And it’s over! All the classes, all the exams, all the performances and all the rehearsals. It was our first year and it was crazy and intense and hard and good and totally worth it. I say ‘we’ and ‘our’ when I refer to school because it is like that. I’m not attending classes but I’m attending to the girls and keeping supper hot when there’s an evening class. It is our endeavour together.
And now our schedule is being completely re-vamped. There’s this transition time between seasons, of re-defining normal and the rhythms of the days. Having a menu plan is my best friend. It’s one less thing I need to think about. We created this simple weekly plan back in February when I needed simple meals. I’m coming out of my cooking rut and remembering all the reasons why I love cooking and creating art with food.
These meal ideas are written on the giant whiteboard in our hallway. It’s our idea board, dream big board, and let the girls write on the walls (sort of) board.
Monday: fish, rice, kale Caesar salad. I love that we can get fish fresh or frozen and I know exactly where it comes from. This is one of our favourite meals and it gets us back to the basics of eating well and simply.
Tuesday: burgers, tacos, burritos. Something simple, hand-held. One of my favourites is paleo potsticker burgers, super easy to make and utilizes carrots and cabbage making it a perfect fit for March and April when root vegetables are still the focus at the farm markets.
Wednesday: ethnic (Indian, Chinese etc) I love the idea of cooking ethnic foods but it does require a little more thought and prep (at least for me), I’ve been sticking to some simple curries, pad thai and Chinese inspired dishes like this inside out eggroll salad.
Thursday: pasta. I love the utter simplicity of pasta dishes and how they can showcase the seasons food so well, like this fettuccine with kale and scallops. More often then not we will have a simple Bolognese sauce over spaghetti. Making my own pasta is on my food bucket list but for now, I’m content to play with the flavors and sauces.
Friday: popcorn, cheese, apple slices. Honestly, this is one of my favourite nights. Sometimes we’ll add a bottle of white and thrill the girls by giving them sparkling water. Cheese is one of our splurges, we like nice cheese so we don’t have it often but when we do we enjoy it. This is one of my favourite popcorn ‘recipes’.
Saturday: roast meal. We wanted one meal a week where we took a little more time to eat and savour our food together. Something that took a little longer to prepare and a little longer to eat. It’s become a beautiful tradition. I’ll often prepare something in the morning and let it slowly cook all day. Beef shanks are super yummy, easy to prepare and we all like them.
Sunday: pizza. This can be as simple or as complex as we need it to be. This Caprese pizza was my personal favourite during the winter. I can’t wait for summer to make it with fresh basil and tomatoes!
And that’s how we eat. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it still gives me lots room for creativity. Sometimes pasta night is just mac and cheese, sometimes pizza is a pizza brought home from Costco. But as winter is finally letting go, the green grass and leaf buds are beginning to show everywhere and I am enjoying my kitchen all over again.
Sometimes we do need to rely on the very basics, the simplicity of having a menu and sticking to it. One step in front of the other and then we can remember how to run.
Do you menu plan? How do you get out of a cooking rut?