Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

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?


    Happy New Year

    This is a place-holder post because I don’t have one ready. Things are a-changin’ Chez Maeve et Filles (for the better, I think), and I’ll be sharing some of those change here. But never fear…

    Yes – there will be Monday Menus.
    Yes – There will be True Confessions.
    Yes – There will be Book Discussions (or at least my ramblings)
    Yes – There will finally be my post about why reading Romance is good for you and if you’re not reading any then you should start now.
    Yes – There will even be recipes of my own (don’t think I posted any last year)

    Yes – I DO have to get back to work.

    A Bientôt


    True Confessions Tuesday

    When it comes to those I love, I’m a card-carrying member of People Pleasers International.

    This isn’t exactly a good thing, because it means that I tend to contort myself in all sorts of ways to ensure that everyone is happy – not necessarily acting in their best interests, you understand, but trying to make them happy.

    It’s also bad because deep inside my core, I’m also a Type-A, Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Stubborn As A Mule, Irish chick.  AND because I actually do have a back bone that would make a T-Rex envious, and will literally beat an issue to death, resurrect it and then beat it to death again, I’ve (mostly) developed a general policy of “avoid confrontation unless absolutely necessary”.

    Except sometimes I forget and then I have Le Regret.

    I’m pretty sure that no one has ever had to eat her own words more than I have.

    Le Sigh.


    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?




    True Confessions Tuesday (I know today is Wednesday)

    Sometimes we have these angsty little confessions (last week, for example).

    Then there are the humorous ones.

    This morning I was trying to get all the laundry out of the washing machine and couldn’t reach the socks in the bottom because my boobs got in the way.

    I need to stop eating cookies in the closet.

    Or start using tongs to reach the socks.


    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?



    I Knew It Couldn’t Just Be My Problem

    FINALLY – some actual honesty about “Easy” cooking for the family.

    Recommended reading for anyone who has to cook dinner for more than him/herself.


    You’re Welcome!


    True Confessions Tuesday

    Last night I closed myself in the closet and ate half a bag of Chessmen.

    There’s no reason for it.  I can eat cookies anywhere, time, or reason I like, but there I found myself, like in the very very bad old days, eating in the dark out of sight of everyone.

    They don’t taste as good when you can’t see them.



    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.