Archive for the ‘Dinners This Week’ Category

(La la la, continuing to ignore current events.) 

Usually I try to blather on a little bit before I list the meals I’m planning for the week – I don’t know why; so this will feel more like a Regular Blog Post? Who knows. But I’m fresh out of topics for today. Literally the only thing I can think to tell you is that I saw on Instagram (I think?) that you can store your asparagus in half-filled jars of water to keep it fresh longer. Who has room for THAT in their fridge (besides the Instagram poster, whose fridge was FULL of veggies and fruits in matching glass jars that no one would ever have to worry about knocking over while reaching behind it for the milk), is what I thought. But I also thought of some asparagus that has been in my fridge for ** a while ** and that I haven’t been able to motivate to cook and eat. So I tried it. It is in my fridge now, in two small jars. We will see what happens. Now I don’t even HAVE to eat it, because it is An Experiment. 

They’ve been in there for about twelve or so hours and don’t seem the worse for wear.

Look at that – I managed to blather on for a whole paragraph! Never put it past me to come up with some words about nothing, I guess. 

Dinners for the Week of January 19 – January 25 (whew – I looked at my calendar wrong and originally wrote “February 1” instead of “January 25” and TOTALLY ACCEPTED IT AS FACT because time is meaningless) (thank goodness for very minimal proofreading!)

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup  : This was SO GOOD last time I made it, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Like last time, I will add a can of black beans and a cup of frozen corn. Also, like last time, I suppose I will omit the lime juice? At least, I can’t remember putting lime juice or cilantro in it at any point? And it was delicious? How can I recreate a recipe I enjoyed when I apparently didn’t follow the instructions, but not in a purposeful way but in an I-clearly-didn’t-read-the-recipe-all-the-way-through way?
  • Chicken and Zucchini Stir Fry: This has become such a solid standby. It’s easy (even though I also chop up an onion to throw in with the zucchini) and it’s tasty and I feel very pleased with the amount of veggies it contains. 
  • BBQ Salmon Bowls with Mango Salsa: Okay, I get squicked out by the combination of avocado and mango, so I am just doing a plain old mango salsa with this one. And I think I may put everything on top of some romaine instead of rice. (I am every food blogger’s nightmare.) Hmmm. If I do lettuce, I’d have to make a dressing, wouldn’t I. But I could do a nice honey-and-lime vinaigrette. Yes, that sounds yummy.
  • Something with the asparagus.

I AM going to eat the asparagus. But come on – you do this, too, right? You buy something, fully intending to eat it, and then it loses all appeal before you can do it? I bet you have something like that in your fridge right now, no?

Okay, Internet. That’s it for me. I wish you good health (mental, physical, and emotional) and happy eating this week.

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We are somehow nearly halfway through January and I feel simultaneously as though the month has FLOWN by and also that it has lasted six million years. Much of it – at least the past week – has been extremely dreary and fretful, both for external reasons (what is HAPPENING with our democracy) and internal ones. But even though I am feeling down and worried and unsettled, I feel like my complaints are so small and insignificant that they aren’t worth sharing. There is SO MUCH going on in the world right now, my dumb complaints sound even more out-of-touch than normal. 

Like for instance how my return key does not work unless I press down on it with all my weight. Or how I am FINALLY getting to clean my oven (with the self-clean function) and so my house is filled with the acrid scent of imminent doom and also a soupçon of pizza essence. Or how I had to wait for more than an hour in the gynecologist’s crowded waiting room yesterday which a) I am SURE was the reason my blood pressure reading was much higher than normal and b) is making me Very Anxious about the likely unrelated fact that I have a scratchy throat today. Or how I have been working extra hard on revising my book and the whole thing is stupid and I am wasting my life. I really need to suck it up and stop wallowing.

I hope YOU and your loved ones are doing okay. And, honestly, if you had a small, insignificant gripe to share with me, it would make me feel better. Or not, that’s fine too. If you just want to scroll listlessly through my dinner options, trying valiantly to get up the motivation to think about making Yet Another Meal, that is a-okay with me.

Dinners for the Week of January 12-18

Over the weekend, I tried these Sheet Pan Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowls (which Ernie mentioned recently), and they were delicious and a 100% keeper. They got me in a mango mood, so I have a bowl of mangoes ripening on the counter which is one good thing to look forward to, I suppose.

  • Sweet and Fiery Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa: Speaking of mangoes, this is what we’re eating tonight. I have made it several times in the past and have always found the pork to be a little… weak in flavor. Today, I threw all the ingredients in the crockpot, added a bit of soy sauce and some minced ginger and garlic, and we’ll see if that does anything. 
  •  Fish Taco Bowls 
  • Fire Fry 
  • Chicken Shawarma with Steamed Broccoli
  • Tacos: The regular ground beef kind, per Carla’s request. I am going to have her make them, since she has been voicing some disappointment about the meals on offer lately. She seemed pretty pleased at the thought.

I also have some zucchini and asparagus in the crisper, for spur-of-the-moment stir fries or protein-and-a-veggie-side options.

What are you most looking forward to eating this week?

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Am I still doing this? Apparently so.

I recently read somewhere that the best way to meal plan is to come up with three (3) specific meals for the week and then spitball from there. This is obviously not the exact wording of the article I read, but the particulars are lost to the sands of time. And it’s always possible I misread, or misunderstood, or read a fragment of a headline and moved on before discovering that, in fact, choosing three specific meals is THE WORST IDEA EVER. Maybe I didn’t even read an article. But we will go with what we have, which is a fairly fuzzy and growing ever fuzzier memory of possibly reading this Life-Changing Suggestion. 

You will not be surprised, I think, to learn that I immediately latched on to the idea of planning FEWER MEALS. The pandemic has made meal planning/cooking more grueling than usual. A better, easier way to meal plan?! Sign me up! Also because of the pandemic, I think I have become better or at least more confident with meal planning on the fly, with the ingredients I have on hand. So this sounds doable. At least for this week.

I don’t want to take away the (only) FUN aspect of meal planning – the searching for and trying new, interesting recipes. But I definitely want to simplify, where possible. So I am going to experiment with planning a few specific things – including some new recipes, or, in the case of this week ALL new recipes – and then fill out the rest of the week with whatever I have on hand. WE’LL SEE HOW IT GOES. 

Dinners for the Week of January 4 – January 10

  • Ginger Salmon Salad 
    • Follow Up: This was a surprising hit! The sauce was a little fussy to make — not hard, just… fussy. But it was tasty and different. My husband liked it too, even though it was salmon. I would make this again.
  • Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls  (This recipe calls for pre-made chicken, which I do not have. So I am going to braise a bunch of chicken in coconut milk like so and save the extra for another meal.) 
    • Follow Up: Braising the chicken in the coconut milk mixture did not go well, possibly because instead of using red curry paste I used sweet chili sauce (to match the quinoa dressing). It was too mild and the chicken was WAY too chicken-y. Yuck. BUT the quinoa bowls without chicken were delicious. I added sliced red and green bell peppers, edamame, avocado, and scallions, and it was so yummy. I put it all on top of a bunch of romaine which made it feel super healthful. We had leftovers and it was delicious, cold, the next day. (I did sprinkle the quinoa mixture with a mixture of soy sauce and sriracha though, which amped up the flavor factor.) Would definitely make this again, but would reserve the chicken for my husband.
  • Mushroom Ramen 
    • Follow Up: This was tasty, but very salty. My husband described the flavor as very intense. Having a separate broth was a little weird… it was almost too intense to eat without the noodles, so what was the purpose? If I made this again, I might halve the sauce, add the chicken broth, but then put the entire amount of liquid in when the recipe calls for just adding half the sauce. As per usual, it is very frustrating to watch one billion mushrooms shrink into nothing. I added sliced bell pepper and sugar snap peas to this, to amp up the veggie quotient and I used ramen. This also purported to take 30 minutes of cooking, but even if you don’t count the washing and chopping of bell pepper and sugar snap peas, it took at LEAST thirty minutes just to prepare the ingredients. And I ended up using one million dishes, which annoys me. Probably I wouldn’t make this exact recipe again. But it was fun to try.
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup  (I don’t normally like chicken tortilla soup because it has tomatoes in it. But my husband likes it, and I need a slow cooker meal this week, and it sounds good. I am going to try to blend all the chunks out of the tomatoes – and even strain them, if necessary – and we’ll see if the extra work is worthwhile.) 
    • Follow Up: I did end up blending the fire roasted tomatoes, and even then there were seeds everywhere so I pressed it through a fine-mesh strainer. Also, I think I had in mind that this would be more like chili, which it most definitely was NOT — it was clearly soup. So after it was done cooking and was sitting in the crockpot on warm, I added a can of black beans and about a cup of frozen corn. That helped. This had a great flavor and I would DEFINITELY make it again. Oh – since I don’t like the texture of cooked peppers, I chopped the poblanos into big chunks for easy removal. Next time, I might cut each poblano in half and then toss them afterward — my husband didn’t love eating the chunks of them and I didn’t miss them, but I am sure they did add some flavor to the soup.

Plus, I have pork tenderloin, pork chops, shrimp, and tons of chicken in the freezer. Plus broccoli and zucchini and avocados in my fridge. So I am going to put those things together to make the remaining meals.

What are you eating this first full week of January?

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The only thing that is prompting me to put this post up today is my own self-imposed practice of posting dinners on Tuesday. 

(Brief interlude during which I had the very real experience of feeling CERTAIN that it was not, in fact, Tuesday, but instead Wednesday. I had to check with my daughter to confirm that it is Tuesday indeed.)

The REASON I used to post dinners on Tuesday is because I used to go to the grocery store on Tuesday. Back when my child was in school and no one had to wear masks. That seems like a very long time ago, doesn’t it? 

Well. Instead of getting bogged down in WOE about the state of things, I will say that my husband should have the COVID vaccine by the end of the calendar year!!! THAT is very exciting. I get all choked up and teary when I think about all those scientists out there who worked their BACKSIDES off to get a vaccine out the door in UNDER A YEAR. Science is AMAZING and I am weepy with gratitude for science in general and all the people who believe in it and devote their lives to it. And now, hopefully, this vaccine will give people a chance against this awful, awful virus. 

Even though I have done NOTHING this year, certainly nothing anywhere near as momentous as participating in the creation of a vaccine against a deadly virus, I still must feed my family. We do what we can, even if it feels insignificant and trivial.

The thing is… I have not actually PLANNED any dinners for this week’s meals. I bought some things at the store but really I’m going to just… scrape those things together into meal-type groupings and hope we don’t run out before the next time I go grocery shopping. Of course, there is always takeout. Thank heavens for takeout.

Dinners for the Week of December 15-December 21

What are you eating for dinners this week, Internet?

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This post is half grousing/fretting, half meal planning, or maybe a little quite a bit less meal planning than grousing. I am just preparing you, so you can scroll down past the cranky part or click over to some other more cheerful blog. And also if you have grouses/frets, I am in a very empathetic mood, so please do share. 

Anyway, I woke up this morning in a grump. There’s nothing WRONG, per se. It’s just, you know – everything. Yesterday, I had two mildly irritating experiences that aren’t worth describing and really come down to Pandemic Life Adjustments and Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can.  (Okay, I will briefly describe one: I had to wait for nearly an hour, as in 50+ minutes, for my curbside Target order; normally the wait is like 5 minutes tops.) (Here is the brief run-down of the other: Carla’s school required me to buy a last-minute hole punch – I got the request yesterday, and the hole punch was needed yesterday and will be needed again today – and I cannot locate one; I even WENT IN to WalMart to find one and still couldn’t; so Carla just has to do without, which is fine, it’s not a big deal.) There’s nothing I can DO about these irritating experiences, and I really do think everyone is trying their utmost best, but they are still irritating. 

Plus, I am still having self-conscious feelings about our holiday cards. I know I mentioned this before, but I stuffed all of them into their envelopes yesterday so I was looking at them for a long time and I just feel like they are BAD and DUMB. I mean, my husband thinks they are cute, and I trust him, so hopefully I am just being overly precious about them? There is the possibility that he is Not Hurting My Feelings, but really thinks they are dumb… although… that doesn’t really sound like him. But the borders just seem SO uneven and the pictures are blurrier than I originally thought and I am a little uncomfortable that we are wearing Santa hats in our photos; but OF COURSE THAT IS STUPID. No one cares! Our Jewish friends do not care if we are representing Christmas in our cards! And our card is kind of light-hearted – it’s the three of us on Zoom, and it references social distancing. What if it’s too light-hearted for some people? Or feels like we are making light of the pandemic, which has been much harder on so many people than it has for us? And then, on the back, there’s a message that is a little more serious in tone, about hoping everyone is safe and healthy. And I’m worried that the tone shift is too severe? What if people think I’m being super over-serious about everything? And then on some cards I’ve written little messages like “Merry Christmas!” or whatever and that feels like adding to the mixed message-ness of it all? Plus, I look old and my nose looks weird. And OMG NOBODY CARES. But what it comes down to is that I am having to force myself to send them out, rather than feeling happy about them. 

Plus, this morning the kids in Carla’s class did an opening discussion about things they are grateful for. It was very sweet, but the things they listed (my siblings, because I can play with them even if I can’t play with my friends; being safe from corona; the world) kind of broke my heart. 

Pluscheery frivolous post material aside, I am increasingly anxious about The State of Things. The emails my husband gets from his hospital system are increasingly… upsetting. I mean, aside from the graphs they send out regularly, illustrating the steep upward climb of Covid cases and ICU patients, there have been some bland, semi-vague missives that to me seem like “covering the bases” types of emails. NOT THIS EXPRESSLY, but like, along the lines of, “Hey, you may be in a specialty totally removed from emergency or respiratory medicine but just kind of gird your loins for the possibility of maybe jumping in if we need you? Kthanx.” or “By the way, at some point we may need to shift hospital stuff to your clinics because we are running out of room. Byeeeee.” Again, this is not exactly what they are saying, and again, I think this is more like the hospital system making sure their doctors are prepared for any eventuality. But it is not a confidence-builder, you know? 

Okay. Grumping and worrying do nothing. NOTHING. Let’s go for some Cheering Thoughts:

First, I have SO MANY great cookie ideas to follow up on. This does not mean I have TOO MANY or even ENOUGH, so please let me know if you have a Must Make Holiday Cookie I need to consider.

Second, Remote Learning is going… okay, so far. I’m not going to say it’s good, because it isn’t. But it’s so much better than it went last spring. Carla is doing great and, now that the teachers have had time to prepare and some experience with online teaching, the school days are so much better organized. It still feels impossible to complete all the necessary work during the day, and neither of us is getting any exercise (where to fit it in???) (do not say wake up earlier), and we are both in Carla’s room/office for pretty much the ENTIRE DAY EVERY DAY but still, it is Much Better. And supposedly she will be back in school, in person, in early January… but even if not, we will at least have a two-week break in there. 

Third, I finally finished not one but TWO books I have been reading for literal months. One of them was really good, but had a slow start; the other was interesting but the author’s voice wasn’t my style. Anyway, I finished them, which is a good feeling. AND now I can start the three books that are next up on my to-read list: Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick, which I received as a surprise from a friend; The Searcher by Tana French, which my husband ordered for me on a whim; and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which I bought for myself. I am really excited about all three, and this anticipatory which-one-should-I read-next stage is delicious and fun. 

Fourth, back to food, this week includes both (the beginning of) Hanukkah and my wedding anniversary, which means some special meals. Perhaps I will make the special meal for Hanukkah and order takeout for our anniversary. Also I have some repeats from last week because I am lazy Super Flexible.

Dinners for the Week of December 8-14

I also have some extra cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving, so I may make these cranberry crumble bars and send some to work with my husband. 

What are you eating for dinner this week?

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I am choosing to view this unsettling omission as a temporary result of needing the banana space for Thanksgiving-specific items. (Although the banana area is now half-full of pineapple, which is perplexing on many levels.) Who knows. Maybe no one eats bananas over Thanksgiving weekend. And I was at the store early on a Monday morning, so it’s possible the banana truck just hadn’t arrived yet? Yes, let’s go with that. I don’t even EAT bananas, but I don’t think I could handle a banana shortage. It would cause a banana panic, and no one needs that, although it is rather fun to say.

The chicken section was a little thin, too – and the breasts themselves looked kind of wan. I don’t care for a wan breast. But I bought three packages anyway; they were on sale and we’re facing down a Winter Storm Warning and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But there were paper towels on the shelves and everything else seemed to be in stock. Well, except for cleaning sprays; that shelf was still pretty bare. I bought a bunch of canned veggies and some cereal for the food drive at my husband’s hospital, and both canned veggies and cereal were abundant. Notwithstanding the robust stores of food and supplies, I still feel a strong wave of Impending Doom which crests while I’m in the grocery store. (I seriously still cannot pass by a package of flour without gazing at it longingly. GET IT TOGETHER.) 

Today’s doom is, in part, brought to you by a little trip I took to Home Depot yesterday. (The other part is the Winter Storm Warning and the neverending pandemic, obvs.) You can order curbside service at Home Depot, which I VASTLY prefer to wandering the aisles of Home Depot, hoping to glimpse a wisp of Home Depot staff member in the distance, let alone actually interact with someone who can direct you to the correct aisle. Curbside service, which I have used twice now, is prompt and masked. Yesterday, I ordered and picked up a sled for Carla. This will ensure that the foot of snow we are promised will turn out to be a measly inch of watery sludge. Anyway, I was waiting for my curbside order when I saw a family exit the Depot with their cart full of paper towels. 

At first, I thought they were geniuses. Of course Home Depot sells paper goods! And if you can’t find paper towels at Target, Home Depot is a good bet. (They also have hand sanitizer and lots of cleaning supplies. Hot tip.) Or perhaps they were in the store for normal Home Depot reasons and just happened across the paper towels and marveled at their presence and bought some — beats going to Home Depot AND Target/Costco/your-paper-towel-purveyor-of-choice. But then I quickly slid from congratulatory musing to alarm, and the tableau shifted from one of Happy Family Grabs Bounty Whilst Picking Up Lightbulbs to that of Shrewd Preppers Seek Out Last Paper Goods At Unlikely Source, as when you see disaster films showing people jogging from, like, a Toys R US, with a cart full of bottled water and baby food and ammunition. Okay, maybe not Toys R Us. My panic-fantasies are dated and inaccurate.

I am always on the precipice of panic, it seems, and seeing someone else with paper towels is enough to send me scrabbling over the edge, it seems. Even though lack of paper towels is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. Even if our supply of paper towels could use a little plumping, perhaps next time I visit the grocery store, we can certainly survive WITHOUT.

Speaking of paper goods, though of a different sort: I could use some more wrapping paper. We are down to maybe four semi-used rolls and one fresh one, which feels a little risky. I have done SO MUCH wrapping and it just now the very beginning of December. Yes, many people plan ahead like this Every Single Year, but this is new to me. And while I am pretty sure I am done with my Christmas shopping, I do keep buying justonemorething and other lovely people keep sending us gifts that also require wrapping. I don’t like to be low on wrapping paper, is what I’m trying to tell you. 

I guess you can add a little Holiday Apprehension to the list of Doom Source Material. Some days it feels delicious and festive, other days — like today — it feels tiring and stressful.

Then there’s the other potential/likely source of doom: the resumption of remote learning this week. I think (I HOPE) it will be better than it was in the spring. But I am still dreading it. 

This, the week after Thanksgiving, in a Period Of Doom, I am not feeling like cooking at all. AT. ALL. And yet we still must eat, I suppose. Myself, I could probably hibernate all winter on the mashed potato intake of the past week alone. But my daughter probably needs regular feeding. And all the doom and dread makes me crave pasta. One must carbo load to be able to outrun The Fearsome Something that is sending spikes of panic through one’s endocrine system.

In any event, meals must happen. So here we go, an attempt at a menu plan for the week. 

Dinners for the Week of December 1-December 7

What are you planning to eat this week, Internet? Are you still working on Thanksgiving leftovers? 

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Do I really have to plan dinners this week? I am in Thanksgiving Prep Mode, which is, fortunately, less stressful than in most years, but I still don’t want to have to plan REGULAR MEALS on top of Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is going to be so weird this year. It doesn’t really FEEL like Thanksgiving, what with the weather being so mild still, and the absence of Planning for Visitors Stress. Obviously, I am super sad that my parents won’t be here this year. But we saw them awhile back (they stayed in a hotel, we hung out outside the entire time) which was cheering, and I would rather they be tucked safely away in their cozy forest home than be traipsing all over the country. We will FaceTime with family members from both sides of the family (my mother bravely coordinated a family meet up despite the fact that we live in three separate time zones and that my brother’s work schedule and my child’s bedtime make meeting up Very Difficult). My husband has the whole long weekend off, which is wonderful, so I anticipate lots of lounging around and video games and board games and reading.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I discovered something BRAND NEW about my husband. Stuffing isn’t his favorite Thanksgiving food. Internet. I had no idea! All along, I thought it was his One True Thanksgiving Love, that he felt about stuffing the way I feel about mashed potatoes. And I was WRONG. 

I am delighted, by the way. Each year for ten years, I have made a classic stuffing recipe for my husband because it’s what he likes. I do not like stuffing. Wet bread is not for me. I really had to restrain myself to type that sentence, Internet, but I did so because I love you and because I know that other people feel differently about wet bread. 

So this year, for Thanksgiving, we are skipping the stuffing (which I guess is more accurately a dressing, since we never stuff anything with it), we are skipping the whole giant turkey, we are skipping the cranberry sauce (will I regret this? Time will tell.), we are even skipping the pumpkin bars. Instead, we will be making ONLY a roast boneless turkey breast, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes. BOO YAH. We will also make cranberry relish because there’s no law that says cranberry relish is just for Christmas and maybe an apple sharlotka (thank you, Steph!). I am PUMPED.

But. My family requires food even in weeks leading up to holidays. Also, I have to admit that I am feeling increasingly concerned about the skyrocketing COVID numbers, and I think I am going to try to revert to my early-pandemic shopping schedule as much as possible. (I will have to make another trip to the grocery store to pick up the turkey breast, and the in-store butcher kind of freaked me out by saying that I need to be prepared for Big Crowds that day, and they will only allow 90 people into the store at a time, so prepare to wait. But I’d prefer to make that trip as quick as possible.)

Here is my very lukewarm meal plan for the week leading up to (plus the day after) Thanksgiving:

Dinners for the Week of November 17 – November 18

What are you eating this week, Internet? Can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK? What are you looking forward to/mourning the most about a pandemic holiday?


I have just now returned from the grocery store with my two-week supply of food and I feel very relieved to have done it. Not much was on sale — and I know a LOT of things will be on sale next week — but my priority during this pandemic is spending less time in a crowded store rather than saving a few dollars. When I go back to pick up the turkey breast, I will also grab more lettuce, whatever herbs I need for the gravy, and some butter which I somehow forgot this trip (I know how it happened: I normally buy butter at Costco. But I just WENT to Costco and would prefer not to go again for many months. Why did I fail to get butter on that trip? Because butter is one of those things that my husband says, “We have PLENTY of X, do NOT get more” [i.e. chicken stock, cumin] and, even though he didn’t say that specifically about butter this last trip, I had it in my head not to buy butter. Which was dumb. Thanksgiving requires a lot of butter.). (I know you love my long parenthetical which could probably be their own paragraphs.)

Anyway, I wanted to report three specific things to you about the grocery store trip.

  1. When I got to the chicken stock aisle, the shelves of my preferred brand were EMPTY. I am now down to FOUR quarts of chicken stock which apparently is my threshold for panic. (This pandemic is truly doing weird things to my mind.) Well. My preferred brand was on sale, so I am going to assume that’s why it had been cleared out. There were plenty of OTHER brands of chicken stock, so I grabbed four quarts and now I feel slightly better about things. Most other things seemed to be well-stocked. Plenty of flour — with a lot of it on sale; I forced myself to pass the flour without grabbing a package, but it was, as usual, difficult. The chicken was in low supply, but I am ASSUMING that is because the store is making room for turkey. I did not check the cleaning supplies aisle.
  2. HORMEL PEPPERONI WAS BACK IN STOCK. I grabbed three packages (leaving plenty for other people) and which I had grabbed four. I am GLEEFUL about the pepperoni. Such a silly, strange, not-particularly-healthful thing to be delighted about. And yet…
  3. This is not about groceries per se. I just want you to share my hurt feelings/very mild outrage. I bought some wine and the checker held up a bottle and and said he needed to verify that I was over 21. Here is where I say that it is very clear I am over 21. First of all — and I may be mistaken — but if you were not yet 21 and you were trying to sneakily buy some alcohol, would you choose sauvignon blanc and chardonnay? Or might you choose a 24-pack of cheap beer or a 12er of White Claw? What 20-year-old-or-younger buys $250 worth of groceries on a Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.? Perhaps I am making financial/taste/carb-consciousness assumptions that are inaccurate or unfair to the not-yet-21 set, but I am going to guess that is a rare occurrence indeed. But now I will tell you that the checker did not ask to see my ID. No. To verify my age, he asked that I pull down my mask. What…..? Pull down my mask? During a pandemic? And also? Is he is effing kidding me? “Let’s verify your age by looking at your old face” is NOT A KIND THING TO DO TO A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN. I took a deep breath, pulled down my mask below my chin, and he immediately nodded, satisfied that I was indeed very old. I guess the crow’s feet alone weren’t convincing enough. He needed the marionette lines and sun-worn skin to really clinch it.


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Well. Today is the day. We have voted. Carla is home with me; her school gave everyone a day off to ensure the teachers and staff could vote. I am filled with a buzzing, nervous energy as I am sure so many are. Let us hope I can channel it into cleaning and walking on the treadmill rather than into eating leftover Halloween candy. But either way, we will be gentle with ourselves.

We have sunshine today and mild temperatures. Perhaps I can cajole Carla into going for a long walk through the leaves. (She sees this unexpected holiday as a chance to watch TV.) Perhaps I will spend the day cooking. Perhaps I will curl up with the newest Robert Galbraith book (we can discuss the internal wrestling of enjoying artwork by deeply problematic artists another time). Perhaps I will chip away at a holiday gift guide post I have been working on. Perhaps I will watch more episodes of The Mindy Project, which is a balm. Who can know yet where this day will take us.

This week’s dinners are all about comfort and joy, ease and nutrition. With the exception of paprikas, I’ve got protein, carbs, and veggies in abundance in each meal on the list. Best of all, these are filling, delicious foods I look forward to, no matter what. Today is Tuesday, so we will have tacos. Gorging oneself on tacos is much more soothing than one might expect.

Dinners for the Week of November 3-8 (Election Week 2020)

  • Tacos

I am also planning on making some apple crisp. If there is a more comforting dessert, I don’t know what it is. Plus, the work of peeling and chopping many apples promises catharsis.

Hope and well-being and so much love to everyone.

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We are having unseasonable warmth. Like, shorts and tank tops weather. Yesterday, Carla and I raked the yard and she was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops. It was very odd indeed to see her leaping into our leaf pile without cozy fall clothing on. 

I am NOT complaining, but the lingering summer weather makes my craving for fall food – soups and stews and chili – feel a bit unnatural. Well. The heart wants what it wants. Let’s see if I can force myself to enjoy some still-summery-ish meals instead.

Dinners for the Week of October 12-18

  • Grilled Pork Chops with Asparagus
  • Tacos
  • Takeout

What’s on your menu plan for the week, Internet?

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