Meal Planning

My sister asked for some help with menu planning, so I thought I’d write out how I do it. 

First, I like the third page of this printable from Money Saving Mom. It has spots for breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner for each day, and a shopping list down the right side. 

Second, I go through my pantry, freezer and fridge to see what is in there that I need to use, and make notes of that so I use it all up during the week. 

Third, I put notes about what is going on each night right on my menu plan – so I can do a quick meal if we have something shortly after dinner, or something more involved if there is nothing going on. 

Fourth, I pick something for breakfast for the week. It’s not set in stone, but we tend to eat the same thing every morning for a week, then switch it up after that. And, I write that in the breakfast spot each week.  Anything I need to buy for breakfast, I add to the shopping list. 

Fifth, I think through lunches. Usually, we do the same thing for lunch for a whole week, too.  So, I check out our supplies, and make a plan for lunch for the week.  Anything I need to buy for lunch, I add to the shopping list. 

Sixth, I start planning the dinners. I tend to like to vary the flavors through the week, so Mexican one night, Asian another, Italian, etc. anything I need to buy for dinners I add to the shopping list. I make sure I put the sides that will go with it, too – so I don’t realize I don’t have a side when I’m in the middle of cooking. 

If I need some inspiration, I scroll through the My Recipe Book app – which has my most frequently used recipes in it, and finish picking the meals. We tend to make homemade pizza on Friday nights, so that one is pretty easy to fill in. 

That’s it, pretty simple. I like doing it a week at a time because our schedule shifts sometimes, and that affects what I make. 

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Long Absence

Wow…it’s been over a year since I posted anything.  The biggest reason is that last spring we moved, and getting the new house settled took up a lot of my time.  Then, I got pregnant, and now we have a third little girl in our family – super exciting!  But, pregnancy doesn’t agree with me very well, so any side projects got put by the wayside.

So, I’m on day 23 of a Whole30, (needed a kick in the tush to kick the sugar habit I slipped into over the past few months) and I thought I’d link to a few of my FAVORITE recipes that are definitely going to stay in the rotation even after I’m done with my WHOLE30.

Sunshine Sauce – amazing to dip grilled chicken or veggies in – awesome!

* Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp – wow, the first time I made this, I didn’t make enough – the family scarfed it down, even the kids.

* Rogan Josh – I got a pre-made spice mix from the Spice Shop for this – and it was amazing! I made a double batch, and leftovers were even better.

* Mango Salsa – I put this on top of the Ginger-lime grilled shrimp, and grilled chicken thighs, and I may have slurped some right out of the bowl – amazing!

* Spicy Thai Carrot and Kale Salad –  I didn’t put kale in this, because I didn’t have any on hand, I also swapped the peanutbutter for sunbutter, the almond milk for coconut milk, and omitted the maple syrup all together to make it WHOLE30 friendly.  One of my favorite go-to lunch veggies with this sauce on it!

* Classic (Paleo) potato salad – I had to bring a side dish to a potluck BBQ, and wanted to make sure there was plenty for me to eat – this definitely hit the spot!

* Coconut milk Latte – I seriously don’t feel deprived at all when I have this cup of coffee with my breakfast – amazing.  I will probably keep making it even after my WHOLE30.

* Avocado Tuna Salad – delicious, quick lunch option

* Sweet Potato Hash – amazing with a fried egg on top – my girls devoured this, too, my oldest kept asking if I was making cinnamon rolls it smelled so good

CSA week 1

We joined a CSA this year. We did the same one several years ago, but decided to just shop farm markets the past few years. We decided to split the robust share with my sister and her family.

So, here is what we took home this week.

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From left to right, a bunch of flat leaf parsley, a purple kholrabi, turnips, dill, escarole, arugula, summer squash, rainbow chard, lettuce, salad mix, curly kale, basil, and stuck underneath – garlic curls.

Our pick up day is Thursday, so Thursday night I sautéed some chard in lard with salt, pepper, some garlic, and some parsley. I added some scrambled eggs and made a delicious & quick frittata. I whipped up some sweet honey oil and vinegar dressing to pair with the salad greens and some arugula. I love the mix of sweet dressing and spicy arugula – amazing!

Tonight was leftovers from earlier in the week since it was just me here tonight. Here is the plan until the next bag comes.

Saturday :: I plan to try to try a spatchcock chicken on our shiny new grill for the first time. We also have a sweet new grill sauté pan, so I plan to sauté the summer squash on the grill, too.

Sunday :: I like to use the crock pot – so I’m doing pork shoulder in the crock pot. Probably a side salad with all those greens.

Monday :: garlic curl pesto with a side salad – YUM! I love garlic curl pesto.

Tuesday :: veggie frittata

Wednesday :: garden chowder with any veggies I haven’t used up yet.

Menu Plan Feb 25 – March 2

I have been busy doing house projects to get our house ready for listing. So, I’m trying to get back on track this week. I’m baking a bunch of sourdough goodies today – scones, English muffins and cinnamon rolls (first time I’ve tried these).

Feb 25 :: eggs & sourdough rolls, carrots & hummus and applesauce, cheesy quinoa cakes & green beans

Feb 26 :: cinnamon rolls, leftovers, salmon cakes & roasted butternut squash

Feb 27 :: english muffins, leftovers, red beans & rice with pork

Feb 28 :: PB banana shake, leftovers, loaded nachos

Feb 29 :: oatmeal, leftovers, chili cornbread bake

March 1 :: eggs & sausage, leftovers, quinoa Mac & cheese

March 2 :: shake, tomato & lentil soup, quesadillas

Clearing out the pantry

I have a bunch of stuff in my pantry that I bought for a specific recipe, and haven’t used the rest of the container. Other things I bought on a whim and haven’t used yet. There are some bulk purchases that are almost gone and need to be used up. I also have a whole freezer full of meat & other bulk purchases, some things I froze last summer that I need to organize and use up. So, I’m going to use the rest of January & as much of February as I need to clear out the pantry.

I want to be a good steward of our resources, and I hate wasting food. What has worked for me previously is putting everything I want to use out in a corner of my countertop. I really don’t like having a lot of stuff sitting out, so it is a great motivator for me to use it all up in a short amount of time.

I tackled the pantry and fridge this morning, and hope to get to the freezer later today. It is a good day to do it since our freezer is in the garage, and it is really cold today, so I can take some time getting everything out, organize it and make an inventory list of what we have so I can plan ahead for some cuts of meat I don’t have a lot of experience with.

So, I have a bunch of odds & ends sitting out on my counter top, and occupying a prominent spot in the fridge. Hopefully this will help me use it up, and remind me not to buy things I don’t really have a plan for – because I probably won’t use them in a timely fashion.

Sourdough crepes

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Yesterday was a holiday, so my older daughter didn’t have school, and my husband was home from work. So, I made sourdough crepes for breakfast. I’ve tried making crepes in the past, and they haven’t turned out well, so I wasn’t expecting much. Oh. My. Gosh. They were awesome.

Most of the time when I make a recipe, I think of ways I could tweak it in the future to fit our preferences more. These crepes were so easy, and turned out so well, I wouldn’t change a thing.

They brought back such great memories of a trip I took with my Nonna when I was ten. we went to Paris for a week just the two of us, and I think I ate at least one crepe every day. I put a thin layer of Nutella with thinly sliced bananas on one, and just a sprinkling of powdered sugar on another. So, they weren’t totally whole foods, but boy were they yummy! I think homemade Nutella is going to be something I need to try out to put on these delicious crepes.

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Sourdough English Muffins

I’ve been using a whole wheat sourdough starter from cultures for health for the past few weeks. I’ve tried to capture wild yeast before without much success.

I also have the sourdough A-Z ebook from gnowfglins, which has some great recipes including these sourdough English muffins . Everything has been so good! Getting used to caring for a starter takes some time, but I have it down to a pretty good routine now.

The English muffins were fantastic with butter & jelly on them, but were also great as mini pizzas. I made homemade pizza sauce, added cheese, and everyone could pick their own veggie toppings. Pop them in the toaster oven, easy & delicious dinner.

After my initial success, I made a double batch and froze them. I pulled a few out for mini pizzas for lunch the other day. It was quick & easy, and my girls thought having their own mini pizzas was such a treat.

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Meal plan Jan 21-27

The plan went somewhat out the window last week with 2 sick kids, and some schedule changes. But, you roll with the punches. I ended up making dinner for my whole family Thursday with my sister – we made fish tacos, and they were delicious! I made a double batch of sourdough tortillas – so we had a bunch of veggie quesadillas for lunches, which were awesome.

Also, my father in law gave me a crepe pan yesterday, so I’m going to try out a sourdough crepe recipe I have wanted to try. My husband is home tomorrow, so I’ll have some time in the morning to experiment.

So, here is the plan for this week:

Monday: sourdough crepes & yogurt smoothies :: veggie quesadillas :: tomato & lentil soup
Tuesday: yogurt smoothies :: sourdough corndog muffins :: quinoa cakes and roasted butternut squash
Wednesday: creamy rice :: corn dog muffins :: pork chops & quinoa
Thursday: oatmeal :: pizza quesadillas :: baked falafel & salad
Friday: oatmeal :: pb&j and carrots :: dinner out
Saturday: eggs & sausage :: leftovers :: hearty nachos
Sunday: pancakes :: leftovers :: salmon cakes & green beans

Reminders

Both of my girls are sick today, so I’m keeping my menu plan simple this week. I put a verse at the top of my weekly schedule/menu plan, and this week’s is Isaiah 41:10. I am filling my mind with this promise today as I cuddle my sick girlies.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here is the menu plan for this week:

– Monday: sourdough pancake, quesadillas, sweet potato quinoa soup
– Tuesday: creamy rice, sourdough English muffin pizzas, quinoa cakes and roasted carrots
– Wednesday: yogurt smoothies, cornbread hotdog muffins, black beans & rice
– Thursday: sourdough pancakes, leftovers, salmon cakes & roasted veggies
– Friday: PB smoothies, leftovers, veggie pizza
– Saturday: eggs & sausage, leftovers, stir fry
– Sunday: yogurt smoothies, leftovers, BBQ pork (we didn’t end up having it last week)

Enduring food 2

The second reason I chose the name enduring food for this blog is because I think real food is food that has endured through the ages. God created so many varieties of plants and animals, and created them to work together – bees pollinate the flowers and make honey, cows help fertilize the grass – in so many ways, probably ways we don’t fully understand. I think God’s design is pretty intricate and perfect. It doesn’t require over processing for shelf stability (food is supposed to spoil), or genetic modifications for resistance to pesticides.

So, we try to eat foods that have endured over time – things that have only one ingredient, because they are the ingredient. Some of the most delicious foods I have eaten are simple preparations of in season vegetables. Eating a juicy tomato right off the vine is one of my favorite things in the summer. I love eating with the seasons. Food tastes better when it is allowed to grow how it is intended, and ripen naturally.