Suckered by meal prepping again!

I did it again. I fell for a really beautifully photographed magazine in the Whole Foods check out lane. I’m always thinking that I should be better at planning our meals and there are a million schemes out there. This one time, I actually paid for a meal plan from this woman in Australia. All the seasonal dishes were out of sync with America and I kept having to look up what ingredients like rocket and unicorn cheese were. It was fun for awhile but it didn’t stick. Nothing ever does.

Feeding a family of six almost eliminates any kind of meal plan you might like to do. I really can’t order those cool looking boxes with recipes and every ingredient you’ll need inside, because they serve 4 at the most. A friend with four children had tried on of those, and said that she just added a few extra breasts of chicken, but that seemed to kind of defeat the point. And beyond the amount of food needed to prep, there are, you know, tastebuds to consider. I can pull us down a healthy or ethnic path only so far until the food sits uneaten on certain plates and hamburgers are fried at midnight.

But I never give up. I have some kind of amnesia about how each plan failed with varying degrees of spectacle or open flames. I try again. Because I’m just making food all the time anyway, so why not make it fun.

The latest scheme I’m trying is called “The Well Fed 28-day Paleo Plan.” I generally try to eat within the paleo guidelines (that’s no dairy, no gluten no sugar) with exceptions for candy corn, obviously. And it was a plan with 84 good for you meals! Allpday energy! and best of all a weekly hookup. Wait. A weekly cookup, which was touted at “Your master plan for batch cooking and stress0free meals all week long.” I forked over $14.99 and imagined myself, feet propped on the ottoman, lounging on the couch as my slow cooker perked away and the other 83 meals were just done and awaiting their moment on the kitchen table,

The plan was to prep on sunday and then just let the meals do their work for the rest of the week. Of course, the recipes in the plan only serve two, so I had to do some math at the grocery store. Add a little extra chicken breast here, some extra packages of green beans there. How hard could it be?
This is what the shopping list looked like (yes, you are going to have to scroll down to see it all):


When I got through the produce and made that check mark, my cart was full and difficult to turn without tipping and I thought, “This is crazy” and also “deja vu” because this has happened before. The food to make three meals a day for six people shouldn’t be bought in one go. But the list! I had to finish the list. And I had been at the grocery store so long I wanted it to mean I didn’t have to turn around and go back again. So onward I trudged. In the end, I spent about as much money as I do for thanksgiving dinner for 18 people, plus I somehow bought something called “Vive Organic Wellness Rescue Shot. Maybe the checker just had a feeling I wasn’t well from all the cauliflower I was buying (three heads PLUS a bag of frozen).

I thought I was supposed to shop on sunday, but it turns out, you are supposed to cook on sunday and shop saturday. In any case, I didn’t shop until monday. So tuesday morning I got out my knife, cutting board, muffin tins, sheet pans, brewed myself a cup of tea and got to work. I thought if I started at 8:30, I should be done by around 11 and have time to walk the dog before a lunch date at 12:30.
Reader, I was prepping meals through lunch and dinner. I stayed up to make those “muffins,”which are really mostly spinach and ground meat, and I did a few more meals this morning . The truth is, I don’t really have any kind of uninterrupted time. School meeting have to be set, dogs let out, breakfast cleared, beds made, sick children picked up from school. And also, the prepping would just casually mention you should wash, peel and dice 5 pounds of potatoes, which takes approximately until your soul dies. When all was said and done, I did have a delicious pot of soup for dinner tuesday night and those meat “muffins” for breakfast. Today I actually ate what is prescribed for lunch: Sushi Bar Tuna salad. It was good, but it took about 45 minutes to prepare, which is about three times longer than I usually spend preparing and eating lunch. It was pretty:


It was also exciting! Kind of like roasting a marshmallow! But it had as much in common with a roasted marshmallow as a “real” chip: nothing.

So I don’t know if we are going to make it 28 days. I just made a meatball “batter” with coconut milk and raw scallions I don't think many people will like in our house, and I think it’s for something called curry meatball soup, which I will really like but I don’t think will be a crowd pleaser in my house. I’ve loaded and unloaded six loads of dishes and cleaned all of my pots and pans at least twice. The refrigerator is over stocked — I’m storing onions and veggies with my fruit on the counter. And it’s my son’t birthday so I’m not even making a prepped meal tonight. And my daughter is becoming increasingly anxious about the possibility of wasting food (sometimes I think she’s possessed by the ghost of grandma’s past). But I’m trying! And flaming nori chips are kinda fun!