10,000 Tables: The January Wrap-Up

Achievement: #25. Participate in 10,000 Tables (Monthly Report)

While we do LOVE eating out and trying new restaurants, there’s something to be said for a good, home-cooked meal. And the fact is, we don’t get enough of them. Or sometimes, we cook at home, but end up eating in front of our computers or phones instead of spending time with each other.

Enter 10,000 Tables. It’s part of Let’s Move Pittsburgh, which is an effort to increase activity and promote healthy food and lifestyle changes for kids and families. Launched this year, 10,000 Tables is the healthy, focused food part of the program. You can take the 10,000 Tables pledge (on the link above) and set a goal for your family for the year of how many ‘sit-down’ meals you would like to have for the week. (And don’t worry, while this is great for families with kids, you don’t have to have any to count yourself as a ‘family’ – our family is just the two of us and one little red dog.)

We set a goal for the year of 2 sit-down, homecooked meals (no cell phones or TV) per week. So, at the end of each month, I’ll report back here with how we’ve done, with pictures of the meals, and links to recipes if possible. We made one *slight* adjustment to the ‘rules’ – if there is a Pittsburgh sporting event on, we’re allowed to have the TV on in the background, but NOT if dinner happens during intermission/halftime/etc. – only if the game is in progress (sorry, Yinzer habits die hard). But no watching Girls over taco night, no Tweeting until after the dishes are put away.

We came close to our goal for January: we had 7 eligible meals, and 1 almost-eligible, pre-Pens-game appetizer. So… I’ll count it as a success, considering one week of this month was Restaurant Week, and we were eating out every day! Here’s what we had this month:

Ten Thousand Tables - January
We started the year off right with some kielbasa and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day! Also featured: applesauce and homemade, Ukrainian vegetarian borscht.

Ten Thousand Tables - January
I made a double-feature recipe for dinner next: Sauteed tilapia with honey-scallion dressing and a roasted potatoes recipe I got from an ollllllld issue of Cooking Light.

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Both of these recipes were awesome! I couldn’t find the teeny tiny red potatoes, so I sliced bigger ones instead of using whole round ones as the recipe calls for, but the flavor and consistency still came out right. We also made a side salad of greens in olive oil, vinegar, and lemon, and served it with some crusty olive oil bread from Giant Eagle.

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Since we had dinner plans the next night, we had our 10,000 Tables meal in the morning. Michael made chive and swiss omelettes with sausage and leftover roasted potatoes from the night before. They worked just fine as homefries!

Ten Thousand Tables - January
We had a random night of 68 degree temperatures this January, so we got out the grill and made steaks! Guess what? Those roast potatoes were still going as a great side dish! (Who knew, recipes from 1995 made many more servings than most of the Cooking Light dishes today!)

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Sometimes, ‘homecooked’ can still be fast. We love the bacon cheddar burgers you can buy at the meat counter at Giant Eagle. They’re already formed into patties, and you just have to toss them on the stove and toast your bun! On the side: my favorite BBQ sauce of them all, BBQ Stu’s! I use their Pennsylvania Gold sauce on pretty much everything, but their original BBQ sauce (shown here) is also delicious – it has a tamarind-like flavor to it that other BBQ sauces just don’t have.

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Lunchtime lox is a favorite around here. Bonus: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have a LOT lower prices on lox (like several dollars cheaper than other grocery stores). We buy freshly-baked bagels from Giant Eagle’s bakery.

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Prior to a recent Pens game, I made us an appetizer plate of crusty baguette with Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Tapenade. This stuff is awesome on bread, and it’s a fast & easy alternative to making homemade bruschetta. (Plus, it’s cheap. I’m a TJ’s addict lol.)

Ten Thousand Tables - January
Our final meal of January was another steak dinner – this time, we used the broiler, since it was a little chillier. On the side, I busted out my age-old Betty Crocker cookbook (the first cookbook I *ever* had – my mum bought it for me when I had my first apartment back in 2002, and it’s still one of the best cooking primers out there: tips on cooking styles, notes about different types of produce and meat, conversion charts, basically everything). This recipe is the roasted rosemary-onion potatoes. They were quick and easy, and they made an awesome leftover at work the next day!

All in all, even though we were one meal short, I think January was a big success! We’ve really been enjoying our more-focused meals together. Next month, I’ll also try to take notes on and talk about our wine pairings, because that’s an important part of dinner together! I encourage you to take the 10,000 Tables pledge and enjoy some time with your love too!

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