I feel like I've been waiting for 2018 to end for the last few weeks.
I hate that I've felt that way. In part, it's because of the hustle of Christmas. We traveled to Texas to have an early Christmas with my family, then had a few days to prepare for Christmas at home. Amelia was sick in the meantime, and without Alex taking time off after Christmas, nothing has felt festive. It's hard to believe that Christmas was just a few days ago.
I went a little overboard with Christmas baking. I made a single pie, but we also had chocolate chip cookies, chocolate toffee cookies, peanut blossoms, bourbon balls, and chocolate marshmallows. I've been working hard at eating it all, but there always seems to be some left!
Too many sweets around still, so I can't bake more. But I feel lost without something to bake.
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Cooking Resolutions for 2019
Too many sweets brings me around to my resolutions. However, they may be contradictory.
- Make a new cookie recipe or publish a cookie recipe each week.
- Bake bread more often.
- Do Cook90 again this January.
Yes, I just said I made us too many cookies, but I enjoy them so much that I will continue baking them! So, look forward to seeing new cookie recipes pop up here on a regular basis. I have 2 cookie recipes that I've been working on and am hoping to get up soon. Reviews of other recipes will show up on my Facebook page, so follow along with me there!
As for bread - I enjoyed 2014, my year of bread. I don't want to commit to making a loaf a week, but I'd like to get back into it in general. And I'm going to start a sourdough starter this month.
Cook90 for 2019
Just as I did last year, I'm going to eat 90 home-cooked meals during the month of January.
This Cook90 means more serious and strict menu/meal planning than I've been doing most recently. I'll have to be sure we have leftovers for lunch, and back-up meals that I can toss together when I just don't feel like cooking what I originally planned.
No, I'm not going to cook quite every day. When Alex begins teaching an evening class at the end of the month, we'll begin having our dinners out again. And I'm a fan of leftovers for dinner during the week, too.
Overall, I was very glad that I did this challenge last year. I even wrote a post about what I loved about it. I ended up meal planning almost every week during 2018 (and following most of those menus).
As a bonus, my grocery shopping trips became faster (because I shopped mainly from my list) and less expensive (because I wasn't searching out those great buys).
If you're curious about what I made in January 2018, you can view my menu for the month here.
Like I did last year, I'm going to try some new recipes, likely from Epicurious; after all, they did come up with Cook90, and they will send out menus. That said, some of their menu may come from their Cook90 cookbook , which I don't have. But that's ok - I don't eat cheese or cook eggs, which basically nixes half of their menus anyway.
How I Meal Plan
Curious about how I meal plan? I actually prefer to do it with pen and paper. I blog, and I love using apps for shopping lists, but nothing replaces the ability to cross things out or just draw arrows between items to switch them.
I usually take a half sheet of paper and write out the days of the week on it. Sometimes I start on a Monday - sometimes I start over halfway through the week.
I write the weather forecast at the top. Weird, I know! But it helps me plan for the week. Our house tends to run cold in the winter, and we have window unit for AC in the summer. I want to bake when it's coldest, go shopping or grill when it's not raining, and not use the oven when it's hot.
Other things I write down: my wish list of meals to make; big items I have in the freezer (like packages of meat I've bought on sale); and leftover vegetables in the fridge. That way I can try to be sure to use them up rather than end up throwing them out.
Whatever ingredients I haven't used or recipes I haven't made, I copy them over to my next week. That way I don't lose track of what I have.
I'm hoping to keep track of (and use up) my excess pantry ingredients this way, too.
I told Amelia we play games and eat snacks for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. She chimed in, "and make dumplings!"
We had read the children's picture book Dumpling Soup about Hawaiian family's New Year's traditions, and Amelia was excited to try making them. So we made them with Alex's help over the weekend, and that's what we ate today.
Otherwise, here's my menu for January 2019. I'll update it as I make it, so check back if you're interested.
I'll have a new recipe up for you soon (Steel-Cut Oats with Walnuts and Pear - my favorite new comfort food, pictured above), but here's my menu for the upcoming week. I'll update it here as I make it.
A 2019 Cook90 Recap
Cook90 didn't go as I'd hoped this month. I had 2 colds this month, each of which zapped me of the will to cook (and eat!) for a week at a time! I had menus planned that I was excited about, which I pushed aside in favor of oatmeal for dinner. Apparently it's my comfort food.
I'm still looking forward to meal planning throughout the rest of the year, but it's disappointing that January was such a bust for me. That said, I'm glad that I didn't have more I was excited to cook during the month, since I wouldn't have been able to get to it.
|Tuesday||January 1||Steel-Cut Oats with Walnuts and Pear||Snacks (homemade pigs in a blanket, Chex Mix)||Dumpling Soup|
|Wednesday||January 2||oatmeal||leftover dumplings||leftover grilled salmon, wheat berries with orange zest and olive oil, red bell pepper, peas|
|Thursday||January 3||oatmeal||leftover dumplings||Baked Potato and Bacon Soup|
|Friday||January 4||leftover steel-cut oats||toast with almond butter and fig butter, homemade yogurt||Pizza with Lazy Pizza Dough|
|Saturday||January 5||oatmeal||nextovered dumpling filling, stir-fried with leftover rice and wheat berries, peas||dinner out|
|Sunday||January 6||oatmeal||whole grain corn-rye waffles from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking||chicken tacos with salsa and black beans|
|Monday||January 7||oatmeal||leftover dumpling filling stirfry||crispy pork belly cooked over potatoes|
|Tuesday||January 8||oatmeal||leftover potato soup||chicken soup with leftover chicken, odds and ends of pasta, peas|
|Wednesday||January 9||oatmeal||leftover potato soup||slow cooker pork ribs in bbq sauce, baked potato, corn|
|Thursday||January 10||oatmeal||Leftover chicken soup||Steel Cut Oats with Walnuts and Pear (yes, again)|
|Friday||January 11||oatmeal||Leftover chicken soup||Mexican soup, from leftovers|
|Saturday||January 12||oatmeal||leftover Steel Cut Oats||Buckwheat Pancakes, bacon, sauteed apples|
|Sunday||January 13||oatmeal||leftover Mexican soup||simple dal from How to Cook Everything , rice, pears|
|Monday||January 14||oatmeal||leftover dal||1-Bowl Baked Oatmeal|
|Tuesday||January 15||oatmeal||leftover baked oatmeal||pasta with spinach, white beans, and garlic (cooked in bacon grease)|
|Wednesday||January 16||leftover steel-cut oats||leftover pasta||black bean and plantain bowls (from The Bold Vegetarian Chef )|
|Thursday||January 17||leftover baked oatmeal||leftover black bean and plantain bowls||Ina Garten's lemon chicken, homemade French bread, salad|
|Friday||January 18||oatmeal||leftover chicken||almond coconut dal|
|Saturday||January 19||oatmeal||French Toast from leftover French Bread||leftover lemon chicken and salad|
|Sunday||January 20||oatmeal||Double Chocolate Scones||soup and homemade Ciabatta|
|Monday||January 21||Baked Oatmeal||Baked Oatmeal||Beef Stew|
|Tuesday||January 22||oatmeal||leftover beef stew||Chicken and Dumplings|
|Wednesday||January 23||oatmeal||Homemade English Muffin with almond butter, yogurt||One-Pot Farro with Tomatoes|
|Thursday||January 24||a donut (not homemade :-()||English muffin with almond butter, yogurt||chicken and dumplings|
|Friday||January 25||oatmeal||leftover beef stew||Sauteed Swiss Chard with Chickpeas|
|Saturday||January 26||steel-cut oats||out at Wing Wars||yogurt and fruit|
|Sunday||January 27||baked oatmeal||baked oatmeal||gyro at Greek Feast|
|Monday||January 28||oatmeal||out at Chickfila||out (Alex's first class)|
|Tuesday||January 29||oatmeal||toast||spaghetti squash and black bean tacos|
|Wednesday||January 30||oatmeal||toast||leftover chicken and dumplings|
|Thursday||January 31||oatmeal||leftover chicken and dumplings||homemade vegetable soup, French bread|
Bonus recipes: Orange Cream Cheese Bread, Whole Wheat Butterscotch Blondies, Double Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies, Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies