Meal Plan; 24 July – 4 August – Chicken delights and Dyson Recovery

We invested in a cheap vacuum cleaner when we moved to the US in 2011. There’s a reason vacuum cleaners are affordable: they do not last long, especially if you have a St. Bernhard that sheds enough hair to knit an Icelandic sweater. And the vacuum cleaner we bought relied on vacuum bags, which is another headache.

After a few years, in 2014, we invested in a Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner called ‘the animal.’ Basically, it is designed for families with hairy monsters.

Our Dyson has served us well over the years and has been serving four dogs; two dogs crossed the rainbow bridge, and two actively polluting our house with a lot of fur.

We replaced our St. Bernhard with a similar-sized dog, a Great Pyreneese, which sheds an equal amount. And have a small brown Labrador with a healthy amount of ADHD.

Last weekend our trusted Dyson finally gave up the will to suck up dog hair. The room suddenly filled with a warm smell of burned plastic, indicating that the motor had died.

I contacted Dyson, who offered to get their repair center to do the work for a fee, and parts + labor would be extra. Obviously, the Dyson was out of warranty, given it is shy of 10 years of service. I believe we paid $400 for the Dyson back in 2014, which was a significant investment. A similar model replacement would cost around $800, which I find hard to justify.

So, I resorted to Amazon and YouTube. I found a replacement motor for $80 on Amazon, had it shipped within two days, and cleared the garage bench Saturday evening.

I found the necessary tools, turned on my Spotify playlist, placed two cans of adult beverages next to me, launched YouTube on the iPad, and kicked off operation Dyson-stein.

Within 30 minutes, I disassembled the Dyson without losing any screws or vital parts and sat with a burnt-out motor in my hand and the new motor safely installed. The final test was to turn on the vacuum cleaner and hoping not to blow a few fuses.

It worked. It’s alive again, and we can clear the floors of a thin layer of white hair built up over the past week. I feel like a heart surgeon that completed a complex operation.

I’m astonished at how much a Great Pyreneese sheds! Perhaps we need to consider selling Great Pyrenees knitted outfits on Etsy.

Hopefully, we can get another nine years out of the newly revived Dyson.

Thai-inspired Dinners

A colleague recently gave me an excellent Thai basil herb plant, which inspired me to attempt to make a few Thai dinners. It will never be authentic Thai dinners, but somewhat close. Adding fresh Thai basil will elevate the flavors.

I started Sunday morning by dicing and frying chicken thighs spiced with Turmeric, pepper, and garlic, and then I added onions, Bok Choy, red curry paste, and a few cups of coconut milk. Once it was ready, I sprinkled a few torn Thai basil leaves into the dish. I’ll cook the noodles on the day we eat.

I moved on to another Thai dish, Chili Beef Rolls, essentially a Thai version of spring rolls or burritos, with the exception that you fry the ground beef with garlic and ginger and stuff tortillas with meat, cucumber, and cilantro … and a few Thai leaves. It is a time-consuming dish, given you must roll all the tortillas, but it tastes very nice.

For the rolls to stay rolled and closed, I heated them slightly on a pan.

Afterward, I made a quick creamy chicken and mushroom in my Le Creuset skillet in the spirit of Chicken dinners. You braise the chicken thighs for 5 minutes on each side, then you fry the onions and mushrooms and add a little sherry for the sauce. You sprinkle some flour in the pan for the sauce and add chicken stock and sour cream. It becomes a nice sauce, and you place the braised chicken back in the pan and bake for 45 minutes.

The kids requested Caesar salad with chicken again, so I grilled some more thighs on the Traeger – again. We eat a lot of chicken, but it is damn delicious.

I also made a few advanced chicken burgers from ground chicken and avocados, with some extra herbs and hot sauce. I grill them on the Traeger, with the thighs, and will serve them inside a thin bagel.

Meal Plan

MondayCaesar salad with grilled chicken thighs (again)Thai Chili Beef Rolls
TuesdayDumpling with soy dipCreamy Thai Turmeric Chicken with Noodles
WednesdayMelted cheese and turkey sandwichesBraized Chicken Thighs & Mushrooms in a Sour Cream Sauce
ThursdayPersonal PizzaWhatever is left!
FridayChicken burger on a bagelFriday Fun BBQ, music, and adult beverages.

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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