My favorite, and only, house blog that I follow, Young House Love, stopped blogging two years ago after chronicling 7 years of home improvements and DIY projects in their 3 homes. They recently started a podcast about DIY and house design that Travis and I both enjoy listening to on car trips while Stella is sleeping. One of their recent episodes discussed why they quit their blog so suddenly and what they learned from it. Now let me just say they had over 1 million followers, two books, product lines, etc. and were super successful. This was their life and both of their careers. My blog just started but I did take home one key message from their list of “lessons” which was about purpose and defining why you are blogging. This got me thinking of course about my purpose with this blog. So far I have met my one and only goal which was to have at least one other reader each week besides my mom. Check. But purpose is different. I wanted an outlet and something that would give me a little more purpose and structure to my week besides keeping up with Stella and Tazzie. A wonderful job but some days it doesn’t give you a very big sense of accomplishment in the typical sense. Nothing tangible. I can run around trying to get as much done as possible during Stella’s nap(s) or sit down and work on my blog. I appreciate that my blog gives me permission to leave other things for later. But I also wanted to challenge myself to be more creative in our meals whenever possible, try new things, and cook a greater variety of foods and dishes. Looking at my menu this week I can’t say I was blown away by the diversity of dishes, tortilla shop, chili and meatloaf all seemingly fall in the same category to me, but you can’t be perfect all the time. One thing they emphasized in their podcast about purpose was to write it down so you don’t stray. So there you have it. As the variety of summer produce dwindles I know this will be particularly challenging, but I hope to continue to try new recipes, knowing that some may be a total flop, and get a variety of dishes into our menus each week. Meal Plan & Grocery List
Monday: Black Bean Mole Chili with Turkey (optional), Corn Bread & Green Salad
- I love chili and appreciate all the variety there is out there- white, chicken, beef, vegetarian, you name it. This is one of the more unique ones I’ve tried with some simple mole flavors.
- If I use meat I brown it first in the pan, then add the vegetables.
- I use 2 cans of no salt added beans and don’t rinse them, using all the liquid plus some additional water to make up for the 1 cup bean liquid.
- I don’t find it necessary to make a paste with the spices but I usually do 1 ½ – 2 times the chili powder, paprika, cocoa and sugar to boost the flavor.
- I use the cornbread recipe off the side of the corn meal, super fancy I know, and serve it with the chili and all the necessary garnishes- shredded cheddar cheese, lime, avocado, sour cream & cilantro.
Tuesday: Veggie & Cheese Quiche
- As usual I went overboard with the veggies and sautéed a bunch of chard with the onion, adding the stems first and the greens later. I also chopped up the broccoli and added that in with the chard greens to give it a few minutes to cook.
- Since I had extra veggies I put some in the quiche and served the rest on the side so our plate didn’t look quite so sad.
Wednesday: Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
- I like the idea of including veggies in a dish like this and not having them be pureed or hidden. Kids won’t learn to like veggies if they don’t know they are eating them. That being said, Stella is not super fond of vegetables but did eat this with all the corn, peas and peppers in it.
- I didn’t have sweet potato or zucchini when I made this so I added a little more corn and peas. I used ground bison instead, though I wouldn’t think the meat would matter a ton, and had a little trouble getting everything to stick together despite using fewer veggies. But Eating Well’s recipe picture looks beautiful so presumably it worked for someone.
- I couldn’t find whole wheat panko bread crumbs so I used ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs and ½ cup oatmeal, a pretty traditional meatloaf ingredient.
Thursday: Pineapple Tofu Stir-Fry with Brown Rice
- This was a classic recipe from my college days when I didn’t like to cook meat. It is a very quick and easy dish if you can remember to start the brown rice in time.
- I always try to drain the tofu a bit with a weight before marinating it, but this isn’t crucial.
- I used ½ the leftover red bell pepper from the meatloaf as well as a green bell pepper for some extra color and flavor.
Friday: Tortilla Soup, Tortilla Chips and Green Salad
- I’d never had or heard of tortilla soup until Travis’s family introduced me to it. And imagine my surprise to find it wasn’t a soup made of tortillas! This is my brother-in-laws recipe; before they had kids he even made his own tortilla chips to go with it, but alas those days are over. Delicious nonetheless!
- I use chicken breast rather than a rotisserie chicken. We (Travis) usually grills them, and shreds them with a fork.