Meals, Recipes, Summer

(lack of) meal planning + longest day

It’s another beautiful morning, so I’m coming at you from my deck.

On my mind….

Meal planning (or lack thereof)

Oof, my meal planning game has been WEAK lately. I am not notoriously strong in this area, anyway, but it’s been extra bad.

One of my goals for the year was to figure out and stick to a more consistent meal planning system/ schedule. So far this is a big fail. I guess I have another 6 months to go.

We’ve just been really busy- especially weekends. So there hasn’t really felt like there’s been time to sort out meals in advance. Sunday gets smooshed right up to Monday and then it’s off to the races.

I’ve squeezed in grocery shopping whenever it fits, but my lists have been quickly made and haphazard. (Honestly, this is kind of my norm. I just buy our “staples” and then figure out meals from there. Unless I have something special in mind- say, something requiring buns (which I don’t normally buy). Or whatever.)

I like the “idea” of the people who plan their whole week and then shop accordingly, but that has never been me.

There are many, many, many days in our house where dinner is decided on sometime in the morning (as I open the freezer to take some meat out) or….. a little while before dinnertime. 😬

In fairness, we’ve been eating out more than average lately too, since we’ve been out and about and away a lot. (= a few less home cooked meals)

Dinner last night:

Yesterday morning I took some ground turkey out of the freezer in the a.m. I didn’t really get beyond there in terms of figuring out what I was going to do with it, but hey. It was thawed and available by dinnertime. hehehe.

I ended up going to the gym with Asher in the afternoon and it got later than planned… We then had a very small window before A needed to get to swim practice. So I deployed Operation “Random Pantry Meal” and threw whatever this was together.

Ivan came home later and lifted the lid and asked, “What is this?” And I said, “Dinner.”

Then he said, “duh, I know. But I mean what is it called?”

And I was like, “Um…. It’s called…..”A Bunch of Random Stuff in a Pan that Took <20 Minutes to Make” ???” 😂

Here’s the world-famous secret recipe:

  • 99% lean ground turkey
  • onion
  • random leftover can of tomatoes from pantry from a time you made chili but didn’t use these up
  • kidney beans
  • frozen corn
  • frozen peas
  • chopped up carrots sticks (quickly microwaved these in water to speed up cooking time first)
  • some diced jalapeno
  • garlic powder
  • salt/pepper/ this Goya seasoning I use in everything
  • chili powder
  • a little cumin (decided with the tomatoes and kidney beans, we’d sort of go chili style?)
  • garlic powder

Cook the meat/onion….then basically stir in everything else until done. Serve over leftover rice and mix together.

This was actually REALLY TASTY!!! I outdid myself. 🤣

Ivan kind of raised his eyebrows when I described my very carefully designed, fancy recipe, like, “Huh. I’m impressed this actually tastes good!” hahaha.

It got the job done. But I probably don’t really recommend my meal planning style…. Sigh. Maybe eventually I’ll find time to revamp this. Or not. Apparently we always eat something, so I guess it’s not totally failing me.

The longest day:

We’re over the hump- the longest day of the year was yesterday.

I took this picture from my deck at 9:30 p.m.:

Sun had finally just gone down and the sky was still pretty light.

(I didn’t last long outside. It was hot, humid and rained earlier, so the mosquitoes found me in a hurry. I actually did a little research the other day – did you know that O+ positive blood is one of the most attractive to mosquitoes? Guess what my blood type is??? Yep. Maybe that explains why I’m a total magnet for them…. UGH. I hate this so much. 😫)

I spent the “extra-long evening” deep cleaning our whole kitchen, top to bottom, mopped the floors, etc. My mother-in-law is coming from Mexico on Thursday night. So, what does that mean???

Time to clean the house!!! 😉

Today Asher is on the main bathroom, and Ivan did the living room and sunroom last night. Need to clean the guest room/ basement bathroom yet though.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for my new hose nozzle that Ivan bought to replace our broken one. It’s so nice!! Never thought I’d care about a hose nozzle, but, I really love it.

10 thoughts on “(lack of) meal planning + longest day”

  1. We are on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to meal planning, but since Phil does the grocery shopping and I primarily do the cooking, we have to have a meal plan so he knows what to buy. If the same person was doing the shopping and cooking, I can see how you can wing it! But we only plan about 3 meals/week. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around making something EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Ay yi yi. I am glad that I can WFH 2 days/week as it’s so much easier to get dinner on the table those nights, especially since ideally the boys need to eat around 5:30.

    That dinner looks great, though! I am not good at throwing things together. I am so left-brained and really need a recipe to come up with things. My mom and younger sister are the complete opposites. My sister rarely uses a recipe – she just adds this and that, etc. I don’t even like “salt and pepper to taste” in a recipe. Ha!

    Exciting that Ivan’s mom is coming to visit. Glad you had some help getting the house cleaned up for her arrival!


    1. You sound like you have a good system. 🙂 I think I used to be more systematic about it when the boys were little and our evenings were much more predictable. Also, when I worked in the hospital and had days off, I basically just always cooked those days (and had time, because I had the whole day off). On days I worked, I didn’t get home until after 8 pm, so I was never in charge of any food on those days, of course!


  2. That sounds like perfect cleaning teamwork. I’ll give this recipe a try! I am a big fan of eating ground turkey over ground beef these days.

    I am full-on meal planner and executor (since my hubs usually gets home after 7) but I’d like have the kids take over one meal a week, even if it’s BLTs or spaghetti or something. I also want to have them help more with laundry.


    1. I really want the boys to start learning to cook more, too. I have a fear of them being the guy in college who only knows how to heat water for Raman noodles. Ha. (And Asher loves Raman, so this is actually a real possibility….lol.)


  3. We are a meal planning household and we plan for an entire week and only go grocery shopping once a week. That isn’t as impressive as it sounds because we eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day and we only need to plan 3-4 dinners every week because we usually have leftovers since there’s just the two of us. It would make me insane to have to go to the store multiple times a week!

    I’m not a person who can just look in the pantry and come up with something to eat on the fly, so I’m super jealous of your ability to do so!


    1. I make things up on the fly, but it’s usually pretty simple and basic!! Any cooking “skills” I have are self taught and I often feel like I’m probably not doing things the “right” way. Ha. But it usually tastes good in the end, so…. good enough??


  4. I used to do the same, buy staples and figure out what to have for dinner. since we got our second helper who’s a great cook and can follow recipes, I’ve been planning dinner so she doesn’t need to ask me everyday at 3pm what to cook for dinner. it has been game changer.. think once and eat delicious meals. It saves a lot of mental space for me and less anxiety for her, and the family got to try new recipes most of the days. we keep it flexible if we have too much leftovers (usually for lunch) or we eat out. It makes groceries shopping easier too.
    I’ll have to think about what to do with dinner when we move to the next country… until we find a good helper, I will have to cook dinner or ask hubby to prepare as he’ll be the stay at home dad.


  5. I plan out 2-3 meals on Saturday or Sunday based on what’s on sale/what I have on hand. I make quite a bit so most meals give us leftovers. We really enjoy leftovers and it means I have to spend a lot less time cooking.
    I have a friend who has a 6-week-long rotational meal planning schedule she changes by season. I should try to get her to guest post sometime on my blog because I think it’s genius (I’m not big into long-range meal planning but for people that DO, she has spent a few years tweaking each season’s schedule and just changes it out every season!


  6. I’d say if you’re always able to throw your meals together like this, you’re totally good to go. No meal planning necessary.
    I am one of the people btw who plans all their meals and cooks accordingly. Our fridge is empty by the end of our two week cycle. I’m rather impressed with myself (although I am also not too shabby in the improvising department). Haha.


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