Thursday, October 4, 2018

Day 4 - Write 31 - All It Takes is a Little Planning - Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Surprise! It's Time to Eat (again)

It happens at least three times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. OK not everyone eats breakfast but you get the idea. We get hungry we need to eat. So why does 6 p.m. roll around and we stand staring into the fridge like it's a big surprise that it's time to eat again?

I'm a big fan of Dave Ramsey. He speaks of this in regards to Christmas. "Christmas is not an emergency. It happens every year. Don't use it as an excuse to overspend and buy things you can't afford." 

It's the same with meal time. Meal time is not an emergency. It happens multiple times a day. We get hungry on a pretty regular basis and yet we allow it to sneak up and because we're unprepared we end up ordering pizza or hitting the local drive through for a #1 combo.

How Can We Avoid the Big Surprise? 

You've Got to Plan Ahead

My meal planning approach is pretty simple. 

Check the Calendar

On Thursday I sit down with the calendar and make notes about the coming week. This was much more complicated when I had a house full of children. It's a lot easier now there's only two of us. But still it's important to take in to consideration what's on the calendar. 

For example I'm taking a class on Thursday night so I need to plan a quick meal so we can get out the door on time. Working late, company coming over, birthdays and holidays or weekend trips all need to be considered. 

Take Stock

Once I have our schedule down the next step is to check the pantry, fridge and freezer to see what needs to be used. This also cuts down on the weekly expenses and food waste. No reason to buy something when I have it sitting on the pantry shelf. 

Meals to Plan

Breakfast is usually oatmeal, rice or potatoes served with some type of fruit. I just keep the ingredients on hand for these dishes.
Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before or a veggie sandwich or wrap. As long as I have bread, peanut butter and jelly things are good.
Dinner is the only meal we eat together and we rely on leftovers for lunches so it's the one that takes the most planning.

Meal Plan Theme

To make life easier I plan my meals around a theme. You could come up with different themes but these are mine for now:

  • Chinese
  • Middle Eastern/Indian 
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • All-American 
  • Down Home Southern 
Since we might go out to eat or we may have lots of leftovers I only plan out six dinners a week. 

Within each theme I have a running list of meal ideas that can I switch up each week. For example under Italian we may eat spaghetti with marinara sauce one week and then veggie lasagna the next. Truth be told we don't need a lot of variety in our eating so we really don't mind eating spaghetti every week. But it's good to have some options just in case. 

BTW it's a blessing to have a husband that's not a picky eater!

Write it Down

I write down what meals I have planned for the week for those times I have a brain freeze and can't remember what I've planned. 
However I don't assign a particular meal to a particular night unless it's really necessary. I do like to know ahead of time what's for dinner on Thursday so I can be sure to have it ready on time. 
The joy of eating plant-based is you don't have to worry about defrosting meat. Although you do have to be sure to soak the dried beans but canned is always a quick option. 

Stick to the Plan But Be Flexible

The key is to stick to your plan but be flexible enough to go with the flow. If you plan on eating taco salad for dinner and you find someone has eaten all the Frito corn chips don't throw the plan out the window. Change it up and serve the taco 'meat' (also know as lentils) over rice or a baked potato and have salad on the side. 

Making a major change in diet does take a lot of research and planning. Going plant-based has so many advantages it's well worth the effort. 

No recipe needed!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Simply open a can of black beans and a can of corn. 
Rinse and drain the beans, drain the corn. 
Mix in a little of your favorite salsa. Add some chopped onion and peppers if you want. 
Toss it all together and heat it up.
Serve over a baked potato. 
Add a salad on the side, some oven baked corn chips and extra salsa. 

Dinners on the table!

A writing challenge every October every day

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