Meal Plan; 6 – 10 February – Seafood, weatherballoon, and sub-zero degrees

We survived the subzero temperatures that hit the North East. It was like scenes from “The Day After Tomorrow,” mixed in with some Star Wars scenes when something that looked like a moon hovered over the US. It turned out to be a Chinese “weather balloon” that just happened to have a camera better than the Hubble Telescope taking pictures and feature-length movies of the mid-West.

The temperatures dropped drastically from Wednesday to Sunday morning. We hit a whopping -19 Celcius (-2F), and with the wind chill factor, it dropped to -27 Celcius (-17F) Saturday morning. So, unless I wanted to rip my t-shirt with my nipples, it was more of a sweater and slumbering in front of the pellet stove day.

The “weather balloon” was shot down Saturday somewhere over Myrtle Beach, making you wonder how such an enormous thing can go unnoticed across the pacific ocean. I don’t think it is normal to lose a “weather balloon.”

All-in-all a rather bizarre weekend with frozen eyeballs and giant moon-like objects in the sky. Apparently, a green comet passed by Earth for the first time in 50,000 years sparks flashbacks from the less awesome Ryan Reynolds movie “The Green Lantern.”

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Chelsea spent $600m on 18 new signings and still drew against Fulham Friday afternoon. It makes you wonder if money really buys trophies. But I’m still a faithful Chelsea supporter and am confident that we will win the premier league 2023-2024.

And for other football news, Ryan Reynolds’ team, Wrexham, a fifth-tier team, drew against championship league team Sheffield United in the FA Cup, which is a fantastic result for a club with amateur players – but they have heart!

Despite the shivering cold, rogue weather balloon, and other abnormalities, it was a good week with a productive week at work, cleaning up some tools in the garage, determining that I need a new battery for my incredible UTV, and getting to spend some time with a good friend – a bit of fatherly and brotherly bonding.

Talking About Brotherly Bonding

I usually meet the knucklehead gang at least once a month for a lump of meat and beer gathering while burning shit. However, we do join forces when the brothers send smoke signals when they need some help with a dubious DIY project. We rush to each other’s aid and work for a few hours. It is fantastic to have an excellent group of friends you can rely on when you are stuck with some DIY stuff or need help moving shit.

The other night I dropped by one of the knucklehead guys as I needed advice on changing brakes. Yes, I want to learn how to change my own brakes, so we don’t have to fork out too much money during a recession and inflation at the same time.

Let’s begin with the definitions. A recession is a period of “sustained” weak or negative growth in real gross domestic product (GDP), that is accompanied by high unemployment and weakness in many other economic indicators. Inflation is a general rise in price levels, which erodes purchasing power.

Kojo Quartey

Anyway, we met in his garage; the knuckleheads always met in the garage or around the fire pit and shared a few friendly gestures while greeting each other. Either by flipping off the opponent or hurling some innocent verbal abuse. A traditional guy’s greeting.

He gave me a crash course in changing brakes, and we quickly agreed that the practical lesson would occur after the “The Day After Tomorrow” event unfolding. It was too bloody cold, and our fingers would freeze stuck to the wheels if we attempted to work during the big freeze.

Afterward, we moved inside the garage, still not much warmer, where our conversation quickly moved toward how to be a parent during the fecking pandemic. Our kids, correction, all kids, suffered tremendously during COVID lockdowns. Especially kids from 10-12 years old, which happens to be our kids’ ages.

As knuckleheads, we rarely get to have a nice adult and serious conversation, so it was nice being able to converse as real adults without throwing abuse at each other.

We shared fatherly advice and opened up about how our kids really feel these days. It is not easy for our kids, and we (us dads) are sometimes not the best to handle situations when our kids overreact or are emotional.

I’m from a generation where we get disciplined until the proper outcome is achieved. To be clear, I’m not promoting corporal discipline and would not hit a child, but my dad was no saint when it came to applying some manners to my behaviors. I was not a saint and deserved every piece of discipline I received, verbally and physically.

However, when our kids act out, I can sometimes lose my cool and raise my voice (a lot), which I hate. But my kids know exactly which buttons and phrases to say to trigger a reaction.

Long story short, my buddy and I are very alike, and we had a fantastic brotherly bonding session where we shared tips for how to deal with our kids and offered to come to the aid of each other’s kids in case they needed to talk.

That is what friends do, and I was very happy to have this one-on-one conversation with my friend. It further cemented our relationship, and we know we can reach out to each other if we need advice or direction.

weekend adventures on the traeger

Time to Cook Some Great Food

Enough sentimental conversation. Let’s talk about food and meal planning.

Last week we had a great chicken adventure, but this week we need to explore our friends under the sea, as well as some excellent game meat. Exploring various meat sources is essential to varied food consumption. We cannot always eat chicken, and we must try new recipes.

Lunch is a meal eaten in the middle of the day; typically lighter or less formal than an evening meal. Unfortunately, I rarely eat lunch, but I happily make lunches for our kids. It is essential that they get a nice lunch while at school, giving them the energy to excel.

This week’s lunches are simple yet delicious. Pizza, caesar salad. store-bought croissants, rice & beans, and of course, a nice cheese melt on homemade sourdough bread.

It is time to explore a few simple and quick seafood dishes. Seafood is good for you, and we absolutely love seafood. Too bad we live so far from the ocean; otherwise, we would have more seafood.

Seafood is really nutritious!

Seafood includes vital nutrients needed for health and wellness at all ages, including omega-3s, iron, B and D vitamins, and protein. Fish and shellfish supply the nutrients, vitamins and omega 3s essential for strong bones, brain development, and healthy heart and immune system.

Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Instead, I buy seafood from our local supermarket. Nothing to write home about, but it satisfies our craving for seafood. I buy frozen shrimp and farm-raised cod (the sticker on the packaging says Alaskan cod, but somehow I doubt it) to cook dinners this week.

I will test my skills and patience by making homemade egg rolls from scratch. Normally my patience is low, so I rarely make pasta from scratch. I can’t stand it when shit doesn’t work or look like the pictures.

At the end of the week, we will savior our palettes with loaded baked potatoes stuffed with caramelized leeks and slow-cooked venison. The venison was donated to us by a friend who harvested a deer. I’m very grateful when I get these meat offerings and attempt to make special meals with this meat.

We will wrap up the week with a simple Nacho delight, where we sample some organic (local) ground beef, homemade pickled red jalapenos, and topped with grated cheese. Perfect ending to the week.

Lunch & Dinner

MondayHomemade loaded pizzaThai coconut with shrimp
TuesdayStuffed croissant (ham & cheese)Southwest egg rolls
WednesdayCaesar salad with roasted chickenPan-fried cod with prawn sauce and asparagus
ThursdayChicken with rice & beansLoaded baked potato with leeks & venison
FridayMelted American cheese sandwich on sourdough breadNacho Fever

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 much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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