You know, you can think you’ve learned new behaviours and habits and be absolutely sure that you’re not going to slip back to old habits. And then reality smacks you upside the head. Repeatedly.

I had a really bad week. It actually started last week, when I was too tired to make a meal plan and cook. “You’re at an off-site meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, so you can buy your lunch those two days” is how it started. “Grilled cheese sandwiches are a totally logical plan for dinner every night,” is how it continued.

You know what happened, don’t you? Yeah, I know you do. I had three horrendously stressful days and I consciously and without prejudice decided to self-medicate with food. Combine this with some truly egregious back pain (thank you, lat muscle that will not heal), and you have yourself a banner week with no good food and no exercise.

I know better than this. I set myself up to fail, and I did exactly that.

But I’m wicked smart, and I learn from my mistakes. On Friday, I spent an hour combing through some cookbooks, looking for meals to make this weekend. While I’m at home all week this week, I’m busy all next weekend and am away a couple of days the week after. So I was really looking for meals that would be more than just this week, but which would have enough servings to cover the week after.

Canadian Living’s slow cooker book definitely came to the rescue, as did my good friends at Pinterest. I made what looks and smells like the best mac and cheese recipe ever (in the slow cooker, yo! What is up with that? I totally never would have thought of that!) – it has low fat cheese and cottage cheese and sour cream and ham and red pepper and fresh parsley in it. It’s not finished yet, but hello? Yum. Also, a full meal in a bowl. And pasta, which I really kind of miss but is hard to have AND still get a lot of protein.

I also made swiss steak. My mum used to make this for us in the electric skillet. It’s basically the cheapest cut of steak possible, slow cooked with onions and carrots and tomato paste for many many hours. Yum. I’m having it for dinners this week, with some crusty bread from Art-Is-In bakery.

On the stovetop right now is another slow cooker recipe, made in the dutch oven instead because I had a really long nap instead of cooking. It’s got ground turkey, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of black beans, some corn niblets and a zucchini in it. Oh yeah, and onions. It’s imaginatively called “turkey and black bean chili” and it smells pretty darned good.

Finally, I premade my breakfasts for the week. And as always, when making them, I learned something about the process of cooking. First up was the “egg in a muffin tin” recipe that was all over Pinterest this week. Basically, you beat some eggs, throw some fillings in to the cups of a muffin tin, pour in the eggs, and bake it in the oven. They literally rise like muffins. I used red pepper, ham, and cheddar (yes, I recreated the mac and cheese with eggs instead of pasta. It’s what I had in the house. Sue me.). Lesson learned: I should never have given away the silicone muffin cups my mum gave me. It is really a lot of work to get baked egg bits out of a muffin tin, even after soaking and scraping. Apparently they’re freezable and edible cold or reheated. I ate two and froze the rest in pairs.

To go with the egg muffin thingies, I made drop biscuits for the first time ever. Sweet mother of pearl, they were AWESOME. I can’t even remember what’s in them, but the recipe is from Cooking Light How To Bake. At 98 calories a biscuit, they’re beyond a dreamy companion to my 100 calorie egg thingies. I’m just saying. AWESOME. The recipe made 15, I had one to see what they were like, and froze a bunch for this week. Oh yeah, and I boiled a bunch of eggs.

I am unclear as to why I felt like forgetting stuff constantly when I went to the grocery store. I actually went five times. FIVE TIMES. Kill me now. I really need to bring a pen to cross things off the list.

I also went to the gym yesterday to play squash and today to play squash and do a hill set on the treadmill. There was a lot of stretching, which I’ve been doing all week to offset the back pain. I also cooked in shoes this week instead of slippers, which has worked out really well.

So, next week, I have my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks all made. My lunches and dinners for the week after are also made and ready to go. I feel like a damned rock star. I’m setting myself up to win this week. And I’m going to!

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