Posts Tagged ‘meal plan’

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:


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


  • 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


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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Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten-free and dairy-free)

I survived “eat from the pantry” week!!  Do they have t-shirts for that?  Am I the only one who does not enjoy a break from grocery shopping?

Anyway, I took my usual trip to Costco and Trader Joe’s today instead of tomorrow.  Some of the kids are a little sick, and I am not sure if my sidekick (she does not prefer the title “mother’s helper” :)) is coming tomorrow.  And I do not want to go one more day without grocery shopping.

Always a problem when I go to the store hungry.  Even bigger problem when I am hungry and I have been eating from the pantry all week.  Needless to say, we have plenty of food in the house now!  And those treasured Trader Joe dark chocolate PB cups are mine again.

My middle child and I are still avoiding wheat for now, so all of our meals are gluten-free this week.  And I don’t want to buy a bunch of weird new ingredients, so this is gluten-free with plain old food.  Not too hard actually, if you are used to making many things from scratch anyway.  And you don’t mind eating a hot dog without a bun :).


– Still letting kids choose from a list of options until we get over the breakfast burnout phase:


Smoothie (GF girl and I have been enjoying one of these almost every morning – YUM!!)



Apples and PB

Leftover GF muffins (Orange Coconut or Banana Nut Chocolate Chip)

Yogurt (plain, sweetened with berries or maple syrup)


– Still going with my “big meal of the day at noon” plan.  Works well for Jason’s schedule and managing the dishes.

PB & J Lettuce Wraps (I know this sounds so weird, but all of the kids like them!  Try it.  I swear.), cheese, veggies and hummus

Hot Dogs (the no nitrate/nitrite version), steamed green beans, apples (we GF gals will just go without the bun.  No biggie for us.)

Chicken Divan, oranges

Deviled Eggs (otherwise known as “egg boats” around here), fresh veggies and hummus, apples and PB

Split Pea Soup, apples

Leftovers x 2


Lemon Tuna and Rice, steamed peas

Baked Potatoes, steamed broccoli, cheese

Bean Bowls, oranges

Pizza Spaghetti and Movie Night (This is my GF substitute for pizza and movie night this week:  Rice spaghetti, topped with shredded Italian cheeses, spaghetti sauce with more “pizza-y” seasonings, sautéed mushrooms and sausage, and parmesan cheese on top.  Who is going to miss pizza?), oranges

Chili Burgers with lettuce, avocado and tomato, corn chips, apples (bun-less for the GF gals) This is my soon to be five-year-old’s favorite meal for her birthday :)!!  Ice cream sundaes for dessert since I will not be attempting a GF cake at this point.

Leftovers x 2

That is my week!  What do you have planned?

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday!

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Welcome to my second post in a short series about different meal planning systems that might inspire you to actually develop a system that works for you.  You can read about the Theme System here.  Today, I am introducing the Rotating Weeks method.

This one takes less thought than the theme system, but also has less flexibility.  This system works beautifully for people who have fairly predictable schedules from one week to the next.  The idea behind this system is to come up with six weeks of meals all at once (or start with four if that seems less overwhelming), and then just rotate through them.  When you reach the end of your six weeks – just start over at the beginning!

A meal at the court of Emperor Ferdinand I,

Image via Wikipedia

Here is what you do:

  • Write/type out six separate lists, Sunday – Saturday, and give some thought to your schedule.  Evening activities, church, Bible studies, etc. need to be considered.
  • Once you have your empty lists ready, and your schedule in mind – start filling in the blanks!
  • Don’t feel pressured to make every meal differentwho does that?!  If you have pizza every Friday night, then fill in all your Fridays.  Always make a roast on Sundays?  Fill it in.  Don’t forget to include eating out if that is a regular part of your week.
  • If you are having trouble coming up with enough variety you have two options.  Eat the same thing often :), or start searching for new recipes!
  • When you have all of your main dishes figured out, go back and add sides.  This will make creating your grocery list a breeze, and require even less thought from you in the future!

There are several reasons I love this system.  First, once you put the work in to create the lists – you don’t have to do it every week!!  You can also be intentional about planning date nights, family fun nights, nights when your kids cook, etc.  If it is on the rotation, you’ll plan for it.

Another bonus if you use this system is freezer cooking.  If you are making lasagna for tonight’s meal, it is extremely easy to make two at the same time and put one in the freezer.  You know you’ll be eating it again fairly soon because it is on the rotation!  No more freezer meals getting lost and never eaten with this system.

Stockpiling is also simplified if you know what you are making for the next six, twelve, eighteen weeks.  If an item is on sale for the rock-bottom price, you can buy with confidence knowing how much to buy and that you are sure to actually use it!

When you find your groove with this system, I strongly encourage you to create two different rotations – one for Fall/Winter and one for Spring/Summer.  If you do this, you will be sure to include the seasonal items we all crave and you’ll be ready to pull out the other plan when the seasons change.

At the beginning of your week, check your meal plan and make any minor adjustments (company coming so make a swap with another night’s meal, somebody wants their favorite meal on their birthday).  Create your shopping list for things you don’t have in the pantry or freezer, add breakfast and lunch items and you are off!


Next up – the Three Meals A Day System.

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One more week of school before our Thanksgiving break.  I am really looking forward to our line-up of great books and activities this week.  Here is what we have planned for meals:


We’ll be having a fresh fruit and veggie smoothie every morning this week and one of the following:

Yogurt, oatmeal or granola x 5

Pumpkin Pancakes, Maple Icing

Leftover Granola Bars


Egg Boats (otherwise known as Deviled Eggs :)), fresh veggies and dip

Hot dogs, fresh veggies and dip

PB & J, fresh veggies and dip

Granola Bars, fresh veggies and dip

Leftover Pinto Bowls

Leftover soup, lettuce wraps x 2

I will also be making some sort of apple dish for church potluck lunch.


Tuna, Spinach and Rice (the original recipe is vegetarian), steamed green beans, fruit

Black Bean and Barley Stew, steamed broccoli, fruit

Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Rice, steamed peas, fruit

Pinto Bean Bowls (These are way easier for my kids to eat than tacos.  Pinto beans in a bowl, with taco fixin’s on top, and eat with corn chips.), fruit

Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans and Sausage, fruit

Chicken and Rice Soup, steamed broccoli, fruit

Leftovers and Whatevers (This is our standard fare on Sunday nights.  We don’t get home from church until a little after 4:00, and this is a great way to make room in the fridge for Monday’s shopping trip!)

Are you cooking any of your favorites this week?  Leave a recipe or your link in the comments!  See more menu plans for the week here

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Apparently I am feeling adventurous this week because I have chosen several new recipes to try.  This may not sound daring at first, but when you discover that I have five children ages seven and under, you realize that there is a high probability that my extra efforts will be greeted with icy stares.  Consequently, I will be forced to either have hungry children (read crabby children) or have plan B waiting in the wings.  Bring it on. Here’s hoping at least one is a keeper.


Vanilla Spice Smoothie, cereal bars

Oatmeal or homemade granola x 2

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Icing

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Yogurt with fresh fruit x 2


Tuna Salad and crackers, peas

Egg Cups with spinach and pesto, apples and peanut butter

Black Bean Quesadillas with tomatoes, green beans (this one never happened last week)

Turkey Roll-Ups (no nitrate turkey slices with various things rolled up in them – cheese slices, apple slices, avocado, tomatoes, homemade ranch dressing – to avoid bread), fruit smoothie

Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans, homemade oatmeal bread, fruit and nut smoothie

PB & J (easy lunch for my mom to serve while we are selling at the farmers market), fruit, carrot sticks

Church Pot Luck – I’ll bring No Bake Energy Bites and Apples with Caramel Dip (mixture of cream cheese and sucanat)


Green Rice Casserole, steamed broccoli, fruit

Chili Burgers (make a double batch and freeze half) with avocado and tomato, steamed corn

Minestrone Soup, oatmeal bread, fruit

Black Beans, brown rice, spinach and fruit salad

Italian Beef and Beans (make a double batch and freeze half), oatmeal bread, steamed green beans

Tuna, Spinach and Rice Casserole (make a triple batch and freeze two), fruit

Leftovers and Whatevers

As you can see by my notes, I plan to cook extra of a few dishes this week to freeze for the coming weeks.  I have never tried big batch freezer cooking because I can’t ever seem to make a block of time I can devote to it.  But, I would love to have the freezer stocked with a few quick meals to fall back on in case life gets crazy.  As it tends to do.  I’ll see if this method works for me.

Now, if I could get my grocery shopping into a routine.  Any suggestions?

Join me over at I’m an Organizing Junkie and Keeper of the Home for inspiration and to browse other meal plans.

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