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Archive for the ‘meal plan’ Category

Has anyone else been absolutely stumped when it comes to what to cook for supper lately?  I think it is all the sewing, but I am beyond un-inspired when it comes to meals as of late.  I did stop sewing this weekend for a much needed home clean-sweep.  Isn’t funny how once you get started it is hard to stop! 

We started cleaning out flower beds, but then cleaned out the garage yesterday.  Oh, our garage gets so very cluttered in the winter.  It is a very small garage.  Forest’s old Toyota Celica would go in, the mini-van I am not fond of…not so much.  If need be the truck would fit in there, though you might have to climb out the window.    During the winter, it is the dumping spot for all sorts of nothingness.  Eight trash bags later, you can walk freely and park the girls’ bikes in there.  Yes, it has been warm enough for them to be out biking! 

In our garage is our beloved freezer.  It is still relatively full and I took a visual inventory while out there.  I was concerned I made too much applesauce last fall, but not so as we still have quite a bit left.   There is still a ton of veggies left out there as well as odds and ends of meat, lots of broth, and a few bags of fruit.

Here’s my list of things I want to use up, we seem to have a surplus of them:

  • broth
  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • sour cream (it was on sale, I bought extra, we already had plenty)

To help plan on using some of these things up, I am going to try a loose meal plan for the week.  I used to do a meal plan and it really helped.  It is time to get back into that habit and I am thinking next week will be a no-grocery week so we can eat out of the freezer and save a bit of money for some bedding plants and mulch.   To complicate things, soccer starts this week.  It’s been a blissful two weeks without swimming, now soccer starts.  We have practices Mon and Wed at 4:30 and Forest is going to help coach.  There is no game schedule yet, but if I am remembering right this is a fairly short season.   This week I am also working on Fri and Sat, so that is two meals I do not need to bother with.  My goal for Mon and Wed will be quick and easy meals or (like Sunday lunch) a crockpot meal.

Monday- Oven Fried Shrimp, wild rice, and broccoli

Tuesday- Beef, Pepper, and Mushroom Fajitas

Wednesday-Beef Stew in the crockpot with potatoes, peppers, and onions

Thursday- Sausage Lasagna (with  lots of zucchini in it)

Sunday Lunch- Whole chicken with new potatoes and carrots

While doing at that, I also cleaned out the pantry cupboard and refrigerator.  Next is the rest of the kitchen cupboards.  There is a big yard sale in my near future.  I have quality things I want to get rid of and would like a bit o f cash for an upcoming trip.  Also on my list is a massive sorting of all little girl clothes and toys…the two things that seem to take over my home!

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unexpected company

My brother-in-law is unexpectedly in town for a day.  This particular BIL (I have 3) is in the military and visits with him are few and far between.  So when he called this morning, the first thing out of my mouth was “please join us for dinner!”  Yeah, I do that, isn’t it so June Cleaver sounding?  Anyhow, I soon got of the phone before the panic set in.  What am I going to feed him for supper!  Tonight was going to be a leftover night…little bit of lasagna, little bit of eggs, a side of leftover quinoa, and chopped chicken as well.  A sort of smorgasbord week-in-review for supper.  Some probably do not feel pressure to make a meal.  I do and I know I do it to myself.  BIL would likely be just as happy to indulge in our leftovers as he would a meal, but I like to cook for others.  Usually I have a few days or even a  week or two to plan things out, not today.  Seeing as I am blogging about this, though, you can correctly surmise that all is well.

While not fancy by any means and still even sticking with the leftover theme, here is tonight’s menu:

It’s not huge or earth shattering, but the Quinoa dish is so filling that I really think this will do well.  I might add something in at the last minute, but it truly would be last minute as I can’t think of anything else I have on hand that goes.  Thankfully BIL eats just about anything and is happy about it.  Not everyone in my husband’s family is so adventurous as to try things such as quinoa.

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back and trying

I survived vacation and have so much I want to write about.  Unfortunately, I also have so much to do that relates to being away from home nearly two weeks!  My plan was to blog as I went.  The internet where we were staying would not pull up the site, though and what I did write out in my word processing software crashed and burned after one of the twins “did mommy’s pu-ter”.  So, here I am, starting from scratch and letting you all know that I’ll be posting regularly again.

In this post, I’m just simply going to address the things I missed the most about my home.  I really missed our dog.  She’s my fur-baby and about as sweet as they come.  I missed our milk (we ran out about half way through the trip) and the twins immediately downed an entire sippy full of it.  My pillow is something I will take with me next time as it was missed every single night.  Our church family, no church for two weeks is very odd feeling to me.   Then there are the little things like cold water when it comes out of the tap, mail and email, a weeks CSA, and my kitchen.

We managed well on the trip.  I plan on doing a post about Disney itself separately.  The rest of our time was spent at a 3-bedroom condo.  We swam, slept, watched TV, read, played, colored, cooked, napped, and blew lots of bubbles.  There was room to spread out there, a “fully equipped” kitchen, and a nice pool.  The kitchen was small and I can’t imagine a “fully equipped” kitchen that has no spatula, scissors, or food storage containers.  So we were challenged a bit there, but made do and had fun with it.  My food plan worked out well.  We had very little food that we didn’t eat (a little bit of a leftover roast and mashed potatoes.)  Meals we ate while we were gone were:

  • roast, mashed potatoes, and broccoli
  • fried rice
  • pork chops, baked potatoes, and green beans
  • brown rice spaghetti with salad
  • pizza
  • quiche
  • stir-fried chicken and veggies

Breakfasts were granola, smoothies, eggs and sausage, and oatmeal.  We used leftovers to make lunches and always had fresh fruits and veggies available for snacking as well as popcorn, granola, and crispy nuts.   Our 3 jars of milk lasted the week they normally do and after that we did store-bought milk.  Not sure I’ll do that again as the oldest had some issues with it.  I might look into a coconut milk alternative (wonder how that tastes on granola?)   Food-wise a very successful vacation.  For 8 people (4 adults and 4 children) we spent about $200 on groceries and water over a period of ten days with a few meals eaten out and some food brought from home (meats, cheese, snacks, and milk mainly.)

It’s so good to be back!

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meal plan…oops!

So I sat down in bed last night (after soccer and swim team practice for the older two) to post my meal plan, late of course, but still on Monday.  I fell asleep!  My husband was sweet enough to rescue the computer and tuck me in.  Imagine my surprise to wake in the middle of the night wondering what was going on.  Alas, here is the meal plan for the week…it’s camping week!  Husband and I’s first couple nights away from the twins and the first time away from the older two since we went to adopt the twins.  I’m nervous how the twins will handle it all, the older two will barely notice we are gone.  By the way the “c” word (camping) is not uttered as the girls would be insanely upset that we were camping without them.  However, with family vacation the following weekend we can’t afford anything else, besides I like to camp and we will be meeting up our best friends mid-way.  Plus, taking twins that are 2 camping is not high on my husbands “fun” list.  I’m drifting here….meal plan for the rest of this week:

Meal Plan (trying to use non-starchy veggies and what we have on hand)

Tuesday

  • b-eggs and pancakes (and cole slaw…the twins requested cole slaw)
  • l-leftover pork roast, squash, and green beans
  • d-at the fair (hoping we can find veggies there)
  • todo: bake bread, soak granola, freeze rest of peaches, check tent,spend evening at neighboring county fair

Wednesday

  • b-Summer Egg Casserole
  • l-sandwich and salad
  • d-out (I work this night so it’s likely fried chicken with baked potato and salad)
  • todo: dry granola, gather linens, clothes, toiletries, food, and camping supplies into car, soccer/swim

Thursday

  • b-granola
  • l-clean out fridge lunch
  • d- sandwiches, veggies, and fruit smoothies on the road
  • todo: farm in early afternoon, give kids tons of kisses and say goodbye for a couple days, enjoy time alone with husband

Friday

  • b-something over a fire as we do not have a campstove or anything…ideas anyone?
  • l-cornbread salad my friend makes, yum!
  • d-fish, onions, zucchini, and potatoes
  • todo: enjoy time with good friends, try not to injure myself hiking, learn from some seasoned campers

Saturday

  • b-eggs, bacon, pancakes ?  (friends are cooking!)
  • l-chicken salad, greens, fruit
  • d-out
  • todo: home late, pack bag for church (I run out of time in the morning)

Sunday

  • b-granola
  • l-clean out fridge
  • d-mom’s
  • todo: pack van at moms for family vacation, take a nap (I’m wore out just looking at the next couple weeks!)

Next weeks meal plan will be one of necessity.  The plan is to clean out the fridge and use what is on hand.  If I’m able to skip a week at the grocery, that is $100 I can use on vacation.  99% of what we have on hand is whole, healthy foods….meals just might not be as well balanced as I would like. 

Next post is my peach all-fruit jam!

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My goals for this weeks meal plan were to have at least two meals a day having 50% non-starchy vegetables.  Not every day looks like it fits, but it is close.  It’s hard to balance this with the grocery budget, using what I have on hand, and not burning out on salads.  Take a look and see what you think, I say it isn’t too awful bad:

Sunday: church, bread, family, soak nuts

  • b-summer egg casserole (see below for recipe)
  • l-Chicken Caesar Salad
  • d-moms (I brought creamy beet salad on greens)

Monday: mom to doctor, soccer, swim team, dry nuts

  • b-bagels with cream cheese
  • l- out
  • d- taco salads (see below for recipe)

Tuesday: soak granola, marinate jerky, dentist, older girls at grandmas overnight

  • b-granola
  • l-hot dogs, green beans, and tomatoes
  • d-fish, mixed vegetables, slaw

Wednesday: dry granola overnight, dry jerky, work, swim team, soccer

  • b-eggs in a basket
  • l-ants on a log (pb and raisins on celery) with a cheese stick
  • d-Chicken, broccoli and rice

Thursday: twins to doctor, clean out the fridge

  • b-smoothie on the go
  • l-leftovers
  • d-vegetable beef soup

Friday: farm day, soccer

  • b-granola
  • l- sandwiches with leftover soup
  • d- fried rice (with lots of veggies!)

Saturday: market, family reunion, work

  • b-Summer Egg Casserole (because it is so good I could eat it a few times a week!)
  • l-family reunion
  • d-work (hoping to avoid the pie, nut rolls, and macaroni salad)

 

Summer Egg Casserole-very yummy recipe I made up as I was cleaning out the fridge based on my quiche recipe.  The zucchini maintains some of it’s texture since you do not cook it before it goes into the oven.

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb of sausage
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese

Shred/Grate zucchini, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small skillet saute onion until translucent, add in sausage (out of casing) breaking it up while it cooks. When done set aside.

In a large bowl beat six eggs, add mustard and other seasonings according to preference. We like more pepper than salt, and a sprinkle or two of cayenne. Mix well.

Pour zucchini out onto a lint-free dish towel and roll it up. Squeeze it a few times to get rid of excess moisture. Unroll and add to egg mixture along with meat/onions and cheese. For cheese we used 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of CoJack (cleaning out the fridge.)

Stir well and pout into a greased quiche dish or 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle.
Taco Salad: easy and quick for a day that you’ve not been home much

  • salad greens
  • taco meat (I fry my own with a mix of cumin, chili powder, cayenne, a bit of tomato paste and onion, lots of onion!)
  • lacto-fermented salsa
  • shredded cheese
  • corn chips
  • sour cream
  • beans if you have them or want them

make a nice pile of Greens on your plate.  Top with a bit of cheese and meat.  Add to the mix a healthy amount of salsa as this is your “dressing” for your salad.  Top with beans or a couple of crushed tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.  For the girls I shredded up my lettuce very fine, put it all in a bowl and mixed well.  They all four loved it!

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 I grew up in a restaurant, not that we lived there…well, at least we didn’t sleep there.  I remember getting up in the morning, going to school, walking home and either walking to the restaurant or my parents picking me up and taking me to work with them.  We would usually go home in time for bed.  The office had a TV, small table, desk, a couple chairs and was about 10 ft by 12 ft.  While I can complain on and on about how miserable it was (and most of the time it was) I learned so much from growing up in a self-owned and operated business.  
One of the things I did not learn was how to cook…at all.  We always ordered our food from the cook (I know, cushy life) and took our dishes to the dishwasher (cushy, cushy.)  We rarely observed a meal being prepared, let alone helped in the preparation of a meal.  We rarely saw how a home should operate as mom did the cleaning after we went to bed and paid bills in the morning before the restaurant opened.  We did, however, learn good work ethic and the value of someone who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.  We learned wonderful social skills and at a young age could hold conversation with people from all walks of life and all ages.  We learned that work was not always fun, and we learned that fun was sometimes work.

 

where I grew up  The twins playing in the kitchen after a busy night…they like to stir in all the odds and end bowls.  Thankfully there is a BIG dishwasher right behind where I took the picture from!

Then I got married.  My poor husband slowly began starving.  Kidding!   He knew how to cook more than I did.   He could make Hamburger Helper and he could make homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I remember the first time he made cookies for me thinking what a wonderful guy I married.  To this day, I love to cook with him in the kitchen cooking along with me.  When we built our kitchen, I wanted to make sure the island was far enough from the counters so that we both could easily move and work together in the kitchen.  

Back to our first year of bliss in the kitchen.  I kept getting migraine headaches, bad ones that would have me crawling into darkness with a pillow over my head.  I finally narrowed it to Hamburger Helper and a few other “meal-in-a-box” type things.  In retrospect I suspect it was MSG as if I ingest it in a fair quantity now I will get a migraine.  I was forced to learn to cook and boy was it scary.  My poor spouse probably never knew what was going to be on the table when he got home and looked forward to Wednesday nights when I worked late at the jewelry store and he could eat whatever he wanted without fear.  I had to call my mom to make a baked potato (what temp, how long), to figure out what meat to buy for a roast, etc.

That was ten years ago.  I like cooking at home and my skills slowly developed from there. I’ve already blogged some about how we got to where we are with eating whole foods, raw dairy, and meat raised the way it was meant to (cows were not meant to eat grain, they are supposed to eat grass.)  I know I still have much to learn and these last few months I came away with something I find significant.  When you learn something that is exciting to you, you feel the need to share it and share I will. 

Starting with next week’s food plan the girls (older two) will help me and we will start by planning a non-starchy vegetable first.  Then plan our meal around that.  Not that we are ditching meat, we’re just starting our planning with the veggie and a non-starchy one at that. 

In the future I would like for at least one and preferable two meals to be divided in four parts.  Two parts non-starchy vegetable, one part protein, and one part whole carbs.  So if I were looking at my plate I want one half of that plate to be non-starchy vegetables and the other half divided between carbs and protein.  I’ve really come to believe that ratios or categories are just as important as calories.  I also believe, through what I have learned, that this will not only help me drop the baby weight that is no longer excusable (my birth babies are 6 and 7, don’t think adopted twins count for baby weight), but it will also help our overall health and energy levels.

At the end of this post you’ll find a list of non-starchy vegetables.  Some of them are debatable (tomatoes) but this seems to be as good a list as I can come up with in the time that I have.  My goal is to try this for two  months and see where we all stand in mid-October.  If I eat my words, so be it,  I know I won’t be doing anything detrimental to my families health in eating more veggies.  If I’m right, well then you’ll have two months worth of menu plans that you can try for free and hopefully it will work for you too!  We have a vacation in there as well, so it will be interesting to see how well we can accommodate the new menu ideas while at a big-time amusement park…that’s right, we’re going to Disney World and I hope to blog the vacation!  That’s coming up in just over three weeks (my goodness I’ve got to start thinking about what to take, who will watch the dog, and so forth…the panic a mom goes through before any vacation!)  There is also a short camping trip that just my husband and I will be taking in two weeks…no children, our best friends meeting us there for one night.  Wonder how I’ll work in those non-starchy’s when camping?

So, while not earth shattering, there it is.  I plan on getting the kids involved by teaching them what their plate should look like, when it’s okay to eat special foods/fun foods/sweets/junk (you can’t completely eliminate it, I’ve tried), what is a starchy veggie and what is a non-starchy, and to start letting them plan one of our meals each week.  I know if I have them involved it will help them not mind the change so much and keep them excited about eating healthy and helping in the kitchen.  In fact, they really are getting to the age that they can help prepare most of the meal they plan.  No, not slave labor, any mom knows a kid helping in the kitchen is harder than doing it yourself.  The long-term investment for their health is immeasurable…besides their personal health I’ve got future (way, way in the future) grandchildren to think about!

Non-Starchy Veggies

Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, radicchio and endive
Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
Bok Choy
Celery
Radishes
Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
Mushrooms
Jicama
Avocado
Cucumber (or fermented pickles, no sugars)
Peppers (all kinds)
Summer Squash (including zucchini)
Scallions or green onions
Asparagus
Bamboo Shoots
Leeks
Brussels Sprouts
Snow Peas (pods)
Green Beans and Wax Beans
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Artichoke Hearts
Fennel
Onions
Okra

 

 

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This weeks meals

I’m starting with Tuesday seeing as how it’s late Monday.

Tuesday-TItus 2 class, prepare for pot-luck, spout and dry grains

Wednesday-grind grain

  • b-eggs
  • l-sandwiches and fruit (I have a surplus of plums that need used up, recipes anyone?)
  • d-grilled fish with quinoa and veggies

Thursday-make yogurt

Friday-farm day

Saturday-market, work evening shift

Sunday

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