelled because school was closed.) I’m meeting a friend for coffee tomorrow, and have a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, but they’re both during the day. (One other thing I’m looking forward to this week is the installation of our tankless hot water heater.) Our NYC trip next weekend is definitely the most exciting part of our week. (And not just because it means I’ll get two nights off from cooking!)

This Week’s Meal Plan

  • Monday: Pasta with Sunday Slow Cooker Beef Ragu (from the freezer)
  • Tuesday: Weeknight Black Bean Chili w/ rice
  • Wednesday: Leftovers
  • Thursday: Eggs, bacon, and toast – brinner!!
  • Friday: Dinner at my parents’ house
  • Saturday: Dinner out in NYC
  • Sunday: Ravioli with frozen veggies

What’s for dinner at your house this week??

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Monday Meal Plan #15

Monday Meal Plan

Weekend Recap

We had one of those blissful, quiet weekends at home. On Saturday, I took my daughter to a Brownies (Girl Scouts) masquerade party at the library. While she was there, I got coffee with the mother of one her friends. We hadn’t caught up in a while, so it was great to have a couple of hours together.

I didn’t leave the house on Sunday. I got a good amount of cleaning done, read some of my current book, and caught up on some important lounging.


Oh, and we ate way too much delicious crumb cake all weekend. I’m a huge lover of crumb cake and coffee cake – Is there a difference? – but I had never made them before. I tried the (easy) recipe in Martha Stewart Baking, and the cake is wonderful. (It should be. Between the cake and the crumb topping, there are almost five sticks of butter in the recipe.)

The Week Ahead

This week is going to be busier than usual. My daughter has a Brownies meeting until 5:30 tonight – thus, the quick and easy dinner I’m making. Tomorrow is the second grade holiday concert at 6pm. I understand why the school schedules the concert at this time, but, man, does it make for a hectic evening. My mother is coming up to attend the concert with us, and she’ll stay over tomorrow night. We’ll pick up a pizza on the way home from the concert. On Wednesday, my daughter’s Brownies troop is singing at our town’s Christmas tree lighting, making it a perfect leftovers night.

On Saturday, my parents are coming up for our Christmas celebration. Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve at home, just the three of us, then drive to my husband’s family’s house in New Jersey on Christmas day. Since we don’t see my parents at any point during the Christmas holiday, we get together with them for an early Christmas celebration every year. We have a nice dinner and dessert together, then open our presents for each other. (We’re doing it a bit early this year, because my husband, my daughter, and I will be in NYC the weekend before Christmas.) This year I’m planning to make my Italian grandmother’s shrimp scampi recipe. She was a fantastic cook, and made big, delicious Sunday dinners for many, many years. I was thrilled when I found her hand-written scampi recipe, a couple of years after she died. I’ve meant to try it before, but haven’t, so a family gathering seems like a great time to make it.

Meal Plan

Here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Pasta with garlic, tomatoes, and spinach (my vegetarian take on Ree Drummond’s Chicken Pasta Florentine)
  • Tuesday: (School concert at 6pm) Pizza and salad
  • Wednesday: (Town tree lighting at 7:30pm) Leftovers
  • Thursday: Beef burrito casserole (I didn’t get to this last week.)
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: (Christmas dinner with my parents) Grandma’s shrimp scampi w/pasta and green beans
  • Sunday: Baked ziti (Another one I didn’t get to last week)

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Monday Meal Plan #14

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday!! Has your turkey coma worn off, yet?

Holiday Weekend Recap

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at my sister’s house in Massachusetts. We got to see my sister, brother-in-law and their kids, my parents, and some of my brother-in-law’s family members. My daughter played almost constantly with my nephew, which is so sweet to see. She’s seven and he’s four, but the age difference is rarely an issue for them. Since my daughter is an only child, I love seeing her building a relationship with her cousin. (At nine months, my other nephew held absolutely no interest for her, but I’m sure that will change some day.) In addition to catching up with family and enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, we were fortunate that there was barely any traffic when we made the four-hour drive early Thursday morning, and again on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, we said goodbye to our autumn decorations, and my husband hauled all of the Christmas decorations out of the basement. He spent most of that day setting up lights, unpacking ornaments, and otherwise enveloping our house in Christmas spirit.

Searching for the perfect tree

We also cut down our Christmas tree for the first time. We like to put our tree up the weekend following Thanksgiving, and in recent years, there have been more needles on the floor under the tree, than on it, by the time December 26th rolled around. To try to extend the life of our tree, we decided to cut it ourselves this year. (I use the term “ourselves” loosely, since my husband did all of the sawing and most of the dragging.)

Photo credit: My seven year-old

The Week Ahead

It’s back to work and school for my husband and daughter this week, and I have a number of appointments on multiple days (doctor, exterminator, consignment, etc.). My daughter had a Brownies meeting until 5:30 on Monday, and there’s a big event in Saratoga Springs on Thursday evening, the Victorian Streetwalk. Other than that, it should be a relatively quiet week.

This Week’s Meal Plan

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Monday Meal Plan #13

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday, and Thanksgiving week! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We got a little snow yesterday, and it really feels like the holiday season is upon us!

Weekend Recap

I had a lovely and lazy weekend at home. I didn’t set foot outside my house on Saturday. Instead, I did some reading, researched pie recipes, took a bath, and emptied, purged, and organized my dresser drawers. (If you’re keeping score, that’s the first thing I’ve done from my winter break goals.) Yesterday, I did a little more reading, finalized my Thanksgiving recipes, and did a very small amount of cleaning. The highlight of the day was attending the Nutcracker Tea at the Hall of Springs in Spa State Park with friends. It’s a fundraiser for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and this was the third year I took my daughter to this event. After the last time we went, I felt like I had my fill of it. But as soon as the tickets went on sale this year, nostalgia and the holiday spirit took hold of me, and there was no looking back!

The Upcoming Week

This is a pretty atypical week for my family, as I’m sure it is for most of you, too. My daughter only has school today and tomorrow, and my husband’s office closes early on Wednesday.

In past years, we’ve had Thanksgiving with my family at my parents’ house, then traveled to my in-law’s house in New Jersey. Since my nephew, Charlie, had surgery a couple of months ago, traveling with him would be too much for my sister and her husband this year. Instead, they’ll be hosting at their house outside Boston. Because driving any distance on Wednesday is typically a nightmare, we’re getting up early and driving to Massachusetts on Thursday.


My contribution to the Thanksgiving meal is dessert. Even though making pie terrifies me – especially on an important holiday – I’m bringing one pie, a pumpkin cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookies. (The latter is a request from my four year-old nephew.) After much research, I decided to make the classic apple pie recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, and Ree Drummond’s Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. And for the cookies, I’ll use the Nestle Toll House recipe.

This Week’s Meal Plan

Since we won’t be eating at home for a couple of days, this week’s meal plan is pretty simple. Here’s what’s for dinner at my house this week:

  • Monday: Sausage, lentil, and kale soup w/ baguette (This is the third time it’s been on a meal plan, and this time I mean it!!)
  • Tuesday: Leftover soup
  • Wednesday: Pasta with Sunday slow cooker beef ragu (from the freezer) w/ roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!!
  • Friday: Brinner – pancakes and bacon (This also didn’t happen last week, as I had planned.)
  • Saturday: Beef burrito casserole w/green salad
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you making an entire meal, or select elements?

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Monday Meal Plan #12

Monday Meal Plan

Hey there! Happy Monday-ish! I’m a little late in putting this week’s meal plan together for a variety of reasons. First, my husband and I spent Saturday night at a hospital gala a few hours away. Friends of ours were kind enough to let our daughter spend the night with them, so we were able to spend the night at the resort/casino where the event was held. When we got home on Sunday afternoon, I was tired and focused on reading countless articles about the presidential election in two Sunday papers. Also,we picked up a pizza on our way home Sunday, so I knew I had at least Monday’s dinner covered. Finally, have I mentioned that I dread putting together my meal plan every week?? 🙂

The Week Ahead

We have just a couple of unusual things going on this week. Tuesday is a half-day at school. This is the last of four half days for my daughter has had in October and November for parent-teacher conferences. On Wednesday evening, I’m meeting a friend for a holiday shopping event. On Friday evening, my daughter has what will likely be her last hip  hop dance class. The thing she enjoys most about it is that she gets to spend an extra hour with her BFF, so her BFF’s mom and I decided to save the money we would’ve spent on the winter session, and take turns hosting Friday evening playdates at our houses. Everybody wins! And on Sunday afternoon, my daughter and I are going to a Nutcracker performance and tea. Since I have several days without appointments or activities this week, I’m planning to make some progress on my winter break goals.

Dinner Meal Plan:

Monday: Leftover pizza w/ cut-up veggies

Tuesday: Spicy peanut noodles from Simple, Vegetarian Pleasures w/ roasted asparagus (I didn’t get to this one last week.)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Roasted salmon and Brussels sprouts

Friday: Brinner (probably pancakes and bacon)

Saturday: Sausage, lentil, and kale soup w/ baguette

Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Monday Meal Plan #11

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Recap

I enjoyed a relaxing weekend at home. My in-laws came up for a visit on Saturday. They brought my 11 year-old nephew with them, since he had missed the family birthday party for my daughter a couple of weeks ago. He brought my daughter some birthday presents, and even played Barbie dolls with her. We went out to lunch, took the kids to a park and playground, and had coffee and dessert at our house, before they headed back to New Jersey.

I spent all day at home yesterday, which I love doing every now and again. I cut back the dead plants in my flower bed, cleaned up the remnants of my straw bale garden, and covered the flower bed with the leftover straw. This serves two purposes: (1) the decomposing straw is a layer of compost, and (2) it prevents the early growth of weeds in the spring. (This was my second year growing vegetables in straw bales, and I am a believer! This method is perfect for cooler areas, with relatively short growing seasons, like upstate New York. I learned all about this method from reading this book.)

The rest of my Sunday was spent coloring and playing with my daughter, catching up on other blogs, and lounging. A pretty perfect Sunday, if you asked me!

The Week Ahead

This is my first week of winter break from my job, which means that I’m off until January 10th. From an income perspective, the holiday season is not the best time of year to be on break, but from a scheduling perspective, it’s a great time to be home full-time. There are parties and concerts at school, holiday events in town, and of course, holiday planning, shopping, and travel.

I’m anticipating a fairly relaxed week ahead. I’m not working, and my daughter is off from school on Friday (Veterans Day). The only big event is Election Day, when I’ll be glued to news coverage all day! I’ll spend the evening on the pull-out couch in our living room, until the election results are called. It seems like it may be a looooong night this year… Whoever you’re supporting, can we all agree that it’s a huge relief that this election cycle is coming to a close?!?

On Saturday night, my husband and I are attending a gala for his firm. It’s at a resort and casino a couple of hours away. My daughter will be spending the night at a friends’ house, and since we’re eating at the gala, I’m off-the-hook for dinner that night!

Here’s what’s on our dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week? Do you have any Election Day/Night traditions?
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Monday Meal Plan #10

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Halloween! I hope you had a wonderful pre-Halloween weekend!

Weekend Recap

The first part of our weekend felt like a blur. Friday was my daughter’s 7th birthday, so my husband came home from work early. He joined me at her school to pick her up, along with our weekend visitor: her classroom guinea pig, Zippy Chippy. The kids take turns bringing him/her home over the weekends and school breaks (assuming their parents are cool with it), and they get dibs over the birthday weekend.


After getting Zippy settled in next to our betta fish, we took our daughter to her dance class, then out for her birthday dinner of choice, Chipotle. I happened to have a BOGO burrito coupon, so it ended up being a very affordable birthday dinner! We had ice cream cake and she opened her presents at home, afterwards.

On Saturday, my daughter had gymnastics class, and that afternoon we met friends for Saratoga’s Fall Festival. There are activities like face painting, pumpkin rolling, and pony rides, but the main attraction is trick-or-treating at the business along Broadway. After the festival, we ducked into Glitter Nail Bar, for a small pedicure party with a few of friends. There was more cake and more presents, and the girls seemed to have a great time.

Pedicures after picture
Pedicures after picture

Yesterday was a much more relaxed day. We went trick-or-treating at the Spa City Farmers’ Market, then spent the rest of the day at home. I wish I could share a long list of thing I accomplished at home, but it’s pretty brief. I composed this blog post (score!), cleaned the fish bowl, changed sheets, and cleaned my daughter’s bathroom. Other than that, I spent a lot of time in a seated position.

The Week Ahead

Tonight we’ll be taking our daughter out for the trick-or-treating main event. Given the late hour we’ll get home and that Tuesday is a work/school day for all of us, dinner will be some form of take-out. I’m working Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and Thursday is (yet another) half-day for my daughter. We have our parent-teacher conference that afternoon, and I’m really looking forward to it. (In previous years, I’ve volunteered in her classroom and felt much more comfortable with her teachers and classmates. Her teacher this year doesn’t have parent volunteers in the classroom, so I’m feeling kind of out-of-the-loop.) On Saturday, my in-laws are visiting, so we’ll probably be having dinner out with them. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week??
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Monday Meal Plan #9

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful fall weekend. After last week’s crazy vacillation between summer and fall, it definitely seems like fall is here to stay. It was very windy over the weekend, and the trees lost a lot of their leaves. Even more depressing, darkness is falling earlier and earlier, now. Oh, and our anticipated low-temperature on Wednesday is 27 degrees – brrr!

Weekend Recap

My daughter’s seventh birthday is coming up this Friday, and the celebrations began over the weekend, with a family party at my parents’ house in Orange County (New York). (But does Orange County count as upstate New York??) We got to see some of my extended family members, as well as my sister and nephew. The two cousins played together non-stop, which was very sweet to see. It was a short visit, but a lovely time. Birthday present highlights included Taco Terrie, Pieface, an American Girl sloth, some beautiful clothing, and, of course, money.

Before we headed home yesterday, we stopped by a much-loved place in my hometown, Jones Farm. It’s an absolutely charming family farm, selling their own produce and baked goods, plus custom picture-framing and gifts. They also have farm animals to visit and feed. I’ve probably been visiting Jones Farm for 36 years now, and I never tire of it! Yesterday we went on a hayride around their beautiful grounds, and took in the breath-taking mountain views. And my daughter “picked” a pumpkin.

Pumpkin-picking at Jones Farm

The Week Ahead

This is going to be another busy week for our family. I’m working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; Wednesday is another school half-day for my daughter; and Friday is her big day! She’s having a small party with some friends at a local nail salon on Saturday, and we’ll also be attending Saratoga’s Fall Festival that day. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Saratoga Springs every year. There are lots of fun activities for the kids, plus trick-or-treating at the downtown businesses. And because one can never get enough Halloween candy, we’ll also go to the Spa City Farmers’ Market Fall Fest on Sunday. With that in mind, here’s what’s on our dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Ravioli w/ roasted asparagus
  • Tuesday: Mushroom and kale (pre-made) Quiche w/ frozen veggies
  • Wednesday: Taco salads
  • Thursday: Stir-fried shrimp with broccoli and jasmine rice
  • Friday: Birthday girl’s dinner-out choice (Chipotle is currently the front-runner.)
  • Saturday: Slow-cooker pot roast w/ potatoes
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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