Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ha! I should have known that putting up meal plans like I was some put together housewife would backfire on me!
Literally the day after I posted all those meal planning blogs, my life has taken a steady decline. Starting with a family case of the nasty, 24 hour stomach bug from hell. Which came right in the middle of me cleaning out all my closets, starting to get in the habit of working out, and finally feeling like I wasn't drowning. Now Barclay is sick for the second time in 2 weeks, and once again I feel like I'm drowning.
I seriously hate Januarys. The past 3 have pretty much sucked.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meal Plan 4

Randomly I chose meal plan number 4 this week. I had some ingredients on hand that it called for and I wanted some enchiladas.
You can see the meal plan HERE
I thought I'd post the links to the recipes I liked, shortcuts, and comments about them. Because I always do better with someone TELLING me about a recipe versus just reading it.
Cinnamon Almond Fruit Dip...found on pinterest.
It was YUM! Barclay ate it ( so like 1,000 bonus points). It opens up a world a possibilities. I will say I was not so much a fan of almond butter. Maybe I put too much? It just tasted a little too nutty for me. I think next time (and their WILL be a next time-because I have half a thing of ricotta and because we liked), I'll blend up a strawberry in it instead of the almond butter. We ate this with apples and there is a lot left over.
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese...found on pinterest
I saw this and immediately thought of my husband. He has a strange hankering for cheap, frozen jalapeno poppers a good bit. I hate buying them so I saw this as a good, fast, easy..."might become a staple in our house" meal. He was skeptical (as he usually is about me "not following a recipe". But the verdict was a resounding, "Can you make me another one?"
I did not roast the jalapenos as she suggested because, it would have added 30 minutes to my prep time and because I had pickled ones already. I also ended up using potato chips instead of tortilla chips because that is what I had. I think the potato chips were probably better!
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese...found on pinterest
This was very yummy and easy. Barclay is allergic to eggs so that was a bummer that he couldn't partake:-/ My bad for not noticing beforehand. Only thing was it was so rich that I felt like I needed to eat just a bit of it. So unless I'm taking it to a church potluck, I'll probably not make it again.
Chipotle Sour Cream Enchiladas...found on pinterest
YUMMY! Loved it! Made a huge mess in my kitchen that I didn't clean up for 14 hours but it was worth it.
I used rotisserie chicken and just coated it instead of cooking chicken breasts. Super yum. If I'm ever in a pinch to cook some quick enchiladas, I'll probably just freehand the inside of the tortillas and top with the yummy sauce (which I already have frozen)
Since the chipotle pepper in abado sauce came in a can and I only needed 1 and there were like 6, I just made up several batches of the sauce and froze it.
*One main thing I need to state is that I never buy chicken or veggie stock. I just boil celery, salt, pepper and onions and/or rotisserie carcase. And use the juice. I usually just make it when it is needed in a recipe (seriously takes like 15 minutes) and I freeze whatever's left over for another day when I'll need it.
Turkey Chili...pinterest
I have made so many turkey chili recipes and have never not liked one. This one was particularly yum and I made it in 10 minutes. Literally. I top with sharp cheese. Barclay actually ate this one and it didn't involve fruit or hotdogs (10,000 bonus points!).

Japanese Chicken Aunt Robin's Recipe
It is lettuce
Sliced Almonds
Poppy Seeds
Chow Mein Noodles (the dry ones in the Asian section)
green onions
and chicken (I usually use rotisserie because it's fast)

and the dressing is:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 sugar
salt and pepper

It's a staple around here.

12 Meal Plans

Click on the numbers to view meal plans:

*I did not have to the time to make sure that these were perfect. Once in a while I would leave an ingredient out on my grocery list because I knew that it was a basic that I would have on hand. And once and a while I'd see a short cut and decide to take it (aka rotisserie chicken all the time;-)

New Kind of Meal Plan

Here are some facts about me and my cooking skills:
-I'm a food snob.
-I refuse to eat any fast food. Literally never.
-I only eat chicken as meat (they are the least cute of animals to eat and I have a big imagination)
-I am a GOOD cook. I know it. I can cook without recipes, I can make pretty much anything, I have only cooked maybe 3 things in my entire life that I didn't like.
-I am terrible at baking, must be because I rarely follow a recipe.
-The hardest part of cooking for me is the grocery shopping.
-I am a MESSY cook.

I try to be little Susie Homemaker and every Monday morning with a fresh new week ahead of me, I try to sit down and make a lovely little meal plan. With my creative ADD and the millions of recipes at my fingertips, I usually waste an hour and then end up being too tired to go grocery shopping, then I end up either making pb and j or we go out or get take out. Usually by Wednesday I have it "together" enough to get some stuff for some real food but it's always a hassle.

So I had a brilliant idea to set aside a few hours and just have fun with it and make 12 weeks of meal plans and grocery lists. It was fun! It is relatively organized and I think it just might work. I ended up making the lists on google docs in a spreadsheet. They are labeled 1-12. I figured I can just look over them and pick whatever looks good and go with it. Because of stuff I already had in my kitchen, I chose meal plan 4 this week. It was easy! I printed it off, grocery shopped, and returned home without any brain cells lost and instead of returning home with a lot of random stuff that looked good to me I had enough stuff for about 5 meals and snacks. And I think I only spent about $10 more than usual.

Here's the thing, if you're looking for meal plans to feed your family of 5 on $25 a week...look elsewhere and remember back at the top of this post when I declared my food snobbery. It's not just me! If I don't cook something truly yummy and satisfying, my husband will refuse to eat it and go order something out instead. I think keeping things a little more exciting will keep us out of restaurants and in our home.

I decided to keep a running spreadsheet of basics that I want to always keep in my kitchen. That way, before I run out the door to grocery shop, I can pull it up on my iphone and do a quick run through to make sure we aren't out of everything.
For right now, my basics list is this:
Almond Milk
Juice+spinach for green juice
Sharp Cheese
Peanut Butter
Chicken Frozen
Red Sauce
Hot dogs
Stuff for bread
Olive Oil
Brown Sugar
White Sugar
Lemon Juice
salt and pepper
soy sauce
Curry powder
balsamic vinegar
greek seasoning

As I said, it is on my google docs spreadsheet so it's easy to change and always available. I find myself updating it a lot lately.

Also, I decided a realistic meal plan for our family is NOT 21 meals a day, because we will want to go to our favorite Mexican place, or join friends for dinner. And I also know that we will probably eat leftovers from these meals as meals. So instead I came up with this list:
*2 Snacks-This is 2 different snacks that will be new, fun, and easy to pull out when the kids or I get hungry
*2 New Meal Plans-Why not?! There are SO many meals out there to try! I've pinned like 250 of them but I still feel like I'll never be able to cook them all!
*One easy meal-like fried egg sandwich, tacos, turkey burgers (basically something I can make without a recipe)
*One soup-Noah hates soup with a passion and I love it. I love to reheat it for lunch and don't mind eating it nearly every day.
*One salad-Not to brag, but I make a mean salad! I am not scared to put all sorts of random things on it and there are so many cool dressings, toppings I want to try. One of my secrets to a good salad is to mix 2 dressings. One creamy and one oily.
*Fruits and Veggies-just whatever looks good or is not super expensive.

We tend to like to snack a lot and we are both not into complicated meals. For the most part I don't worry about having a meat, a starch and a veggie. #1.I make quite the mess anyways so it cuts down on the mess. #2.We usually don't need a complicated meal. #3.I wont be overwhelmed with cooking and keeping 3 things hot.
So unless we are having new company, we tend to literally eat one thing.
We do eat fruits and veggies, it just tends to be more for snacks.

So there you have it. I very unorganized, very doable, FUN meal PLAN. I'll try to post my spreadsheets for you to look over in case anyone else wants to try.

New Years Goals...A little late.

I am so thankful that I have a husband who is goal oriented. Even if he doesn't bring up our goal making at the most inopportune times;-) aka...2 seconds after loading up for an 8 hour trip with two fussy kids. Still for the most part, we go over our life, year, week goals nearly every Sunday. It's fun to check things off and to keep goals at the front of our minds.

So I'm not one much for New Years Resolutions but I thought I'd do it anyways...since it's, you know, almost the 8th!;-)

1.Keep my boys alive and healthy.
aka don't leave Barclay alone in the room with Sullivan in case rage over takes him and he either
a. chokes
e.a lot of other mean things that make me sad:-(

2.Become hot
-either get pregnant so that this belly of mine is actually sexy;-)
-or get to the point that clothes look decent on me...and I'd like to wear boots next fall

3.Cook more so we don't eat out (for financial reasons and for MENTAL reasons. Because eating out with Barclay George is never really the setting for enjoying food or friends)
-meal plan
-meal plan yummy food (post coming soon about this!)

4.Be patient
-I am starting to get to the point after hard days where I literally scare myself with how impatient and frustrated I get. I do NOT want my boys to be scared of me.

5.Make exercising a priority.
-basically it is my last priority after:
a.feeding my family
b.keeping them alive
d.doing facebook
e.doing pinterest shopping
h.hanging out with friends
i.watching TV
j.editing photos
l.getting dressed
m.washing clothes
n.drinking coffee
p.having random dance parties with my boys
q.finding good deals on craigslist
r.painting or creating art
u.bathing for fun
v.changing diapers
w.going to church
x.taking care of my dad
and I'm out of letters...

The only things that come UNDER exercising is
-brushing my hair

So basically I can always find an excuse not to! I am good at exercising. I'm decently in shape. But I'm just not used to making it something important in my life and I want that to change. I want to have the guts to tell someone, "Actually, as much as I'd love to meet you for impromptu coffee, I need to get some exercise. Want to walk with me?"

So those are just a few of my new years goals. What are yours?