Full transparency – this week’s meal plan is less exciting and perhaps not what you were expecting. But, my entire weekend was filled with scouting activities with my son.
For the first time in over two years, we could finally join his Boy Scout of America troop in a beautiful experience lasting Friday afternoon to Sunday midday. The 58th Scoutmaster Camporee hosted by the fabulous West Point Academy took place, and we had to attend.
It, unfortunately, prevented me from my weekly meal planning activities; no actual meal plan menu, limited grocery shopping, and practically no cooking – except preparing a Sunday evening BBQ on the Traeger.
There’s no excuse for not having some plan in place for the week and the family. However, it is essential to keep the meal planning going.
Every other month I use some left-over freezer meals for my meal plan. Freezing leftovers is always handy if you have busy weeks, and it allows you to make full use of your meals with little or no waste. Make sure you have a proper sealer to store the food securely and safely in your freezer.
Sealing Your Meals
Three years ago, had you asked me if I wanted a vacuum sealer, I would’ve said “no!”
What is the point of a vacuum sealer? It seems like just another appliance. And don’t get me wrong, as my sister often states, I love devices.
Fast forward to 2021, when I moved to level two of meal planning and to eat healthier, I invested in a vacuum sealer for a few reasons.
- Optimize space usage in the freezer by removing unnecessary air and plastic containers
- Make the food stackable in the freezer, supporting #1
- Store higher quality meat, as we invested in a quarter of organic and farm-raised cow last year from a local farmer
- Easily label the food with meal and date
- Reduce cost and reliance on ziplock bags
- Improve and retain the quality of food and minimize freezer burn
I invested in a vacuum sealer from MEAT! (Meat Your Maker), which has been a superb purchase. It is actively used throughout the week and has allowed me to store food and cut down waste immensely.
While it is a US-based company in Ohio, many of its products are unfortunately made in China. It is disappointing that you can’t buy fully US-made products, but consumers demand lower prices.
The majority of meat processing appliances from LEM and others are all made in China! Shit, must things are made in China which is really worrying for the economy, quality and supply chains.
We need more products made in the USA.
However, the quality of the MEAT! products do not appear to be sacrificed. The vacuum sealer sucks the air from the bags and seals them very well.
Pro tip – If you flatten out the food, it’ll freeze more evenly and make it stackable.
I can highly recommend investing in a reliable and durable vacuum sealer, and stand by my MEAT! purchase.
West Point Adventure
It has been more than two years since we went camping with my son’s scout troop, primarily because of COVID (feckin’ virus) and because some of the camping outings were too challenging for my son.
He has challenges walking in uneven and rocky terrain and lacks a little stamina and core strength to hike up steep slopes.
Having Down Syndrome and nonverbal is no excuse for not joining the scouts. Our son loves hanging out with other boys, and the scouts are broadly very accepting and supportive of him.
We have our challenges at times when the other boys forget to include our son in games, activities, and cooking. They “forget” to ask him, and some boys are not 100% comfortable with being around kids with special needs.
However, it is also a learning and maturing opportunity for the boys, as they need to work with people with different capabilities and treat other kids well.
Some boys are much more comfortable holding our son’s hand and helping, whereas others are distancing themselves as they are unsure how to interact with him.
It can be tough to see your son be excluded as a parent, and I spend time reminding the boys to include our son. But they are doing much better. It is learning in progress.
The camporee hosted by West Point Academy is fantastic. 3000+ scouts are camping out, and 400+ West Point cadets participate in hosting events throughout the weekend.
Saturday morning started at 6.00 am with wake-up calls by the cadetes, and then morning PT at 6.15 am. Many kids had some challenges waking up, but the cadets ‘encouraged’ them to participate in running, push-ups, burpees, and other exercises. Getting the blood pumping is the best way to start the day.
The cadets hosted 15 events scattered across the West Point site, everything from showing off weapons, rescuing wounded soldiers by suppressing fire, target shooting, throwing grenades, securing important targets as a team, starting a campfire, building a harness, ranger drills, and rafting. Plenty of excellent activities for the kids.
The scouts had to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for their troops, which left a lot to be desired regarding planning and preparing meals. In the future, I want to teach them how to do meal planning and cooking, as they need some guidance.
The cadets hosted a very cool mountain party with a massive bonfire and DJ at night. The kids danced, sang, and screamed as they released their energy into the pumping rhythms. It was a blast and a perfect way to finish a long day of activities.
Cheat Meal Planning
At the beginning of this post, I alluded to it, but it consists of leftover meals that I’ve stored in our freezer this week. It allows me to reduce time in the kitchen and nuke the meals in the microwave.
You should not store food too long in your freezer, and it is good to clear out meals regularly. However, I prefer not to sore already made meals for more than three months.
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.
|Monday||Toasted bagel with lettuce, sliced boiled eggs, and vegan mayo.||Left-over adventure meal #1 – a surprise bag from the freezer|
|Tuesday||Homemade sweet potato roll cheese melt||Left-over adventure meal #2 – a surprise bag from the freezer|
|Wednesday||Shrimp pasta salad||Left-over adventure meal #3 – a surprise bag from the freezer|
|Thursday||Cheese and ham stuffed croissants||Left-over adventure meal #4 – a surprise bag from the freezer|
|Friday||Stir-fried noodles with thinly sliced teriyaki beef||Traeger and Breeo adventure – over the fire cooking.|
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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