Not Quite a Month Of Meals

I sat down yesterday and planned out the rest of the months worth of meals.

It wasn’t intentional, but once I did the next 2 weeks, I realized that there were only 4 more days left unplanned in the month and they were looking a little lonely and so I just chose 4 more meals, threw them in there and TA DA! I don’t have to think about meal planning until May! Yah! That’s one less thing in my brain that’s rattling around taking up space and energy.

This last week of meals got shifted around a bit, but that’s one of the nice things about meal planning is that based on time or necessity, you can be flexible with your meal plans and move or change things up a bit, BUT….if you need to, you can just stick with the already laid out plan and not have to do ANY thinking.

I had a bit of a harder time coming up with these next couple of weeks of meals, and I think that has more to do with me feeling a bit tired, but I’m also feeling a bit icky and that doesn’t exactly lead to WANTING to eat and plan meals.

We need to pick up a few things from the store to make this week work, and also to stock up on kids lunch type thingys. But I do have all we’ll need for meat and so this weeks shop should be not too expensive.

Here are the plans for this weeks menu:

Monday: Bar-B-Qued Steak & Potatoes and veggies (We had homemade soup on Sat as it was quick and easy)
Tuesday: Veggie Stirfry with Pecans over rice
Wednesday: Roast Chicken, Potatoes, and Veggies
Thursday: Almond Chicken with Rice
Friday: Nacho’s
Saturday: Spaghetti & Salad with Garlic bread
Sunday: Lunch out with Family & Friends
Monday: Fish & Rice with Veggies

This is quite a busy (schedule wise) week and so I’m hoping that everything works out well this week.

As always, I continue to look for new recipe’s that are quick and easy to make, so let me know if you have any family favorites.

Meal Planning Success

So, the weekend before last, the kids and I sat down and planned out two weeks of meals.

It worked out amazingly, as it always does BUT…having then get involved in choosing the meals did actually inspire them to help out even more. They pitched in on the meals that they personally chose and it made it much easier for me. YAH!

We managed to make it the ENTIRE WEEK without one restaurant/fast food/quick pick up meal that was AMAZING!

Not only did we eat healthy, but we managed to save a bit of extra money which is always a nice bonus AND….we sat down at the dinner table every night.

We try to do this most nights, but when tired, overwhelmed and running last minute for meals, there are times when we throw some crap food in front of the kids and turn a movie on the computer and let it entertain them for a bit.

It’s our sanity saver in rushed times….although, to know that with a little bit of planning we can avoid the rush and stress and also get in some great family time and conversation…..I like that much better.

This week the meal schedule is

Sunday: Roast Chicken, potatoes, carrots and asparagus with gravy and Yorkshire pudding

This was Geli’s birthday dinner and is her FAVORITE MEAL. Here’s a picture of the DELICIOUS MEAL before the gravy was smothered on….

DSC_0226

Monday: Ham, Pineapple & Veggie Kabob’s

We cooked these on the Bar-B-Que and they were every bit as delicious as they sound.

Tuesday: Fish and Rice with Kale

We had a little salmon and a little tilapia. I have some who don’t like one or the other and some who like both and so I usually just make a few pieces of each and then let the kids pick and choose.

Wednesday: Taco’s (Beans, Elk, Goat Cheese, Lettuce, Peppers, Soy Sour Cream, Salsa)

This is what was planned but as I posted about last night……even my best efforts at planning can get all bunged up by the amazing-ness that is ADD/ADHD. We had Mc Pukes for dinner!

Thursday: Bar-B-Que Chicken with potatoes and veggies
Friday: Homemade Pizza (for Geli’s Birthday Party)
Saturday: Steak & Potatoes and Salad
Sunday: Soup & Sandwiches

I’m hoping that aside from the mid week glitch, that we’ll be able to keep things moving forward and hopefully stress free (when it comes to dinner’s). I need to plan for the next few weeks to keep the momentum going.

What are your favorite “go to” meals? I’d love some new suggestions?

Getting the Kids Involved

I have a 2 week meal plan.

I posted a while ago about wanting to try planning a month of meals and have never gotten around to actually making it happen.

I still believe that it’s a good idea and would like to test it out soon.

I am also aware that soon I shall have a newborn and all the fun and sleeplessness that brings.

As a general rule, I expect my children to help out around the house. I like to think that I have a pretty good balance or at the very least that I’m attempting to have a pretty good balance when it comes to allowing my kids to just be kids, but at the same time learning valuable life lessons.

All 3 of the older kids know how to do laundry from picking up the dirty clothes all the way through to putting the clean clothes back into their drawers. This does not mean that they always do their own laundry, nor do they always put their dirty clothes into the dirty clothes hamper, nor do they always put their clean folded clothes into their drawers, BUT….that is the goal and we manage to accomplish this a decent portion of the time.

All three of the kids also know how to cook and while Angelica and Alexandra obviously know more than Jeremy does, I am confident that all three of them could put together a decent meal with very little prompting using both the stove and the oven and having a balance of veggies, carbs and protein in the meal. This is not to say that if we had a box of sugar cereal in the cupboard that they would bypass the sugar cereal to have a well balanced meal….no, they are actually normal kids, BUT, they do know HOW to prepare a balanced, nutritious and delicious meal AND…..they regularly get the opportunity to grow these skills.

Each kid helps out with making meals and with cleaning up after them about twice a week. Even Siah gets in on the action in whatever small ways he can. That kid can help to make a mean batch of pancakes, let me tell you.

I know that with the new baby coming that I will need the kids to pitch in and help out, maybe even more than they are right now…

I don’t want it to feel like I’m “dumping” anything on them when the baby comes and so I’d rather start preparing them now so that when the baby does come….it’s just a normal part of their lives and responsibilities.

I had the three older kids sit down with me on Sunday night and we planned out the next 2 weeks of meals. They each got to pick their favorites and which nights we would make them on and I think that also helps for them to feel invested in this concept of meal planning.

They are constantly asking what’s for dinner anyway and so now we have the next two weeks planned out and listed on our big fridge calendar and the kids are excited to help out on their nights to be able to make their favorite meals.

Here is what we had/have planned for this week

Monday: Homemade Chili and Rice

Tuesday: Chicken and Bean Fajita’s

Wednesday: Beef and Broccoli

Thursday: Almond Chicken and Veggies over Rice

Friday: Roast Chicken with Potatoes & Veggies

Saturday: Nacho’s

Sunday: Bar-B-Que Chicken and Potatoes and Salad

I love that the kids are excited about helping out. It makes such a HUGE difference that they have “buy-in”. I’m looking forward to seeing how this idea plays out.

Again, it’s not that my kids are perfect, and they have their days when nothing seems to go right for them and they melt down regardless of how excited they were at one point, but when they are looking forward to something and it was their choice…..there are a lot less break downs, melt downs and flip outs. And that makes for a much less stressed and a much more peace filled environment.

Do you have a meal plan? Do you involve your kids and if so, how? What seems to work best for you?

Planning and Contemplating

We’ve been pretty good about weekly meal planning for the last 3 weeks.

This past Monday while grocery shopping, Jon made a comment about how it would be nice to have a 2 week schedule laid out and to be able to shop for the staples at one time and then to just be able to do a weekly produce run.

I’ve been thinking about this more and more.

it would be so nice to be able to do a big shop twice a month and to not have to take a portion of every Monday’s (our day off) grocery shopping.

This week’s menu looks/ed like this:

Monday: Homemade Turkey Soup and Salad

Tuesday: Taco’s (beans – for me, ground elk, cheese, lettuce, peppers, salsa)

Wednesday: Ham and Rice and peas

Thursday: Homemade Lasagna and Salad

Friday: Salmon/Tilapia and Quinoa with Brocooli and Cauliflower

Saturday: Scrounge Night

Sunday: Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots, Peas, Salad

I think that I’m gonna plan out next week’s meals and then look at the 4 weeks of meals and plan out a months worth of meals ahead of time. Then I’ll plan out what I need to pick up for 2 weeks worth of staples and print that out to shop with. I’m still working out the best way to be able to add in those things that we run out of, but I’m hoping that this will help to cut down on the number of trips that we need to take in a month.

We’ll see if this works out in as well as I’m hoping it does.

Meal Planning

The Fall was a bit of a crap shoot as far as my health goes and this last bit of time (since New Years) has been the LONGEST stretch of time in a row that I’ve not been sick.

It’s been an AWESOME 3 weeks!

I’m back on track with planning meals, which SO HELPS us out.

And so, because I know that you are desperate to know what we’re eating this week………Here we go!

Monday – Tilapia, Brown Rice and Peas (Jon made this meal, hence the unimaginative veggie selection, but kudos for actually making the “healthy” 45 minute rice)

Tuesday – Chicken and Rice Casserole, Spinach and Cauliflower

Wednesday – Roast Pork with Potatoes, Broccoli and Carrots

Thursday – Spaghetti with Brown Rice Noodles

Friday – Meatless Taco’s

Saturday – Homemade French Fried Potatoes and Chicken Tenders

Sunday – Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots, Peas, Salad

I think that I should plan from Tuesday to Monday because Monday will typically be the “planning/shopping” day as it’s our day off, but for now….this works.

So far, we are two for two and they have been GREAT MEALS that everyone has DEVOURED!

Do you have any great suggestions for one dish meals or quick and easy meals that you LOVE!?!?!?!

I just have to be able to adapt it somehow to make it egg and dairy free……Stupid allergies!

Monday Morning Weigh-In

I need to take some pics to add to this post. Hopefully soon….

It’s been a while since I had a Monday morning weigh-in, and I’m pleased to report that as of this morning I weighed 192.4 lbs.

DSC_0270I figure that’s not a terrifying number to get through the holiday’s and end up at.

If you search back….the last time I weighed in, I was sitting right around 191 lbs. So, while I’ve not lost any weight…..the 1 pound weight gain is nothing I’m too worried about.

I’m still exercising a couple of times a week, in fact I’m headed out to class with my sister in an hour.

I’d say that while my weight hasn’t changed drastically, my shape is changing. Change is good, right?

I’ve also wondered if I am a bit anemic as I’ve been feeling so SO tired, recently. Like, ridiculously so….I talked with my Dr. today and I’m upping my iron supplements a bit (my iron was on the lowest end of normal at my last blood test) and hopefully that will help me to feel a bit more energetic. It would be nice if the sun would come out, too! It seems like our winter has finally shown up. Read that as it’s grey and raining, and wet and raining and oh. so. blah…….with more rain. It’s nasty.

I’d post a weekly menu along with this, but I haven’t made one…..yet! I really need to. It makes such a difference in our meals, budget, health and stress levels. Tonight we’re having “chili and rice”. Thank goodness for freezer meals for those days when you’ve been too lazy to cook.

So, how did the holiday’s treat you? Do you have some holiday weight to work off? Any New Years Resolutions regarding exercise and weight loss?

ps. Pic of the oldest and youngest on Christmas morning. He’s just tolerating the camera in his face.

pps. I realize that technically it’s not Monday morning, but that was the original title of this post and I just went with it.

When Planning Ahead Totally Pays Off

Last Thursday was an “At Home” day for me.

I had planned on running out to the store to pick up some groceries for the weekend and then figured that while I was headed out, I might as well plan for the next week of meals and pick up what I could for the next weeks meals and that way I’d be one step ahead of myself (if that’s even possible).

And now……am I ever glad that I planned for this week early!

I feel like crap BUT…. Jon and the kids are able to keep things running smoothly on the meal side of things.

There were a few adjustments to last weeks schedule…..but this is normal, eh?

Friday we were supposed to have Bar-B-Que chicken, BUT…the girls headed over for a sleepover at my sisters and so Jon, I and the boys had Taco Del Mar. YUM!

Saturday was the Thanksgiving dinner with my family and then Sunday…….

Sunday was the day that I felt absolutely brutal. We were going to have Jon’s parents over for dinner and have pork roast. Instead, we canceled on Jon’s parents and took the chicken that we were going to make on Friday and used it to make Chicken Soup.

It was just what I wanted….and it was so good that I made a second batch this morning.

My Chicken Soup Recipe

Put a few pieces of chicken, cloves of garlic, a whole cut up onion and 2 Tblsp of Oregano into a pot of water.

(I did 4 chicken legs, 6 cloves of garlic, and 1 large onion into approx 16 cups of water)

Boil it all for 2 hours or more.
Pull out the meat and put aside to cool.
Strain the garlic and onion out of the broth and blend in blender with a tiny bit of broth.
Pour blended garlic and onions back into broth.
Once meat is cool enough to touch, strip it from the bones.
Cut meat into small pieces and return to soup
Cut up 2 carrots, 1 cup daikon, 1.5 cups zucchini, 1 cup celery & add to soup. (all guesses)
Add 2 Tblsp of Miso soup paste to soup.
Add rice noodles or rice or barley……your choice….(I did rice noodles)
Add Salt to taste

Simmer, Stir and Enjoy……

Anyway, without further delay, here is the planned out Meal Schedule for this week.

Monday: Beef & Broccoli over Rice (I ate some broccoli and rice – it was yummy)

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Salad

Wednesday: Soup & Salad and Biscuits

Thursday: Chicken Stir-fry over Rice noodles

Friday: Ham & Pineapple Kabobs with Rice

Saturday: Burgers with Homemade Fries

Sunday: Lasagna & Salad

I’ll probably eat soup for as long as I feel crappy, but the rest of the family will still eat good.

It’s just nice to know that even though I feel lousy that we have what we need and I don’t need to run out and pick tons of stuff up.

On Addition and preparation…….

Okay, so I had some great feedback and encouragement about the weight…..

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

I’m serious. I know…..like really KNOW that I am in fact losing inches. I put on a pair of pants today that I wore a month ago and they were tight….like muffin top tight. It was HAWT! And yes…I wore them anyway! How sad is that?!?

Anyway, I put them on this morning and……not only did I fit into them, but they were loose.

I have lost my measuring tape….I think the kids have taken it so I really have no idea what the actual measurement is now.

I just need to stay focused on my goal of being “Healthy” and not so focused on the skinny.

I have some thoughts to share on the whole skinny thing but I’ll save that for later. I had this revelation the other day…it was interesting……..

Anyway, I did make up my meal plan yesterday and then promptly ignored it…..or maybe I should say that I rearranged it.

Here is how I worked it on originally….

Monday: Pizza
(We never did do the pizza last week. We had some family come over for dinner and threw on some burgers instead)

Tuesday: Hard Shell Tortilla’s
We didn’t do this last week either….we ended up having a “scrounge for yourself ” night.

Wednesday: Soup, Salad, and Bisquits
I made some fresh Chicken soup yesterday and it smelled like Thanksgiving dinner. I made enough for 2 batches)

Thursday: Salmon, Rice & Veggies

Friday: Bar-B-Que Chicken & Potatoes

Saturday: THANKSGIVING DINNER with my Family

Sunday: Leftovers

That’s how I planned the week, but I never did make it out to the grocery store to pick up a few items that I needed and so the pizza didn’t happen last night. Instead, we ate one of the batches of soup. I am not sure if I’m going to go ahead and eat the second batch on Wednesday or if we’re going to swap and have the pizza on Wednesday.

I’ll wing it when tomorrow afternoon comes.

This is why I LOVE having a meal plan. I still have flexibility to change if needs be, but on days where I have no time…it is so immensely helpful. Not to mention so much nicer for the kids. Someone mentioned that their mom did this when they were kids and that they LOVED knowing what was coming.

I seriously hear the question, “What’s for dinner?” a bazillion times a day. Okay, maybe not a bazillion….but the kids do start asking even before they have eaten breakfast. Which….honestly…is SO FRUSTRATING! because….well, I haven’t had my coffee yet and just eat your breakfast and don’t ask stupid questions….. GAH!

So as long as I plan, and then remember to write it out on the family calendar, so that the kids can see….it not only helps with staying on top of the daily meals, but it eliminates SO MANY annoying questions.

And seriously….who likes annoying questions anyway, eh?

Just Another Manic Monday.

I looooooove my Monday’s.

Monday’s are my planning and organizing days. If I actually get off my butt and plan out the week, then the pay off is HUGE. However, if I sit on my butt and do nuthin’ – I find that the rest of the week totally and completely SUCKS!

Last week I jumped back on the menu planning thingy and this week I’ve done the same. It’s not a fabulous menu, but it’s easy and more importantly it will be easy to follow and requires only that I hit the market for fruits and veggies as I already have everything on hand to do this week. That’s a bonus in my world.

I hate grocery shopping. It used to be my MOST favorite thing to do. I had my monthly budget all set out and went looking for the most amazing deals and anything that was left over at the end of the month was “mine ALLL MINE” (cackling wickedly as she rubs her hands together). And then we discovered that all that cheap processed food was hurting my kids and we switched over to an all natural diet and my previous grocery budget was shot because all that natural food is freakin’ expensive and you can’t get “deals” on that crap and you can’t even really shop at normal stores and so shopping became totally and completely NO. FUN. AT. ALL.

So, now I shop because I “HAVE TO”….and it’s either shop or listen to the children whine and whine and whine some more about how hungry they are and I already have to listen to them whine about not getting the sugar cereal or anything else “cool” and there is only so much whining I can handle before my ears start to bleed.

Back to what I was saying before, if I plan thing out at the beginning of the week, then our lives are just all around easier.

An even bigger bonus this week is that I’m not working on Tuesday as it’s our kids Sports Day and for once the “sports day teams” have worked in our favor and both of the two middle kids have sports day on the same day….I have done 2 days of sports days every year for the past 3 years and it’s getting a bit old. So when I found out that I only had the one day…..WOOOOO HOOOOO! I was thrilled. And this year we are being terribly bad and not even thinking about volunteering to help out on Sports Day….yes, we are wicked, WICKED rebels….*snort*

Anyhoooooo, this week is shaping up to be a great one….not even terribly busy until the end when it seems to creep up on us and explode into absolute chaos and mayhem…..otherwise known as my sister’s wedding – should be a FABULOUS day.

Without further ado, here is my week in point form (along with the meal schedule)

Monday – Planning Day
Vegetarian Chilli loaded with vegetable-y goodness over brown rice.

Tuesday – Sports Day
Roast Chicken with potatoes and veggies

Wednesday – Jon & I working in town (Chris’s Birthday)
Roast Beef and potatoes (in crockpot) with veggies

Thursday – At home day probably loads of packing and cleaning
Chicken Fajitas (with handmade tortilla’s – YUM)

Friday – Jon & I working in town
Sister’s Wedding Rehearsal Party

Saturday – Sister’s Wedding

Sunday – Father’s Day
I’m thinking about Bar-B- Que Steaks and Baked Potatoes (we’ll see)

If all works well, there should be no fast food at all this week…..much to Jeremy’s dismay….that kid would live off “out dinners” (as he calls them) if he could.

The Planning of the Meals

Here is this weeks meal plans….

Monday…..it’s an at home all day today

Roast Beef Dinner with Potatoes & Gravy and Carrots and Broccoli

If I feel particularly inclined I might even make Yorkshire Puddings

Tuesday….working all day then Jon is staying late for a Board Meeting

Farmer’s Sausage with Veggies

I’m going for ease tonight with Jon not around.

Wednesday……I’m working until dinner time

Ham & Rice and Peas and Carrots

Thursday…..Its another at home day for me – SOOOO NICE!

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Grilled Zucchini and Peppers

Friday…..We are working today and then have to leave for a Youth Activity by 6pm

Hamburgers

I’ll prepare as much as I can on Thursday and be ready to just put the burgers on the Bar-B Que as soon as we get home.

And there you have it. I love having a plan – it’s so easy to just follow, and there is no worrying or wondering about what is for dinner.

And now to clean my house……BLURGH!