Archive for January 29, 2015

Menu Plan 1/29/15-2/4/15

I realize it’s been two weeks since I post my last menu plan post, but since I had a second, follow up, surgery in that time, we’ve still been in that same non menu plan state the whole time. We once again had an outpouring of food from friends at church and are still trying to finish the last of the leftovers from those meals.

Because my second surgery was a shorter, simpler surgery, recovery went a lot faster. I felt like I completely skipped the first stage of recovery from the first surgery and went straight to drinking lots of water, eating lots of food to recharge my iron and vitamin levels and being able to move around semi-comfortably instead of with great difficulty.

It was hard for me to relax quite as much as after the first surgery, especially since I’d already spent over a week on the couch and I wasn’t feeling quite as bad, but my husband continued to assure me that I needed to just focus on resting and recovering, and I did my best to oblige by watching an entire Jane Eyre miniseries and finishing the book I started after the first surgery.

Once again, we very much appreciated all the meals that came in so that I could focus on resting instead of food management. We did realize after several days of eating other people’s cooking that I cook with a lot more fats (mostly in the form of butter, though sometimes coconut oil and lard) than most people do, but snacking on a batch of French Onion Dip my husband made for us helped fill the lack of fats we were starting to feel.

This coming week we’re going back to something resembling a normal menu plan, though I’m not planning to start doing much cooking for at least a few more days–I’ll mostly be pulling out freezer meals and reheating them.

Dinners:

Date Night/Dinner Out

Pork Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans (Not quite a freezer meal, but still mostly just throwing stuff in the oven.)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Applesauce (for church fellowship meal–less food than I normally take, so if I come up with something else that’s very low prep I’ll take that too)

Chicken Thighs, Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Burritos (Using mixed beans, rice and beef burrito filling from the freezer and Aldi’s organic jars of salsa–all I’ll have to do is warm up the tortillas)

Crab Chowder

Lunches:

Leftovers should work for most lunches. Realistically, the days we’re short on leftover we’re probably going to be eating frozen pizza, ramen (with butter and my own spices instead of the seasoning packet) with ground beef, or possibly grilled cheese or quesadillas. I’m in favor of healthy food, but I’m also in favor of low stress meals at certain seasons in life, and I’m okay with some white flour in our diets as long as it’s generally balanced with more nutritious foods.

Breakfasts:

Probably mostly eggs for my husband. In theory I would eat oatmeal this week, but again, being realistic, I’m probably going to scrounge leftovers that look good, maybe cook up some frozen veggies (I had peas for breakfast once last week) and supplement with toast as needed, or until we run out of bread.

Shopping List:

I’m not planning on shopping this week, though some of the produce sales at Aldi are very tempting! They have mini sweet peppers for $1.49/lb, avocados for .49, mushrooms for .69/8oz and grape tomatoes .99/pint. Also, it’s worth noting that they dropped the price on their organic jars of salsa from $1.99 to $1.69. I like homemade salsa, but it’s also really nice to have a couple jars of salsa around to take to unexpected events, for days when I’m out of fresh tomatoes, or just days when I’m feeling especially tired.

Menu Plan 1/15/15-1/21/15 & Post Surgery Nutrition

I should have known that we would receive a large outpouring of food from our church after I had surgery, but somehow, I’d only calculated for reasonable amount of food to show up. 🙂 After a few days we had to call a halt to people bringing meals so that we had a chance to eat all our leftovers from the first meals we got. (We haven’t yet eaten any of those freezer meals I so carefully prepared, either.)

I love the variety of food lifestyles expressed in the food we’ve gotten too. We got two kinds of chicken soup: one gluten free and one ‘double gluten’ (chicken noodle soup that also came with crackers). We got a simple, but completely amazing, beans and rice casserole from a foodie, just off the GAPS diet, friend. (I’m going to have ask her what kind of rice she used in it too, because I come from a rice-is-rice is-sadly-not-potatoes background, but she used some kind of very long grain rice that I actually really enjoyed.) We got a dish called Pork Chops O’ Brian, which I’d never heard of before, but since it involved meat and some kind of creamy sauce on potatoes,  we heartily approved. We also got a large tray of meat (yay, iron!), a quiche (which came in very handy for my husband’s breakfasts), banana muffins (which came in very handy for my breakfasts), lots of green salads with assorted toppings, one very much appreciated fruit salad, and ice cream.

The upshot of all that is that we didn’t even attempt to follow any sort of menu plan this week. I napped a few hours a day and took a very rare complete break from doing anything responsible. I didn’t even track what food we had available, or what tasks might need to be done, as my husband completely took over tracking when we were getting meals, warming leftovers when we weren’t getting new meals, washing dishes, refilling my glass of water and everything else that could possible need to be done.

The first couple of days I drank a lot of coconut water and some juice trying to rehydrate, and only ate small amounts of food. Cliche as it may be, chicken soup was one of the best foods at that point, followed by fruit and ice cream. I ate a few bites of meats and breads and casseroles at this stage, but mostly I wanted liquids and simple, easily digestible carbs to start to get my energy back up. (I really appreciated a couple of packets of hot cocoa mix that came in with a meal at this stage too–warm, liquid and chocolate. It was perfect.)

After I started to feel better I went to drinking mostly water plus a little bit of herbal tea. (This wasn’t part of any grand strategy to get back to water or anything–I really just went with what sounded best through most of this recovery.) At this point the beans, rice and meats started being really appealing, and I started to pay more attention to trying to boost my iron levels back up, which also encouraged a focus on beans and meat. Ice cream was still really good at this stage too, along with just a little bit of chocolate, as it had the easily digestible carbs for energy, but balance by enough fats to keep my from sugar crashing.

Basically, if I started to get lightheaded I would try to sleep. If I couldn’t I would eat ice cream. Between those two strategies I felt pretty good most of the time.

Within just the last couple of days I’ve felt more like I wanted to get back to the normal balance of foods in my diet, as well as beginning to notice the lack of fermented foods in the previous week. I’ve started eating more salads with my meals, and very much enjoyed having some kefir for breakfast yesterday. I may also start eating some homemade sauerkraut with my meat, now that I’m paying attention to available foods again.

There’s really not much of a menu plan for the coming week either, as we still have leftovers (and frozen pizzas and freezer meals for if they’re needed), and more meals coming from friends after I go in for a follow up surgery.

So I guess our menu plan looks something like this:

Dinners:

leftovers and meals from friends

Lunches:

leftovers and meals from friends

Breakfasts:

This one’s a bit more tricky, though I’ll probably have more kefir for breakfasts, and maybe even get back to my spicy creamy chicken broth routine for a few days. Hopefully we’ll get to go shopping soon and pick up some more eggs for my husband’s breakfasts, and fruit for both of us, otherwise we’re probably having lots of peanut butter toast this week.

Shopping List:

It’s worth noting that Aldi has some meats on sale, including Pork Butt Roast for $1.99/lb. They also have avocados for .49, roma tomatoes for .99/lb, navel oranges, $1.99/4lb, kiwi for $1.29/lb, and blueberries for $1.99/pint. (I’m focusing on the seasonal fruits, so skipping the blueberries, but getting oranges and kiwi.)

My own list is fairly short, as all we really need is eggs, fruit, and few ingredients that lend themselves to easy meals.

‘natural’ peanut butter, 3/$5

mayonnaise, about 2/$5

ramen noodles, $2(pk of 12)

organic salsa, about 4/$8

eggs, about 4/$5.50

oranges, $2/4lb

kiwi, $1.29

 

 

Menu Plan 1/7/15-1/13/15

This week’s menu plan will be a little sparse, because I’m starting off by having surgery, after which friends from church are bringing us a few days of meals while I start to recover.

Also, during this week’s menu plan there is a day of fasting we plan to participate in. (Because the day of fasting is only a few days after my surgery, I’m going in cautiously and seeing how I do. Most likely I’ll at least do chicken broth through the day rather than a complete fast.)

That only leaves two meals to plan for this week. If all goes well, I’ll be getting a couple weeks worth of freezer meals into the freezer tomorrow, and those two meals will come from that cooking session.

Dinners:

Meals from friends x 5

Chicken Broth/Fasting

Burritos

Crab Chowder (with carrots, onions and organic potatoes), possibly garnished with green onions

Lunches:

Leftovers, sandwiches, and whatever my husband decides to fix while he’s home taking care of me after my surgery. 🙂

Breakfasts:

I’m hoping to do a few kefir smoothies this week, but it’s possible breakfasts will stay super simple with eggs for my husband and fruit, possibly with toast, for me.

Baking and Extras:

None whatsoever.

 

Reality Check: Christmas Food

Since I didn’t do a menu plan for the last couple of weeks, I can’t really tell you how closely I followed it. (Would it count as 100%? or 0%?) Instead I’m going to give you some of the highlights of yummy food, healthy food and meh food that we ate over our Christmas celebrations.

The Healthy:

*Shrimp: High in zinc and selenium, and one of many seafoods that I’d like to figure out how to get into my diet on more regular basis. Conveniently, shrimp also ranks high on the yummy list. (I’m sure the cocktail sauce I was eating with the shrimp was less than healthy, but it least had a healthy dose of horseradish. Kapow!)

*Grapefruit: I normally dislike grapefruit rather strongly, but deciding to add a bit of fruit to my plate was a surprisingly good desicion, as the grapefruit was some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and I even went back for seconds!

*Oranges and clementines: These were a good (frequently available) option for adding some fruit to the rich, celebratory foods on my plate.

The Meh:

*Ham sandwich: This probably doesn’t strictly belong in the meh category, but it’s worth noting that I skipped eating a sandwich at one of the Christmas celebrations. I normally enjoy sandwiches, but I decided the best strategy was to focus on eating the special foods I would enjoy the most, even if that meant skipping the official main course, and a food that’s good in its own right.

*Most Christmas cookies: There are a few exceptions, such as reindeer droppings (technically a candy, made from white chocolate and crushed candy canes), salted caramel pretzel bark, and kiflis, but in general I skip the sweet Christmas treats, as I rarely find them worth it.

The Yummy:

*Artichoke dip, salmon dip and other dips: These were some of my favorite foods I ate over the Christmas celebrations this year (and most of them would qualify as mostly healthy, though–true confessions–I was generally eating them with white flour processed crackers). I made a homemade artichoke dip with mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, onion powder and a dash of cayenne that I took to two different Christmas parties. I also really enjoyed a salmon dip from Costco that my husband’s family contributed to two different Christmas parties we were both at.

*Raspberry jam with havarti cheese: There were several good (aged) cheeses that I experienced over Christmas, but the raspberry jam that was paired with havarti stole the show.

*Kringle: A Danish pastry which is a Christmas tradition handed down from my sister’s husband’s family, and is one of the few Christmas sweets worth eating. The walnut ones are my favorite, but interspersing a few pieces of fruit Kringle into the mix is also amazing. (It’s even better when you have Kringle, sausage links and coffee. One amazing Christmas brunch!)

 

After our Christmas celebrations were over, my husband and I were both feeling the results of having eaten a lot of amazing, but very rich, food for most of a week. Our first thought was that we needed salad, but after brief contemplation realized that what we really both wanted was fruit and tomato (specifically sandwiches with tomato and lettuce). We ate quite a few sandwiches the week after Christmas using nitrate free turkey lunchmeat, quasi whole wheat bread (the storebought bread that’s like a cross between white and whole wheat), cheddar cheese, tomato and iceberg lettuce.

Our breakfasts for the week were mostly oranges and bananas.

We also ate a few leftovers such as mashed potatoes and kielbasa (which I ate with a ton of homemade sauerkraut and some homemade ketchup) and a couple of frozen pizzas.