If I was going to make an addition to HALT, it would be S for Sick. HALTS? SHALT? Either way, we picked up a plague at the Renaissance Faire and spend the past week stricken with the ague, flux, inflamed humors, malaise, and cattarh. In lieu of cupping, leeches, and a priest, we went with fluids, rest, judicious application of Vicks, and Benadryl (because if you’re unconscious, you don’t feel sick).
Unfortunately, this was also the week we tested a meal plan for Mary Curtis Powell at www.spritelylife.com. We made all the meals, photographed them, and ate them, but I failed to blog as we went…so here they are.
First, much like the Rachael Ray show, week in a day, this plan starts with a clear grocery list and then a day of prep work. I chose the Friday before Thanksgiving break, as I was home alone (and looking down the barrel of 9 days of togetherness). I found the prep work easy and soothing…mostly chopping vegetables for various dishes. I did make the Maui Black Bean Soup, the rice, and the Tomato Sauce, but held off on prepping the Polenta (saving it for my little helper).
We always celebrate Friday “Pizza and a Movie” night, so after making our pizzas with Muir Glen pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese on a pre-made base (this was HEB, but we prefer Target/Archer Farms) and watching “Galaxy Quest,” we were ready to commence.
Saturday was Day 1: Maui Black Bean Soup (named, I believe, not because it’s Hawaiian, but because it was eaten by Mary Curtis on Maui). I loved the pureed texture and the corn added in afterwards. Because I can’t help myself, I added a big dollop of fat free plain yogurt, squirt of lime, sprinkle of cheese, and handful of cilantro. I am the only true bean soup lover in my house, but even those who “don’t like black food,” managed to eat some. I served it with some guacamole I’d made, carrot sticks and pita chips. Num!
Sunday/Day 2: This was the day of the Ren Faire. I knew we’d be wiped out, so it was good to have Simple Pasta and Sauce lined up and ready to go. We left the house about 8:30 am and returned a little after 4, exhausted and smelling like medieval peasants. This was the perfect dinner. Everyone ate quite a bit…and Ben (age 10) ate two ginormous plates. I had made sauce in the past by cooking down tomatoes. This recipe was different, stronger and more intense. Tim wants to try it again “with meat.”
Monday/Day 3: This is the day I hauled both kids into the pediatrician. One ended up on an antibiotic for a sinus infection, the other was diagnosed with a “viral ear infection.” As the day progressed, I felt worse and worse myself. Luckily, the rice was all ready to go, the veg had all be chopped, and assembling Tilapia with Tomatillo Sauce was simple. Of course, Tim doesn’t eat fish (and I bought frozen cod) so I made a choice of Turkey Cutlets or Cod in Tomatillo Sauce. I have eaten Tomatillos in salsa, but this was much first time buying them fresh and cooking with them. I loved this sauce…very bright and fresh. The children ate their “brave tastes” and preferred the turkey, but we’d try this one again. They were amused by the fresh tomatillo in its paperish wrapper.
Tuesday/Day 4: My favorite day! This was Layered Polenta Casserole and since Jane was feeling better, I delegated the prep to her. One could have made the polenta and the sauce ahead of time in which case this would have been just a “put in oven and bake” meal. The way we did it was perfect for a lazy at home day…and made the house smell fantastic. This finished product was serious comfort food. Ben likened it to “lasagna.” Tim had seconds…and I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next three days. This is a keeper!
Wednesday/Day 5: Basic Cooked Shrimp with Cilantro Lime Rice. This is the same rice served with the Fish & Tomatillo sauce. The shrimp is simple…making this a quick dinner. Tim and I like curry more than the kids do. I served Kale chips and a kale salad (the kids will eat any green served with croutons and ranch dressing). If I were making this again, I might switch up the seasoning to get them to eat more, but it’s easy to make that change.
This meal plan made the week before Thanksgiving easy and fun…and we only had leftovers for a lunch or two the following day. We tried some things we hadn’t before (Tomatillos! Making our own polenta!) and found some recipes we’ll make over and over. And as a bonus, I didn’t have to 1) decide what we were having that week 2) make a list 3) make any decisions about prep work 4) wonder what we would eat or how to make it at the end of a long day.
Plus, eating fresh, healthy, home-cooked food helped us get well! Thank you, Mary Curtis!
And I do think that eating well with whole, healthy, homemade meals has hastened our recovery! Thanks, Mary Curtis!