I read an interesting idea when I was doomscrolling through twitter the other day … when setting resolutions or intentions for the new year, choose things that add to your life rather than take away from it. What a nice idea hey? So that is what I have decided to do.
I have been saying this pretty much every year since Ioan came along, but blog posts have been few and far between, especially since the pandemic brought work to our homes. I hate Ioan seeing me in front of a laptop all the time, but I also miss the pleasure of decompressing from work and life with a witter on here. I also feel like my menus become dull and uninspired when I am not writing about what I am planning to eat, or indeed eating. So for that reason I’d really like to spend more time in front of my personal device (a brand spanking new iPad Pro thanks to Andrew for an awesome Christmas pressie!) rather than my work one. Which brings me on to …
Balance work and life better
My company offers ‘Smart working’, so I will never be in the office full time again. It’s brilliant because it allows me to manage my time around my work and personal schedule, and be in the office when I really need to be (to collaborate with colleagues for example) rather than for any sense of presentee-ism. However, with my laptop set up in the study, it’s so easy for me to pop and check emails whilst I am making dinner, and then when Ioan is in the bath, and after he has gone to bed, and before I go to bed (although I managed to nip that one in the bud after reading an especially annoying email just before bed which kept me awake and seething all night!).
But on the days when I am working from home (which, with current Covid rules, will be every day), I only walk a few hundred steps around the house, or a couple of thousand if I am doing the school run. So I want to commit to a daily walk to get some fresh air, exercise, and to re-energise. And stop feeling guilty for spending a moment away from my desk when I feel I should be cramming in work.
Plan exciting meals
I have meal planned religiously for many years – first writing my menu ideas in a paper diary (Andrew buys me a beautiful fancy A4 planner every year), then ordering my Ocado shop accordingly, then writing the final plan on a magnetic menu board which is stuck on the fridge (which no one looks at except me but I love it anyway). But this religious planning has become a little bit dull and fixed into a rut, so I want to commit to making new recipes each week – especially as my Christmas presents included many new cookbooks to add to my collection of (literally) hundreds.
I am not going to mention the D word, as that’s on everyone’s lips in January, as it is every year (so clearly something isn’t working!). But there’s no denying that I ate well if not wisely over the festive period (well, throughout the pandemic really, as we sought comfort in tasty food and treats) so I would like to reign it in a bit and try and bring a bit more of a healthy balance to my menus. And I need to drink more water: since Andrew bought my smart bottle for me (he really is a great little gift giver), I have had far fewer headaches than I used to. But they start to creep back if I stop drinking regularly, so I need to pay attention to that.
Sometimes it feels like the pandemic has sucked some of the joy out of life, and so it needs regular topping up with fun things, such as laughing and joking with Andrew and Ioan, seeing family and friends, going on holidays (even if they are pretty unexotic right now), eating out, and even taking time to relax with loved ones. We’d rather remain cautious around Covid, so won’t be doing anything too adventurous, but to be honest the best fun is to be had at home while relaxing with my boys, so I am in the right place.
Menu plan for week 1 of 2022
So, with all of the above in mind, I have been scribbling in my new diary and have planned the following for the first week of 2022:
- Monday – we’re going to have a bank holiday brunch of bacon and eggs; and winner will be a chorizo and halloumi jambalaya which I have found a recipe for here.
- Tuesday – whilst today is the official first day back at work, we won’t be in the office and Ioan won’t be back at school, so I am going to use up some of the Christmas cheese with a lunch of blue cheese, lardon and chicory salad (clearly Ioan will turn his nose up at that so I’ll make a big pot of carrot and lentil soup for him, which we can eat over the rest of the week); for dinner I’ll be using up leftover lamb from our Sunday roast to make lamb massaman curry with rice and parathas.
- Wednesday – Mum’s back today, so can keep Ioan entertained while Andrew and I work, and we’ll eat the aforementioned carrot and lentil soup for lunch; and crispy breaded chicken with coleslaw and jacket potatoes for dinner.
- Thursday – Ioan is finally due back at school (fingers crossed) and I am planning to finish up the carrot and lentil soup for lunch again; and gnocchi with sage butter, garlic bread and salad (this was supposed to be a meat free Monday dish, but my chorizo in the fridge goes out of date on Monday so I swapped things around).
- Friday – hot smoked salmon and boiled egg salad for lunch; and our usual Friday night takeaway, which Andrew insists on to mark out the difference between the working week and the weekend. Our last takeaway was mid-December, so I’ll appreciate a night out of the kitchen, although if all goes to plan, I’ll be prepping Saturday’s food on Friday!
- Saturday – assuming Covid doesn’t spoil our plans, our friends are due to visit for the afternoon, so I am planning to make Nigella’s Lasagne of Love, which sounds like a labour of love, but one which I’ll enjoy tinkering in the kitchen over. Recipe on Nigella’s site here.
- Sunday – I reckon we’re not quite ready for a roast dinner yet, but having taken a look at some of my cookbooks, the Hairy Bikers have an interesting suet roll with chicken, bacon and leeks, which could be a winner.
So there we go, my intentions for 2022 and my meal plan for the first week of the year. What do you have planned for dinner, and do you have any inspiring (and positive) resolutions to share? Please do leave a comment below.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!