Nov 272015
 

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With all the activities going on the next few days, I did not want you to forget about the rare sale going on at Plan to Eat.  50% off yearly subscription.  For only $19.50 for the whole year, which works out to $1.60 per month, you can have a quick, easy to use meal planning system right at your finger tips.

This sale runs from November 27 – 30.  Plan To Eat does not run sales often, and this is a good one, so do not let it pass you by.  Happy meal planning!

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Nov 222015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

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. 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.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 

Yesterday we went over the river and through the woods, though not quite to Grandmother’s house.  The snow was even falling fairly well, though not drifting as it was too wet.  We met my parents in a town that is a bit over half-way for them so they could pick up Jack and take him home with them till Thanksgiving.  He was shaking with such excitement I was pretty sure he was levitating off the ground at certain points.

The reason he went to his Grandparent’s house is due to George having some oral surgery work done early in the week.  I was all prepared to take Jack with me, which would have been a test of my Supermom skills to keep his hands out of trouble and deal with an anxious/drugged-up George, or find a babysitter for that morning when my mom offered to keep him for a few days.  That may not seem so unusual of an offer except that they live several hours away and already have a house full of people at the moment.  We asked Jack what he thought … and the levitating began.  The smile on his face and the visible shaking with excitement were answer enough.

This morning I awoke thinking about the meal plan.  I made up our plan a few weeks ago, knowing that what I entered was not really what we were going to be eating.  However, I also knew that it is super easy to rearrange the meals to fit what would end up being our final plans for this week.  It took me longer the write the last two paragraphs than it did to rearrange the meals for this week.  Have I mentioned how easy Plan To Eat is?

With George having work in his mouth, he will not be able to chew or suck.  It also means us being gone from very early, with him not being able to eat breakfast, till after lunch.  That day is pretty well shot meal wise.  Soup it is.

Then comes the Thanksgiving Holiday.  There will be a lot of visiting family taking place.  I will make a few dishes in there for pitch-in, though nothing that I am going to plan out.  I am thinking of trying chocolate cherry brownies.  They sound really good in my head and I am pretty sure I can create a recipe for them.  Since it is good to test a recipe before offering it to others, I think I will try some Double Chocolate Cherry Zucchini Muffins for breakfast on Wednesday.  I will let you know how they go.

Breakfast

  1. Shake
  2. Cream of Wheat
  3. Traveling/On Your Own
  4. Muffins
  5. Visiting Family
  6. Visiting Family
  7. Visiting Family

Lunch

  1. Eat Out
  2. Sandwiches
  3. Traveling
  4. Tangy Black Bean Soup
  5. Visiting Family
  6. Visiting Family
  7. Visiting Family

Supper

  1. Sweet-n-tangy Pork Loin, rice, steamed carrots
  2. Superfast Salisbury Steak, rice, vegetables
  3. Tomato Soup
  4. Visiting Family
  5. Visiting Family
  6. Visiting Family
  7. Visiting Family


Linked up with: This Week For DinnerOrgJunkie, TheModestMom

This post contains affiliate links.

Nov 212015
 

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I woke up this morning at 4-something a.m.  However, this time it was my fault.  I told myself last night that I wanted to get up at 4:30 to finish the first coat of paint on the garage ceiling.  Half of it was done last night but I was so tired my bed sounded so much better.  By 8 p.m. I was asleep.  So … 4-something I woke up. Realized I was still tired and went back to sleep for an hour.

Now, I can do math and I know that if I fell asleep at 8 p.m., 5 a.m. means I was able to sleep for almost 9 hours.  That is doing great.  For the past several years 6 hours was all I was going on; not bad, but not great either.  So, when 5 a.m came around I got up.

Intending to tease a friend on Facebook last night about their incoming snow, I had gone to check the weather.  With the news off most days, I take things as they come and not worry about every little drop in temperatures.  Well, unless it is the first or last frost, then it is important.  🙂  That is when I saw snow in the forecast for us today.  Not what I was hoping to have happen.  My plans to paint were for the garage.  With new garage doors and actual insulation in most of the walls, the garage is finally warmer than it has been previous winters.  Does that mean it will stay above 50 degrees if it falls below 30 degrees outside?  I am not sure.  So let’s not test it out with wet paint on the ceiling, okay?

As I laid there thinking about what I could do, I realized I had not shared the great upcoming Black Friday Weekend Sale that Plan To Eat is going to have in a few days.  I really want to share this with you as they do not have sales that often.

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November 27th – November 30th, all yearly subscriptions for Plan To Eat will be half off.  This means that for $19.50 (or $1.60 a month) you will have access to an easy meal planning site where you can even share your recipes with others, or find new one yourself. They will even create a shopping list for your from the recipes you plan to eat during certain time periods.  How easy is that?!

I have found that I save at least 30 minutes each week in writing up our meal plans, which include all 3 meals.  If I sit down to write out the months meal plans it is even more time saved.  I no longer have to work with an Excel spreadsheet that, while helpful and sufficient, really was clunky and left much to be desired.

Not only have the yearly subscriptions on sale, you can also buy an unlimited gift subscriptions at only $15.50 each.  They would make a great gift for a busy household, someone who lives by themselves and may want help ‘diversifying’ their meals, a young couple starting out setting up home, or those who are going through some hard times and are looking for ways to save money or time. Gift subscriptions to Plan To Eat can be given at any time (like Christmas!) and will not begin until the recipient redeems the gift.

I was hesitant when I initially tried out this service maid of mine.  At the time, it was not at a point in the year to take advantage of this deal.  It was the end of Spring and I needed a way to keep the meal plan under control without taking up so much of my time.  Plan To Eat’s free 30 day trial showed me how easy this was to use, how clunky my previous attempts were, and how much time I could save.  I hemmed and hawed, then asked my husband, “It would cost just over $3 a month.  What do you think?”  He asked if it made my life easier, if $3 was worth my time each month.  The answer was a resounding “Yes!”  I have not looked back.

Over the past few years, I could tell the months where I did not take as much time to meal plan.  How?  Our grocery bill jumped significantly.  I was amazed.  Did meal planning really make that much of a difference to our finances?  Obviously it did.  It meant I knew what was in the house, specifically what I needed to get at the store, and how to use what I did end up buying.

“What about the free 30-day trial? I have one/planning to get one/just heard about it?”  Great question.  You can still sign-up for the free 30 day trial AND get the yearly subscription deal.  They will not overlap, but instead flow seamlessly from one to the other, with your yearly subscription beginning at the end of the trial date.

“I already have a subscription, but it is not set to end till ___.”  That is okay, too.  You can still take advantage of this deal, which will then extend your subscription expiration date by a year.

If you are on the fence, like I was at one point, about taking on this maid, I would suggest signing up for the free 30-day trial.  With a week to go before the Black Friday Weekend Sale, you will be able to test out the site, plan this week’s meals, and see if it is something that will help you out in the upcoming year.

Happy meal planning!

 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through one of the links and purchase something, I will receive a small percent back at no added cost to you.  If you feel uncomfortable doing this, you can go directly to their site by searching for them online or typing in their address.  Thanks for helping support this blog.

Nov 092015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

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.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

This past weekend we met up with my parents for an overnight trip.  It was something quick that we were both heading to and were able to join up at different times.

Friday night we all stayed at the same hotel and were able to have supper together.  While waiting for our food, Dad shared some stories from his past as well as his parents.  I had mentioned how much I like fish, though have not made it while married as my husband does not like the smell of it.  (Guess what I had just ordered for my meal. Yup, fish.)

“Your Grandmother is not a fan of fish, so we never at it when we were kids.  See, when she was younger, they would set out fishing poles on the way to school.  When they were headed home afterwards they would go get them.  Usually there were enough fish for supper that night.  They did this pretty much every day.  However, your Grandmother has a weak stomach and they made them clean their own fish.  I assume she at it then, but once she grew up she never ate fish again. She can’t stand it.

Your Grandpa’s parents raised beef.  They would butcher the cows and sell the meat.  But this was during the Great Depression, so they sold all the best pieces.  What was left, the pieces no one else would buy, is what they got to eat.  Your Grandfather was not a fan of beef after that.

We ate a lot of chicken growing up, usually fried and on Sundays.  Also bologna.  The rest of the week there were a lot of bean dishes.”

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I had never heard either of those stories.  I knew both families were pretty poor, the whole rural area was in fact.  I also knew that my grandpa’s parents (I think) grew tobacco, but I did not know a whole lot more.  Grandma had a fairly large garden, but they also had 7 kids over the years so you would need a large garden to even make enough to help supplement your meals. 

It also made me think of how we organize our meals.  I try to have several meatless or simple meals during the week, but it is not because of lack of availability of food or out of necessity to stretch meals to feed everyone.  It is because we know it is good for us, it saves money on the grocery budget and it makes things take not as long every day.  This also explained some of the simplicity in recipes in the area where I grew up.  At the time I did not give it much thought.  After marrying someone who grew up in an area that was along a spice trade route and had a completely different food culture my recipes began to expand.

For our kids, I try to give them a wide sampling of foods.  This includes the simpler dishes I grew up eating – tuna patty with a side of mac-n-cheese, grits and cream of wheat, braunschweiger and bologna, and fried liver.  That last one I labeled as “a specialty of Grandma’s that she will have to make especially for you when you go to visit” as I really don’t like liver fried.  It is a main ingredient in braunschweiger, which I really do like, but can not stand the texture of it when fried. Hey, we all have our little oddities.

bowl of potato salad

Yesterday was taken up by a gathering here at our house.  While it prompted me to spend Saturday and part of Sunday getting the house back to a level of decluttered-ness and cleanliness that I thought was appropriate for company, it left no time for meal planning.  However, I was not worried.  I remembered that I had planned out most of the month’s meals last week.  What a blessing I had given myself.

Breakfast

  1. Shake
  2. Cereal
  3. Eggs, toast, fruit
  4. Cottage cheese and flax pancakes
  5. Shake
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Pancakes, bacon

Lunch

  1. Eat Out Spicy Pan Fried Sirloin Steak, oven baked potatoes, green beans, beets
  2. Greek Meatballs, rice, green beans
  3. Salad
  4. Pizza
  5. Beef Bourguinon
  6. Meatballs, gravy, rice, vegetables
  7. Sticky Blackberry Barbecued Pork Ribs

Supper

  1. Sandwiches, leftovers
  2. Chicken and Dumplings
  3. Veggie and Cilantro Hummus Sandwiches
  4. Lentil Quinoa Salad
  5. French Onion Soup, sandwiches
  6. TBD
  7. TBD


Linked up with: This Week For DinnerOrgJunkie, TheModestMom

This post contains affiliate links.

Nov 022015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

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.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

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.

bowl of beef curry

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. 🙂

Measuring items for cooking

Breakfast

  1. Shake
  2. Cream of Wheat
  3. Eggs, Toast, Fruit
  4. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
  5. Shake
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Traveling

Lunch

  1. Eat Out
  2. Sandwiches/eat out
  3. Eating out (traveling)
  4. Company Pot Roast
  5. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, rice, veggetable
  6. Fajitas, rice, sides
  7. Traveling

Supper

  1. Steak, cole slaw, potato salad, chocolate mousse
  2. Lemon Fish, rice, broccoli
  3. Albondigas meatball soup
  4. Falafel, rice, vegetable
  5. Leftovers
  6. Traveling
  7. Traveling


Linked up with: This Week For DinnerOrgJunkie, TheModestMom

This post contains affiliate links.

Oct 222015
 

 

outdoor education campingGeorge’s school has parent-teacher conferences Friday, therefore he has no school.  My husband has a paper or two to write, as well as several to read this weekend.  The weather has been nice lately, so I though I would take the kids to a local park to go camping.  I could ‘rough it’ a bit with them, allowing them to learn different skills without my husband being focused on, well, having to focus and be comfortable.  The weather is not too hot nor too cold at this moment.  We may do some winter camping this year, but I am going to hold off on saying for sure one way or the other.

Okay, perhaps ‘roughing it’ is pretty overstated.  We will still have a tent, a lantern, fire starters, maybe even a camping stove.  I plan to take the cooler and flashlights, and a shower house will be nearby.  It isn’t like we are hiking into a national forest … we will work up that.  🙂

So, tonight (Wednesday) I figured I should go online to make sure the campground is not full or such.  I felt silly doing it, as this particular campground is often more empty than full.  Turns out it was a good move.  Two sites were available for reservation!  Hmm.  Not exactly the solitude I thought we would have.  Okay.  Plan B … what is Plan B?  I asked myself the same question.  Seems I was a bit too confident that others would not like camping in this weather.

After deciding to go to another campground a bit further away, and looking at some details on their website, I realized the problem.  This is the last weekend many of these campgrounds are open.  My timing could have been worse, I could have waited another weekend and found most of them closed. 🙂

Plan B, as it stands right now, entails me telling the boys tomorrow afternoon what the plans are for the weekend.  Then we will get things together. And yes, it is going to be ‘we’ not ‘me’.

  • I will help them pack their own bags.
  • We will put together their own mess kits.
  • We will gather and load all the other supplies into the car.
  • Then we will pick up the house to leave it in good shape.

Friday we will head out right after my P-T conference and drive to the campground.  If all goes well some of the first-come-first-serve sites will still be open.  If not, then on to Plan C – find some reserve-able sites that are not reserved yet or look at one of the other local campgrounds. I will take that info with me just in case.

Once we get a site, camp needs to be set up:

  • The kids will help set up the tent.
  • They can unload their stuff and arrange it inside the tent.
  • Camping chairs need to be set up.
  • Firewood will be stacked outside the car?

I am thinking we will not take our bikes this weekend as it may be fairly crowded.  Though, there is a trail they might be able to ride on … I need to sleep on this one.

red bicycle

Once things are arranged at camp, a trip to the visitor’s center and a trail hike will be in order.  This is a great opportunity to reinforce some of the geography/map reading skills we have been working on, as well as nature study which I have been slacking on.  George will love getting to participate in the ‘home school field trip’ … sometimes it is all about the marketing.

Other plans for the weekend are:

  • An area-wide singing time at a local church Saturday afternoon.
  • Putting together and cooking meals.
  • Making banana boats for dessert; one of the kids does not like s’mores.
  • Star gazing.
  • Reading around the fire.
  • Story telling.
  • Singing/teaching camp songs.
  • Knot tying?
  • … and other activities I need to remind myself of in the Girl Scout materials I used to use to teach other adults this stuff.  Wow, that seems almost to have been a different life.

night sky stars

I am hoping the theme for the weekend will help them stay focused and regulated.  This is the first time I am going to take them camping by myself.  We usually meet up with my parents to go camping.  While we normally sleep in a tent, my parents sleep in their camper and have more of the things that make it nicer to be living outside for a spell.

They also have years of experience doing this, so can often help us avoid certain pit falls.  Though I do remember a camping trip as a kid where tent poles were forgotten.  We got pup tents out of that trip.  Another trip held a week of constant rain for us.  There was not much we could do, but were glad for the air mattresses under out sleeping bags, as it kept us out of the nightly river that ran through the tent.  The lesson from both of these?  Take things as they come and do not get bent out of shape.  You can deal with almost anything for a few days.

AND just in case, always know where the local hospital is.  That was lesson learned on a different trip, but I will spare you the details.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Linked up at The Modest Mom.

Oct 192015
 

Chickens in Pen 2

A few weeks back … yes, it has taken me that long to get to this task … a few weeks back I found a package of chicken breasts on sale.  I knew there were already some in the freezer, but also knew that adding more at a good price might save me later.

Last week was an unofficial ‘Soup Week’, focused on mainly beef soups.  I had planned to add in chicken, but did not have recipes pulled together.  Tonight (Monday) supper was late and just the kids and I.  We had an appointment at home after school and I was unsure as to when it would end.  The smart homemaker would have put something in the crockpot this morning.

The homemaker who lives here was doing well to address behaviors, instead of letting them slide for schedule sake, and get said kid to school without needing to take them in AND make it to an OT appointment in Big Town only 5 minutes late.  Okay, this particular homemaker should have gotten up at 5:50 a.m. when the kids did, but she was hopeful they would go back to sleep.  No such luck.

For supper I determined I would make a simple chicken and noodle recipe.  I had chicken to use, as well as peppers and random tomatoes hanging out in the fridge.  Adding all to a pan, I included onion and Mrs. Dash Lime Fiesta seasoning.  This meal was the catalyst I needed to find chicken recipes.  My hope was to add some to a slow cooker, cook them over night and add them to the freezer tomorrow.  Several were found that fit the bill and one that will be cooked tomorrow.

white wine herb lemon chicken with noodles in bowls

I visited my favorite slow cooker website – A Year of Slow Cooking (also known as Crockpot365).  Here are 3 recipe I plan to try with the chicken breasts I have left:

The first two will be added to the freezer, along with left overs from tonight.  The last one will be the meal for Wednesday night.  A good thing as Wednesday holds another meeting at home.  It will be quick, but it not something for which I want to have a big mess in the kitchen.

This is also a good plan as I will some some items in  the fridge and garden that will need to be used up soon.  I love it when I can add what I have and not have to make a trip to the store.  That was my goal for this week, to not have a major shopping trip.  So far it seems like I will only need to pick up a few things.

Do you have a favorite chicken soup recipe that works well in the slow cooker?  If you are willing to share I would love to take a look.  Even better if it can then also be frozen.

Sep 272015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

This post is a bit on the political side, so I am going to give a disclaimer here.  When it comes down to where I stand politically, I tend to be for small government and less involvement.  I really am not fond of government programs, though we have been involved with a few due to our kids’ histories.  I have also worked for various government offices and actually like helping private property owners. Yes, it is a fine line we walk sometimes, between the ideal world and the one we actually live in. Keep that in mind please as you read this.

One week into the school year, George’s school said we needed to resubmit paperwork for his lunches.  As a foster child he was automatically qualified to received free lunches.  When we adopted him, he automatically qualified for free lunches due to his insurance.  Not liking this fact, knowing that if he was our biological child he would not qualify, I even tried to pay for them but was told it was not even possible.  (After talking with a former foster parent friend in another school district this past week, it seems that this was limited to our school district.)

So this year, I was very shocked when I was told that the rules had changed and we needed to resubmit the paperwork with OUR income, not just his.  I knew we, as a household, did not qualify, so I did not even bother with filling out the paperwork.

Instead I used this as an opportunity to find out more information and to help the secretary at school become more informed.  In other words, I asked questions.  I had the school double check as they have told me things before that were not quiet true.  I was not saying I should not be paying, I just wanted to make sure they were right before handing over almost $200.

The money is not the part I was upset about.  What really got me was that there was no warning and it wasn’t until the school year had begun that we found out.  As it turns out, the rule was that once we found out we were immediately responsible for the costs of his meals AND owed the school for the ones he had already eaten. It got better (sarcasm), as we were also charged almost $200 for other fees that had also been covered previously.  Again, I am not arguing that we should not have covered them, just that previously we were not even allowed to cover them and now without warning we were being held responsible for them and expected to pay them right away.

I am not sure who came up with the rule that you could not be told about these changes, but once you found out they took effect that very minute.  Really?  No warning?  I am pretty sure this had put more than a few families in a tight spot.  I understand the reasons behind these changes and agree they needed to be done.  The carry out of them, though, was done very poorly.

In my shock I did ask a very important question – “How much do lunches cost?”  Turns out the answer is $2.40 per day.  While that is not a lot if you were eating out, it is a lot if I were to spend that much per person to make a meal at home.  I also knew that George did not eat all of his food.  To make life a bit easier, I went ahead and paid for the meals he had already eaten and added $20 more to his account. That $20 would have lasted him only 8 days for lunches only!  That is almost the amount I use per person per week to plan our grocery shopping! Then I went home and vented.  I can make much better food at home for cheaper.

I must have said as much to my husband over lunch, as he came home that night with a very useful number.  Seems we have spent $1.75 per person per meal over the past year.  I looked at him funny, as there is no way I spend that much on our grocery/household shopping.  The light bulb went on, “Does that include eating out?”  It did.  So, Dear Readers, over the past year including eating out we have spent less than the school is going to charge us, for better, healthier food.  The next morning George’s routine changed and he started taking his lunches daily.  Here are some of the meals I have sent him:

  • Dad’s Meatloaf, rice, peas, milk
  • Sliced ham, cheese, crackers, applesauce, chocolate chip zucchini muffin, juice
  • Spaghetti, juice
  • Pan fried steak with noodles, juice
  • Breaded Pork Chops, couscous, red cabbage with apples, juice
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, applesauce, juice

… all for less than $2 a day.  I am thinking it was more like $1-$1.50 a day, as these were servings taken from our main meal of the day, lunch.  If it had been from breakfast or supper, it would have cost us even less.

So what is the big deal about an extra $1 or so each day?  Let’s do the math:

185 school days x $2.40 per school lunch = $444 if we paid full price

185 school days x $.40 in savings every day = $74 saved with minimal effort ($370 spent for lunches)

185 school days x $1 in savings every day = $185 saved with a bit of planning ($259 spent for lunches)

185 school days x $1.40 in savings every day = $259 saved with better planning and shopping  ($185 spent for lunches)

crackers ham cheese

A few days after I found out about the change, I had used up all the individual milk cartons we had at home.  The store I normally would go to for the purchase of these was not near where I was headed anytime soon.  I was not sure what I was going to do, but figured I would take it as it came.  (It cost $.30 to buy just milk at school and I could get cartons elsewhere for $.25.)

I was very thankful and surprised to then find juice cartons at our Small Town grocer, that same day, on discount for $.15 each.  I was not sure why they were marked down, as the expiration dates were not for a few months.  After a quick check of the ingredients list, I took all they had set out.  He is now good for the next 4 or 5 months.  Hope he likes apple juice.  🙂

My husband’s take-away from the results of him figuring out how much we spend on each meal?  “Eating at home really does save us a lot of money.”  🙂  Yes, Dear.   I have also noted that he has been eating supper at home more often on the nights he has class.  In the past, he would grab a sandwich, chips and drink from one of several restaurant in Big Town.  I  think he realized the cost of eating out, but once put in a different light it clicked as to how much we could save by lowering that number.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Breakfast

  1. Shake
  2. Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes
  3. Eggs, Toast, Fruit
  4. Chocolate Chip Monkey Muffins
  5. Shake
  6. Cream of Wheat
  7. Crepes, fruit

Lunch

  1. Eat Out
  2. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish
  3. Grilled Spiced Pork Patties with greens, rice, beets
  4. Meatball Curry, rice, tomatoes
  5. Spaghetti
  6. Super Fast Salibury Steak, rice peas
  7. TRY NEW RECIPE

Supper

  1. Leftovers
  2. Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos
  3. Salad
  4. Healthy Slow Cooked Tikki Masala, rice, vegetables
  5. Salad
  6. Falafel, rice, vegetables
  7. Leftovers

 


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Sep 232015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

Note:  Seem I forgot to change this post from Draft, so it has been hanging out here all week aging.  Not sure if the flavor is any better, but the information is still useful.

Last week I had two new recipes on the meal plan to try – Potato Cheddar Soup and Cuban Black Bean Soup.  Both of these were recipes from The Soup Club cookbook, which I had reviewed back in March.  I was only able to make the Potato Cheddar Soup, but found that it will definitely be a repeat on our menu.  To make it even better, it was a supper simple yet very tasty dish.

No new recipes this week.  It is not because we have a hectic week, actually it is quite calm.  It has more to do with me wanting simpler meals while I work on some things around the house.  There are yard projects and jobs that I need to do before winter, things that have been put off all summer.  I am not really wanting to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Since it is Wednesday morning when this is getting posted, I can tell you that when I made the Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins for breakfast on Monday, I actually quadrupled the recipe.  The only reason I did so many was because I had frozen the bag of zucchini in 4 cup quanities.  It is a so delicious muffin and we could have eaten almost all of them if I had allowed the boys (and myself) to have access to them all day.  About 3.5 dozen are freezer bound for future breakfasts.  This is something I have not done a lot of these past few months.  I miss having meals I can just pull out of the freezer and serve.  It is such a time saver.

Even with having a fairly familiar meal plan this week, having put it together using Plan To Eat made it even simpler to formulate.  All that was required was to click what I wanted and drag it to the day and time I wanted us to eat it.  Now I can easily look at it in the morning, or the night before, and plan ahead accordingly.  This is one ‘servant’ I am so glad to have in my service.  (If you are interested in trying it out, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial by clicking the banner below.)
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to EatBreakfast:

  1. Shakes
  2. Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins
  3. Cereal
  4. Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Oats and Flax
  5. Shake
  6. Cream of Wheat
  7. Basic Crepes

Lunch:

  1. Eat out
  2. Herb Crusted Pork Chops, red cabbage, peas
  3. Kheema, rice
  4. Salad
  5. Pizza
  6. Minute Steak, rice, steamed carrots
  7. Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

Supper:

  1. Leftovers/missed meals from last week
  2. Salmon Patties
  3. Herbed Lentils with Spinach and Tomatoes
  4. Healthy Slow Cooked Tikka Masala
  5. Salad
  6. Lentils with Bulgar Wheat and Caramelized Onions
  7. Leftovers

 

Linked up with:

This Week For Dinner, OrgJunkie, TheModestMom, and MommyRunFast

 

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Sep 132015
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

This was written for last week, then I had my blog go on an unscheduled vacation.  I still wanted to share it, as this turned out to be something I will repeat:

Last week when I said that I had no plans for trying new recipes, seems I set myself up to tell an untruth.  As I was getting the chicken quarters out to put into the crockpot for Monday night’s supper, I realized I did not have a recipe.  Off to one of my favorite, there are so many choices you are sure to find something, spots – Crockpot365.

There I found a versatile recipe – Lazy Chicken Crockpot Recipe.  Sounded right up my alley.  I took one look and knew that is exactly what I was going for, something simple.  This is even more true as I have two loud, jumping, energy filled boys running through the house chasing balloons and hiding from popping rabbits.  Olaf was here and both of the boys were having the time of their lives, no batteries required.

 This has given me the jump start I needed to go through my recipes, removing ones we no longer enjoy as much and add in new ones to try.  This week I have 2 soup recipes and 1 sandwich recipe to try.  I will let you know how it goes.

Last week I came back from camping feeling like the week was half over.  “Why sit and plan a menu when I only have a few meals left in the week?”  Umm, yeah.  I can tell you a lot of reasons why, though it sounded completely logical at the time.

So tonight when I sat down and created this week’s meal plan, I also planned out next week’s meals, plus half of the meals for the week after that.  If I have not said it enough, let me say it again.  I LOVE using Plan to Eat‘s meal planning site.  It has saved me so much time in writing things out, seeing what we have eaten recently or plan to eat coming up (so we do not end up eating the same thing 5 times in a month), as well as compiling shopping lists if I need it.  If you are not sure this is for you, but are interested, I would suggest taking advantage of the FREE 30-day trial.  You will gain a good sense of how the site works and if it is something that will make your life a bit easier.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Breakfast

  1. Shake
  2. Hot Rice Cereal with Nuts and Raisins
  3. Cereal
  4. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
  5. Shakes with pumpkin
  6. Grits, fried salami, fruit
  7. Fried Pancakes with Maple Cream Syrup

Lunch

  1. Eat Out
  2. Pulled Pork Egg Rolls, steamed broccoli and carrots
  3. Lebanese Meat-stuffed Pitas, shredded carrot salad, rice
  4. Sweet-n-tangy Roasted Pork Tenderloin, El’s potato salad
  5. Spaghetti with meat sauce
  6. Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice, vegetables
  7. Apple, Bacon, Cheddar Sandwiches, leftover potato salad

Supper

  1. Leftovers
  2. Leftover Pizza
  3. Falafel, rice, veggies
  4. Salmon patties, veggies, rice/potatoes
  5. Cuban Black Bean Soup
  6. Potato Cheddar Soup
  7. Leftovers

What is on your menu for this week?  Is the selection beginning to reflect the coming Autumn weather?


Linked up with: This Week For DinnerOrgJunkie, TheModestMom

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