Meal Planning

I would like to plan my meals ahead but I cannot.  I usually end up adjusting my meal plan depending on what’s available in the grocery.  See, unlike back home where we have our reliable palengke and grocery (not to mention a maid to do the shopping), here I have to depend on my supermarket for both grocery and produce items.  There’s the Chinese/Asian grocery, but finding fresh seafood can be a challenge so they are mostly good for vegetables and other condiments.

While I shop at a fairly reputable and large supermarket, again I have to rely on what meat cuts are available.  So I have to be creative in our daily meals, more so since I have two elderly people to consider, plus Alan’s craving for the day.  

This week we’ve had Spaghetti with meat sauce where I used Nora Daza’s old reliable Italian Spaghetti sauce recipe, substituting two Italian sausage patties for the ground pork required.  I have also switched from plain to whole wheat pasta to make the dish healthier.  Tuesday  we had fried wings using a yummy breading mix imported from Manila and I had my mixed greens and some salad add-ons with three choices of dressing.  Last night was corned beef hash and fried chicken breasts with mixed greens to go as a salad as an alternative.  Tonight, I requested Mom to work on the long squash (upo) which I found at the Chinese Grocery.  I can fry some pork chop, but I won’t have the time to marinate it.  I can also opt for some chicken teriyaki, but I’m not sure I have teriyaki sauce handy.  I also have some frozen cleaned shrimp which I can just toss with one of the condiments I have in the pantry from Harry & David.  I think I’ll do the shrimp.

I have a small library of cookbooks both from here and Manila.  My favorite is “THE JOY OF COOKING” which I bought the first year I arrived, and I have found it very useful in learning about cooking, ingredients, substitution and the different properties of food so it’s all tattered and falling apart.  My NORA DAZA Cookbook also fell apart on the glued side so I have converted it into a round fastened book which works very well considering it’s my most used cookbook.  

I’m not even thinking of tomorrow just yet.  When I am totally lost on what to cook, I go to the web for inspiration.  There are many sites where you can search for recipes based on the main ingredient.  My favorites are gourmet.com, food.com and foodandwine.com.  I think I’ll stop by and check out recipes to spruce up baby carrots.. maybe for Thursday or Friday.

Craft Report: Getting on with my Paris Scrapbook

I was getting ready to start my Paris scrapbook when I realized I had stashed away my Paris Picture CD and didn’t have it handy.  *Sigh*  I had put the CD away because my old hard drive had the complete folder in it, but with my new drive in place, I need that CD to put anything in a scrapbook.

While looking for it in my server drive, I came across my initial attempts at Scrapbooking, long before I heard of digitall scrapbooking.  I was printing off 12×12 paper layouts to paste my pictures on to.  Of course this Paris scrapbook will still have actual embellishments.  I have a free newspaper I’ve been cutting up, some hard copy panoramic pictures, and a ton of mementos like room card keys, napkins with logos of the restaurants, my Louvre and Metro tickets, and of course, postcards galore.

I have completed my first ever digital scrapbook mini-album of an event we went to to celebrate the birthday of one of Alan’s long time friends.  Next in line is a day-trip we took with some of his colleagues from work a few weeks back.

Paris, though, gets priority now because we are seriously discussing taking a trip again to the City of Lights sometime end-November.  I am all excited!!!  It does mean I’m giving up my high school reunion in California the weekend following our planned trip. =(  But Paris is Paris!  The only other destination that will take precedence over it is Manila, and I had my trip home last end-April/May.  Of course it’s still a plan.. I am keeping my fingers crossed I get to go — so the first thing on the agenda is get those pictures in that Scrapbook!  Precisely what I’m doing!