Monday, June 22, 2009

Road Menu Part 1

Menu Plan Monday:

Last week I wrote my first menu plan, working Wednesday to the following Friday (10 days). I thought that would fit my routine, because I plan on Wednesdays for the next 10 days, allowing myself to change Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the second week. I decided that's too complicated, and possibly redundant, to write about, so I will just post Saturday through Friday and see how that goes for a while.

This week's menu was based on my haul at the Daley Plaza Farmer's market:

strawberries: variety = "Lucy". I swear it was like sucking on a sugar cube, wow! I've never had a sweeter strawberry! I remarked to the farmer, "So this is what strawberries are supposed to taste like!" He grinned. $5 for a pint (so worth it!).

Arugula: For veggie wraps at lunch this weekend. I decimated my garden last Thursday for that night's dinner and Friday's lunch. A lot of arugula goes a little wayL 2 bunches @ $2 each

Rhubarb: for the freezer. 3 bunches for $5.

asparagus: I think it's getting a bit late for asparagus, but I wanted to make Heidi's salad to bring to my friend's lake house this weekend. And I love asparagus. 3 bunches for $5.

cherries: for my tummy. $4/pint.

2 zucchini: for ratatouille. $1.75/pound

1 English cuke: mmm, cucumber and onion sandwiches! $1.50

The zucchini, cuke, rhubarb, asparagus, and cherries come from "sustainable agriculture". They only spray as needed. Not organic, but not sprayed as much as grocery store produce. The strawberries and arugula were not sprayed.

This weekend we are going to a friend's lake house. They are making salmon with vegetables and rice. I'm bringing cookies and bulgur wheat salad from one of my favorite websites, 101 Cookbooks.

At the end of this week, I'm traveling for work. Traveling always presents a challenge for menu planning. My options are to A) eat out; B) pack food; C) visit grocery stores in the destination town; or D) some combination of the above. I usually end up doing some combination of A & B, and give myself bonus points if I make it to the grocery store.

I love visiting grocery stores in different towns when I travel, especially if the town has unique family-owned stores or interesting health food stores. However, when I'm traveling--especially if it's for work and I'm taking Amtrak—it's hard to find time to visit grocery stores. This week my job is sending me to Springfield, Illinois. It has each of my favorite chain restaurants: Chipotle, Noodles & Company, (both fairly new to Springfield) and Panera. It also has CafĂ© Brio, which is a lovely Mexican-ish restaurant and a destination in and of itself! I'll pack oatmeal for breakfasts, end up eating at the work-meeting for lunches, and have some choices for dinner. If I can get someone (or a cab) to take me, I might check out Italian Food Mart, Humphrey's Market and/or Food Fantasies Naturally. Look for these locations on my Google Map and for my reviews on Yelp in a few weeks when I return!

In order to have an easy lunch on Wednesday night while I'm packing, I'm making a sandwich board. I bought buffalo bacon for the freezer a few weeks ago at the Palatine Farmer's Market. The farmer said it's more like lunch meat than bacon, I should just thaw it and eat it on a sandwich. I'll put that out with some cheese and a simple arugula salad.

Saturday: Salmon with vegetables and rice.

Sunday: Ratatouille over brown rice

Monday: Cucumber and onion sandwiches

Tuesday: grilled shrimp and cilantro pesto on rice

Wednesday: Sandwich board, salad

Thursday: I'm heading out of town for work at the end of the week. Hubby will probably have a banana pizza: pizza crust, use catsup instead of pizza sauce, mash up ripe bananas on top, cover in shredded mozzarella. Sounds gross, but it's actually pretty good.

Friday: Hubby will head down to meet me and begin our vacation. Vacation/road food is a special challenge. I'll post the menu next week, but Friday night he'll probably get a fast food dinner. I'll get Panera, because I know there's one near the hotel where I'm staying.

Next week should be interesting, because we're leaving from Springfield to go camping for a week in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Usually planning for camping is fun, but it's harder since 1) I will be on the road for four days before camping, and 2) if I pack anything to bring camping I have to do it now since I'm leaving Thursday and the cooler is coming with Hubby on Friday and 3) I'm not sure what the CSA box will look like. It also arrives Wednesday, just before I leave!

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