**Monday’s menu: Sweet potato chili with cornbread.
**Original plan: I’d scribbled “red sauce” onto a notepad for Monday after discovering a half-basket of soft tomatoes. But then Kevin read this recipe in the Globe and Mail, and it called for tomatoes, too.
**In the kitchen: Soaked and cooked black beans first thing in the morning. Chopped veggies and prepared the chili in the afternoon, while simultaneously carving pumpkins. Easiest cornbread recipe ever.
**At the table: Who’s hungry? Who am I kidding? It’s Halloween. We’re about to gorge on candy!
**The reviews: Only one child out of four loves cornbread. A second child will agree to eat it when it’s smothered in chili. And the littlest only wants bread with jam and honey. Ever.
**The verdict: This recipe is a vegetarian keeper. But I skipped the cinnamon sour cream called for in the original.
**Tuesday’s menu: Beans and rice, tortillas, chips, toppings. Retro broccoli salad.
**Original plan: Can’t read my writing. Does that say Mashed Potato Soup?
**In the kitchen: Lots of leftover black beans, reheated after swim lessons. I baked brown rice in the afternoon and also whipped up the broccoli salad.
**At the table: Very hungry active children devour gigantic servings. Two reject broccoli salad. One demands a tortilla with jam and honey. And then he learns a new word: Protein.
**The verdict: I could eat this broccoli salad all day long.
**Wednesday’s menu: Being fed by Grandpa.
**Original plan: Something in the crockpot.
**The verdict: It’s nice to be fed by someone else (hamburger stew with bread and cheese, and ice cream for dessert.)
**Thursday’s menu: Baked potatoes. Cheese sauce. Brussel sprouts and broccoli. Sweet potato soup.
**Original plan: Lentils. But when I saw big beautiful russet potatoes in the grocery store (shopping while hungry for lunch), I had to have them.
**In the kitchen: Scrubbed and baked potatoes after kids arrived home from school. Made soup. Whipped up cheese sauce. Sauteed veggies. Got a little frantic from the multi-tasking; caved and let little kids watch a movie.
**The reviews: “Don’t worry. That’s not squash soup. I watched Mom puree it. It’s probably carrots.”
**The verdict: Didn’t even need the soup. Baked potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. I love you baked potato.
**Friday’s supper. Gallo pinto (beans fried with rice.) Leftover sweet potato soup. Steamed green beans (the last of the local beans, I am sure.)
**Original plan: Leftovers. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.
**In the kitchen: Fried chopped onions in oil, added cumin and ground coriander seed, and then stirred in leftover rice and beans. Nothing could be better.
**The reviews: I was not home to receive compliments because AppleApple had her soccer marathon, and I went for a short run in preparation for Sunday’s actual marathon.
**The verdict: I love leftovers. Especially on Friday evenings. Who has the energy for anything else at this point in the week?
**Weekend kitchen accomplishments: Four loaves of bread. One batch of waffles (no leftovers.) Really good granola.
**Weekend non-kitchen accomplishment: One marathon.