Pregnant and Hungry – Why You Need a Plan

Hello Meal Planners,

Thank you for letting me share my good news with you all. I am pregnant and finishing my first trimester. I never realized how exhausting it is creating a human being, and I am oftentimes too tired to think. This is one of the times I’m most grateful for a meal plan. I can take the meal plans we receive every Monday and look at the week ahead. Things that I can’t eat I eliminate, and things that I can, I double up on so I have emergency leftovers.

The best part is I don’t even have to worry about going to the grocery store. I look in my kitchen and pantry to see what I have and what I need. I cross what I don’t need off the meal plan grocery list and sit down with my phone or tablet. I use the Safeway Delivery App and enter what I need to order, pay, pick a delivery time, and go back to my nap. If I didn’t have something to keep me on track my poor husband and little one would be starving by now. I forget to go the grocery store, let alone remember what I needed to get there.

How do you find is the best way to use your meal plan?

Happy eating,

Andi (Official Mommy Blogger)

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The death of the pork chop

American cuts of pork

American cuts of pork (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, in order to reduce consumer confusion in cuts of meat, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, with the approval of the USDA, is rolling out new naming standards. Pork chops? Gone, they’re called Porterhouse Chops, Ribeye Chops or New York Chops now. Pork butt? History. It’s a Boston Roast now and still has nothing to do with butts—it comes from the shoulder.

Why are butts involved in the first place? Because in pre-Revolutionary times, these lower-priced cuts were salted and kept in barrels, also known as butts, for shipment. More info here.

It’s intended for this system replace the current one but even under the old system pork butt was called different things depending on region. In the US it’s also known as a picnic roast, picnic ham, pork shoulder, Boston butt (but it’s not called that in Boston), or, in the UK, pork hand and spring. Perhaps the new nomenclature will stick this time.

For our MealPlanRescue subscribers, more than half of our meal plans are vegetarian but for the times the recipe calls for beef or pork we’ll use whatever names are the most popular. Personally, I’m gonna miss that butt.

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How bacon and eggs became the American breakfast

What a fascinating bit of trivia on how propaganda turned bacon and eggs into an American breakfast standard.

Believe it or not, though, bacon’s association with the American breakfast is barely a century old. Before this, the majority of Americans ate more modest, often meatless breakfasts that might include fruit, a grain porridge (oat, wheat or corn meals) or a roll,  and usually a cup of coffee.

Want to find out how marketing changed all that? Click here for the article.

What does your beef taste like?

Steak is synonymous with mouthwatering for those of us in the omnivore/carnivore persuasion. The steaks we get at the store today, just don’t taste like the steaks we got at the butcher when I was a kid. Last summer I had an amazing culinary moment where my husband and I purchased some grass-fed beef from our local farmer’s market. The cow was raised less than 20 minutes from our house, and frankly, it tasted like a happy cow. It reminded me of the good steaks we had for special occasions when I was younger. Good quality beef has marbling like you see in the picture to the right. It’s actually the fat that gives beef it’s flavor. So why does the beef at the store taste more bland?

MSN Money has a great post on why beef is “losing its flavor.” It turns out that feedlots are giving cows a drug called Zilmax that helps them put on a lot of muscle in those last few weeks. Farmers faced with drought or low feed can still maintain the size of their cows, but without all those “extras” like food and water. Apparently this is at the cost of the taste of the meat. This is another case where we’re told that there should be no noticeable difference to us, no difference to the cows. But I’m not buying it. And I’m not buying store-bought steaks anymore, either. For our rare red meat occasions, I’m going to go shake the hand of the farmer who’s bringing me my steaks.

In case you are wondering about the cost problem of higher quality farmer’s market beef, we found it very interesting to see that we ate less of the higher quality meat. I purchased the same quantity I would have purchased at the store, for virtually the same cost, but we ate half as much.


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A school lunch I can look forward to

If you’re American, you probably have some school lunch horror stories, but it is quite the opposite in Japan.

In Japan, school lunch means a regular meal, not one that harms your health. The food is grown locally and almost never frozen. There’s no mystery in front of the meat. From time to time, parents even call up with an unusual question: Can they get the recipes?

They must be doing something right because Japan has among the lowest obesity rates in the world. Read this article and view the yummy photo gallery about school lunches from scratch heavy on rice, vegetables and fish in the Washington Post.

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