Yesterday I spent several minutes planning the menu for this week. It quickly spilled over into planning almost the whole month out. Once I realized I had almost everything filled in I was shocked at how easy it was.
During the months of November and December I try to not be very busy, but instead to enjoy family and the time we have together. One of my favorite ways to do that is to have the menu filled in as much as possible. It allows me to look ahead, make sure I have items in the pantry to bake with (we also like to try new recipes and make desserts), and take advantage of several sales which tend to happen during this time of year.
Using Plan To Eat has really helped streamline the meal planning process. It has also save me so much time and frustration. I have said before and will say it again, this is one ‘servant’ I am so glad I have employed. If you are looking for a bit of help, before the holiday rush overwhelms you, I would highly suggest you check out their website. Their 30-day trial offer is a great way to test out the program while using it for a few weeks. It may take some time to enter your recipes (though you do not have to do that right away), but once they are in, there is no need to do it over again. After 2.5 years of using Plan To Eat most of my recipes are ones that were up in a long time ago, or automatically loaded by providing the internet address to a source of the recipe.
I have been doing fairly well at packing George’s lunches, though I find he is not a fan of the same thing several days in a row. This has happened a few times when it came down to frozen left over pizza slices or peanut and jelly sandwiches. Today I ‘splurged’ and picked up a few a few prepackaged lunches. Between a sale and coupons it came to about $1.35 each. These are ones he can grab on his own, along with a juice box and a side of choice (apple sauce, peanut butter crackers, etc.), with no need for me to heat up the food or cut something up.
There have been a few times he has come home and mentioned the other kids making fun of his food, usually on days when it is something a bit unusual for the ‘normal’ Midwestern diet. I doubt many other kids take curry and rice to school, or Kheema or Beef Bourguinon. 🙂 After asking a few different probing questions I found out that it tended to be one kid doing so. I suggested he ignore the kid, offer some of his food to him, or talk to someone else. I also took note and try to make it a mix of foods of average Midwestern fare and some of the other tasty dishes we eat here at home. While I will not let some kid at school determine what I feed MY kid, I also do not want to intentionally make George’s life harder.
This week is a mix of being at home all day or gone all day. Tomorrow I have to take George somewhere, leaving at about 6 a.m and getting home at about 4 p.m. My husband is taking the day off work to spend with Jack. I am not sure what to plan for lunch, but am going to try a new slow cooker recipe for supper – meatball soup. I have high hopes for it, but will hold off on singing praises till we actually try it. 🙂
This past week George and Jack have helped with two different dishes in the kitchen – homemade doughnut and chocolate mousse. They may seem like opposite ends of the skill spectrum, but really are not that far apart. The boys are getting better and are a bit older, so I am trying to let them do more while I still supervise. I did not realize how much they have been helping till we were looking back through old photos. I have pictures of them at ages 4 and 5 helping make muffins at the table. That episode almost made me say “never again”, but time has a way of making you forget little details like that. Good thing, as my goal is for them to be able to help with the cooking when they reach the teen years.
The first recipe was made by frying up canned biscuits then topping them with icing, also from a can. I really was not sure how they would do around the hot oil, but did fairly well with the reminders to “set the bottom in and lay it over.”
As for the Chocolate Mousse, the skill of melting chocolate chips was a new skill for them. However, they both are good at using the beaters, so whipping up the cream was no problem. We have talked about folding things in before and played around with it a few times. I will admit to doing the finishing mix/folding of the mouse to make sure there were not pockets of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl. Their favorite part of this recipe? Clean up. They ‘had’ to clean up the beaters, spoons and pot used for melting chocolate. It was a very important step that they took seriously, making sure to get every spot off. 🙂
- Cream of Wheat
- Eggs, Toast, Fruit
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
- Eat Out
- Sandwiches/eat out
- Eating out (traveling)
- Company Pot Roast
- Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, rice, veggetable
- Fajitas, rice, sides
- Steak, cole slaw, potato salad, chocolate mousse
- Lemon Fish, rice, broccoli
- Albondigas meatball soup
- Falafel, rice, vegetable
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