Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Reality Based Menu – Vacation Edition – Week 3

Yes, I know it’s Thursday, but I’ve been super-busy and then tired at night, so no posting until now.

Le Menu

  • Monday – Roasted Chicken Thighs, Green Beans, Rice (for those who eat it), baked potato (me)
  • Tuesday – Pork Tenderloin, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad (I don’t particularly like avocado’s texture, but this was a delicious salad; I had it for lunch the next day with extra grapefruit and some shaved almonds and baby spinach – total yumfest)
  • Wednesday – Steak Bites, Crash Potatoes, Spinach Salad, Crash Potatoes
  • Thursday – Leftovers…..many many leftovers
  • Friday – Beefy Loaded Baked Potatoes, maybe spaghetti squash, probably some kind of salad.
  • Weekend – Not sure and no sense planning for it.

It’s going to be a ridiculously busy weekend and frankly, I’m not looking all that forward to it.  One of my goals is to have an actual day off – you know, not work (no housework, no work-work), just a day to do things I love to do – mess around in my garden, go to the beach, read.  No laundry.  No grocery shopping.  I’m aiming for Sundays, because I rather need that bit of downtime to get myself mentally prepared for Monday – Friday.  Saturday is just another extension of M-F, only that’s house/family related.  So Sunday has to be Downtimeday.  Except it won’t be this weekend.  Le Sigh.

I know you just dying to know how my dietary vacation is progressing.  It’s fabulous, dontcha know!  I wake up starving (!!!!!!!) and eat breakfast now.  Then I’m hungry again midmorning so I eat then too.  Then lunch.  And snack.  And dinner.  And snack again.  I feel good and I’m not exhausted all the time and I’m very seriously thinking about extending this little vacay for a couple more weeks.  Doing a little more research into the science behind the plan and it’s extremely interesting.  Mostly, though, I just like that I feel good and can eat a lot.

I will say this – my cooking has undergone some interesting developments, as well.  Made my own hot Italian sausage the other day and it was so good, I can’t imagine buying it again (there wasn’t any commercially prepared sausage which didn’t have sugar of some form in it); I make clarified butter and my own mayonnaise and I’m making ranch dressing this weekend (I think).  One thing has also become clear – I need to bite the bullet and buy a new food processor.  Was kind of hoping I could just get away with my immersion blender, handheld mixer, and knives, but that’s not happening; so this weekend, need to research a new machine.

So that’s what’s happening with me.  What’s cooking at your place?

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Reality-Based Menu – Vacation Edition – Week 2

Still on time off, diet-wise- and loving every moment of it.

I know that last week I planned out through the weekend, but things were crazypants here, so that was more of a pipedream.  We ate well, of course, but had to take a more flexible approach.  I’m totally good with that.

  • Monday – Burgers, Rutabaga Fries, and Salad
  • Tuesday – Chicken-Zucchini Tots, Roasted Cauliflower
  • Wednesday – Portuguese Fish Stew & Salad
  • Thursday – Roast Chicken (or 40-garlic clove, if I can get Hearth to share her recipe, LOL), Green Beans Amandine, Baby Greens with Green Apple Dressing
  • Friday – Beefy-loaded Baked Potatoes; Steamed Broccoli

I also made Ina Garten’s Roasted Tomato Soup and a huge container of tuna salad, so I’ll be lunching on that most of the week.  The fruit platter is piled high with bananas, Honeycrisp apples, oranges, and pears.  There are lots of crudités in the fridge and I’m making my first-ever attempt at mayonnaise.

I thought I’d take a minute just to muse over some of the things I’ve noticed since taking this approach.  First and foremost, the terrible late afternoon fatigue is nearly gone.  This had me nearly in tears of despair – 1600 and I was nearly comatose; more often than not, a headache accompanied it.  I’ve had much fewer headaches – maybe 1 fairly minor in the last 10 days rather than an every day thing – and this means I’m eating a lot less ibuprophen.  Heartburn is pretty nonexistent, too – and I was waking up several days a week with that terrible burning in my esophagus.

Frankly, I’m delighted.  Have I missed anything?  Sure – I particularly miss milk in my coffee, but that’s just led to a reduction in the amount of coffee I drink.  Occasionally I hear toast with butter and cherry preserves calling me; and Saturday night all I wanted was a big bowl of Pasta Carbonara.  I remind myself I’m on vacation and the cravings go limping back into their hidey-holes.

Oh – and Hearth – bought beets; roasted them (well, attempted to any way) and throwing them in the aforementioned salad with green apple dressing.  Will report on the outcome  🙂   >

So, what’s cooking with every one else?


Reality-Based Menu – Vacation Edition – Week 1

I have officially put myself on vacation – not the typical vacation, but a dietary vacation. You see, I feel terrible all the time; I wake up tired and go to bed tired; I experience intense fatigue throughout the day; my focus and concentration are shot, along with enthusiasm, any sort of creativity; I can’t even enjoy reading because my brain just can’t keep track of what I’ve read. My body hurts – all over. Even walks on my beloved Folly Beach have ceased to be a pleasure and are more pain.

It was time to do something drastic.

Now I’m one of those persons who embrace change with all the enthusiasm of a toddler being put down for a nap. And all it takes are those foul words, “good for you,” and my inner obstinate mule starts kicking and screaming up a storm. But this is different. I’m just not me anymore and I can’t stand it.

So, what exactly is this vacation I’m taking? It’s Whole30™, that’s what.

I’m taking a vacation from the scale (that’s right – no scale for 30 days); no dairy, no grains; no legumes; no sugar of any kind. Well, isn’t that rather faddish of you, Maevey? And didn’t you already try the cavegirl routine and nearly pass out after two weeks just taking a 15-minute stroll through the neighborhood? And didn’t a whole slew of other awful things happen? Why yes, yes all that happened. But I’m not pulling a cavegirl thing. I’m not fasting; not eliminating carbohydrates. I’m not giving up coffee or tea or even juice or salt.

Here’s what I’m eating – lots of pork and fish and chicken and beef and eggs; potatoes (sweet and white); lots of salads; lots of fruit and veggies; olive oil and clarified butter; nuts and olives and pickles and pepperoncini. In short, I’m eating a crap load of tasty goodness.

It’s day three. It’s been tough, but every time a craving hit, I’d tell myself, “yeah, I’m kind of taking a break from that for a couple weeks.” You hear that – I’m taking a break. Not denying myself. Not living in a dietary purgatory. I’m taking a break; relaxing; chilling.

Here’s my menu for the week – and yay me!

  • Stuff I’m eating all day long (breakfast, lunch, etc.): Cauliflower-Watercress Soup; eggs (scrambled and hardboiled); tuna salad (I’m holding off the mayo and binding with my favorite lemon vinaigrette – soooo tasty); huge Honeycrisp apples; some Florida strawberries; oranges; ruby grapefruits.
  • Monday – Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs; Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika; Celery Root & Walnut salad
  • Tuesday – It’s just me and I’m making a frittata with baby spinach and roasted tomatoes
  • Wednesday – Ground beef with onions and garlic (and some hot pepper flakes) over baked potato halves; broccoli
  • Thursday – Roast Pork Tenderloin; Hot Crash Potatoes; Green Beans
  • Friday – Rosemary Beef Skewers with Arugula Salad
  • Saturday – Coconut Curry Shrimp with Cucumber Slaw and Grilled Pineapple Slices
  • Sunday – Whole Roast Chicken, Pan Sauce, Rutabaga Fries; Mashed Potatoes
  • Now tell me, does that sound like deprivation to you? It sounds like heaven to me.

    Is it all easy-peasey-lemon-squeezy? Nope. Last night I got up about a thousand times to pee AND I had the worst sugar cravings. That was hard. But I still kept reminding myself that I was taking some time off from the Milk Duds™ for a couple weeks. Amazing how that works – just taking time off. A great good thing. And the more I frame this as a vacation, the more my head seems to be onboard – and more importantly, the beastly toddler who lives inside me is rather enthused as well.

    I’m not planning to turn this into another Whole30™ site – but the next couple weeks will indeed be reflecting this dietary vacation I’m on – and I’ll be posting a couple recipes just to drive home how delicious this time off can be.

    So, what’s cooking at your house?


    Reality-based Menu – Invalid Edition

    There is no menu here in Maeve’s House of Sickness.


    Actually I’m the only one who is sick, but since I AM the House of Maeve, there you go.

    Perhaps you’re wondering why I have not sent forth the minions to shop for provisions and then cook them.  Because it would be too much work for me.  They’re both rather concerned with doing things exactly right (or rather, exactly as I would do them) and that means they ask questions.  A lot of questions.  Many text messages and phone calls.  Much peeking of the head into the bedroom to ask if the vegetables have been chopped correctly.  It’s just too fatiguing to even think about.

    So here’s what we’re going to do.  Campbell’s Soup (until we run out) and grilled cheese sandwiches.  And any leftovers warmed up in the microwave.

    It’s not that they don’t want to shop and cook, they do.  I just don’t have the strength for it.

    So, what’s cooking at your place?




    Reality-Based Menu – Out of the Frying Pan & Into the Oven Edition

    Angharad is studying for exams; Iseult runs the sound-board at school and there are activities every night this week.  I’m heading into my super-busy, report-driven week.  All this means that I need food which comes as close to preparing itself as I can – and that means roasting.

    I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that the easiest way to cook was to let the oven do the work.  Stove-top is generally extremely hands-on (and let’s not discuss all the pots & pans which will require washing); but you throw some meat in a pan; scatter some vegetables and into the oven it all goes.  I will allow this one caveat – roasting requires more actual cooking time than messing about on the stovetop, so in terms of lights-on to table, it’s not the quickest method at first glance.  But when you factor is the relatively minor prep and clean-up, well, I think it rather tips the scale.  And speaking of scales, roasting is great friend to those of us working on improving our diets.

    • Saturday – Chicken Cacciatore (I make a riff off of Nigella Lawson’s excellent and very easy to put together recipe.  I think it took about 20 minutes of prep and 20 minutes on the stove – which is a respectable timeframe.
    • Sunday – Sandwiches at the end of a busy day
    • Monday – Roast Beef, Horseradish Sauce, roasted baby potatoes & shallots (virtually no prep and no clean up)
    • Tuesday – Girls at their Dads – leftovers for me
    • Wednesday – Baked Bacon-wrapped Cod, Rice, Haricots Vert
    • Thursday – Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
    • Friday – Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Shaved Fennel & Celery Salad

    So that’s the plan, subject to change as always.

    What’s cooking at your place?



    Reality-Based Menu – Après Thanksgiving Edition

    Have you finally consumed the last of the leftovers?

    We ended up with last-minute guests, which was wonderful!  And yet the leftovers…..so many many leftovers.  There’s a reason I only cook this food once a year – I may only actually cook it one time, but we seem to eat it endlessly.  Time to move on.

    This week’s menu is deliberately lighter – still every-day easy, but hopefully also a little more “swish” as my mother would say.

    • Monday – Watercress Cauliflower Soup; Crispy Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs; salad
    • Tuesday – Girls at their Dad’s; I have plans
    • Wednesday – Steak Kebabs; Arugula-Cucumber-Scallion Salad
    • Thursday – Ham & Gruyere Omelets; Shaved Fennel, Radish & Apple Salad
    • Friday – Pork Chops; Garlicky Broccoli; Rice (link below)

    I know what you’re thinking:  “Erm…exactly how reality-based is that menu, there, Maevey?  We KNOW what you’re like.”

    True. But here’s the thing.  I actually have most of the ingredients at the house and I kind of need to use them.  Tonight’s chicken is thawing right now; for the soup I’m doing a short-cut and using frozen cauliflower (GASP – Frozen Veggies!!! My Word!); I have canned stock (seriously, when do I have the time to make stock – and I actually like to make it).  The kebabs are super easy:  cubed sirloin; marinated for a few minutes with a lovely rosemary/salt/garlic rub – broiled for about 5 minutes total; the salad takes a grand total of 5 minutes to toss.  The Omelets – frankly, this is the weakest link – there’s more work involved in this meal than the entire rest of the week – we shall see.  Pork Chops, broccoli, rice (do, please, stop over here – this is my favorite way to cook broccoli).

    You see, it’s really not quite that big a deal.  I’m feeling pretty good about, but also am  not going to beat myself up if Chinese Takeout shows up one night.

    I hope everyone had a lovely holiday (feel free to post updates, including any rants if necessary, LOL).

    So, what’s cooking at your place this week?




    Reality-Based Menu – Talking Turkey Edition

    It’s Thanksgiving and I’m not posting a menu because this week, we’re all about Thursday.

    It’s funny how the subject of the meal itself can be rather volatile.  In my house it’s something of a sacrilege to even suggest a deviation from the norm. I casually mentioned that maybe this year we would just roast a turkey breast and forego the wings/legs since there are so few of us – Whoa, Nelly!! Break out the smelling salts!  You’d have thought I’d cancelled Thanksgiving.  Suitably chastised, I bought a 20lb turkey.  And I’m going to make them eat every last bite if it takes until Christmas.

    This is my menu.  It’s vey similar to the one I grew up with, except that my mother added pearl onions to the carrots; we didn’t have green bean casserole; and there was always corn (because my youngest brother would have expired on the spot it we didn’t have it).  I’m not cooking corn because nobody cares.  Iseult, who doesn’t even tolerate dairy particularly well insisted that we much have the carrots (sans onions).

    • Roasted Turkey
    • Stuffing (but I’m baking it in a Bundt pan – no, that doesn’t mean it’s dressing!)
    • Gravy
    • Mashed Potatoes
    • Creamed Carrots
    • Rolls of some kind
    • Green Bean Casserole (super doctored up with cheese and water chestnuts)
    • Pecan Pie (Angarad makes the one from the Silver Palate Cookbook and it’s divine).
    • Chocolate Marshmallow Pie (from the November issue of Food Network Magazine)

    I know you’re reading this over and thinking – there are no sweet potatoes!  There is no cranberry sauce!  What is wrong with these people?  What can I say?  We’re kind of weird and I’m not having any guests who will eat them, so, nope, not on the menu.  OK Maevey, but there’s no Pumpkin Pie for cryin’ out loud!  Heh – that’s how we roll.

    Anyway, I’d like to just take a small moment to wish all my e-friends a very safe and blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving.

    If you’re up for sharing your Thanksgiving Menu, please do.


    PS – Here’s my tip – the best place to thaw your turkey is in a bathtub filled with cold water.  Seriously.  You have to drain it and refill to keep the water cold, but it really does work.



    Reality-Based Menu – Reluctant Edition

    It was a dark and stormy weekend.  Not the weather.  The world.

    I was a young girl in that city.  And even then, in the 70’s there were threats of terrorism – indeed, it was not uncommon for me to come home from school and see several SWAT-type vans across the street (I lived across from an embassy which was frequently the target of terrorists).  I suppose I’ve always hoped that people grow out of trying to kill one another – unrealistic, yes, but what can I say – I’m sort of Pollyanna-ish that way.

    This week’s menu:

    • Monday – Roasted Chicken Thighs; Cauliflower; Rice Pilaf
    • Tuesday – Girls at their Dad’s – leftovers, I think
    • Wednesday – Shredded Pork, Sesame Broccoli; Lentils
    • Thursday – Leftovers
    • Friday – DIY dinner
    • Weekend – I’ll think of something

    If I have the time, I think I’ll pick up a pear and some dried tart cherries and make a Clafoutis (this one, from Martha Stewart) and watch my favorite movie set in that city (Charade), and have my own little tribute.

    Anyone else up for cooking something French this week?


    Reality-Based Menu – Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel Edition

    Read and weep:

    • Monday – Chili (yep – that was it – while working or doing homework)
    • Tuesday – Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara (maybe) – and the only reason for this is that there actually IS a cauliflower in my refrigerator; also eggs and parmesan cheese (remember how I talked about maybe making it over the weekend?  Guess what?  I didn’t.  Quel surprise, non???).
    • Wednesday – Leftovers – because there’s still a lot of chili and there will probably be pasta
    • Thursday – Chicken-something and Salad (because there is chicken in the fridge and I have to cook it because there’s no room in the freezer because I go shopping and then don’t cook what I buy)
    • Friday – “The Tears of our Forefathers” (I saw that on FB a couple weeks ago and laughed so hard I damn near peed myself)
    • Weekend – I don’t know and I don’t care.  Nobody will starve.

    This is a brutal week for me and for the people who live with me.  There are tests, play practice, the actual play itself, and there is work – a great deal of gut-churning, migraine-inducing work.  It’s always like this one week out of the month – this would be that week.

    It’s these times when nobody cares about eating, but we should.  I know that good meals would help, but that would require a level of attention which is not possible from anyone.    Frankly, if I could, I’d order takeout every night just to cut myself a break (Well, Maevey, why don’t you just go ahead and order takeout every night?  Because instead of thinking ahead and planning, I spent the takeout budget on actual groceries.  Le Sigh).

    Please, somebody tell me that you’re inspired to cook something nice for your family this week (it will give me hope…)



    Reality-based Menu – Holding Steady Edition (Plus recipe link)

    It’s Monday so this means we’re back for another rendition of “What’s Maevey going to attempt to cook at her house this week?”(heh!).

    It’s even less impressive than prior weeks.

    • Tonight we are having Chicken Caesar Salads (we ended up not having them last week)
    • Tuesday – Girls are at their Dad’s and I’m making these Garlicky Smothered White Beans on Toast (but I’m adding some pancetta or bacon as well)
    • Wednesday – Chili & Els’ Cornmeal Biscuits
    • Thursday – Steak Skewers with Arugula Salad
    • Friday – everybody has plans, so no menu

    Weekend – our weekends are hugely busy; I might make short ribs on Saturday (maybe – they’re easy, but you kind of have to check on them periodically); There’s a Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara with Burrata over at Love and Olive Oil which I’m dying to try, so maybe that.  Then out on Food52 I saw a great recipe for scallion pancakes and it occurred that this would be with a stir-fry.  Anyway, I’m not sweating any of it.  There is food in the house (most of it reasonably healthy) so nobody will starve.

    This past weekend was sort of lazy for me.  Didn’t get a ton of things accomplished, but I work up this morning finally feeling like my head was clear.  Maybe I needed the downtime.

    I’m going to try and publish a book post later on this week, but for right now, this is all I’ve got.

    So, what’s cooking at your place?