Even before I was married or had kids I probably spent some portion of my weekend getting organized for the week ahead. Doing some of the things that I knew I wouldn’t want to do after a long day at work (i.e. cleaning, laundry) and getting other tasks (i.e. making portable breakfasts/snacks) out of the way so that I couldn’t use them as an excuse not to go to the gym before heading into the office. Now that I have three children under the age of three, getting prepared for the week ahead takes on a whole new meaning. Buying a tub of yogurt and cutting up some fruit does not cut it if I want to have any semblance of order and sanity for the upcoming week.
By now I’m pretty good at using the weekend to get laundry taken care of, cook a few things and make sure that we have what we need foodwise to make it at least most of the way through the week. I also try to make sure the car has gas in it (which rarely happens and I’m always full of regret when I find myself pumping gas on a dark, freezing cold weeknight with three grumpy kids in the car - bad planning!).
One of the other things I’m not so good at remembering to do is sorting and prepping groceries once I get back from the store. The fact that I don’t do the majority of my grocery shopping on the weekend is partially to blame. I usually cram my groceries in the fridge, freezer, cupboards - anywhere there’s space - as soon as I get home from work and immediately launch into dinner, dishes, play, baths, etc. I promptly forget about the head of lettuce and bags of herbs I’ve shoved into my crisper drawer, only to find them a week later, all wilted, leaves mushy and stuck together.
This year, in an effort to do better, I’ve been focusing on preparing for the week more and getting the kids involved in the process. This means, the older two have already learned to vacuum, not very effectively, but it’s the act of contributing that matters. And Paul and I are putting more emphasis on cleaning up after activities. Isla wants to do absolutely everything “by myself!” and Emmett loves to be my little helper so I’m capitalizing on these phases while I can.
This weekend I discovered a great way that they can help me in my quest to have an organized fridge full of ready-to-eat food. The SALAD SPINNER! I can’t believe I never thought of it before. I had tons of cilantro and parsley because I had planned on roasting pork shoulder and making chimichurri to go with it but never got around to it. Ah, the best laid plans...
By the next Saturday I needed to do something with my herbs, stat. I decided to make the chimichurri anyway because it’s so good. On anything. Um, everything. I washed my herbs and got out the salad spinner. One look at that thing and the kids were underfoot, wondering what on earth I was going to do next. I let them take turns washing the herbs, spinning them dry and pouring out the green-tinged water left behind. They had a ball.
The bonus for me was that I was actually able to get a few pics of Emmett, my little hummingbird, always flying too fast to capture in a photo. People say you have so many photos of your first born and less and less of your younger ones but it hasn’t played out that way for me at all. Isla and Eve both love to stop whatever they are doing for a photo op and I am happy to oblige. So capturing my oldest on film was a treat.
So is the chimichurri. If you need ideas, it’s great with: any kind of meat or chicken, mixed with some greek yogurt for a dip, stirred into soft butter for an herby compound butter, or smeared on your avocado toast. Stir a spoonful into your soup if you want to feel French or add some to your vinaigrette. Now I’m feeling like I should have made more. Luckily I had Emmett prep the remaining herbs in case I run out.
2 cups parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of one lime
¼ cup red wine vinegar
⅔ cup good extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until combined. Just a few seconds is fine. I know it’s not the traditional method, but it is fast and still tastes amazing. You can also make this by hand, just chop the herbs very finely and mix everything in a bowl.