Meal Plan; 17 – 21 January

Winter is coming! Strike that. Winter is here.

Temperatures are dropping to -18 (minus) degrees Celcius, melting snow is creating beautiful black ice patches on my driveway, and our gently giant Samson (our 7-month-old Great Pyrenees) loves the colder days.

The first week of school was short, so we were happy when the kids returned to a whole week of education during their 2nd week. While they might dislike school in the mornings, they thoroughly enjoy meeting their friends every day.

Beef short ribs braised for 4 hours on the Traeger

Especially our son thrives when meeting his incredible special needs team at the school, who devote a lot of time to helping him excel. One-on-one learning is essential, and virtual schooling negatively impacted his educational journey.

Our youngest offspring depends on human interaction. She struggled during the lockdowns. Her grades plummeted, and her attitude was that of a teenager. Granted, she probably picked up some foul language from me, which is not cool.

The oldest daughter is mentally ready to finish high school. She has done a phenomenal job as a high schooler with; positive attitude to learning, high grades, and AP/honors classes. However, she is ready to move to a more mature environment and eager to join a college.

College = another debt trap

Wow, coming from a more socialist/democratic European setting, the college application and selection process is indeed a nightmare. Not to mention the insane cost of obtaining a higher education.

Unless they have significant scholarships lined up, kids will end up with debt—no doubt about that. However, we need to help and guide our kids to take on the smallest possible debt.

Unfortunately, the college process is a convoluted and problematic experience that raises tensions in any household. Any conversation that involves high cost and massive debt, balanced with a future-proof education, will add pressure to any family dinner.

While we have college/university expenses in Denmark, going through higher education is much more attainable than developing a significant debt. Sure, if you go to more advanced medical degrees, you will build up loans, but I’m still pretty convinced that it is nowhere as astronomical as in the US.

We cannot afford to send her to the colleges she deserves, so we are actively helping her apply for scholarships. But, as we are not familiar with the process either, it becomes an uphill battle.

She’s currently working with the US Airforce recruiter, which would open up the educational world for her … in NY state. Fingers crossed!

Baking Man is Baking Bread

It is no secret; we love bread. Everybody does unless you, of course, are wheat or gluten intolerant.

It is also no secret that store-bought white bread is not healthy if you eat too much of it. Like most mass-produced goods, factory-made bread contains a shitload of ingredients that is not good for our bodies.

The highly processed flour and additives in white, packaged bread can make it unhealthful. Consuming too much white bread can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Medical News Today

As part of my personal “make school lunch eatable again” quest, I’m starting to bake bread for the kids. I use good flour, little sugar, yeast, and no salt. The bread turns out pretty good, and the kids love it.

Sunday’s baking adventure

Granted, it does not look as lovely as the store-bought bread, but who cares as long as it tastes and feels nice.

I learn new baking tricks weekly and try not to exceed my capabilities. So far, I’ve successfully baked ciabatta, flutes, carrot rolls, panini, tortilla, pita, heroes, morning buns, and my personal favorite, country loaf baked on the Traeger grill.

The kids happily munch on the bread and ask for more. What more can I ask for?

This week’s menu

Homemade mayo, curry aioli, steak fries, popcorn shrimp, and dark beer-battered cod – awesome!

I continue to explore Instagram for inspiration. They make it look so easy in the 30-second videos that post on TikTok or Instagram.

In reality, many dishes take a lot longer, but I do not mind as I enjoy cooking.

I recently invested (Black Friday 2021) in a proper deep fryer and made delicious dark Yuengling beer-battered cod and popcorn shrimps.

Damn! It is so finger-licking good.

Because of the lower temperatures, we need to refuel our bodies with lovely warm soups and chowders.

A good chicken soup can kick most viruses’ ass, including flu, cold, and the globally hated covid. Chicken is good for your soul, and my chicken soup makes the store-bought chicken soups taste like discarded coffee water.

I attempted another take on chicken soup this week and will report back later.

Despite being a carnivore, I sometimes attempt to make vegetarian dishes. Nothing wrong with vegetarian dishes. It is all down to the spices and vegetables you use, and who can go wrong with gnocchi?

Hopefully, this week’s meal plan will inspire you to try and test your cooking skills.

Fire up the Traeger. Ready your Dutch oven. Go shopping, and let’s start cooking—another Sunday in the Kitchen with music on the magical Demerbox and wonderful aromas filling the room.

WeekdaySnacks n’ BreakfastsLunchDinner
MondayYogurtsMLK Day – no schoolDeep-fry galore – Fish n Chips, and popcorn shrimps
TuesdayEgg sandwichMy famous Caesar salad with grilled chicken, and my homemade Caesar salad dressingGnocchi with fennel, mushroom, and tomato sauce
WednesdayViking oatsHomebaked panini with roast beef and melted cheeseShrimp & Corn Chowder
ThursdayCerealDumplings with soy dip Chickpea curry with boiled white rice
FridayYogurtsMelted cheese panini sandwich with three kinds of cheeseCreamy Chicken Soup

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is so much easier to make food in advance, although you need to invest several hours in preparing the meals during the weekend.

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