Friday, October 9, 2009

The Goods (and a How-I-Do on Meal Planning)

Wow. The CSA share was jam-packed in a 'not a plastic bag' screenprinted farm logo tote. I was shocked at how much it held. There were spicy bitter greens that I think are tatsoi, a bag of regular old salade greens, kale, fennel, chard, a petite kindergarten baby butternut squash, two turnips, compact and firm onions, a couple of green peppers, and radishes (which i thought were beets and teased my boss about incessantly since he has a phobia of the b-e-e-t).

I am really looking forward to invading my mother's spacious kitchen and cooking up a storm this weekend. I'm not set up yet for hard-core cooking at the new place; don't even have nutritional yeast or whole wheat pastry flour, two of my absolute staples. It's my fault; mom's place is so stocked and in easy driving distance, so I've put it off. But I've very very much missed cooking every weeknight. And I'm dying to make the Pumpkin Sage Ziti with Caramelized Onions from Veganomicon.

That reminds me. I can give you a how-to, or at least, a 'how-i-do'. I struggled with meal planning for a long time. What I've learned is that you have to know what you like, how you eat, where you eat, and how easily you get bored with food. The last one is the most important. I can eat the same general pattern of food for two weeks in a row---at best. Each Friday, before my Saturday shopping, I devise some sort of edible lunch solution (usually a wrap or some type of salad) and pick two dishes to make for dinners. Then I figure out if I'm still sick of oatmeal, and, if not, I'll have it. Otherwise, it's cereal or bagels with Tofutti.

I make a list, estimate how much it should cost, and then I shop from the list (mostly). Usually I'll buy whatever fruit is on sale, unless it's pears. Gah, I hate pears and peaches. Just thinking about fresh peaches and their skin makes me shudder...anyways, I eat a lot of apples. And oranges. In the summer, cherries and grapes. I've been known to eat two pounds of grapes in the course of the morning.

Since I'm only cooking for me, what I make could theoretically last for two weeks. In actuality, by the fourth day, I'm sick of the luscious kugel or savory soup.

I definitely need an easy-to-transport (no Thermoses!) fall substitute for lunchtime salads. Do you have any ideas? How do you meal plan?

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