Where Laziness Meets Meal Planning

Since my blog stats have proven that I’m one of the world’s most trusted authorities on colonoscopy prep and medically sanctioned anal probes, I feel more motivated to try to write other things people might one day find useful. This motivation is mostly because I don’t really want my most lasting legacy to involve butt holes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy that my colonoscopy post has helped SO MANY of you feel more at ease about taking care of your hineys, but I am about so much more than just posterior glamour shots. Ironically, by including the word colonoscopy in this post, I am creating a situation where my blog will just become more closely related to butts thanks to the mighty algorithms of our search engine overlords. It’s a slippery slope.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to discuss my newest effort to marry two of my life passions: food and laziness. You see, I’ve never been a very energetic person. While most people seem to dislike lazy people, having a lazy friend can totally have some benefits. For example, at crowded parties, your lazy friend will instinctively find locations for sitting so when your heels start to kill you, she’s already staked out a cushy spot and if you bring her food, she might be willing to share with you. Yes, it can be a beautiful symbiotic relationship.  Since I became pregnant, my usual low energy level has been supplanted by something that probably looks a little more akin to catatonia. Plus since I have a condition that causes chronic pain and cannot take my regular medications, any and all efforts to overcome catatonia in the interest of productivity are usually severely punished. I made homemade ravioli the other weekend and spent the next four days seriously considering re-outfitting the kitchen with wheelchair height counters.  It wasn’t pretty but the ravioli were divine.

One of my biggest laziness problems is that I haven’t felt like cooking large meals. I used to cook several large meals on weekends that sustained me throughout the week on leftovers.  But that required some serious energy. I’d get up on Sunday, make a plan, make a grocery list, shop, chop, bake, broil, sauté, and put together enough food to make the week survivable without any extra grocery store trips or major cooking during the work week when time becomes my most precious commodity. However, with the current pregnancy and no meds situation, it hasn’t been sustainable.  If it wasn’t for hubs, the baby and I would have starved to death by now.

When I considered trying to do the meal thing with a newborn, I honestly feared for our lives a little. Sleep deprivation and low blood sugar would certainly turn our house into an episode of the Walking Dead within weeks. I needed a winning lottery ticket so we can have a personal chef. And just in case Lady Luck turns out to be a heartless hussy that hates babies and doesn’t care if we starve to death or not, I needed a viable backup plan.

The first problem is that when you have a limited amount of standy-uppy time before your back and hips start making you wonder if maybe you could make a rascal scooter look sexy, by the time you’re finished acquiring ingredients by grocery store death match (no, I don’t think that’s too melodramatic for what goes down in my suburban grocery store), there’s no more time left in which to cook because you’re busy writhing in pain and crying over how you’ll keep your family from starving if this keeps up.

When I lived in Virginia, I frequently used a grocery store delivery service because I hated lugging my groceries up to my top floor apartment and while laziness can be expensive, to those of us that are REALLY lazy, it can be worth it.

However, my area in an Atlanta suburb doesn’t have the same grocery store delivery options. Plus, the one thing that was seriously lacking when I used the service in VA was the produce selection. I found that whenever I ordered fresh produce, it was pretty much always disappointing. Bruised fruits, wilty lettuce, and zucchini that had somehow sustained what appeared to be multiple stab wounds turned me off to using the service for highly perishable produce and I resorted to using it mostly for meats, dairy, and household consumables. That served me well as I didn’t mind swinging by the store or a produce stand for produce only as needed.

I was lamenting the fact that grocery delivery isn’t readily available in my area and my search engine overlords heard my plea and sent me sidebar ads for produce boxes (if only Lady Luck was so responsive). I’ve heard of such services, where you pay a fee and a magical box of produce shows up on a regular basis. I did some research and found a service near me that sources most of their products from this area of the country. I like the idea of buying as much locally grown produce as I can. Produce they don’t have local suppliers for may come from further away but they always tell you where your produce is coming from and give you the option to make substitutions if you feel really passionate about preventing produce jet lag and buying local.

You get an email a week before your delivery and you can make any substitutions you want to your basket. You can even set preferences to eliminate foods you don’t like from ever being included in your basket. While there were several local services I could choose from, I chose one that I found a groupon for so I could try it out at half price to be sure their zucchini aren’t prone to the same kinds of violence the grocery delivery service in VA’s produce fell victim to. Plus, this service also allows you to add all kinds of other non-produce items including herbs and spices, free range eggs and poultry, grass fed beef, fresh pork, dairy, and nuts. They even have spreads, jellies, and prepared foods as well as meal kits. These all can be added to your basket but they do cost extra…some of them cost a lot extra. I liked the idea of getting my weekly basket choices and having the option to add the other groceries to it we need. And even though I’m not opposed to purchasing produce that isn’t grown locally if a local option isn’t available, I appreciate knowing where my food is grown. I don’t see us using them for all our meat and dairy needs as the prices are still a little high for that but when we’re sleep-deprived and taking care of an infant, it might just be worth the extra money ….especially if they ever consider adding diapers to their deliveries.

Our first box comes Friday and I got the email yesterday with the contents giving me an entire week to ponder and plan. This is perfect because we have plenty of time to figure out and obtain whatever we need to round out the produce into complete meals and add anything else to the box we want. And while this still requires some planning, starting with the produce actually makes meal planning seem a lot easier for me than just starting from scratch. Trying to pull a dinner from thin air with no direction is significantly more difficult for me to plan than it is to figure out what meal would be easiest to highlight and work in the ingredients we’re expecting. It’s actually been surprisingly easy to come up with a plan and only took about half of the time I usually spend planning for a weeks worth of meals.

We selected the small box but there is a smaller box option (tiny box) as well as two larger box options. Price depends on the size box you choose but this one is $38 without any promotional discounts (and I had a groupon for half price). I have high hopes.

Our box next week will include:

3 Braeburn Apples

5  Bananas

1 Cucumber

1 Fancy Eggplant

1 Head of Romaine

1.25 lbs of Mandarins

2 Mangos

1 Yellow Onion

3 Peaches

0.75 lbs of Jalapeno Peppers (was supposed to be red kale but I substituted for Jalapenos)

1.5 lbs of gold potatoes

and 2 Zucchini (was supposed to be 2 sweet potatoes but I substituted for zucchini)

I’m pretty excited to get my box. I think I have a few recipes ready to go and I’m really hoping that being able to cook without having to start with a major grocery store run will help make my energy last long enough to make my plans come to fruition. Some of the items will just be for snacks but I do have some loose plans in my mind:

Eggplant and Chorizo stir fry atop a bed of mashed potato with a jalapeno sour cream will use up the eggplant, onion, potatoes, and some of the jalapenos. We’ll need to buy chorizo, garlic (added to the produce box as an extra), and sour cream. We’ll also need milk and butter for the potatoes but these are two ingredients we always keep on hand. Everything else is in the pantry and the produce box.

Since we went to an Asian fusion restaurant a few weeks ago, I’ve been craving some marinated cucumbers so that cuke is destined for that and we even have sesame seeds in the pantry, I already checked. This kind of salad is great for packing in lunches. We have all the ingredients we need for this already in the pantry.

I’m dying for some zucchini bread and our garden just hasn’t produced any yet because of the extreme heat we’ve been having. Everything we need is in the pantry.

I’m thinking of doing a peach or a peach and mango chutney to use up some of the fruit and whatever jalapenos don’t make it into the eggplant dish. Plus any leftover chutney can be a great ingredient to have around the house to add flavor to a meal on the fly or even just put it on toast with some cream cheese for breakfast or a sweet and peppery snack. I’m leaning toward a chicken roulade stuffed with brie and the chutney. I’ll serve it over rice with a side salad using the mandarins and romaine. The only thing we’ll need is Chicken breasts, brie, ginger (added to the produce box), a red pepper (added to the produce box), and another onion (added a second one to the produce box as the one already in the box is destined for the eggplant dish).

And the mandarins and romaine are definitely destined for that side salad. We have most of what we need in the pantry, with the exception of scallions (added to the produce box).

That just leaves apples, bananas, and mangos which we mostly just eat as snacks and lunch side dishes.

I added the rest of the required veggies we need (fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, 1 onion and 1 red pepper) to the produce box for only $5.27 extra. The poultry and dairy we’ll buy from our local grocery store.

We’ll round out the week by adding a spaghetti dinner and maybe a meal out for dinner or a quick grilled dinner one night. I’m extremely hopeful that this produce box, my illustrious meal plans, and my poor rickety body can stand up to implementation. The box arrives in 6 days. Which is unfortunate because I am hungry right now and having scoped out the fridge and pantry a few hours ago, I know that finding a meal down there would be like the world’s most tragic episode of Chopped. One of us is going to have to don pants and go retrieve edibles.


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One response to “Where Laziness Meets Meal Planning

  1. Pingback: Produce Graveyard | lilpyrogirl

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