Meal Plan Monday!!

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I need to go to the grocery store this week, so this is what I’ve planned based on what we have on-hand and what’s on sale.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • D: Waffles and fruit

Weds:

Thursday:

  • D:  Grilled chicken and grilled veggies 

Friday:

  • D: Pizza (I’m making a batch of dough to stash in the freezer, so we’ll bake a few up and have pizza!)

Saturday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

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Pumpkin Baked Donuts!

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We love donuts. BUT, we don’t love that they are fried and dipped in sugary frosting (ok, some of us do… the kids).

After hearing hubs and Henry complain about neeeeeeding donuts, I rummaged through the cupboard and came up with:

Similar to my 3 ingredient chocolate cake, I set in motion to make some tasty donuts.

I grease my silicone baking dishes. I use a little butter.

All you do is mix the cake mix with the pumpkin and add spices to taste (usually 1t. cinnamon and a few dashes of ginger and nutmeg).

Pour into the donut “holes” (about 1/2 full) and bake per the mix directions for cupcakes.

Most cake mixes make 12 donuts. I let the donuts sit in the pan until they are cool, them take them out and do batch #2.

If you NEED glaze, mix:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 T. soft butter
  • 1t. vanilla (you could use maple extract if you wanted to make it UBER FALL)
  • 1T. milk

Whisk all together and drizzle over the donuts.

This recipe is easy peezy pumpkin squeezy! It’s totally kid approved as well, which is why there are no after photos.It goes great with a PSL or other fall themed coffee beverage,

 

Quick Dinner: Beefy Taco Skillet

Ok, so pictures with this post because I didn’t think about writing it down until after we had already eaten second helpings. I didn’t think you’d want to see a pic of an empty, dirty skillet.

This recipe is inspired by what I had in the cupboard. I really wanted tacos, but we didn’t have any of the usual fixins’, so I rummaged through the cupboard and the spice rack and here is what I came up with.

If you are wondering why didn’t I just go to the store, or send the Mister…. You mst be new here! I pride myself on being able to use it up, make do, or go without. But a woman should never be denied tacos, or a reasonable facsimile.

Beefy Taco Skillet (serves 6, maybe more)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground meat (I used beef, but you could use your fav. ground meat)
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup +1 can of water
  • 1 small tin tomato paste
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (I used Sun’s Pinto beans with Jalapeños) Pintos, Kidneys, or black beans would all be good in this recipe
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, dices (I used red)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms slices (I used fresh, but feel free to use canned, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I had leftover white rice in the fridge, but feel free to use brown if you like it better)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican or Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream (optional topping)

 

Directions

  1. Brown meat over medium heat, breaking it apart as you cook.
  2. Add chopped veggies. Cook until onions are clear.
  3. Add beans, soup, tomato paste, and taco seasoning. Simmer 10 minutes, until well combined and bubbling.
  4. Add rice and stir to coat rice and incorporate into mixture.
  5. Top with cheese and turn to low. Cover skillet, allowing cheese to melt, about 5 minutes.
  6. Top each portion with sour cream, as desired.

Serve with Tortillas and a green salad. Despite having a whole can of soup and water in it, it is not soupy at all. Cooking it on medium really tightens it up, especially once the rice is added.

When I make this again, I will be adding more veggies: 2 onions, 3 bell peppers (one red, one green, and once yellow), and 2 cups of corn kernels (probably frozen). I may also omit the can of water and add a can of salt-free diced tomatoes in their own juice. All of these changes will add bulk to the entree without adding too many more calories.

You could also top this with crushed tortilla chips and a little chopped cilantro (I am one of those people who can’t eat cilantro- it tastes like soap and makes my tummy urpy).

 

 

Frugal (and healthy recipe): Zucchini chips!

file000926780482.jpgWe’ve been blessed (?) with an abundance of yellow zucchini as of late. Friends with gardens and  a CSA box have brought us literally 10 lbs of yellow zucchini…. That’s a lot. So after making lasagna, stir fry, and zoodles, We were still left with 6 of those little yellow bastards, staring me in the face.

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 6.34.48 PM.pngI googled “What to do with Yellow Zucchini” and the answers were shockingly, NSFW. However, deep in the recesses of Google were many recipes for baked chips.  Figuring it had to be better than my kale chips debacle (5 lbs of burnt, greasy kale bits, no thanks), I set off to work.

The first batch was too greasy, so the batch that’s in the oven now has far less oil (only 2 tablespoons). Hubs said they were tasty (albeit greasy), and even Itty Bitty gobbled a bunch down today (after I blotted them with a paper towel).

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Now, to wait…..

Feel free to sub in any herb or spice blend you like, I grabbed the first one off the spice rack.

Baked Yellow Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs yellow (or green) zucchini
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T (or more), your favorite salt free herb or spice blend
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Thinly slice coins of zucchini- you can use a mandoline like this one, or a knife- whatever you’ve got.
  2. Blot them dry between two paper towels. I let mine sit between two paper towels for about 30 minutes.
  3. Toss with oil, and spread 1 layer on a cookie sheet topped with a sil pad (or you can use parchment paper- whatever you’ve got).
  4. Sprinkle oiled slices with herbs or spices.
  5. Bake at 225 degrees for a minimum of 2 hours. Check after 2 hours. Depending on how thick your chips are cut, it may take up to 2 1/2 hours.
  6. After they are room temp, then sprinkle with salt to taste. Store in a sealed container on the counter. They stay good for 3-4 days, but they won’t last that long.

9/18/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

We’re pretty stocked up of food for the next week or so- We’ll need milk, cream cheese, and cheese. I’ll probably hit up Costco tomorrow.

Monday:

  • D: Steak (it was a gift!), roasted broccoli, green salad, cheese toast. The kids don’t like steak, so they’ll probably have grilled cheese sandwiches on cheese toast (Lil’ Man discovered them not long ago and he told me it’s the “fancy” way to make grilled cheese).

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) This is a fav in our house. It’s healthy and inexpensive.

Weds:

  • D: Home made Red Sauce (made in the crockpot- Recipe will be posted tomorrow!) baked with cheese in Zucchini Boats. Thanks to my friend Lisa for the monster zucchini!

Thursday:

  • D:  Breakfast for dinner (probably frittata)

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D:  Home made Pizza, and fruit salad

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

We’ve got a busy week with ABA Therapy three times, a Lego Movie event, a Lego event at our local Library, and a trip to Legoland on Saturday (just me and my Lil’ Man!).  I’ve made sure to fill up our snack backpack and wash out our water bottles.

Staying Smooth: Moisturizing & Exfoliating Body Scrub!

Recently I posted a photo on Instagram of some of the body scrub I whipped up. I love making body scrubs, balms, and lotions. Anything I can make at home with all natural ingredients is a plus in my book.

I dislike commercially available scrubs, so often they contain silica or other “micro-beads”. They are often times not biodegradable, and they end up in oceans and streams, harming wildlife.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.05.43 PM.pngI got quite a few DM’s asking for the recipe, so I thought I would share it.

All of this stuff I had in my house already, so you may have to go out and grab some ingredients, or just make a few substitutions, depending on what you have on-hand.

I’ve linked to some of the ingredients on Amazon (prices may change, and if you buy something from one of my links, I *might* get a small commission). Then you don’t have to leave home to shop!

This recipe makes A LOT, so, be prepared with a large container with a lid (I used a plastic coffee canister that I sterilized).

 

Moisturizing & Exfoliating Body Scrub

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the liquid ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a second bowl, set aside.
  3. Add wet to dry ingredients slowly, stirring well.
  4. Store in a container with a lid, scoop out with a clean hand (or spoon) into another cup/container as needed.

If mixture feels too wet, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of salt (your choice: sea or table).

If mixture is too dry, add up to 1/2 cup coconut oil.

 

 

Healthy, Frozen Fruit Pops!

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It’s summer and my kids would eat popsicles 24/7 if I let them. Most commercial popsicles (or as they are sometimes called, frozen dessert confections) are full of sugar and artificial ick. A few months ago my dad bought me a package of Zipzicles on Amazon. Zipzicles are long, skinny zip top freezer bags that can be filled with whatever you’d like and frozen. Think DIY Otter Pops.

What I really like is that you can be creative, use what you have on hand, and create healthy and fun treats with your kids.

Here are two recipes that the kids and I came up with. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pictures recently.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.47 AMMixed Berry Pops

Makes about 12 pops

  • 2 cups mixed berries (use whatever you have, I used 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 t. honey

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Use a small funnel to fill the zipzicle pouches. Place all Zipzicle pouches into a cup or larger zip top bag and place in freezer. Ready to serve in approx 4-6 hours, or as soon as frozen solid.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.35 AMTropical Pops

Makes about 20

2c frozen bananas
2c frozen Strawberries
1 pkg frozen mangoes
2c Orange Juice
Blend together, pour into Zipzicle pouches ( I use a funnel). Store in freezer until it’s time to consume.

They are so good, and no extra sugar is needed, because the bananas are so sweet.

Next, I think we’ll be making Bachelor Mousse treats. I think it will freeze well, and everyone loves fudgsicles!

For your convenance, Zipzicles can be purchased here (affiliate link), but you can also find them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

What would you put into your Zipzicles?