30 June 2013

Menu 6/27 - 7/3 - And the Amazing Plan to Eat

A few months ago, a friend sent me an email that said, "Hey - you may not need this, but I found this awesome online menu planning/recipe storage thing a majig - it's called Plan to Eat." 

I didn't think I needed it, but then I started perusing, and I fell in love. 
I've been looking, for some number of years now, for a way to store recipes digitally, but also still be able to have a paper copy, and formatting them twice has not appealed to me.  So, Plan to Eat solves that problem, and so many more.

You can enter in recipes - by hand or by fancy shmancy import (basically, anything that is already in recipe format on the internet can be easily imported) or by basic import (which will try to read the jumbled email you sent your friend that has a recipe interspersed with tiny bits of life updates and it will import what it can and ask you to finish it).

And then, and this is the amazing part, you have this handy dandy calendar. 

And you just drag recipes and drop them on the calendar at the time you want to eat them.  And you can make notes about things you're not cooking - and you can place on there individual ingredients, so even though they don't go in a recipe, the Bran Flakes will still show up on the list. 

And your menu plan is done for the week.

But, wait, ladies and gentlemen. 

But that is not all.  Oh, no, that is not all. 

Then, you bop on over to your "Shopping" Tab and the beautiful, miraculous website has populated your grocery list.  And categorized it for you by produce, etc.  Yep, that's right.

But, what if you already have honey and cumin?  Well, you just go through and remove the things you have (forcing you to check, and therefore helping you eliminate those times when you think you have eleven cans of diced tomatoes and so buy none, or those times when you think you have no cans of diced tomatoes, and so, for eleven weeks in a row, buy a can).

And voila!  Meal planning, list making, and recipe organization is all taken care of.

Yes, it does cost- 40 dollars a year, though - So, would you pay 80 cents a week for this assistance?
 You do get a free 30 day trial.  And it's actually free - they don't request your credit card number until after your trial is up.  So, that's pretty amazing.

So, do it.  plantoeat.com. 

And be my friend! 

 And then, yes, more.  You can have friends.  And look at their recipes.  Instead of folks emailing me and calling me and I fail to return their calls with handy dandy actual responses - those who are on PlantoEat can just find the recipes there. And I get to check to see if my friends have a recipe for chicken cacciatore before I google and take the internet's word for what works. 

I know.  It couldn't get any better.

Actually, my friend Jessica and I decided this week that it is missing just one feature.  Are you listening, Plan to Eat folks?

It's missing the "View My Friend's Created Menu" option - So we can all spy and receive encouragement and inspiration and see what everyone is eating.  I can see my friends' recipes, but not their menu plan for the week. 

So, until then, the menus will still have to be here.


Thursday, June 27th - Red Beans and Rice, Sausage, Green Salad

Friday, June 28th - Bacon Wrapped Shrimp is what I took to add to an appetizer spread for a friend's Birthday

Saturday, June 29th - Grilled Chicken, Comeback, Black Eyed Peas, Squash, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob, Green Salad

Sunday, June 30th - Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Monday, July 1st - Bean Burritos

Tuesday, July 2nd - Leftovers / Make a Cake for a Friend's Baby Shower

Wednesday, July 3rd - Daddy's Birthday - I don't know what we'll eat, but we'll likely eat with my dad and Carrie.

17 June 2013

allowed to cry

My baby girl has turned nine this morning.  Well, she will at 11:35 am to be exact, but that's irrelevant to everyone but her.

This morning, as I lay in bed, she came bounding into the kitchen and greeted her daddy with a very excited, "It's my birthday!"

I lay there and listened as they visited about when she was a baby - the things he remembers fondly - that she cannot remember at all.

And I cried.

And then I remembered that my baby boy turns four tomorrow.  Four.  No one under four in my house (save this small thing fluttering about inside).  Four is big.  Four is pretty much adult.  Four is learn to put your clothes away, learn to make your own lunch, learn to get your own bandaids age at our house.  There is something little about three year olds that four year olds just don't posses.

So, I cried some more.

I have always eschewed this phenomenon of lamenting the aging of our children.  We want them to grow up - to become who they were designed to be and who we are, hopefully, helping along the way.  We are supposed to be happy when they quit mispronouncing things and learn to competently put on their own shoes.  We are aiming at a finished product, and crying over growth is contrary to that aim.


As parents, we have the privilege of an intimate knowledge of stages in their lives - of times when they are different people.  Both Ada Brooks and Collins have entirely changed- him over the last twelve months, and her over the last five years.  They are different people.  And not only did we know them when, we bandaided and cried and helped them change.  Not having any babies at my house has meant that I'm not following people around trying to keep them from eating marbles of death or going down concrete stairs head first.  I have put down that type of exhaustion (for a few more months), but I have picked up different kinds.

I have one child who we're trying to teach to respect people's desires for space and calm at certain times, one who is beginning the life long process of boundary-drawing in her own relationships, and one who is so hurt by the idea that people, including him, do wrong, that he has a mini-existential-crisis three times a week.

I. talk. all. day.  I.am.the.question.answerer.  A new kind of exhaustion has crept along and joined our ranks.  I look at these people, with whom I'm not fighting many "you must eat your broccoli" battles, and I am thankful to have begun to phase that out.  (Until November, when we start all over.  Oh, the humanity.)   I am fighting new battles, because the terrain has changed. What a blessing. 

But I am also sad. I'm not fighting those battles, bandaiding those cuts, and laughing at those silly words said just a tiny bit wrong, because, well, they're finished with being those people with those needs. 

They have changed into new people.  And that is what we want.  But losing something is always hard.  They will never be my babies again - and them being my babies was good. 

My grandfather is approaching the end of his life.  He will go to live with his heavenly father after a life as well-lived as any I've known of, and it is good.  It is good that he was born, that he has lived 91 years blessing every life he ever touched, and it is good that, as his health has deteriorated, he will soon leave us for life free from pain.  He has finished his race, and, if the Lord says it to any of His broken people, He'll certainly say to Big Paul, "Well done."  But, we will all still cry.  Because it is sad to lose good things- for good things to come to an end.

So, I'm going to let myself be sad.  I have a little girl who is trying hard not to be a little girl anymore, and two little boys who are slowly learning not to crawl in my lap.  Trying to hold onto it is silly, and worse, destructive.  And not looking forward to what comes next is a waste of a great amount of hope.  But, I will still cry.  Because it is sad to lose good things - for good things to come to an end. 

I feel like I'm reading the best book I've ever read, and I see the bookmark moving every so gradually through the pages, and it's not as though the middle is not as good as the beginning.  In very many real ways, it's better.  Honestly.  I promise - conversations with 9 year olds are better than they are with 3 year olds, despite the lack of adorable phonetic confusion.
And the end will, Lord willing, be better still.  But it still means there is less to go - it will end, and sooner every day.  They will leave, and I will hope that we have done our duty and we all still like each other as much as we do now- or more.  And more than that, I will thankfully collapse into the arms of a husband who I like better than all of them.

But, the book will end, and the bookmark is moving, and I am allowed to cry.  
She's halfway to 18 - half way to gone, for goodness sake.  I am allowed to cry.