Weeknight Meal Plan #4

I’m really glad Green Chef is over.

Honestly, I couldn’t even eat this last meal. Elk just doesn’t sound good to me. Has anyone tried elk? No one I’ve interrogated in the past week had. The meat just didn’t look…right, I can’t even really explain why. I love turkey meatloaf, and even regular meatloaf, but elk loaf? I don’t know.

This isn’t me hating on Green Chef. About half of the meals we got were really delicious and I would definitely order them again. My biggest issue with a subscription box was that I wasn’t always in the right mood for the meal. I’m a medium-picky eater (my husband is shaking his head right now). There are definitely things I don’t like, but I’ll try just about anything–except Elk. However, if I’m in the mood for something and I don’t get it? All hell.

This past week I only wanted Mexican food. Instead we had Green Chef Chicken and Green Chef kale pasta (and John ate the elk). Both of them were good, neither of them were Mexican food.

Green Chef seed-crusted chicken, pea and tomato quinoa and leafy greens.

Green Chef seed-crusted chicken, pea and tomato quinoa and leafy greens.

I felt very free when I made our list this week. Of course, the meals ended up pretty random, and slightly fall-themed, and I’m not sure if I’ll be in the mood for them up until Friday, but it was easier for me to have the reigns back.

The trip to the grocery store? Not as easy.

We woke up Saturday to almost 90 degree weather. It was miserable outside. By noon it was nearing 100, but the baby and I decided to get lunch and do our grocery shopping before John got home from work. Whole Foods is always freezing.

Our first stop was Huriyali Gardens for a veggie panini and a dragonfruit smoothie. I thought the shaded patio would be fine, but it was sweltering. The trip was short-lived and I ate most of my sandwich in the car. As I was pulling into the Whole Foods parking lot, the Jeep dinged at me. Coolant low.

This happened the day before on my way home, but, for the first time in about two years, I didn’t hit traffic, so I was able to get back in record time and have John refill it. I checked out the gage, it looked fine, wasn’t even close to red. So I got out of the car.

Can anyone else recognize the smell of coolant? It’s a thick, chemical, cleaning smell. I’ve only smelled it a couple times, but it’s something you don’t forget. The potent chemicals hit me as I stepped out into the heat. I grabbed the baby out of her car seat and saw steam billowing out of the hood. The coolant was pouring out from under the engine. Pouring. A couple and their little boy were watching.

“Your car is overheating.” The man pointed out.

“I see that.”

I asked him if I should try to open the hood. He said no. His wife, looking at our early 2000’s Grand Cherokee, asked if I had a phone.

I got all of our stuff out of the car and went behind the cash registers in Whole Foods, sat my purse on a bar stool and searched my phone for Geico. The baby was screaming.

A lady answered roadside assistance. She said something about having to reimburse me–I couldn’t hear her–so I told her whatever, just get me a tow truck. She transferred the call.

“Ma’am,” the guy said on the phone. “How big is your boat?”

At this point, I was trying to strap the baby into a cart because my arms were about to give up and people were maneuvering around me, glaring.

“What??” I yelled, confused. “I can’t hear you.”

“How big is your boat??”


“Your Boat, how long is it?”

“Um, I drove a car?”

“Oh.” He paused. “I think they transferred you to the wrong tow company.”

I pushed the baby out of Whole Foods and under a fan outside, near where some people were eating lunch on the patio tables. I called Geico.

“We apologize about the inconvenienience, but all of our systems are down…..”

The automated message explained they were doing upgrades. I would have to get reimbursed. I started googling tow truck companies.

T.J. Hookers was the first one that came up, so I called. A guy answered, and I lengthily explained that I didn’t know who to call, my insurance was down, I had a toddler with me, there was a heat advisory. He sounded confused, as long as I could pay cash–because they weren’t accepting credit cards–he could have someone out in 20 minutes. But they couldn’t give me a ride, because of the car seat.

I said fine, hung up, and went back inside to see if I could get $110 in cash from the register. (Via debit, not burglarly).

I grabbed some water and bars for the baby and got in line.

“How’s your day going?” A familiar cashier asked.

“Well, I’m glad you asked.”

He immediately regreted it, but decided to help me out by ringing up an extra transaction for the $10 I needed beyond their cash register limit. He also threw in some free chocolate. Because chocolate is the quickest fix to a bad day (but, seriously).

I went outside to get the car seat. I had never taken the car seat out, I was not the one who put it in, so I had no idea how to unlock it. My phone rang. I answered angrily. It was John.

He never calls me from work, and there was literally no reason for him to call. They have very limited access to phones and no access to their personal phones. He was able to talk me through unhooking the car seat. We went back to the shade until the tow truck company came.

After the guy left, I ordered an Uber. Both the driver and car were about 70 years old. I hooked the baby in and sat in the back.

The whole way the man talked to the baby, saying how cool it was that he got a kid in the car, because Uber never gets kids, Uber only gets drunk people. He wasn’t married and didn’t have any grandkids, and it made his day talking to a toddler. And she was happy to talk back. (Although, for the last half of the ride I was terrified he was a serial killer and now had my address). We made it home and spent the rest of the weekend car-less and unable to leave the house.

Spicy Italian Sausage and Potato Apple Hash
This recipe is John’s favorite–straight out of a Rachael Ray fall edition three years ago. We cook the sausage links, cook the potatoes, then make an onion, potato sharp cheddar and crisp apple hash. It’s not superfood, but it’s delicious, and sometimes you need comfort food, not superfood.

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(When I asked John for seconds…I guess I can take a hint…).

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(And, if you’re wondering where the greens are, they were for lunch):

imageThose are some serious greens.

Food Babe’s Taco Pizzas
Much healthier, these are just simple black bean, fresh veggie, salsa tacos baked in the oven. I love fresh, simple food and, of course, extra jalapenos.

Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
John requested an old recipe that I haven’t made in probably…two years? Farro stuffed acorn squash. I forgot it’s not acorn squash, or any squash, season, so butternut will have to do. I love the nuttiness of the farro, the incredibly flavorful vegan sausage (you can use any sausage, but the vegan one I found for this recipe has exactly the right flavor), onions and veggies.

Quinoa Stuffed Avocados
I was a little too excited to learn that avocados are actually one of the lowest-rated fruits for needing to buy organic. I guess the way they’re grown, they use very little pesticides, and what is used doesn’t make it through their thick skin. Which is a relief, since NONE of the organic avocados at our Whole Foods are ever anywhere near ripe. This is another basic, healthy, filling recipe full of protein and good fats. If it turns out good, this might be a lunchtime staple because I’m from California, and I could eat avocados for every meal.

Although, of course, I just learned that avocados, organic or not, contain too much copper, used as a fungicide by farmers. I might just ignore that new information.

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