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E43: Key Spouse of the Year & Menu Planning
Welcome back everybody!
Lady Jupiter Podcast is the audio accompaniment to LadyJupiter.com a lifestyle blog where I write about my family’s military life, our home life, casual fashion, and travel when possible. I’m happy that you’re here with me.
In this episode I’ll share an update on our life as affected by the U.S. military, continue with a blog update, then wrap up with my most recent domestic diversion.
Today in our military-affected lives I have nothing significant to update.
Well, not lieutenant-colonel-significant anyway. But I found out that I was named the wing’s Key Spouse of the Year for 2020. I’ll never know what my competition looked like, but I can guess. I got a fresh headshot for my bio, a delicious bucket of fresh pho, and soon my winning packet will advance to the next level of competition. It’ll probably end there – but you never know. Winning at the wing-level is still huge, so that’s awesome.
Our daily life hasn’t changed though. Mister Jupiter remains moderately busy, and I am keeping myself busy with my usual cycle of local donations. Tomorrow I’m dropping donations off to the local women’s shelter and taking a few things to a Free Little Pantry.
Otherwise, since we last spoke I did host the first of many monthly Zoom calls for the squadron spouses this year. We’re already making loose plans for our first in-person social assuming that we can do that safely this year. Until then I have something cooked up for next month’s Zoom, and I just need to shake out the details before sharing the idea with my spouses, then I’ll share with you listeners. I’m optimistic and I can’t wait to share it once it’s up and running.
For today’s LadyJupiter.com update…
Since last week I have updated zero things. I don’t have time to write real blog posts right now, but I still want to share things with you readers, so I’m cooking up something that I can easily upload during nap time -or before bed- whenever I like. It won’t be a daily obligation, so that’s good for my sense of overwhelm. And it’s going to include handwriting so I can enjoy getting pen to paper for a minute, that will motivate me because I love writing.
I’ll start designing this specific document this week – hopefully today after uploading this episode.
And now for my most recent domestic diversion
I am simply reminding myself that I need to get back to menu planning. We’re excellent menu planners when we sit down to do it, but lately it’s been really easy to forget until 4pm, then we just order pizza because it sounds good, and we’re not hungry for anything in particular. We keep most dinners simple though – like seared fish and vegetables, ground beef and rice, or anything with buttered noodles.
I might go back to a weekly structure that I really liked when we lived in Kansas. I would start at the beginning of the month and assign a theme to each day of the week, like Pasta Mondays, Takeout Tuesdays, and so on. Then each weekend I would simply decide the smaller details, like what kind of pasta and sauce, or which restaurant to order from.
Making large categorical decisions each month really works for me because it narrows down the world of possibilities into smaller more manageable sections, and increases the chances of trying new recipes, or even perfecting a dish. I once made gumbo each weekend because I was trying out different recipes and needed to know which one I was going to keep as our family favorite. When we’re getting ready to move I make a “Pantry Buster” meal each week – so I use as many shelf-stable foods as possible and see what happens. Some meal themes are very broad, like “Chicken” or more narrow like “Sheet Pan dinner.” Once I get the hang of cooking and eating in a specific pattern, a new month comes along and I get to change the meal themes all over again.
Conveniently I wrote a blog post about this, so I’ll link to that in the show notes. Right now a recurring favorite is Maqluba Mondays. Maqluba is the Arabic word for upside down, because this dish is turned upside down to serve. At its base it’s meat, rice, spices, and vegetables (often tomato). But like many recipes, it can be made a million ways. I made ours a day early and without regret. I used a pound of ground beef – that included liver and heart. Plus onion, zucchini, tomato, eggplant, rice, and quinoa. Ours is ready as soon as the rice is cooked (because my first step is to cook the meat, then add vegetables and rice). I pressure cook it for 10 minutes, but then I leave it covered and warm until dinner time. It’s a great dish for any -busy day, -a low energy day, -or if you have a handful of stray vegetables that didn’t get cooked last week. It’s a fun dish that makes great use of my extensive spice cabinet too, so that’s nice. Even the word “maqluba” has a few accepted spellings, I prefer M-A-Q-L-U-B-A. If your dinner playlist needs some variety, certainly look up some maqluba recipes. The basics are simple and combinations are endless.
📌 How I Make Menu Planning Easy on LadyJupiter.com
And that’s it for today’s short show!
Show notes and transcript will be available on LadyJupiter.com/podcast – scroll down to the link for Episode 43: Key Spouse of the Year & Menu Planning
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I’ll be back next week with a few new updates – I’ll talk to you later. Bye!