Back in the kitchen, back to my senses

More than two months without a post. Wow. The summer was a blur of work, travel, kids without a schedule and fun times with friends.  I skirted my way with a few memorable menus, but generally lacked any discipline for meal planning.

My waistline noticed. Five pounds heavier. Egads! What the heck happened?  Well, let’s see.  Could have been the fruit shakes and guacamole in Costa Rica. Fresh plaintains, still green and starchy, smashed into cakes and fried, make a savory filling snack that likely contributed to my “expansion” early in the summer.

Then friends visited from Austin. Oh good, a reason to finally prep a decent meal or two!  Grilled chicken and peaches with arugula salad for a picnic by the lake.  Steamed crabs on the back patio, followed the next day by crab cakes topped with sherry aioli.

I entered the true danger zone, calorie-wise, during the month of August. A business trip Down Under was the beginning of the end. Fish and chips, with a pint of ale, at Watson’s Bay in Sydney.

Breakfast the next day: Ricotta pancakes with berry compote, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I simply lost my senses with this concoction, gazing at the ski surfers while sitting in an outdoor cafe at Manly Beach.

Then it was back for two weeks before heading to Santa Fe for a long-planned vacation with a dear friend from Cleveland. Enter sopapillas – doughy pillows topped with sugar (or savory, stuffed with chicken or beef) – at Tomasita’s, amazing blue corn enchiladas at The Shed.  We hit two of the city’s hottest restaurants — La Boca for tapas and Restaurant Martin for new American cuisine — and relished every bite.

Sopapillas at Tomasita's Cafe

No wonder, then, that I’m now browsing through stacks of recipes for healthy eating.  Time to get back into a meal plan that’s easy to manage. This fall I’m thinking in themes to keep me on track. I figured a handful of catchy phrases would bring some rhythm and inventiveness to the tedious task of meal planning.  Already we’re in our second week of themes.  Here it goes (with comments from the peanut gallery):

Meatless Monday – “Yeah, Baby” (husband) “WHAAT?  You’re kidding me.” (sons)

Tasty Tuesday – “Mom, that’s stupid.  Isn’t every meal supposed to be tasty?”

Whole Grain Wednesday – “Hmmm, Not sure about that one.” (husband)

Thermal Thursday (using the Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker) – “Clever.” (husband)

Fun Friday (because we either order out or indulge in a late “date night” meal without the kids) – “Great Idea!” (me)

Details to come as weeknight meal plans swing back into gear!

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