Cooking ahead


I had a couple of disturbing experiences with sweets this week. The first involved an enormous fruit smoothie at Maggie Moo’s, which seemed like a great idea when I first saw it. Real fruit, sorbet, fruit juice—and all low-fat. Unfortunately, it tasted like berry flavored sugar, mostly, and it was far too big. When the guy gave it to me, I reminded him that I ordered the regular, not the large, but he said that was the regular. Way, WAY too much. The second bad experience was with some baklava, which is not vegan, I know, but I just love it, and I almost never eat it, so I decided to indulge. Both times, all that sugar made me feel sick—a bit nauseated and a bit jumpy, like my body couldn’t handle all that sugar at once. Not good, since I had gestational diabetes with my youngest, and I really don’t ever want to go back to that. I had it bad, with sticks 4 times a day to test my sugar, and insulin injections three times a day. I hated every minute of it.

So, I decided that it is time to get even more serious about eating healthy. I am not doing so terrible, but my big downfall is eating out, especially during the summer. I try to make healthy choices when I eat at restaurants, but I can’t get as many fruits and veggies with my meal as I can at home, and restaurants almost always use a lot more fat to cook their food than I do. I was commenting about this to a friend not too long ago—I always lose weight when I do a lot of cooking at home, and it almost doesn’t matter what I cook. I say that because my highest-fat meals are still lower in fat and calories than a lot of the food you get out at restaurants (I don’t deep fry at all, for instance). But, despite lots of trying, I haven’t gotten completely back in the habit of cooking at home. I have a renewed determination now, though.

Today I took this motivation and used it to do some menu-planning. I looked around online and in some of my cookbooks, and I came up with a great plan. I even made a grocery list. Unfortunately, I also bought a bunch of stuff that was not on the list, so I spent an arm and a leg! Oh well, I guess it is just motivation to stay out of those restaurants this week. As part of my strategy to make sure I don’t waste all this food I bought, I am going to cook up some food tomorrow to take me through the week.

First, I am going to make a batch of Cream of Broccoli soup from The Family Vegetarian Cookbook. That will be a perfect afternoon snack instead of heading to the coffee shop for a scone. I always want something real food like about 3:00, but it is hard to grab something easy and vegan near the office. I am also going to make a big batch of Susan V’s International Quinoa salad for dinner tomorrow night. That recipe makes 10 servings, so I should have plenty to take for lunches during the week. And I will roast the veggies for this fabulous-looking ratatouille, so that I can make it more quickly during the week.

I’d like to think that I am going to make more, but I think I am taking baby steps into this cooking ahead thing. Even having a couple of easy things to grab will make it easier to resist temptation as the week progresses. Here is my menu for the week:

Tonight: salad, black bean and soy cheese taquitos, salsa, baby bananas
Sunday: International Quinoa Salad, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, blueberries
Monday: I am going to the Muny with my mom, so I will just grab a Tofurkey Italian sausage that I left there from the boy’s birthday BBQ yesterday and whatever fruits and veggies she might have around
Tuesday: Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille, gnocchi, salad
Wednesday: Rachael Ray’s Curry in a Hurry, with seitan substituted for the chicken, mangoes, brown rice, some kind of veggie (maybe green beans to appease the kiddoes)
Thursday: Sloppy Joe pizza, steamed veggies, some kind of fruit

Friday the kids go back to their dad’s, so I imagine I will have easy stuff. I bought one of the new Amy’s pizzas—the spinach kind that is vegan. I can eat that for a few meals. But that is mostly a problem for next weekend. First I have to be good about following this one.

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