Meal Planning & Going Out

The story goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  That is so true when it comes to me and the kitchen, and it’s always been that way.  I will freely admit I’m not the best at planning my week, and I’ve thrown away my fair share of rotten veggies…big old sad face if they came from Whole Foods and/or were organic.  I don’t mind paying extra, but you gotta use what you buy.

When I lived in Seattle with Jason and Ben, I got a great lesson on meal planning.  Every week, Jason would sit down with his pad of paper and plan our lunches and dinners for the week, and then derive the grocery list from there.  When we were all in town and work wasn’t crazy (never often enough!), we had an excellent system down.  Monday was grocery night, and we almost always had tacos – super quick for a tight week day schedule.  Jason would cook while I would sit at the breakfast counter with wine (and whine.)  Ben and I had clean-up duty, which usually meant Ben was scrubbing and I was packing lunches.  We all got to do the things we liked best, or at least tolerated the most.

BTW, Ben – I’m sorry.  I leave dishes in my sink, sometimes overnight.  I didn’t do it while we lived together, but I’ve gone back to my bad ways  Bad single girl behaviour is real.  I’m ashamed and will look to find ways to improve this terrible, lazy habit of mine.

At any rate, I’ve adopted Jason’s method for meal planning for myself. Lunches on the left, dinners on the right.  Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, but if it’s something too messy or random to pack for work, I’ll just keep it for dinners.  I even tossed Chipotle on here – I knew I would be running errands all day yesterday. Their allergen menu is fantastic!

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The key to success for me is prep work. By the time I get home, I’m just fried and don’t feel like cooking.  If I’ve already done the work, great!  Prep for lunches this week was easy – chicken sausage with veggies.  The sausage is pre-cooked, so all I have to do is make the veggies, dump it into a container and call it a day.  I keep single serve hummus on hand, so I bundle that up with carrots and celery, bag up some hard-boiled eggs for snacks, divvy out fresh fruit for fruit salad, and all week it’s grab and go.

BTW, why do sausages look so dirty?  I had to laugh when I took this pic.  I know, I know.  I have the mentality of a fifteen year old boy and I’ll admit to it.

Aidells Chicken & Apple sausage paired with sweet potatoes and a kale/quinoa mix:

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No big deal to eat this for three days.  Tonight I’m making tacos (ground beef, Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, a can of rotel) and I’ll rotate between tacos and taco salad the rest of the week.  I’m already planning dinner out on Thursday night, and I know I’ll screw up one night and be off my schedule.  I stock soup for those nights, or I’ll have a Daiya frozen pizza.  I’ve mapped out my other activities as well, so I’ll have an idea of what’s going on when I’m grocery shopping.

The party planned for Saturday is a bit trickier, because I adore the couple hosting and a little one’s birthday party could likely turn into an all day event.  It’s a Saturday, we’ll have great company, cocktails may be poured.  Just saying.  I’ve shown up to Susie and Charlie’s with my own cooler of beer to watch football, but this time it’ll likely be a mix of booze and healthy snacks to help keep my face out of the birthday cake.

Eating outside of my house isn’t necessarily hard, but it requires the same amount of planning on my part.  House parties are the trickiest, though usually I can dig up some fruit and veggies and I almost always have almonds or beef jerky with me in a pinch.  And let’s be honest – I’m not going to starve.  I’ve got some reserves, kind of like a hibernating bear.

Local friends – I promise I can still go out!  I like going out!  I like going to dinner and I love going to brunch!  If you want to go out, let’s go out.  I can always find something, I promise.  PROMISE.  I’ll do the research ahead of time and I’ve gotten the hang of ordering.  Big ups to Anna and Colleen in particular for vetting restaurants and being patient with me in the beginning when I had a hard time figuring it out.  Tito’s Vodka is everywhere and if all else fails, there’s salad 🙂

I am super thankful to have friends and family that are way supportive of my admittedly somewhat restrictive diet, but I know some of y’all worry.  Thank you!  The best comparison I can make is that if you think of me as being on Paleo, or low carb, or whatever whole food diet is out there – it’ll cover 90% of the stuff I can’t eat.  No biggie.

XO

Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese is the Worst.

Seriously.  I can’t even.  CAN’T EVEN.  Not to be a basic bitch about things, but I give up.  Sure, I miss Pumpkin Spice Lattes because Starbucks only has soy as their crappy non-dairy alternative.  Boozy brunches just aren’t the same without an egg bennie because carbs don’t count on Sundays, okay?  The gluten thing is mostly fine, whatever.  It’s so common that it’s common and I didn’t need a damn bread basket at dinner anyway.

Dairy substitutes, though?  UGH.  So much fail.  I’ve mentioned Daiya cheese probably in every post I’ve made, and it does have its place.  It’s good on the Daiya pizza, because it gives the right texture (sort of) and it stretches.  You’re so distracted by the amazing pizza sauce that you don’t notice the cheese is all wrong.  At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  Daiya even has an only to be found one time across eight grocery stores jalapeño jack block that even my (admittedly drunk) friends liked.  It’s disappeared.  Such a bummer.

I’ve tried three different kinds of dairy free macaroni and cheese now, and they are all disgusting.  And way more fattening than the real thing!  And by real thing, I mean something nasty and dirty like Velveeta shells and cheese, which I personally prefer to be made with Rotel or salsa and it’s so yummy.  You’d think all that processed yellow goodness wouldn’t actually be cheese, but it is.  I’ve checked.  Twice.  Just to be sure.

Tonight I tried the Gluten Free Say Cheez by Namaste Foods.  It has a super tragic rating of -4.7 on the MyNetDiary app.  -5 is the worst score they give.  For something that isn’t insanely delicious, so not worth it.  But I’m committed, and this is a very, very occasional treat.  Well, boo.  I so appreciate that these companies make the effort, I truly am, but I just need to find some sort of delicious pasta with sauce that isn’t mac and cheese for my grumpy Saturday comfort food.  Like the spaghetti I originally intended to have today, except I forgot to thaw out my hamburger.  Whoops.  Plus tomatoes still jack up my face.  They don’t give me inflammatory issues according to my 4000 blood tests, but there’s really no disputing the red rash I get all around my mouth and on my cheeks anytime I eat chili, spaghetti, or my friend Suzy’s amazing taco soup that she doctored so I could eat it.  (I have some of the best friends ever, insanely tolerant and way willing to deal with my bullshit.)  And I’m excited to eat the leftovers she gave me anyway, that’s how good it was.

So anyway, to this four serving package of dairy free yuckiness you have to add three tablespoons of oil, butter or margarine.  I’ve actually been pretty happy with all three of the Earth Balance buttery spreads I’ve tried (also a -4.5 rating), but let’s be honest.  It’s oil, hence the fat factor.  Because it ended up being kind of bland, I added some Daiya shreds to try to help it out, and then I gave up and dumped in a bunch of salsa.

Here’s the damage:

1530 calories

83 grams of fat (18 g is saturated)

168 carbs

Pretty bad for something that isn’t delicious.  There are probably a million things I could have for that same amount of calories.  Thanks to my super over-informative app, I’ve noticed my fat intake has been pretty high compared to the suggested fat/protein/carb ratio, and it’s all these substitutes that are doing it.  I love whole foods, I love just about any kind of veggie (tho some are better with bacon) and I love fruit.  No reason to put these chemicals and crap into my body when they don’t even taste good.  And bacon is technically a whole food anyway.

Ugh.  Time for some cereal.  Coconut milk is amazing and I’ve found some killer gluten free cereals, which btw?  I totally didn’t eat before this all happened.  I never wanted to waste the Points.  These days, though, sometimes it’s the only thing that will do.

Good Lord I’m grumpy today.  Must be because I’m taking down all the Christmas stuff.

Cheers!  At least I learned how to add a link, just in case someone needs a giggle about Ugg wearing, Pumpkin Spice Latte guzzling basic bitches that can’t even.

Pizza and Pasta

Eating at home is no problem, and I can generally find my way at restaurants (fyi, steakhouses and Mexican seem to be the easiest.)  When all else fails, like when you’re at Lambert’s in Missouri avoiding those thrown rolls, get a salad.  No dressing.  Because that mess always has soy.

Mom made a great discovery, and that’s gluten-free pizza crust!  I was thankful that tomatoes weren’t on my official “bad” list, even though they come with their own issues, so back to red sauce for me!  I found some pizza sauce that has garlic listed as one of the last ingredients, Daiya mozzarella style shreds, pepperoni and I’m good to go!  Fake cheese is weird stuff, I’ll admit, but when you want pizza you want pizza.

The sad thing is that gluten free, dairy free and soy free pizza still manages to have all the calories of regular pizza.  BOOOOO.  Here’s how it looked!

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Well, one of my pizzas anyway.  We used the Hodgson Mill gluten free pizza crust mix, Daiya mozzarella style shreds, delicious Harter House sausage and some roasted red peppers and hatch peppers.  Yum!

So where does the pasta part of this post come in?  My biggest fear is showing up to a dinner party with lasagna on the menu.  If the salad is already dressed, I’m probably toast, unless I’m at Becky’s house.  She always makes her own dressing with olive oil.  I keep trying to remember that the allergy doctor told me to focus on the biggies when it comes to black pepper and garlic, because they are almost as sneaky as soy.