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Continuing with the gluten-free experiment this week.  I am still avoiding most baking and definitely avoiding all weird ingredients (gums, starches, garbanzo bean flour, etc.) just because I do not want to incur the expense or invest my time learning a bunch of new skills if this isn’t a permanent way of life for us.

So, I haven’t really answered the “Why gluten-free?” question.  Mostly because the post would actually turn into a rambling series that would induce sleep in most readers.  Basically, I have had digestive issues since I was old enough to remember constant stomach aches when I was little.  And headaches.  I also weigh less than I would like – I know, terrible, right?  But, it does both concern and annoy me that I cannot seem to look like a grown-up.  There are other little things that seem to possibly be gluten sensitivity related.

And, my middle daughter (who turns five today!!) also has several issues that could be gluten related.  So, why not try?  See if we feel better.  See if we look better.

I have found several great blogs that have some amazing gluten or grain free recipes.  And, with a little creativity, but not too much effort, avoiding gluten has been pretty pain-free.

So, here is this week’s plan:

BREAKFASTS:

Still in a healing phase from “Breakfast Burnout”.  This choose-your-own-adventure thing is a little more work, but a lot less complaining.  I’ll take that trade.

  • Eggs
  • Smoothie
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola
  • Apples and PB
  • Cheese
  • Fresh Fruit

LUNCH:

  • Lettuce Wraps (PB & J or veggies and hummus), fresh veggies
  • Sloppy Joes (no buns for the gf gals), steamed corn
  • White Bean Chicken Chili, green beans
  • Bean Bowls (Refried beans with fixin’s), corn chips
  • Egg salad, fresh veggies
  • Leftovers x 2

DINNER:

Have you tried any new recipes that you loved lately?  Calico Beans are definitely one for me! Have a yummy week :)!

Join me at Menu Plan Monday for more inspiration!

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We have reached the end of the month.  And the end of the grocery money.  I do think it is a cruel coincidence that January – the month I stick to my budget like my ultra-shy-four-year-old sticks to me in public – has five Mondays.  Monday is the day I do my shopping, and I budget per month, not per week.  Darn it!

I do not feel like making do, or eating from the pantry.  I love to read other people’s blog posts when they do it, but I really don’t enjoy it myself.  Alas, I am really not giving myself the choice.  Laziness is not an option.  

Thankfully, I am not even close to out of food.  My freezers are bursting and my pantry is an amply supplied walk-in.  Yes, I do need to get real and stop whining about this.  I need to hit the freezers and pantry hard this week.  Please leave a comment and let me know if I am not alone.  And tell me any great bean recipes you have, because that is one thing I have in abundance :).

Also, I am still on the “big meal of the day at noon” kick.  It worked out so well this week!  I loved being able to tackle the bulk of the dishes in the morning and afternoon.  I also really enjoyed making a simpler meal at the end of the day, when my energy level is not at its peak.

Here is what I have come up with:

BREAKFASTS:

Smoothies (plenty of frozen berries and even some frozen bananas, and nuts in the fridge)

English Muffins (freezer)

Leftover muffins

Eggs (still have some from this past week)

Granola (all the ingredients in the pantry)

Oatmeal

LUNCHES: 

Zesty Soup, steamed green beans

Chicken and Noodles, steamed peas

Vietnamese Fried Rice, applesauce

Black Beans, avocados (still have from this past week), fresh carrots

Frijoles, cornbread, steamed corn

Lentils and Spinach, oranges

Leftovers

SUPPERS:

Baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, clementines

Tuna salad, bread (I’ll be baking), steamed peas

Waffles, Blueberry syrup, chopped nuts, fresh carrots

Pizza (happen to have three of these in my freezer :)), steamed green beans

Orange Coconut Muffins, steamed peas, fresh carrots

Leftovers x 2

Honestly, my workload should be about the same this week in the kitchen.  I do need to cook a chicken I have in my freezer and make stock as well.  I also plan on baking two loaves of bread.  Everything else will be done the day of.

What are you eating this week?

Find out what many others are planning for the week over at Menu Plan Monday!

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Ok, so my two-week grocery shopping plan needs a lot of work.  Apparently, I don’t have a really good concept of just how much food my family consumes.  I bought 20 pounds of apples less than two weeks ago, and we seriously have three left.  Thirteen pounds of potatoes, and again, three left.  Better planning is in order.

The other thing I am learning, is that I spend more time cooking than I would like.  Duh, right?  I guess we probably all feel this way.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy cooking.  It is just that with all the other responsibilities I have, cooking and baking can’t be a huge time taker for me.

I am reading Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman right now – even though our family may not qualify as large (seven people) compared to hers (eleven people) – and I am really gleaning some fantastic tips for organizing our household.

I am going to put two ideas into practice when it comes to my meal planning this week:

1. Leftovers

I need to cook larger quantities of dishes like soups, stews and beans so that I have enough for two or even three meals.  Years ago, I would make one batch of something and my husband would have leftovers for work the next day.  As our family grew, I had to make a double batch of things to have leftovers.  Now, we are at the point where I make a double batch of things and have no leftovers.  Leftovers save time!!!!  I now see that I need to start making triple or quadruple batches when I cook so that I can serve leftovers throughout the week.

2. Dinner

Dinner in the noon time, Little House on the Prairie sense.  My husband works from home during the day, and often times he works out of the house at night.  On those days, I typically serve a larger meal at lunch time – or dinner as it was called way back when.  Where my plan falls apart, is the fact that I also then feel the need to plan a larger meal for the kids and me later in the day.  So not necessary.  And, to be honest, my husband is really flexible.  I think to save myself the planning headaches, I am just going to plan a very simple breakfast, a very simple supper, and larger midday meal.  We’re bringing dinner back!

This week is also going to be an adventure for our family.  In addition to having my own five children ages eight and under, we will be watching my two nephews.  They are very energetic, very adorable little 21-month-olds.  Yep, that’s right.  Seven kids, eight and under.  It is going to be loud and messy – even more so than usual.  And we are all looking forward to it!  This is the perfect opportunity for my older two to really step up and help even more as well.  And, it will mean that I would like to spend even less time in the kitchen this coming week.

My plan = Big pots of stuff and lots of leftovers.

BREAKFAST:

Kids can choose from the following:

  • Eggs
  • Apples and Peanut Butter
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola

LUNCH (or DINNER):

  • Creamy Vegetable and Rice Soup, Steamed Broccoli
  • Beef Stew (yummy new recipe with potatoes and lots of dill)
  • Sloppy Joes (I use Laura’s yummy recipe, but add a bunch of chopped peppers and grated carrots), Steamed Corn, Steamed Peas
  • Cottage Mac and Cheese, fruit
  • Calico Beans , fruit
  • Leftovers x 2

SUPPER:

  • Refried beans, avocados, cheese, veggies
  • Baked potatoes, cheese, steamed broccoli, fruit
  • Eggs, apples, veggies
  • Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins, fruit, veggies
  • Grilled Cheese, veggies
  • Leftovers x 2

That’s my plan.  I know that the theme of my week is FLEXIBILITY, so we shall see how my plan plays out in reality :).  I am still going both wheat and dairy free to see if my nursing baby’s skin improves.  The experiment continues . . .

What do you have planned this week?  Do any of you have your bigger meal of the day at noon?

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Time for my second two-week meal plan.  I am posting one week at a time, but I decided in the New Year that I would try planning and shopping for two weeks at a time.  Hopefully, I will save both time and money this way.

So far, I think it is workingDefinitely saving time by not having to drive 25 minutes each week to do my shopping.  And, I think I am saving money – but that will take a few months to really determine.  I am buying so much stuff for the two weeks that I think I am more hesitant to buy anything not on the list!

The other new thing for me with this week’s plan is that I am going to make a serious effort to cut wheat and dairy out of my diet for a time to see if it clears up the really dry, red patches on my nursing baby’s cheeks.  My theory at this time (after trying every lotion under the sun!) is that it could be an allergy/sensitivity or teething.  Let the experiment begin . . .  What do you think?

So, here is my plan for the first of the two weeks:

BREAKFAST:

I am SO TIRED of all of my kids being SO TIRED of the things we normally have for breakfast.  This week I am just going to have a list of things they can choose from and let them choose from the list each morning.  We’ll see if this is even more irritating than their burnout on the usual :).  Oh, and one morning I do plan to make Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes (yum!).

LUNCH:

Black bean and corn salsa w/fresh tomatoes, corn chips

Lettuce Wraps, egg salad, veggies

Baked Potatoes, cheese (none for me, of course :(), broccoli, fruit

Crock Pot Spaghetti, veggies

Lentil Stew, veggies

Leftovers x 2

DINNER:

Vietnamese Fried Rice, fruit

Beef and Cabbage Soup, fruit

Taco Soup, corn chips, cheese (again – not for me), fruit

Honey Pecan Salmon, sweet potatoes, green beans

White Bean Chili, peas, fruit

Roasted Potatoes, Sausage and Green Beans, fruit

Leftovers

SNACKS:

  • Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Cheese
  • Nuts

I have previously cooked black beans in my freezer already, so I will just need to make a big crock pot full of pinto beans this week.  I also plan to make homemade chicken stock and beef stock – to use and to freeze.

What do you have planned for the week?

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When I sit down to meal plan for the week, I love knowing that all of you are going to be reading it.  It inspires me to be balanced and creative every week.  You are my meal planning accountability partners!  So, thank you :).

Here are my plans for this week:

BREAKFAST:

Yogurt, Oatmeal or Christmas Cookie Granola, fresh fruit x 4

Waffles (I bought a new mix from Country Life that is made of oats, corn and sesame seeds – should be interesting :).  I nearly broke my waffle iron last time I tried a new recipe.  It was more like dental cement than waffle.  Fingers crossed this time around . . .), blueberry syrup

Smoothies, cereal bars

Coffee Cake, fresh fruit

LUNCH:

Eggs, fresh veggies

Baked Potatoes, cheese, steamed broccoli, apples and PB

Lettuce Rolls with tuna or PB & J (I know it sounds really weird, but all four of my table food eaters really like it – definitely worth a try), cheese, fresh veggies

Pizza, fruit and veggie smoothies

Beef and Barley Stew, fresh fruit

Turkey Sandwiches and apples to share at church pot luck

Leftovers and Whatevers

DINNER:

Lentils and Spinach with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, fruit and veggie smoothies

Cottage Mac and Cheese, steamed corn

Roasted Chicken, Garlic Carrot Potatoes, steamed peas

Lemon Tuna, steamed green beans, fresh fruit

Cream of Chicken soup served over mashed potatoes (hoping to resurrect the potatoes from Wednesday night – we shall see)

Mexican Mix-up (beef, bean and corn tortilla casserole thingy), fresh veggies

Christmas Party with my husband’s side of the family!  I’ll be bringing cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and Cracker Toffee.

‘Tis the season for celebrating and holiday parties.  Which means it is also the season for holiday eating.  Anyone else starting to be overwhelmed by sugar :)?

Don’t forget – all this week you can still enter (multiple times :)!) to win a book on food dehydrating, an all natural lotion and a handmade bar of soap!

Happy eating!  Are you trying any new recipes this week or sticking to the standbys as the holiday craziness ramps up?

If you are feeling adventerous, head over to Menu Pan Monday and look around.

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Ah, Sunday night.  A little later on Sunday night than I would prefer to be typing this post.  No ones fault but my own though, because I refused to put down The Help before 10:00pm.  SO GOOD.  Now I just need to not pick it up again before I hit the pillow tonight!

So, here is my plan for the week:

BREAKFAST:

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits with Maple icing, fresh fruit

Baked Apple Oatmeal, fresh fruit

Cereal bars and smoothies

Peach Raspberry Granola Cobbler, Banana Walnut Ice Cream

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats, fresh fruit

Christmas Cookie Granola, yogurt, fresh fruit x 2

LUNCH:

Baked potatoes, broccoli, apples

Eggs, fresh veggies

Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup, fresh veggies

Andrew’s Muffins (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip), fresh veggies

Lunch at my grandma’s house to celebrate Christmas 🙂

Leftovers

Granola Bars, Church Pot Luck

DINNER:

Chicken and Broccoli Rice, Steamed Corn, fresh veggies

Turkey Wild Rice Soup, fruit

Lasagna, Steamed Green Beans

White Chicken Chili, fresh veggies, fruit

Black Bean Taco Bowls

Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup and Christmas Movie!!

Leftovers

Are you trying any new recipes this week?  Doing any Christmas baking?

For more meal ideas, head over to Menu Plan Monday and browse!

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I’m glad to be back after my impromptu blogging break.  With a sick kiddo, hosting Thanksgiving and decorating the house for Christmas last week, blogging took a back seat.  We’re back in the routine of school and everyday life this week, and here is the plan for eating:

BREAKFAST:

Oatmeal, yogurt or granola x5 (not feeling terribly creative in the breakfast realm this week :))

Bagels and cream cheese x 2

LUNCH:

Coconut Orange muffins (my first experiment with coconut flour – I’ll be posting about these later today), baked beans, steamed green beans

PB & J on Yogurt Bread, fresh veggies

Millet, Spinach and Sausage (must use millet I bought . . .), fruit

Baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, cheese, fruit

Hot dogs, fresh veggies, apples

Leftovers x 2 (Turkey Soup and Mexican Chili Dip)

DINNER:

Turkey Barley Soup, fruit

Mexican Chili Dip, Corn Chips, carrots

Black beans, brown rice, fresh salsa and guacamole

Broiled Tilapia, sweet potatoes, steamed peas

Chili Burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados, steamed corn

Pizza Waffles (post to come later in the week on these as well) and Christmas movie night!

Leftovers & Whatevers

As I am typing this, I am wondering when exactly I think I am going to find the time to do all of this from-scratch cooking and baking!  I am hosting a party on Friday evening, and I have baking and food prep for that as well.  Who knows, maybe I’ll just scrap the whole plan and buy treats from Trader Joe’s.  My sanity sometimes trumps my budget.  Just being honest :).

What are you planning to eat this week?

Hop over to Menu Plan Monday to find new recipes to try!

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