Tuesday, January 13, 2015

to the mullies with #52tries - meal planning in 2015

2015 is the year of my family table.

these lovely cookbooks are going to be my best friends for a while and i'm sure they'll get some new friends along the way.

i am striving to sit down with my family 3 days a week at our kitchen table for a shared, made-from-scratch meal. 

if i make more meals per week, great, if i make less, boo hoo... try better next time. 

no matter what i'm sharing it. unless my computer breaks.

i hope you'll join me - or at least be inspired to try you're own genius plan.

tuesdays = my #52tries weekly recap 
(if you're itching to see what's happening in real time, ride along with me on instagram, facebook & twitter)
each week, i'll compile and share my chalkboard scribble of a meal plan + the best pictures and notes of how it all went down the hatches. 
the good. 
the bad. 
the ugly. 
the gorgeous. 
the "i don't like it-ness" 
the love of food. 

oh gawd help me.
hold on to your butts, cuz i'm trying to get even more organized around three theme nights:

vegetarian/vegan (meatless... nuff said)

comfort food (cozy up and sigh as you stuff your face full of goodness)

food legacies (famous dishes from around the globe or stateside; let's travel back in time; cooking with famous chefs; food trends... i want to broaden my family's appreciation and understanding of FOOD (and my own of course!) and all the glorious culture that surrounds it... hello world).

here's how this meal planning ball got rolling and i want to introduce you to my team of besties that may try & make appearances over the next 52 weeks!

my sister katie 
we decided to begin connecting our kitchens over break. to cook the same recipe, take pics, perhaps make a video or two and see how it all shakes down in our mullies kitchens. i love her to death and as the co-inventor of our childhood fantasy land dubbed "the mullies," this is exactly where i want her to be with me since she lives in denver! she has two kids and i have three spanning 2 years to 10 years old. her husband loves to cook and eats everything; mine does not cook and is extremely picky like my kids. i am hoping her kids' thumbs up will inspire my kids to try a few more bites along the way when i push their culinary taste buds. i cannot wait to begin connecting our family tables and the evolution should be a hoot! 
my girlfriend tiffany, aka "bunny"
she was the genius who suggested i commit to a meal plan blog every week. it's our new year's resolution and this is how we're gonna keep it! meal planning is one of those things that is NOT hard, i simply have NO routine that i stick to and i'm trying to change that. she'll be cooking -vegan.all.day.all.night - along with me and we'll be sharing notes like mad hatters. she is one of my very best friends, my kindred life's sounding board who also lives in across town from my lovely sis. i tell you what, i would not be where.i.am.today without this fancy southern lady. she puts the chic in whatever she looks at (her camp1899 pinterest boards kill me) and i can't wait to cook & bake more vegetarian/vegan meals with her. link up with her on twitter for some bunny good inspiration. 

my "far and away" girlfriend terri + global food rev ambassador teammate
we facetime almost every week and email like we've known each other forever. she is my real life cookbook i conspire with! we brainstormed the other day and the meal planning really took shape into a more exciting, thematic structure. she is my mary poppins meets julia child from the netherlands, my heart's closest inspiration and mentor in the kitchen. it's like we share the same brain of energy and we soak each other up. i'm so lucky to be friends with this ridiculously talented executive & private chef and mother of 2. we are "cooking across continents" with each other and working to spread the food rev far and wide. link up with her on instagram, facebook and twitter for food inspiration that will blow your mind.
my girlfriend laura aka "chimmie" 
she is my hilarious, nutrition trained, beautiful soulmate who will be joining in on the meal planning fun. she's got two kids, i talk to her almost everyday and well, she's crazy awesome and real and i don't know what i would do without her in my life. she's just under and next to me in indiana and i can't wait for you to get to know her better. when we're not talking about food, we're talking about something crafty... watch out, us 2 chimmie-chonga-choo-choo's = nutballs. you can link up with her on instagram and get inspired.

my girlfriend christina + mundelein food rev teammate
not sure what i would do without this local lovely lady cake friend. check out her 2015 plan: she will use one cookbook per week to meal plan out of = so simple. i cannot WAIT to see what she and her husband will cook up each week with her two beautiful girls. you can find this talented stevenson high school family and consumer science teacher (gourmet foods and clothing design) on instagram. oh christina lets cook + cocktail this week!
ok ok, enough chatty kathy... let's get to it. 

week 1
salmon burgers + kale chips + glazed carrots = 5 thumbs up
via j. oliver's "comfort food" crab cakes + g. paltrow's "it's all good" salmon burgers

i combined oliver and paltrow's recipe like this:

1 lb salmon (my four patties were still a little frozen = good for processing according to paltrow)
3/4 c fresh cilantro
1/2 small red onion
zest of one lemon
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

combine above ingredients in a food processor.  pulse until well combined, but not a paste. place salmon combo into a bowl. and mix in:

a heaping 1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder
1 c gluten free panko breadcrumbs
1 T 21 spice blend (find at trader joes or costco)
1 egg

form into patties. size em to your liking.

fry in organic virgin coconut oil, 4 min's to a side (or until crispy and gorgeously brown).

acorn squash stuffed with baked ziti = 5 thumbs up

my family adores this simple "the pollan family table" baked ziti. i thought i was so clever in putting the ziti in the acorn squashes!!! well come to find out, mr emeril lagasse already thought of that, so hit this link and i won't have to type it all out for you. i pretty much did exactly what he did. so just do it. 

i love making my homemade tomato sauce (no fruit plums in this sauce. instead, this one had chopped kale ribs in the soffrito instead of celery, two red peppers, a yellow squash zucchini and baked acorn squash pulp. i anticipated i'd be the only one eating the squash with my pasta so i snuck a bunch in the sauce. i also pureed it until is was silky smooth with my handheld immersion blender. my family likes it better that way and it's extremely versatile with leftovers!

doesn't it make the most beautiful leftover lunch! my raw salad is simply sliced brussel sprouts + avocado + tomatoes + kale + homemade ranch.

hit and run tray baked chicken + side salad = 5 thumbs up
via jamie oliver's amazing iphone/ipad app and part of his #10healthymeals roundup. i just added some fingerling potatoes to the mix = easy peasy.

vegetarian chili = 1 thumbs up (only because i made it too hot darnit!)

those cute little round white things are called "bunapi" mushrooms... and i forgot to put them in... oops.

my family has the most ridiculously sensitive tastebuds ever to the "spicy". i'm not sure what i was thinking when i went to town on the cayenne pepper flakes. oops. 

we added plain sheep's milk yogurt (whole foods) to the bowls of chili to tame the heat. that's how i got the kids to eat it... poor chris took about four bites and was done. wouldn't even try the yogurt trick. to the moon alice...

lesson learned. i'll add just a pinch of cayenne next time. someday, someday they'll be able to handle a little heat. it's such AMAZING chili and i definitely will be making it again!

my vegetarian chili lasagna + ina garten's winter slaw = 4 thumbs up
slaw via ina's "make it ahead"

i tamed down the heat with this dish.  layered gluten free brown rice lasagna noodles + my leftover tomato sauce + aged manchego cheese (sheep's milk cheese). i like to use sharper, high quality manchego because then i don't have to add as much cheese to get the flavor i want. abbie was the only one who didn't like it.


today starts a new week. 

i'll post my new chalkboard on instagram later today taters tots.

and i'll be seeing you mundelein/lake county locals at dakotah's farmer's market on saturday 9am-3pm. i'll be cooking and talking with you about your meal planning ideas around 10am-2pmish or until my food sampling runs out!

mark your calendars and start dreaming of the warm sunshine.

food revolution day is friday, may 15, 2015.

i can't hardly wait!!!



begin again. 
every week. 
have you heard this song
"are we all just lost stars, trying to light up the dark?"
it's a little tuesday tune for you 


  1. this is the best, most fun, start to 2015! i am in LOVE with how you show each of the weeks recipes (plus how-to's) and rankings of thumbs up + down. definitely trying your baked ziti squash + veg chili turned veg lasagna (what would we do without the brown rice noodles!). and what a group of ladies to do it with!! proud to be holding up the southern end of this group, BIG SHOUT OUT to christina and the one + only LG - get your butt's on twitter ladies!!! #52tries here we come (:

  2. Ohh January starts with everything right?? A lot of things to do, a whole blank page!
    Its really goo to plan our meals because sometimes in the rush we end up eating the same stuff over and over ... and thats not good at all! :)
    Well done! :D


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