Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Week of Healthy Delicious

In my second trimester, I've mysteriously developed the eating habits and food preferences of a two-year-old child. I can only imagine that this is nature's way of preparing me for the actual two-year-old child who is fast approaching me like a bowling ball bearing down on the poor, oblivious pins.

With my newfound two-year-oldness, I go from perfectly fine to desperately starving in about four seconds, and I Must Eat Now, except I don't want any of That because it looks yucky. And even when I find something that seems appetizing, I can only eat about a half a cup of it before it turns to ashes in my mouth, and I'm so done with eating. I get desperately hungry again in another twenty minutes, and the whole cycle starts over. This is driving me crazy. It's also driving me tired and grumpy and ill-nourished.

My old way of cooking and eating was to have three good meals each day, with a heavy reliance on leftovers. These days, I eat six or seven times a day, and I get tired of food a lot quicker than it gets used up. This leads directly to my eating more snack foods and fewer real foods than usual, just when I should be eating the healthiest diet of my life. And on top of this, my habitual cooking time of late afternoon is now the time of day at which my energy is the lowest. It feels like a lose-lose-lose situation.

So after some careful deliberation and a close look at the budget, we've decided to hire a round-the-clock, seven-days-a-week personal chef. She's been instructed to have a wide variety of healthy, delicious meals at her fingertips, any of which can be ready within moments. She just got back from her first trip to the grocery store, and things are looking up in the food department.

This personal chef is, of course, me. I realized today that if I can't figure out a way to feed myself better, I'm not going to be much good for much else. So I made a plan. I made a list of the healthiest, most delicious foods I could think of, and planned eight different meals around them. I'll do as much pre-preparation as I can, so that whenever the hunger strikes, I can be with moments of Real Foods of Great Variety.

In case this works out really well, and gets us a delicious, healthy week of eating with not too much fuss, I'm keeping track. And so both you and I know where to find this list in the future, I'm sharing with The Good Ol' Internet. Here's the grocery list and menu plan:*

8 whole wheat tortillas
8 whole wheat mini pita breads
1 box whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 loaf multi-grain bread
1 frozen ball of whole wheat pizza dough

2 lbs flank steak
12 oz mozzarella
1 lb cheddar
7 oz whole-milk Fage yogurt
2 19-oz cans white beans
6 eggs
1 lb sliced deli ham**
8 oz hummus

2 avocados
4 red peppers
2 sweet onions
1 lb baby spinach
4 tomatoes
1 head lettuce
1 bunch carrots
5 zucchinis
1 can tomato sauce
1 meyer lemon
1 head garlic

Prep Work:
Chop a whole head of garlic, and keep it in olive oil.
Broil and slice the flank steak.
Grate the mozzarella and the cheddar.
Marinate the beans in lemon zest, garlic, oregano, and olive oil.
Wash and dry the spinach and the lettuce.
Slice and broil half the zucchini, half the peppers, and half an onion.
Wash and chop the rest of those vegetables.
Peel the carrots.
Divide the pizza dough into 4, stretch and pre-bake

Steak Salad (lettuce, spinach, onion, peppers, carrots, sliced steak)
Tacos (beans, steak, peppers, cheddar) and Guacamole (avocado, onion)
Roasted Veg and Ham Panini (zucchini, peppers, onions, ham, cheddar, bread)
Frittata (ham, spinach, zucchini, eggs) and Salad (lettuce, onions, tomato)
Pita Pockets (pita, hummus, flank steak, yogurt sauce, spinach, carrot, tomato)
Wraps (tortillas, lettuce, onions, spinach, beans, yogurt sauce)
Pasta (tomato sauce, zucchini, carrots, cheddar) and Salad (spinach, onions, beans)
Pizza (dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, peppers)

*In the interests of maximum tastiness, nutrition and variety, I've all but abandoned my usual goals of seasonality and affordability. This is a more expensive and less sustainable way of eating than I prefer, but you have to pick your battles, and this week, my battle is to get enough good food into me to make a healthy baby and a mama that has the strength to pick her head up off the couch. Don't worry, I'll make sure the kid feels guilty about it forever. You can rely on me.

**Yes, yes. Lunch meat, pregnant = pestilence, death, blah blah blah. I will heat it thoroughly before eating and somehow keep myself from munching it cold out of the fridge.


Fatty said...

Rock on with your bad self. For someone with such strong culinary opinions/ standards it is hard to change. The deli ham choice is most impressive. We buy it once in awhile and for some unrelated reason I manage to have a decent lunch every day that week without having to spend ten dollars on lunch when there are no leftovers in the fridge.

Adaptability may be even better than opinions. My sainted bride's birthday is tomorrow,to celebrate I cooked mushroom risotto last night with asparagus(not in season) and micro tatsoi greens from the greenhouse(garden dork right here). Tonight I am happy to report that said sainted bride was knawing the last bits of meat from the pork chops(fabulous Mark Bittman recipe); the true definition of a well enjoyed meal.

Keep up the good work of feading yourself x2 and your husband!

lauren said...

Oh, Fatty, which Bittman recipe?? Must have.

Anna anna anna, we are getting our chickens tomorrow and we will eventually have an average chicken egg production of 26/week. Plus we will have 4-5 ducks that lay up to 300/year EACH (duck eggs, not chicken eggs, which I hope is obvious). You must come help us out with this onslaught of delicious eggs.

Nev said...

Fatty's pork chop recipe is from How to Cook Everything, and it's the most basic of the pork chop recipes. My groom used the variation involving a sauce with lots of garlic. It was tremendously tasty.

Sister-in-Law, your shopping, prepping and cooking plan is mighty impressive. Hope it helps keep the cranky at bay.

Nev said...

If you don't have that cookbook here is the abridged version.
Skillet at medium till smoking with 2 tbsp oil, s&p 2-4 1" chops. Turn pan to high as you add the chops. Sear on each side for a few minutes. Pour in half a cup dry white wine,flip once cook until wine is almost has decided computer is a good place for a nap, I will now type one handed...turn down pan to medium when wine is added. I found high was too much and med high was fine, I was using a cast iron skillet.when wine ia almost gone add 1 tbsp garlic and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, turn to low and cover. For fifteen minutes if you follow the recipe or 7 if you don't. It depends on how much they cooked during searing. You end up with deliciously juicy, well seared goodness.

now about those eggs you have, can we trade some Va porkfor some west coast eggs? Did you read "Animal, vegetable,miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver? Great egg stories!