Meal Planning 101

Dairy-free Meat-free Gluten-free Meal Plan

Meal planning is one of those things that I associate with people who are extremely organized and have extra time on their hands. I would assume it’s one of those “habits of highly effective people” along with waking up early and exercising regularly (both of which I do not do well). As much as I dread the “what do you want for dinner” discussion that usually occurs on our ride home from work, I can never bring myself to spend the 10 minutes on the weekend to sit down and plan out our week.

  • Excuse #1: How do I know that on Thursday, I’ll want pasta? Maybe I won’t feel like pasta and I’ll want a salad even though it says pasta on the plan?
  • Excuse #2: Our fridge is super tiny, and I’m lucky if kale stays crisp for more than 2 days.
  • Excuse#3: I probably won’t stick to this for more than one week, so why try. (I use this one A LOT)

We’ve successfully executed two weeks of planned meals, and I have to say I enjoy it. We definitely (DEFINITELY) save money, and we waste way less food which is my favorite part. We’re able to buy produce at the farmers market more effectively since we know for sure that we’re going to use the entire bulb of fennel or bunch of easter radishes instead of just buying them because they’re cute.
I’ve only done that a few times.Bulk Rainbow Peppers at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market in SeattleBulk Rainbow Peppers at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market in Seattle

When we take time to plan our meals, we also tend to eat healthier than we would otherwise. You feel a lot worse as a person when you PLAN to eat packaged ramen than when it’s a last resort choice on a busy night. Personally, I love writing down 5 days of kale because A. it looks better on a meal plan and B. it forces me to think of creative ways to prepare it.
This week, Brian and I decided to do a bit of a “cleanse” and go dairy-free, meat-free, gluten-lite, and no alcohol. I know there are far more strict cleanses out there, but this is mostly a diet adjustment since we’ve both noticed that our bodies and attitudes are a bit sluggish lately. I’m going to be conscious of my sugar and fat intake as well, and I’ll opt for agave and natural fats when they’re available. I’ve eliminated dairy and meat from my diet in the past and noticed a definite improvement in my body, so I’m looking forward to taking a break from both.

I don’t know how long we’ll stick to this, but I’d rather keep it open-ended so I can keep it up as long or short as I want. I don’t do well with deadlines, and I’m prone to jumping off the deep end as soon as time is up, and ruining everything I just worked at. A good example is my wedding ‘diet’ that I stuck to for about 2 months before the wedding. I lost a little bit of weight, leaned up, and noticed a positive effect on my body just by eliminating less healthy foods. After the wedding, everyone at work took me out for a giant burger and fries to celebrate the diet being over, and it pretty much went downhill from there. I’d say two months of eating whatever I want (and as many donuts as humanly possible) is plenty, and time to get back on track.

Dairy-free Meat-free Gluten-free Meal Plan

We picked up fresh produce at the farmers market this weekend, so my shopping list is fairly small for the leftover items. We generally stop at the store each night to pick up a few items rather than do a big trip once a week, so my shopping list is broken into days. I’ll probably get most of these ingredients at the Pike Place Market since their herbs and fish are as fresh as it gets and just a few blocks from work. Seattle Farmers Market Trip by Bike

I don’t typically use recipes, so I don’t bother writing down anything more than just ingredients. Occasionally, a meal will turn out really well and I’ll write it down for the future, but I usually just wing it a little differently each time. If you feel so inclined to try this plan and want more instructions for the meals, I can write up some quick steps that I use. I usually whip up a quick dressing for salads that always end up being some combo of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and lemon.

I’m going to be proactive for next week’s plan and start perusing some of my favorite sites for cozy fall recipes and ideas. I think my next post will be some of our standard recipes that are in rotation most often. Healthy AND easy 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 8/14

I want to be better at writing on this blog. I have about 75 drafts saved and most of them weren’t posted because I was waiting for some time to upload and edit a photo to go with. While I definitely still love having beautiful photos on my posts, I don’t want that to stop me from posting. I read through my last couple posts and was reminded why I love this blog so much. It’s so nice to look back on periods in time and remember what we were doing, how we were feeling, and what our life looked like.

Things we’re doing lately…

Going to goodwill… a lot. We’ve had some really amazing goodwill finds lately, including:
-$5 camping pads (saved us $150 over the new ones we’ve been eyeing)
-$7 donut maker (I’m obsessed)
-school supplies for Margaret’s new classroom
-$4 rain booties (because, Seattle)
-alllllll of the 20-cent mason jars!

Spending time outside!
Summer in Seattle is AMAZING. It’s even more beautiful than everyone told us it would be. The mornings are chilly (70s) but the afternoons can get up to 85 degrees. It’s never unbearably hot, never humid, and there’s always an ocean breeze. We’ve been trying to eat dinner outside at least once a week, and ride to different neighborhoods after work. One of our favorite places to ride is to Fremont and Ballard, since we LOVE the Westlake cycle track for our evening commute. We sat on the hill by the locks one night and had a picnic dinner while we watched the boats go through the locks.
We saw Gregory Alan Isakov and Blind Pilot at the Woodland Zoo last night which was basically like going to a much smaller Ravinia. It was an amazingggg concert, and the weather was perfect. It was a little chilly, but Seattle really embraces sweater weather.

Hanging our clothes out
We hung a makeshift clothesline outside our back door that holds about 6 shirts, or 2 flat sheets. It’s tiny, but I LOVE the way our laundry smells after hanging outside for a day.

Going to the farmers market + meal planning
Seattle’s farmers markets are wayyyy more legit than Chicago. You can actually buy your entire week’s worth of groceries, including produce, dairy, meat, fish, flowers, grains, you name it. We’ve been trying to stick to a meal plan the past two weeks, so it’s nice having an actual set shopping list to go off of while we’re at the market, instead of buying produce that goes to waste if we don’t use it. Also, saves us lotsa money!

Drinking SO MUCH COFFEE
I’m totally looking our gift horse in the mouth right now, but we cannot wait to use up all of the free coffee we got from Swift during our campout. It’s dark roast and not really our thing. One more aeropress worth and we’ll be able to buy a new bag of light roast 🙂 mmmmmmmm

 

Listening to…..

M.Ward – Margaret (ward) is letting us borrow her record collection for a big, and unsurprisingly, her initial namesake album was in there. We loved it.
Nils Frahm – always. We already bought tickets to see him next March. Nothing like planning ahead!
Black Sabbath – we found a cheap record at the antique store, so naturally it’s been on repeat for the past few weeks

 

Thinking about…

Our government. And trying not to be sick to my stomach about it every single day. I get at least some minimal comic relief via Twitter and some of the cheeky responses people have. Lots of credit to Dana for joining in and sending me the best of the best!

Buying a wii on Craigslist. For $50, I’m not sure if we can pass it up. We spent a good month addicted to Mario Kart when we were borrowing it from a friend.

Taking a couple of long weekends soon. Our wedding barely felt like a vacaction since it was so action-packed, and we could both use some serious time off. On the list: Orcas Islands, Portland, Chicago, Vancouver, and Hawaii.

Margaret’s first day of school! It’s today, and she’s going to be amazing. Her classroom is all set up, her outfit is picked out, and Brian and I are so so so happy for her. She’s loving her roommates (and their friends-with-boats) and that’s great.

Fall. Ahhhhhh!!! omg! I’m sorry. Too soon. But pumpkin pie sounds delicious.

 

 

 

Brian and Veronica Almdale!

Almdale WeddingWe’re married!! It’s been almost exactly 3 years since we started dating, but it feels like we’ve known each other forever. When I think about my life before we were together, it’s out of focus and just unimportant. I can’t imagine a day that Brian isn’t in my life, and I’m so grateful and thankful that I’ll never have to spend a day without him. We are such a natural match, and we bring out the best in each other. My mom told me once to marry a man who is just a bit out of your league, so you are always striving to be the best version of yourself for him. Brian is exactly that, and he makes me want to be the best ‘me’.

We wanted our wedding day to be simple and small so that we could spend time together enjoying each other and not running around trying to put on a show. Neither of us have any interest in being the center of attention, and wanted to feel comfortable on our wedding day. I absolutely loved the way everything turned out, and even though both of our families were there, it felt like just the two of us while we stood under the arch. The home where we were staying was absolutely incredible, and their beautiful yard was a perfect backdrop for our ceremony.

Almdale WeddingAlmdale WeddingAlmdale Wedding

We are so so so lucky to have such amazing families who not only love both of us, but get along wonderfully with each other! My family spent the morning of our wedding doing the flowers and making beautiful bouquets and garlands for the backyard, while Brian’s parents took my massively oversized balloons to get blown up. The balloons ended up being one of my favorite things about the wedding, they were so fun and added that super whimsical touch to the day!Almdale Wedding

Our photographer was the amazingly talented Rafael Soldi, who was recommended to us by one of Brian’s coworkers, and we are so lucky to have found him. His photos are insanely beautiful, and he made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera even though we much prefer to be behind it! All photos in the post are by him as part of our first sneak peak, and omg we cannot wait to see the whole batch!! I’ve been trying to justify reasons for us to hire him again…

Our neighbor Erik Jackson prepared the most delicious dinner for everyone, and we have not stopped thinking about it! His menu highlighted the Pacific Northwest and was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. After everyone left, Brian and I sat on the couch and stuffed ourselves with the leftover salmon and kale!Almdale WeddingAlmdale WeddingAlmdale WeddingAlmdale Wedding

I’ve been dreaming of my wedding day for as long as I can remember, but nothing could have prepared me for this. It’s such a relief to be married, and to know that no matter what else happens, we’re going to be together through it all. We are so lucky.

Almdale Wedding