A Different Way to Meal Plan

by Lark

For years I have done our weekly meal plan around our protein. Each week I jot down a chicken dish, a beef dish, a pork dish, a soup or seafood (depending on the season), and a pasta dish. We have pizza once each week, and that just leaves one night to go out, get take out or eat cereal for dinner. After I write down the main dish, I fill it in with whatever sides/veggies I can think of. It has been my standby system for at least 10 years, maybe more.

Lately, though, I’ve switched it up. Winter in the South has some of my favorite vegetables, and I’m finding that I’m planning more around what vegetables are available rather than the old system. I find I want to eat as many of my favorites as I can before the season passes. So, this week’s meal plan started like this:

Monday – Kale salad
Tuesday – Roasted Brussels sprouts
Wednesday – Black beans (okay, not a vegetable but one of my favorite foods, and I have such a good recipe for homemade, I love them)
Thursday – Sweet potatoes
Friday – Caesar salad

Once I knew what veggies I wanted to eat, I filled in the rest. Now the meal plan looks like this:

Monday – Kale salad, pan seared tuna, garlic rice
Tuesday – Roasted Brussels sprouts, pan fried chicken thighs (this meal needs something else – will probably add sweet potato biscuits because I have some in my freezer)
Wednesday – Black bean soup and cheese quesadillas
Thursday – Sweet potatoes, grilled pork chops (will probably add green beans this night as the boys don’t like sweet potatoes)
Friday – Caesar salad, pizza (will do homemade salad and DH will pick up the pizza on the way home)
Saturday – Oyster roast with friends

Next week I want to fit in broccoli and winter squash.

Totebaggers (that does NOT roll of the tongue as easily as “Jugglers” used to): what’s for dinner tonight at your house? Any great recipes to share? What are your favorite vegetables?

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177 thoughts on “A Different Way to Meal Plan

  1. I tend to meal plan around the protein but only buy protein for three meals to avoid waste.

    This week looked like:
    Make ahead for the week: steel cut oatmeal for breakfasts, really healhy curry vegetable stew with brown rice and spinach salad.
    Sunday – Beef Sliders, Corn and Greek Spinach Salad
    Monday – Steak and Broccoli with rice for dinner. Ate the veg stew and brown rice for lunch.
    Tuesday – planned Chicken Breast, rice and vegetable. Ate leftovers and kids had a grilled cheese and hot dog. Lunch out with attorneys.
    Wednesday – Planned that Chicken Breast again. DH put in freezer and brought home pizza. Client Lunch out. Froze half the veg stew.
    Thursday – maybe breakfast for dinner. Have an appointment until 6:40pm. Thinking about eating the veg stew, brown rice and spinach salad sitting in the work fridge since Tuesday for lunch. Sick of oatmeal but ate it anyway.
    Friday – takeout. Ugh – last of oatmeal, veg stew, brown rice and salad, I guess for lunch.

    Next Week:

    Chicken Breasts from freezer
    Veg Stew from Freezer
    Spinach Quiche to use up the rest before it goes bad.
    Breakfast for dinner
    Buy as little as possible since we are leaving for Spring Break….

  2. I definitely plan this way in the summer, during CSA and farmers market season. That is because at the start of each week, I have a big bundle of vegetables that must be eaten. So absolutely, meals are planned around the vegetables. This lasts from late May through early November.

    But at this time of year, I can’t count on any particular vegetable even being in stock in the store and since it is often less than fresh, I have to purchase several times in the week. As I noted some weeks ago, the frozen veggie section is way down in selection, and often things are not in stock there either, so I can’t count on that. So we go back to main dish planning.

    I realized the other day, when trading cabbage recipes with my sister, just how much cabbage we eat in the winter!!

  3. Oh, and we eat broc at least once a week, because it is usually stocked in the supermarket (though not as reliably as bagged carrots and cabbage) and it is fast and everyone in the house loves it slathered in butter. Like corn on the cob, there is just nothing more that needs to be done to it

  4. Houston — I like your ideas and plan to try both. I see that etoufee mix is available on Amazon.

    I’ve noticed more and more chopped fresh vegetables in the grocery store, including spiralized produce. It suits me just fine in most cases since it saves me some time. I tried and failed spiralizing vegetables. I haven’t thrown out my spiralizer so maybe I’ll try again.

  5. “I tried and failed spiralizing vegetables. I haven’t thrown out my spiralizer so maybe I’ll try again.”

    Spoken by a true Totebagger. :)
    I thought we had every possible kitchen gadget, but have not heard of a spiralizer and just googled it. Does yours attach to the mixer or is it freestanding?

    I love the idea of planning meals around vegetables. We got some lovely multi-colored baby carrots at Eataly’s market on the last Chicago trip, but haven’t found them locally yet, even at Whole Foods. DH is on a fennel kick and keeps trying to find ways to work it into dishes.

  6. I have a small hand-held spiralizer but it turns out it can’t handle sweet potatoes. I’m reluctant to buy a bigger version since most kitchen gadgets I get end up cluttering my precious cabinet space. I actually should give away the spiralizer I have and be done with it.

  7. I plan around veggies, too. I’ve taken a bit of a break from The Lady because mY main goal these days is to get us eating the widest variety of veggies possible and her variety, while good, isn’t as broad as I can come up with myself.

    So, I tell whoever is doing the shopping (it’s the 2 girls or DH but never me) what veggies to get, based on what we haven’t had in a while, and I tell them to add whatever veggies they want AND to balance out the colors – if I happened to list only green and yellow things, they should add red and orange.

    One kid will always add broccoli and one will always add Brussels sprouts and radishes and peppers and peas and maybe an acorn squash or butternut squash or sweet potatoes and DH adds a few things each time.

    Then I make 3+ different veggies each night, and we always make a batch of wild rice in the rice cooker each week, and often I’ll make lentils. Each night I cook more veggies and bring out any leftovers, and people can take whichever they want. I mix all the leftovers together with wild rice and have them for lunch.

    Every week, DH grills a ridiculous amount of chicken and often does a slow cooker of roast or something. About once/week, I make fish. So whoever wants meat/fish can add it to the veggies.

    About once/week, I’ll do a Lady recipe or some old favorite or some request because I feel a little guilty that my veggie variety based meal planning is boring.

    We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to good grocery stores in this town, so no trouble finding a huge variety of really fresh veggies. I’ve been terrible about variety in protein but only DH regularly eats meat and he swears chicken and fish are all he wants, save for the occasional roast.

    And we have plenty of “find your own dinner” nights — which often look a lot like typical dinners, where we all take whatever leftovers look good and maybe add hummus or toast or something.

    Not winning any awards for creativity over here.

  8. CofC – my spiralizer only works well on zucchini and summer squash. No way could it handle a sweet potato.

  9. Scarlett – I saw multicolored carrots in 2 lb bags at WF the other week!

    I tend to rotate meals around the protein. We tend to do fish once or twice, a soup once a week and we buy meats based on what our favorite farm has on sale. Lately I’ve only been planning two or three meals per week and then throwing stuff together the other two nights.

    This week ended up being more of a leftovers week with less veggies than usual. We made burgers with homemade hamburger buns (have finally found a great recipe that comes out great every time) on Sat. night when my dad was here and we ended up eating that on Sunday as well because we got too much meat out the night before, along with some braised kale. Monday I made a pork shoulder in the crock pot and we had tacos, Tuesday we had cod with roasted potatoes and broccoli, last night I threw the rest of the pork shoulder into some tomato sauce for a pasta with pork ragu and also made Giada’s house soup which we’ll eat tonight with grilled cheese. Friday is always homemade pizza night (I use Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe).

    I rotate my kids breakfasts in a general sense – Monday is oatmeal day, Tuesday is yogurt with toast or leftover pancakes, Wednesday is eggs and toast, Thursday tends to be more pancakes or waffles and Fridays are whatever we have left. I make Ina Garten’s orange juice/frozen strawberry/banana smoothie recipe a few mornings a week and DH makes kefir smoothies on the weekends.

  10. Wow Lark you eat like people on the tv. I fix a protein or pasta and then I yell at the kids to “at least eat some carrots or an apple.” and maybe some rice or a piece of bread. Yeah, I’m not the best homemaker ever. I hate cooking – hate it.

  11. Not huge on spiralized and shredded veggies. I tried the shredded Brussels sprouts a few months ago, and no one liked them (and in our house we love our Bsprouts). We all felt that the shredded version lost the essence of Bsprout yumminess, and also lacked the fun of peeling the leaves off the sprout. I also tried shredded collards and really disliked them. I adore collard greens in general, but I tend to cook them low and slow with country ham, or saute with olive oil and tons of garlic. I like a nice leave chunk in either case. The shredded version was weird and reminded me a little of grass clippings.

    I do buy shredded carrots for salad. And the other day, I contemplated the container of chopped onion, and then saw the price and reminded myself that I can do exactly the same at home in the minichop – takes 30 seconds and costs a lot less.

    I have noticed the trend of all the packaged preshedded and spiralized veggies, and it makes me sad. Space is so limited in our supermarkets. I would rather reliably have fresh lettuce and broccolli, and greens like chard in their whole form.

    Oh, and just to complain about our supermarket some more – I was there today to buy fixings for tacos tonight, and discovered they no longer stock corn tortillas. They have every size and form of flour known to mankind, including gluten free and lite, but no traditional corn tortillas. So now I will have to eat flour tortillas tonight because I don’t have time to go searching for corn, and I detest flour tortillas. They taste like paper towels.

  12. MM,

    Is your supermarket a real supermarket, or an oversized jiffy mart? Why is space so limited? Is it a zoning thing?

  13. I grow the multicolored carrots in summer – they are just seed packets of 3 different kinds. I actually like the purple the best. I saw the bags of multicolored the other day but they were sad and brownish looking so I bought a 2 lab bag of good ol’ orange carrots.

  14. NYC area supermarkets, including southern Westchester, tend to be small, cramped and dark. It is a cost of real estate issue. If we head north, we can find larger supermarkets, though nothing like the ones in the Midwest and West. I personally think the 3 supermarkets in our town are particularly awful for Westchester, but am not willing to drive far away for better.

  15. Yum. We are a family of five, so I generally have a 2 track dinner system going with something that will appeal to everyone on one of the tracks. 1 track is something new for that night and the other is a leftover.

  16. I love parsnips, so that’s on the winter menu.
    I cooked Black Radish from WF. I should have roasted it but the seniors like it cooked with spices.
    We eat a wide variety of vegetables and lentils. That is a major part of our diet.

  17. We have a great grocery store with a huge produce section. And their produce is very seasonal. You can always find off-season stuff, of course, but their largest displays are of seasonal food. Am already seeing the winter squashes and greens go away. I don’t love spring vegetables so this will be harder for me to keep up until summer veggies come back.

    I made the BEST sweet potatoes the other night. Usually I just roast them like a regular potato and DH and I eat them with a little butter and salt. Kids hate them. But the other night I diced them, tossed them with salt, pepper, and liberal amounts of paprika, and a tiny bit of olive oil. Roasted at 425 for about 25 minutes. They were so good – just different enough from the usual. One sweet potato hater even ate an entire serving.

    @ Moxie – Yes. My family is spoiled. But I genuinely enjoy cooking. It’s my relaxation at the end of the day.

  18. Houston, I also did lentil soup this week. It’s getting to hot here, I think that is going to be the last soup of the season…

  19. How can someone not like sweet potatoes? What is the objection? Taste, texture, smell, etc?

  20. Louise, what do you do with parsnips? I put them in soup sometimes, but that is about it, so looking for other ideas.

    Sweet potatoes are good baked and drenched in butter. Well. everything is good drenched in butter.

  21. I saw a great looking recipe for braised leeks the other day, a dish I used to have in France all the time and had totally forgotten about. I have to try that one.

  22. Like MM, I plan around vegetables during Farmers Market season. The market by my office is on Thursdays, so I’ll pick up things that look good and plan our meals for the following week around them. We periodically do an all-vegetarian week too.

    In the winter/spring, I tend to look to see what’s in the freezer (leftovers and meat/seafood), then look at my list of recipes that I’ve been waiting to try plus standards that I want to make, and then plot it out on our family calendar so that I can build the grocery list.

    I can’t reliably be home in time to cook dinner myself, but I am the meal planner/shopper. So I usually cook a lot on the weekends, and then plan for things DH can heat up/put in the oven during the week. He can reference the family calendar to see what is planned for the day if we haven’t talked. He is a decent cook, but he doesn’t want to deal with intricate recipes during the week either. So I usually know what he can throw together easily and what he can’t.

    We eat out most Friday nights as a family. It is really nice after a long week to relax & not worry about cooking or dishes. We very rarely eat out or get take out during the week.

    Here’s this week as an example:
    Saturday: Scallops with couscous & peas (using the sous vide and then searing – so delicious)
    Sunday: pan pizza from Serious Eats (this is really good)
    Monday: chicken tinga tostadas with pickled veggies & toppings (the meat cooked in a big batch & frozen)
    Tuesday: tuna salad sandwiches with a green salad and fruit on the side (premade the tuna salad on Monday night)
    Wednesday: pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes (premade the pesto)
    Thursday: taco salads (prewashed & cut the lettuce, DH will cook the meat fresh)

  23. what do you do with parsnips?

    I include them along with carrots, onions, fennel, potatoes and carrots when I roast a chicken.

  24. ” I don’t love spring vegetables so this will be harder for me to keep up until summer veggies come back.”

    To me, spring is the ultimate dead zone for produce. The citrus is starting to not be as good, but nothing new is out yet. The fruit/veggies from South America are ok, not great. Asparagus won’t show up until early May. This is the only reason anyone gets excited about ramps!

  25. How can someone not like sweet potatoes? What is the objection? Taste, texture, smell, etc?

    I think it’s texture, because neither of them like baked potatoes, either. Or mashed potatoes.

  26. To me, spring is the ultimate dead zone for produce. The citrus is starting to not be as good, but nothing new is out yet.

    All the yesses. Peas are early around here, but I can’t do peas every week like I can other veggies.

    Strawberries, of course, which just this week flooded our supermarket and have been SO GOOD. We are going through a pint each day right now.

  27. because neither of them like baked potatoes, either. Or mashed potatoes.

    What about fries?

  28. @MM – NO corn tortillas?? That is a travesty. I have probably at least a dozen kinds available. This is one of the perks of living in an area with lots of people of Mexican heritage. But we do have tons of pre-cut veggies.

  29. “Strawberries, of course, which just this week flooded our supermarket and have been SO GOOD. We are going through a pint each day right now.”

    @Lark – The Florida ones don’t make their way far enough North. We eat a pint a day when we go there in February. Last week, I spent $5 on some greenhouse grown strawberries from Michigan that were absolutely delicious. But there were like 6 of them. I’m so desperate for produce & so sick of oranges, that I just had to. I didn’t even share them with DS.

  30. To me, spring is the ultimate dead zone for produce. The citrus is starting to not be as good, but nothing new is out yet.

    Artichokes and aspargus, what more do you want?

  31. Living in the south definitely has its perks – I happened to be at Publix this a.m. picking up something for an event at DD’s school tomorrow and they had organic Florida strawberries for 2 for $6 and they are fabulous.

    Dh made a whole duck the other weekend and then roasted some sweet potatoes in duck fat. When he has time he’ll matchstick the sweet potatoes and fry them in the duck fat which is the best, but the roasted were pretty tasty.

  32. @ Rhett – neither of them like french fries either although they will eat one or two if served them at a restaurant with lots of ketchup. As I think about it, I do think it’s a texture thing.

    They like potato chips just fine.

  33. Our grocery has lots and lots of produce which is good for DW because she like lots of different things (unlike me). I am sure the list of vegetables I actually like is longer but I can think of:
    spinach, zucchini, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli (& broccoli rappi if that can count as a separate one), green beans, peppers of any color, some other squashes but definitely not spaghetti squash.
    I’m good with typical salad lettuces but not kale, cabbage.

    I think we (DW mostly) plan our meals randomly. This week starting with Sunday has been:
    – grilled pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus
    – leftover ham rewarmed, homemade mac & cheese, sautéed green beans
    – leftover lasagna, salad
    – DW & DS had leftover eggplant parm and I had some mu shu shrimp
    – tonight is lamb ragu with peppers over polenta
    – tomorrow is a spicy garlic shrimp dish, probably over spaghettini or maybe just with baguette
    – Saturday is soft tacos made with grilled marinated tri-tip steak + probably salad

  34. Don’t forget to check for winter pears from the Pacific Northwest right now. They are still quite good, at least here.

    We don’t eat that many vegetables, but we do OK on fruit. The boys are starting to tolerate them better. I want a second oven/baking drawer/something when we remodel so I can roast vegetables and still have whatever in the oven. Not sure if I’ll wind up with that.

  35. Since we missed Fat Tuesday, we are having pancakes bacon and sausage tonight. Per our usual tomorrow is Friday night pizza – created because we needed a meatless dish for Fridays in Lent. 5 years later still going strong.

  36. meals this week

    Sunday, baked ham, brown rice and wild rice mixed together, carrots
    Monday, fettucine with chicken thighs in tomato/olive/caper sauce, salad
    Tuesday, pea soup made with leftover ham in that bizarre Instant Pot, cucumber salad
    Wed (embarrassed for this one), Kraft mac n cheese mixed with tuna, broccoli (DH and DS had orchestra rehearsal, and DD had her library play rehearsal, so it was late)
    tonight: tacos with aforementioned sad flour tortillas, ground beef, salsa, refried beans, cilantro and other fixings, and frozen corn.

  37. I love asparagus and buy a bundle-per-day when it is at the farmer’s market. But it doesn’t come out till mid-May here. That’s almost summer! I’m thinking of March until Mid-May as the “dead zone”. Those are the months when I really wish I was in the South or California.

  38. reminded myself that I can do exactly the same at home in the minichop

    No, you can’t. Using any kind of electric chopper or food processor brings out a vile, acrid flavor in onions. They have to be hand-diced. It’s a pain, but there it is.

    RMS just threw up in her mouth.

    Heh. If I shredded them and sauteed them in bacon grease, they’d probably be adequate.

  39. RMS, do you think the onions in the supermarket container are hand chopped??? I was comparing to those.

    Yes, hand chopped is better, and a reason why all 3 of my kids have been trained in the technique.

  40. I mostly don’t meal plan and just buy stuff that looks good. This week is unusual since my family is visiting. Way more planned than our regular week!

    Sunday, kielbasa and pierogi, caramelized onions, roasted brussels sprouts
    Monday, turkey meatballs (my sibling made, we ate WAY TOO LATE), pasta, caesar salad
    Tuesday, turkey pie with veggies (my mom made), costco kale salad from a bag
    Wednesday, leftover turkey soup, baked beans, leftover meat sauce/noodles, etc.
    Thursday, unknown, whatever my mom is making

    There is usually quite a bit more mac and cheese mixed in.

    I think Mooshi’s kids and their onion chopping technique should get the golden totebag of the day award!

  41. This is entertaining – Serious Eats list of convenience foods to avoid from the supermarket. I agree with almost all, though I have bought jarred gravy when I just want something brown to moisten mashed potatoes, and DD insists that the only salad dressing worth eating is the cheap brand of bottled Ranch.
    I love Serious Eats in general. One of the best food blogs out there
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/01/22-supermarket-foods-to-leave-on-the-shelf.html

  42. MM, I think you did get the short straw in your area when I think about the supermarkets near your home. I know you said that you don’t want to drive, but there are some much better stores with wider varieties of veggies if you would be willing to drive another 10 minutes?? I agree that southern Westchester isn’t great, but there more options if you are willing to drive a little further.

    I am still in a rut here with meal planning, and I have been eyeing my grill because that gives us a lot more options when we use it on a regular basis. We do not use it in the winter, but I am thinking about cleaning it next week so I can start using it right away to get some variety into our dinners.

  43. I used to go to the bigger S&S in New Rochelle, but it wasn’t so much better as to be worth my time. I hated that I would end up using most of my Sunday morning shopping there. Then, I started using Peapod and just picking up veggies here and there, but Peapod became unacceptable last year (often up to an hour late), so now I am a bit adrift. I haven’t found anything that really works. One problem in Westchester in general is that when A&P went under (not that it was great) it left a hole that was filled by even worse options.

  44. This week:

    Sunday – burgers, kale salad
    Monday – Lentil soup, cheese quesadillas
    Tuesday – Chicken enchiladas, sliced avocado, black beans. (My kids rejected this dinner entirely and made themselves bagels for dinner. They are so weird.)
    Wednesday – Asian salad, seared tuna, garlic rice
    Thursday – No one home at the same time for dinner. Fend for yourself.
    Friday – Pizza

  45. I roast parsnips.

    We chop lots of onions, clean and mince a lot of garlic and ginger. We also clean and chop cilantro. It becomes routine prep and since I have been doing it for years, quite quick at it.

  46. @MM – i agree with that list except for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pre-grated cheese. Sometimes the convenience of pre-shredded cheese is worth it, especially if you just need a small amount. And b/s chicken breasts cook quickly, are healthy, and taste absolutely fine if you don’t overcook them.

    I also like this dressing:
    https://www.garlic-expressions.com/

    I do appreciate that in that list, they aren’t snobby about making your own stock for everything. That is a pet peeve of mine. The trade off of making homemade stock is not worth it for every application – the Kirkland stuff is just fine for most things outside of a broth/stock-based soup. I like Serious Eats too – they have a good mix of “project” and “weeknight” recipes, some basic cooking guides (like for sous vide) that are really helpful, and some interesting content around regional food and the food industry. Some of the “project” receipes really go off the deep end though – did you see the homemade McRib?

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/09/ultimate-homemade-diy-mcrib-recipe.html

  47. Sunday hamburger patties with green beans, salad, rice
    Monday: grilled chicken with green beans, salad rice
    Tuesday: deer cooked in crockpot with cream of mushroom soup, carrots,salad, corn bread
    Wednesday: pasta with white sauce, carrots, salad
    Thursday: going to event,
    Friday: fish
    Saturday: tri tip, salad, garlic bread, broccoli, carrots, or green beans.

  48. Lark – What kale salad do you make? I have only really made a kale caesar, but I could use some new side salad recipes.

  49. The other day we had Stone Crabs for dinner. Our normal crab dinner is Snow Crab. The stone crabs were hard as stone, though quite tasty. We will not be buying those crabs again. My kids love cracking the crabs with the seafood crackers.

  50. This week chez nous:

    Sunday — shabu shabu/ sukiyaki fusion (basically shabu shabu plus sukiyaki sauce) in the InstantPot with sliced tri-tip and sliced pork, enoki, won bok, mochi, shirataki, a packaged veg mix with konbu, bamboo, and other veg, Udon tossed into the broth at the end. No tofu b/c of allergy boy. Had been in the offing for a week or more, with the beef having to be stashed in the freezer meanwhile, and then I filled out the veggie options and added the pork during a weekend DonQui run.
    Monday – pasta tossed with pesto, lots of extra cheese, and chopped tomatoes; bread on side
    Tuesday – leftovers
    Wednesday – http://dailycookingquest.com/by-category/main-dish/steamed-pork-with-tianjin-preserved-vegetables (also done in the IP) with rice and choi sum on the side
    Thursday – TBD
    Friday – TBD

    We stock our pantry and freezer for a lot of meals that can be decided and thrown together on a weekday evening without necessarily having prior planning. We will plan a couple of things for the week and pick stuff up for them when shopping over the weekend, and then fill in as needed with the pantry/ freezer options. We also get a CSA box every other week and work that stuff into whatever we’re cooking.

  51. I have some kabocha I really need to use. I should either thaw that loose merguez left from the sausage-making and do it as meatballs stewed with the kabocha and other veg, or else just do the shoyu and dashi kabocha that my youngest likes.

  52. “shoyu and dashi kabocha”

    Recipe, please. Also, if you don’t have dashi, can you substitute chicken stock?

  53. Houston, I’m sure you recognize that one! Here’s a recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/japanese-style-simmered-sweet-kabocha-179549 . And I notice the top / most recent reviewer reports having successfully used consomme in place of the dashi. I don’t see how chicken stock wouldn’t work; it would just taste a bit different. You can also get the little envelopes of powdered dashi base on Amazon if you want: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JYF96OI?psc=1&smid=A18YQEXT1XCJXG

  54. Rhett – we have tried cauliflower rice several times and just don’t like it. For some reason it just doesn’t taste good no matter what we do. I have never really liked cauliflower, but latelyI will roast it with broccoli and I love it!

    We do love making zoodles (zucchini noodles) – they taste great with Rao’s marinara sauce (our favorite). It also works to do a mix of half pasta half zoodles.

  55. For some reason it just doesn’t taste good no matter what we do

    Tried it as a fried rice with: ground chicken, sambal, thai garlic chili paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce, siracha, snow peas, red bell pepper and carrots. It was shockingly good.

  56. Although, when I do it next time, at the last minute I’ll add a squirt of lime juice and some cilantro to brighten the flavor a bit.

  57. We have getting a wee bit better about meal planning.

    Breakfast is always eggs for all of us. Eat fish atleast twice a week.

    Monday – baked salmon with brussels sprouts as asparagus
    Tuesday – grilled chicken with sugar snaps peas and chicken broth soup with veggies
    Wednesday – crabcakes with tomato soup,
    Thursday – fish or shrimp curry with coconut milk and veggies. sauteed green beans
    Friday- probably buffalo wild wings
    Saturday- turkey burger with squash
    Sunday – Indian food – maybe butter chicken

    Kid eats pasta or multigrain savory panckaes for lunch if bored of leftovers

  58. @ Ivy – Taylor Farms bag salad! Does your grocery store carry those? They are so much better than any other bagged salad we’ve ever tried. Our favorites are sweet kale salad and Asian sesame salad. If your grocery doesn’t carry these, it’s super easy to recreate: chopped kale, chopped purple cabbage, shredded carrots, craisins, and pumpkin seeds, tossed with a poppy seed dressing.

  59. In our house, breakfast is always leftovers. For example, this morning it was chicken in tomato/olive/caper sauce on fettucine (Monday’s dinner). One kid will vary with Cheerios.

  60. back to yesterday’s hijack – so we got onto Naviance today, and it was quite entertaining. The data seems to be only for your school, though, so there isn’t a lot of it. But for Stony Brook, DS was on the low end for GPA of students from our school accepted there, and was by far, very far, the highest SAT score. Most likely, students from our school with those SAT scores do not apply to Stony Brook because they probably have the grades to match and apply to fancier schools. It was the same story for Brooklyn College. Which just goes to show the intrinsic problem, that his grades are way out of line with his scores.
    We couldn’t see any data for NJIT because only 2 students from our school had ever applied there. I think that because our school is so small and homogeneous (I bet tons have applied to Fordham for example), that it is hard to get good data for a lot of colleges.

    I am wondering if there is a way to set it to compare against all applicants, not just from your school.

  61. Texas supermarkets are fantastic and we get so many delicious vegetables and fruits year round….many from Mexico so we have fairly good looking tomatoes in the winter.

    Lark – I love the bagged kale salads. My favorite is the southwestern with sweet kale as a second. I wish I could buy a comparable dressing for the southwestern salad in a bottle.

  62. If you use Naviance, it generally only gives you more specific information one you apply to a school. In the last six years, there have been 3 applications from my district to NJIT, but no one was admitted from our HS.

    For Stonybrook, our district had 86 applications in the last three years. It doesnt show you the split with the Engineering school so it’s just average scores for the entire university. 41 % acceptance rate overall, but you are right about the importance of the GPA.

  63. @Lark – thanks! They have a kale one from Taylor Farms at Costco. I will have to try it!

  64. MM,

    I’m fascinated by your son’s situation as it was the same one I was in. I tried to google some answers and the advice was pretty weak. It seems geared toward kids with high SAT scores and poor grades who want to get into a HSS. Presumably, the vast majority of schools with a greater than 40% acceptance rate would be happy to take someone with mediocre grades and high SAT scores as compared to their usual admits who have somewhat decent grades and mediocre SAT scores.

  65. If my son were trying to enter engineering at Stonybrook in such a situation and he were rejected, I would either 1) have him write a letter to the department head of his department of interest (civil is less competitive than architectural) explaining his lopsided skillset and/or 2) figure it’s cheaper for him to do his first-year engineering courses at community college anyway and then transfer.

  66. MM,

    You’ve mentioned before that you can see your students HS GPA and SAT scores. Have you run into anyone with similar numbers? If you haven’t…what does that tell us?

  67. He is computer science, not civil. He will likely place out of the CS intro course because of AP. Hopefully, the same for calculus. Even though CS is in their engineering school, the CS majors don’t take the standard engineering courses. That isn’t unusual – my Phd was at a school set up in very similar fashion. So most likely he would take distribution requirements like comp and so on at a CC.
    He also will look at SUNY Albany, which is easier to get into.

  68. Our students typically have a somewhat higher GPA and much lower SAT. I have never seen one of our majors with a math SAT even close.

  69. ” But for Stony Brook, DS was on the low end for GPA of students from our school accepted there, and was by far, very far, the highest SAT score”

    Notwithstanding the possible hurdles to gaining acceptance as a CS major, I take this as a good sign. The students with lower GPAs likely have some other redeeming qualities or hooks. Your son has top scores and his science project, and possibly other strengths.

  70. One other thing too – his grades this year have been trending better and were especially strong first quarter. If he can continue this way, it would definitely improve his odds – schools like to see grades going up. For a number of reasons – more effective meds, more effective accomodations at school (and teachers will to do it), effective couseling – it could happen. He has missed almost no assignments this year, though he did misplace a have done history assignment yesterday and has to redo it today. But the difference now is that he knows to scan any paper based assignment before he starts, so that if he loses his sheet, he can just reprint the assignment. It was stuff like that which used to kill him.

  71. Thank you all for some new ideas for cooking. My husband is a strict meat and potatoes eater and loves pasta dishes. Does not like vegetables. I find roasting a huge baking pan of vegetables and living off them the best way for me to cook vegetables for myself and my girls if they join us for dinner. This morning I roasted fennel, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes (the dogs love roasted sweet potatoes and carrots) Bsprouts and parsnips.

    My husband does like cabbage as long as I cook it long and slow or make it into coleslaw. He also likes heeps of carmelized onions and sauted mushrooms.

  72. MM, sorry I was mixed up about com sci vs. civil engineering. Even without knowing his scores, I will claim to know at least a dozen people like your son and all but one wound up gainfully employed. (He is wanted by the FBI for breaking into military and banking computer systems.)

  73. Even without knowing his scores, I will claim to know at least a dozen people like your son and all but one wound up gainfully employed. (He is wanted by the FBI for breaking into military and banking computer systems.)

    This is a comfort to me as well. Maybe not so much the last part though.

  74. I have never seen one of our majors with a math SAT even close.

    Why do you think that is? Your theory is that SAT and GPA are highly correlated. That may be. Anecdotally, I know a number of people who had high SAT scores and poor grades for any number of reasons: low on conscientiousness, family drama, couldn’t be bothered with things that didn’t interest them, emotional drama, family drama, general immaturity, etc.

  75. Old Mom, your husband sounds very much like mine. When he cooks, which is often, the only vegetables he typically prepares are potatoes and a salad.

    This week we’ve had lots of leftovers that we took home from a weekend pot luck party — pasta puttanesca, chicken and dumplings, roasted green beans, raw vegetables. However, one family member has been out of town all week and the other two have typically not been home for dinner a couple of nights. So the chicken went into the freezer for later meals and some of the pasta will probably be wasted. I should have frozen that, too.

  76. ” I will claim to know at least a dozen people like your son and all but one wound up gainfully employed. (He is wanted by the FBI for breaking into military and banking computer systems.)”

    Does that mean he was hacking for fun, rather than profit?

  77. “I will claim to know at least a dozen people like your son and all but one wound up gainfully employed. ”

    I happen to know one very well. :) CollegeConfidential has threads discussing these kinds lopsided kids.

    “Most likely, students from our school with those SAT scores do not apply to Stony Brook because they probably have the grades to match and apply to fancier schools.”

    You mean the maybe 3 or 4 (or fewer) other students with those scores? Remember, we are talking about NMSF level scores.

  78. It is weird how the level of executive function required for high school classes seems to be actually higher than the level required for college classes now. And I’m basing this on the two college classes my son has taken, where the work required was much more straightforwardly laid out, deadlines were clearly stated, and as a result pretty much the only points he missed were where he deliberately blew something off (which he did some, alas, but not enough to drop him too much). So his college GPA is higher than his high school GPA at this point. Maybe it’s partly a function of those being online classes, though I think the big difference is that all the assignments and deadlines were there to see from the beginning of each course and there wasn’t new stuff added on the fly, changes to deadlines, confusion about how to submit. HIgh school classes, by contrast, have stuff mentioned orally in passing, stuff written on the board but never mentioned that they’re expected to notice and write down (or take a photo of), deadlines that change, assignments that don’t show up on Infiinite / Google classroom till close to due . . . oh, and they more often than not have very patchy access to the textbooks, whereas for the college classes he had to buy the texts, but then by golly he had them. One of his textbooks for this year, I recently learned, he’s been accessing all year via some mainland high school that put a full pdf of it online — apparently the school copies are only available for classroom use or some such.

    Well, that was a rant. But it does seem like this is not just a question of him being less motivated than I was at that age, but a system that has actually changed in the direction of making the grades reflect much more executive function / ability to work the system and less quality of work and subject matter knowledge.

  79. Finn, when he was a minor, he hacked military systems for fun. When he was an adult, he hacked banking systems for profit.

  80. Finn, I want gas, but I will choose a single oven over one that is 48″ tall, like that one and most other double oven gas ranges. There is something called a “baking drawer” that I plan to ask about. My range can be no taller than ~36-39″.

  81. “he hacked banking systems for profit.”

    Doesn’t that mean he was gainfully employed?

    gain·ful
    ˈɡānfəl/
    adjective
    serving to increase wealth or resources.

  82. I was barely in the top quarter of my class when graduating from high school (where 40% went to college). However, I was nmsf. I think it’s a hook for the aspirational private school. Harder to bring up SAT average (for the school) than gpa. Shocking to no one, I was in a similar situation applying to med school.

    I don’t think it’s such a big deal to most schools (though I got rejected to my first choice med school, even though I beat Borge averages by a lot).

  83. When we were shopping for kitchen appliances, I noticed that ranges were much less expensive than combinations of cooktops and wall ovens. But DW very much preferred the cooktop/wall oven combo, and we could afford it, so that’s what we have.

    But given your height restriction, if you want two ovens and are also price sensitive, you might consider two ranges. I’ve heard that one reason people get the cooktop/wall oven combo is the preference for a gas stove and electric oven; with two ranges, you can have both, if you don’t mind your second oven being gas, and your second stove being electric (and I’ve found induction preferable to gas).

    This would especially make sense for someone who wants more than 4 stove burners.

  84. Mooshi, I think your DS is rather unusual, and so it will be difficult to predict his chances for acceptance based on schools’ acceptance history. His improving grades, if he’s able to maintain that trajectory, will make it a lot easier.

    I suggest he cast a wide net, and as per Fred’s suggestion yesterday, apply early to a bunch of schools.

    I also suggest looking for schools that offer generous aid to NMF. Many of them like to brag about how many NMF they have as students, and thus might be more likely to weigh your DS’ excellent scores more heavily than his not as excellent grades.

  85. @WCE – we have a double-oven, slide-in range. It is similar to this one. I’m sure it is not 48″ because it is significantly shorter than DS. How do you cook on a 48″ range? That would come up to my chest!

    I LOVE the double oven. The smaller one on top heats up really quickly & it browns things better than a larger oven with the heat being more intense & even since the top & bottom are closer to the food. It’s handy to have when making more than one thing. I do use the top oven to roast veggies while I’ve got a roast in the bottom oven too. Only complaint is that it is a bit of a pain to have to bend down so far to take things out of the bottom oven – which can be a bit of a pain for a heavy pan.

    http://www.abt.com/product/57136/GE-Cafe-30-Stainless-Slide-In-Double-Oven-Gas-Range-CGS990SETSS.html

  86. I know of a brother and sister, kids of a relative of ours who both got into MIT. It was sheer innate ability. They had very limited social skills hardly any extracurricular activities. The girl had a project that she tried explaining to me, it was way beyond me.
    Mooshi – is your DS interested in MIT ? That project is a big hook.

  87. “It is weird how the level of executive function required for high school classes seems to be actually higher than the level required for college classes now.”

    The typical high school class has far more graded events than a college class, and far more stupid rubrics that trip up the students, usually boys, who aren’t detail-oriented. OTOH, students who rely on these frequent graded events and constant teacher or parent prodding to keep up with the work can sometimes crash in college when there isn’t a quiz every week or homework to turn in.

  88. For longtime regulars….as DS is studying Distributive Properties, I thought of kaleberg.

  89. Ivy,
    That’s essentially what I think I want. I am unsure about the trade-offs between freestanding and slide-in ranges. I want to replace the range if it dies without worrying about cabinetry/counter changes.

    Finn, I don’t have space for two ranges. We have a cooktop and oven/microwave combination now and have decided we prefer a range, mostly because in our space, that lets the microwave be separate and easily replaceable.

  90. “so we got onto Naviance today…

    I am wondering if there is a way to set it to compare against all applicants, not just from your school.”

    My understanding is that Naviance configurations and capabilities vary from HS to HS, depending on which feature they select and pay for.

    If I remember (no guarantees; my memory for this sort of thing isn’t great), I’ll check what info I can find on NJIT when I get home tonight. Perhaps others here with access to Naviance can also check.

    BTW, this sort of thing happens on CC a lot.

  91. “I am unsure about the trade-offs between freestanding and slide-in ranges. I want to replace the range if it dies without worrying about cabinetry/counter changes.”

    The slide-in ones look more integrated and also avoid the issue of stuff falling into the cracks between the counter and the range. They tend to be more expensive and have more high end features and finishes.

    I believe (but suggest you verify) that they come in standard sizes, so replacing one can be done without having to redo your cabinets/counters.

    Cooktops also come in standard sizes that facilitate replacement without having to modify cabinets and counters.

  92. “I believe (but suggest you verify) that they come in standard sizes, so replacing one can be done without having to redo your cabinets/counters.”

    This was our situation 5 years ago, IIRC. We were replacing a dead one. I don’t really know about the trade-offs between freestanding/slide-in, but I have never regretted going to the dual oven range vs. the standard range with warming drawer on the bottom. We couldn’t go with a wall oven without a full kitchen remodel, and we were not up for that then or now.

  93. The typical high school class has far more graded events than a college class, and far more stupid rubrics that trip up the students, usually boys, who aren’t detail-oriented. OTOH, students who rely on these frequent graded events and constant teacher or parent prodding to keep up with the work can sometimes crash in college when there isn’t a quiz every week or homework to turn in.

    This is due in large part to parents wanting their special snowflakes to have more opportunities to bring their grades up and have less pressure to do well on tests.

  94. WCE – When you say “48 in” oven are you talking about the panel in the back? the double ovens I have been looking at are counter top height. A freestanding range can stand all alone with nothing on either side of it. A slide in range is designed to have cabinets and counter top right up to the edge. Some slide in ranges (the one I am looking at) don’t have to be custom fit. I have to see how cheaply I can get the new car before I get a new range, though. The first one’s 48 in height includes the back panel. The second slide in is 36 in to the top of the burners.

  95. “What makes you think that?”

    The combination of exceptional test scores and middling grades.

  96. Louise — 98% of MIT’s incoming freshmen are in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Any student with grades that place them below that would face extremely great odds against admission.

  97. We just got back from a trip at 11 pm Tuesday so this week’s food is not all that exciting. However, I don’t need to meal plan particularly, unless I am buying fish or something else very perishable. I keep an array of proteins in the house, flour for pasta, onions, garlic, no salt canned tomatoes, some prepared sauces, stock in the freezer and spices/frozen herbs. I use up whatever veggies are around and restock from what looks good. My daughter bought veggies I don’t like, so I’ll have to go out tomorrow for a fish and produce run.

    As my landscape architect friends used to say, the countryside near Atlanta is the garden. The countryside near Boston is the wilderness.

    Last night was stuff on hand. Cut up chicken thighs stewed/fricaseed with tomato, onion, garlic, potato, ginger and garam masala. Tonight was Costco sourced – cheese tortellini with fabulous locally bottled tomato sauce flavored with additional pesto. No veggies. We have lamb chops, steak, and individually frozen shrimp in the fridge. Probably chili and a roast chicken next week. I’m on the lookout for a nice corned beef for week after next.

  98. “I keep an array of proteins in the house, flour for pasta”

    Do you make your own pasta?

  99. “Tonight was Costco sourced – cheese tortellini with fabulous locally bottled tomato sauce flavored with additional pesto. No veggies.”

    Aren’t tomatoes veggies?

    You remind me of Jay Leno, who claimed to never eat veggies, but also eats pizza a lot.

  100. Finn – sometimes you are so bourgeois. Plenty of kids are wicked smahht and can’t get organized or figure out how to give the teacher what he/she wants, so they get bad grades, especially if there is a lot of busywork or TPS reports involved in getting good grades. My high school boyfriend got a C in chemistry and an 800 on the achievement test.

  101. I’m on the lookout for a nice corned beef for week after next.

    Is that for St. Patrick’s day ? I love all manner if celebrations, so I will be wearing my green that day.

  102. Finn – yes on the homemade pasta, but not tonight’s tortellini. And a tomato is technically a fruit, and I don’t count sauce or condiments as a vegetable. I don’t have any salad fixings in the house, and I wasn’t going to serve bok choy or japanese eggplant on the side.

  103. I make a New England boiled dinner with corned beef when the stores have corned beef for St Patrick’s Day. I’ll probably add only a little bit of cabbage, because we all prefer the onions carrots and potatoes and I don’t like the lingering smell. I serve it with horseradish sauce.

  104. Coc – Mooshi mentions that the grades are ticking up, so there is hope :-).

    And, speaking of getting points off for forgetting to do something, DS mentions that he forget to highlight three reasons in his essay. The teacher said that would be points off. But it ain’t over till it’s over, so he will appeal for clemency.

  105. The combination of exceptional test scores and middling grades.

    As everyone thinks it’s so common, why do you think it’s so rare.

  106. He won’t get into MIT and it would be a disaster in any case. MIT is famous for brutal competition at the undergrad level. I know people who went there as grad students or postdocs (my father for one) who said they were terrified of the undergrads!

    Here are the constraints: he wants a school that will challenge him in math and computer science, where they are doing actual research and have good equipment. That rules out a lot of schools right away – liberal arts colleges and teaching colleges are just not that strong in computer science because it isn’t their thing. We all agree he needs to stay close to home, within 2 or 3 hours drive. He would really like to be somewhere with access to NYC, but would do Albany. No Binghamton though, after he saw it, and I think Buffalo is too far away. We don’t want to be taking out lots of loans. I had noticed that NJIT is not too expensive even out of state, but sadly URI is pretty expensive. Haven’t checked UConn. I have close friends at all those schools that would keep an eye on him.

  107. I love, love, love corned beef but I make it in the crockpot and I no longer have a crockpot. I have that weird Instant Pot which I don’t really trust for something that I love as much as corned beef. I might try a stovetop braise if I have a day when I am home

  108. MM, the IP has a slow cooker function. Or do you mean you don’t trust its slow cooker function to work as a slow cooker?

  109. I just use my cast iron dutch oven. Stovetop or oven okay. I just found a recipe calling for braising in guinness. maybe I’ll change it up this year.

  110. I have a friend who taught there for a while. It seemed really weird and unstructured to me. Also, isn’t it expensive?

  111. “As everyone thinks it’s so common, why do you think it’s so rare.”

    In this cohort, it may be common, but overall, just the type of test scores Mooshi’s DS got is probably relatively uncommon; if he’s NMSF level in NY, that’s better than top 1%ile. And of the kids that get that kind of scores, a lot of them get good grades (e.g., most of DS’ NMSF classmates are also in NHS), which probably puts him in a less than 0.5% group.

  112. “Currently valued at more than $97,000, the merit-based Olin Tuition Scholarship benefits all admitted students. Offered for eight semesters of full time study and covering half the tuition charges, this scholarship recognizes achievement inside and outside the classroom and represents our confidence in your ability to succeed in this unique academic environment. Our goal is to attract talented students committed to making a difference in the world, and partnering with them to make an Olin education a reality.”

    http://www.olin.edu/admission/costs-financial-aid/

  113. Thanks for pointing out the 48″ may include the backpanel height. I didn’t think of that and haven’t physically seen many of these. I think I prefer a backpanel because the appliance salesperson said he sees fewer failures when the controls are in the backpanel than when they are next to the burner heat, which makes sense to me.

  114. Mooshi – My neighbor’s son went there, but I don’t really know that much about it. It looks like Finn has some info already!!

  115. Like I said, I have a firend who taught there. I will look into it, but my fear is that it might be too unstructured for a kid like mine.

  116. OK, so Olin has tuition/room and board/fees of $67000 a year, and then they discount 23K off that, meaning it costs 44K to go there which isn’t that great

  117. I’ve really been trying to eat more protein, so my meal planning is all focused on that.

    Follow-ups to yesterday’s conversation: flash sale on Eileen Fisher at Haute look. https://www.nordstromrack.com/events/143511?cm_mmc=email-_-030217-_-47114-_-hero1&cm_mmca1=030217_Eileen_Fisher_F&cm_mmca2=Rack_F_Final&cm_mmca3=4692&cm_mmca4=9515&cm_mmca5=aa877e94-cbce-11e5-a939-82aace0ac6c2&sid=1090795&mid=4692&aid=47114&cid=Rack_F_Final
    After the talk about Laundry, I was looking forward to the shorts of that brand I had ordered. They’re here, and I’m disappointed. The fabric (60% cotton, 40% poly) feels like plastic, not linen as per the write up, and they fit me so well now that if I lose the other 15 lbs, they’ll be too big. So they’re going back.

  118. On the executive function levels and degree of opacity of course requirements In classes at various levels, things have gotten easier for us as we’ve gone along. HS classes still don’t list all assignments and due dates like a college syllabus, but the requirements are a heck of a lot more clear than in elementary, where I wanted to tear my hair out. Middle school was, predictably, in the middle. If all the extra assignments are due to parents wanting their “special snowflakes” to have more chances to bring up their grades, then those of us whose kids get stuck in the whiteout of too many assignments should speak up. But I’m not sure that’s the case. In my (distant) recollection, we turned in a lot of things in high school, and when colleges where I’ve taught have wanted faculty to assign more things, the grumbling was usually “that’s like high school”–other people also associate HS with more graded events.

  119. I highly recommend “Fauda” on Netflix. I’m hooked. Great characters. Intricate plot about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  120. Mooshi – I haven’t picked one out yet from the Google results of “Guinness corned beef”. I will probably mix n match. Maybe add turnips (i don’t like parsnips).

  121. MM – You know that NJIT is a place that offers full tuition, room and board for NMSF students?

    I had a behind the scenes tour of Olin when it was just a year or two old. Amazing place, beautiful facilities. I believe it was tuition-free for the first 5 years. Turns out that is a hard way to run a college.

  122. Mooshi, I just checked Naviance, and no one from my kids’ school has been accepted there in the last 6 years, so no data to report.

  123. WCE, do you know what the basis of the improvement is? Is it a refractive index matching coating?

  124. I just did a pork shoulder in the IP with the slow cooker function and I just stopped cooking it an hour earlier (but I found I had to do that with my regular slow cooker as well).

  125. Related to HM’s rant and other comments, this is an old topic we’ve discussed and about which I’ve written at least once here:

    Why Girls Tend to Get Better Grades Than Boys Do

    Girls succeed over boys in school because they are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals.

    AFAIK, Naviance is always limited to one high school.  That’s part of its value since it’s generally supposed to be comparing like students, certainly as far as the grading part.  Schools vary in how they assign grades.  Ideally you’d like to see similar schools lumped together for Naviance purposes, and you would not want to compare your student to those from different SES groups or different regions.  For example, I’d be wary of extrapolating Finn’s Naviance stats and applying them to a particular Westchester public school.  And it is a common complaint that a school’s Naviance results lack sufficient data.

  126. “I was barely in the top quarter of my class when graduating from high school (where 40% went to college). However, I was nmsf.”

    Boy, this sounds strikingly similar to a another case for a boy I’m thinking of except about 90% went on to college. The other NMSF that year was valedictorian and coincidentally a girl.

  127. Meme, I had no idea there were double oven sliders! I haven’t looked for one in a few years, but finding none then, I had completely given up. This, alone, makes me want to seriously revisit our discussion (mine and DH’s) about redoing the kitchen. I thought we’d have to reconfigure the entire room to put a non-slider stove in–which I assume would be more expensive than maintaining the existing (and very workable) footprint–but it seems now we can keep the large island and slider. So glad you posted that picture.

  128. CofC,

    Very interesting!

    Teachers realized that a sizable chunk of kids who aced tests trundled along each year getting C’s, D’s, and F’s. At the same time, about 10 percent of the students who consistently obtained A’s and B’s did poorly on important tests. Grading policies were revamped and school officials smartly decided to furnish kids with two separate grades each semester. One grade was given for good work habits and citizenship, which they called a “life skills grade.” A “knowledge grade” was given based on average scores across important tests. Tests could be retaken at any point in the semester, provided a student was up to date on homework.

  129. We have a 48″ wide cooktop with a griddle and double wall ovens. I like the griddle OK, but if/when we replace it I am going to go back to the 48″ Bluestar with the grill. Their burners are up to 25K BTU now! :) Of course, this means I will also have to replace the hood internals – the hood we have is only like 400 cfm and it is wholly inadequate.

    WCE, I thought of you the other day as I was fighting with the computerized temperature controls on the wall ovens. They are old and fiddly and I expect they will stop working far before the ovens will!

  130. Thanks for the oven pictures. I didn’t realize you good get a range with double ovens. We have wall mounted double ovens and a cooktop separate.
    SM – thanks for Nordstrom Rack. I will add it to my mental list of stores. They have small sizes in Eileen Fisher, so that’s great.

    I have observed a whole bunch of DD’s friends who have both the ability and the conscientiousness to do school work. Many of them are very good in one extra curricular activity, which they have done for years. Off and on they parcipate in other things. They are competitive, not likely to get nervous at test time.

  131. Haven’t checked UConn.

    Fun fact. I almost went to UConn because I was a fan of their basketball team. Teenagers are so stupid. My parents, who had checked out of the college process by the time it was my turn, were perfectly fine with that arrangement. Never thought to ask me if perhaps I should take into account other considerations. Luckily, life intervened and my warm-weather loving self stayed in the South, where it belongs.

  132. Lark – the other day DS was mentioning a friend’s sibling getting into Villanova. I don’t know much about the college but immediately said “basketball”

  133. My son’s English teacher suggests he enter his poems in online contests. This seems to me like a reasonable thing to tilt towards college admissions. How can I find out which contests carry more weight?

    Louise, lots of EF might be the reason the Rack put it on sale. You can’t count on them to have a steady inventory of anything; they’re Nordstrom’s outlet.

  134. I am the poster child for crappy grades + great test scores! Both in HS/SAT and College/GMAT. For many of the reasons Rhett mentioned, but mostly boredom/lack of motivation/more interested in stuff not graded/not following the rubric.

    As to not doing anything more than what the rubric says is required for maximum points, I agree! if it says “5 complete sentences” then why would anyone do more than 5? And if everyone but me did 10 sentences, but I did 5, I think they should be marked off for not following instructions! More is not necessarily better!

  135. I make my own corned beef. I don’t bother getting the nitrate – I just use kosher salt. It’s delicious. I use the Cooks Illustrated dry corned beef recipe. It’s very easy, but you have to plan ahead because it needs to cure in the fridge for a week.

    We will have it on the 18th (Saturday) instead of the 17th (Friday) so that I can braise it in the dutch oven on the stove. I usually serve with dyed-green mashed potatoes (a tradition from my dad), German red cabbage (family recipe which I love), and carrots boiled in the broth w/ the meat. And good rye bread from the bakery (DH’s family must). I don’t bother with other vegetables because I find boiled green cabbage to be vile, and I don’t need boiled potatoes because I MUST make the green mashed potatoes. The best part for me is reuben sandwiches for lunch the following week.

    MM – Do you think he would like Storrs? I don’t know anything about Binghamton, but Storrs isn’t exactly a metropolis or super convenient to NYC.

  136. I thought that was typical of private schools/what sets them apart form publication

    You don’t actually think that, do you? (are you just being snarky?)

  137. Rhett, the “publication” is a typo–should’ve been “public”. But the idea that one reason private schools have better students than public is because they can dismiss those with poor grades is hardly novel, nor is it snark. I take it that the Catholic schools MM’s university draws from do not follow that model. From what I’ve seen in Tampa Bay, there are the prep schools, which are very open about the academic success they require, a series of other private schools that, some parents of kids there tell me, exist for the kids who’d be struggling with 504s in publications, and religious schools that I know nothing about. From your comments, Boston often sounds like a different world. Are you familiar with privates that don’t have academic suspension/dismissal?

  138. Yes, I would worry about boredom in Snorz, CT, But is is not as isolated as Binghamton – easy access to Providence and Boston – and the area is more suburban.

  139. I thought it was known as Vanilla Nova.

    Mooshi, what about Stevens? DS has a friend who loves it there. Generous aid for high stats kids (NMF but not in top 10%).

  140. Middle DS seriously considered UConn, but then reality struck and he decided he could go to better schools for lower cost.

    (Besides, though he’s a big sports fan, he was bothered by the tour guide’s emphasis on the basketball championship banners in the rafters of the arena. Now to be fair, some of that is probably the luck of the draw of who you get for a tour guide.)

    MM – from your description of your DS, I think he’d do well at a smaller school with a strong CS program. Although the other reality is he’ll probably throw himself into his schoolwork/research and the department would be his “home” within the college so wherever he goes may not seem very big to him.

  141. “I thought it was known as Vanilla Nova.”

    My kid was turned off when the tour guide mentioned going to the Cheesecake Factory at the nearby mall when asked about fun things to do on weekends. :) The other thing is that their demographics are somewhat similar to those at our local high school, which was not appealing at all.

  142. Are you familiar with privates that don’t have academic suspension/dismissal?

    That’s not when it occurs. Elite privates try to only admit those who can do well. But, like HSSs, once you’re in, they make every effort to make you experience a success.

  143. “from your description of your DS, I think he’d do well at a smaller school with a strong CS program. ”
    Problem is, there aren’t many schools that fit that category, and the ones that do, are elite small colleges that wouldn’t take him. Strong CS is hard to come by because it requires a strong research culture, money for good equipment, etc. And these days, with the massive enrollment surges, even the elite small programs are turning to large class sizes and lots of adjuncts

  144. “Elite privates try to only admit those who can do well. But, like HSSs, once you’re in, they make every effort to make you experience a success.”
    My DH taught at one of thse schools and would wholeheartedly agree. He had to water down courses significantly from the way they were taught in the undergrad program at the R1 where he had attended for undergrad himself, and where he had spent 2 years as a visiting prof

  145. Stevens has a dramatically gorgeous location – Castle Point is one of the best views of Manhattan anywhere, but its CS program is not as good as NJIT or Stony Brook

  146. “AFAIK, Naviance is always limited to one high school.  ”

    I’ve heard that at some HSs, Naviance will show data from multiple schools in an area, especially for schools with very little data from the single HS. E.g., if only one person from that HS went to a college, Naviance will often not show that data, since it would be easy to figure out exactly that one kid’s GPA and test scores. In those cases, I’ve heard Naviance will sometimes provide data from multiple HSs rather than provide no data.

  147. WCE – Perfect for your family “cook 6-grilled cheeses at a time!”

  148. The high school that gives you the Naviance ID determines what a student and family can access in the system. For example, my HS will allow you to see how many kids applied to each college. My friends in some other districts in Westchester can not see this data. Their school blocks it, and the parents have been unable to get this data.

    Our district is small, and they probably should turn on the feature to allow a pool of data from nearby schools because it’s easy to “know” too much personal information if you know who was accepted to certain schools. For example, one kid got into Yale last year so now everyone with a Naviance ID knows it is her scores, GPA etc.
    There is no anonymity because she is the only accepted student, and The town is so small that many people can figure it out.

  149. WCE– that’s a pretty nice looking range at a pretty nice price. I like that the stove grills are machine washable.

  150. “FInn, on your 11:13 post, are the kids mostly comparing numbers?”

    No. A lot of the kids know each other, and if they don’t, they’ll know someone in common. A lot of the comparison points are based on having classes with other kids; within a given section, they’ll know who’s mastering the material, who’s getting by, and who’s struggling.

    And not all kids blast out their numbers.

    A lot of the head scratching occurs when a HSS admits a kid who’s getting by in classes like AP Physics and AP Calc, but turns down the kid who’s acing those classes, and there’s no obvious hook involved.

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