10/26/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week. I didn’t get a chance to type this up last night. I fell asleep around 8:30. I was tired.

The kids and I hit up the grocery store yesterday morning and loaded up on some stuff we needed (bread, cream cheese, bagels, grapes, and watermelon were chief among our “needs”).  Our meal plan is super light and easy this week.

Our weather is getting decidedly more “fall-like”. Last night I made a big batch of veggie soup, portioned it out, and popped containers into the freezer for later meals. I’ll be doing the same with the potato cheese soup I make later this week- and yes, I’ll be posting the recipe too!

Thanks to some local deals, offers, and the school lunches the kids bring home, I have been able to keep our grocery budget to $60 per week for the past MONTH! It’s amazing. The extra money is going into our holiday savings account.

If you have kids between 2-18, check with your local school to see if they are offering free lunches and/or breakfasts. You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM. I’ll be posting the recipe for his current favorite this coming week.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being. The big kid has lunch at school, so it’s whatever he chooses from the lunch box in the cupboard, plus some fruit and juice or milk. Since the little girl is in the morning cohort at school, she has lunch at home. Buttered noodles, yogurt, apple slices, and a popsicle are her go-to lunch.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Veggie Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Monday:  Sandwiches and Salad (I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco yesterday, so we had roasted chicken, bacon, and mozzarella sandwiches)
  • Tuesday: Nuggets and Fruit (Big kid has OT in the late afternoon, so it’s always a quick dinner on Tuesday)
  • Wednesday:  Potato Cheese Soup and Garlic bread (I’ll post the recipe this week- it’s super easy and frugal!)
  • Thursday: Bacon, veggie, and cheese frittata,  fruit
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Protein Muffins, fruit salad, and Greek yogurt

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Baking for the Holidays with Truly Grass Fed (Tryazon Party Opportunity)

Truly Grass Fed is back for the holidays with a new Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, featuring their distinctively creamy and uniquely delicious cheese and butter. No matter what kind of holiday baking you plan to do, Truly Grass Fed is the perfect addition. Because Truly Grass Fed doesn’t just pair with food, it #PairsWithYou.

They have 300 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those chosen will receive a party pack with a variety of Truly Grass Fed products to showcase and sample with friends and family at an in-person or virtual party! Truly Grass Fed will be holding a competition for the best Holiday Baker too!  Learn more and apply here: https://www.tryazon.com/baking-for-the-holidays-with-truly-grass-fed-party/
If you haven’t heard of Tryazon, it’s a Word of Mouth Marketing company that partners with brands and individuals. I’ve hosted a few events with Tryazon before- it’s always a fun time!
I applied, and fingers crossed that I get this one! My family and friends love to cook and it would be a fun way to spend some time (even if we are socially distanced). Plus- Who doesn’t love cheese?

Healthy Swap Recipe: PB Chocolate Malts!

This is a family favorite, and I’ve been making this shake recipe for almost 10 years.

I’m linking to most of the items on Amazon, so if you don’t want to leave home to try this recipe, you won’t have to. As a reminder: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This recipe all started back when I was doing medically supervised weight loss and we had to drink 5-9 shakes per day, so adding in low-calorie flavor options was a must. A few of the “approved” options were peanut butter powder, malt powder, and in phase 2, frozen fruit (in the case of this recipe, frozen bananas). Now that I’m no longer on the program, I still have a shake once a day, usually to curb cravings for sweets.

Feel free to use whatever type of protein powder you like. I use the HMR brand. My kids love these shakes. In fact, the big kiddo has one a few times per week for breakfast.

I use a Calphalon Active Sense Blender, but any blender or immersion/stick blender will work.

Mrs. Bear Special –  PB Chocolate Malt

serves 1 grown-up, or two kiddos

Ingredients:

  • 1 Scoop Chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
  • 2 tablespoons malt powder
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 handfuls of ice
  • 8-12 ounces of water (If you want it creamier or are not calorie conscious, you can use fat-free or plant milk)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender.
  2. Blend on smoothie or ice breaker mode until smooth.
  3. Serve with a milkshake straw.

 

Depending on your protein powder, the completed shake will have 25-30 grams of protein per shake.

 

10/18/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I went to the Vons on Friday and I was able to score 4 Taylor Chopped Salads for $2.96 after Vons Club special and a special coupon ($5/$5+ purchase). This is all we needed to complete our shopping for this coming week.

Thanks to some local deals, offers, and the school lunches the kids bring home, I have been able to keep our grocery budget to $60 per week for the past MONTH! It’s amazing. The extra money is going into our holiday savings account.

If you have kids between 2-18, check with your local school to see if they are offering free lunches and/or breakfasts. You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM. I’ll be posting the recipe for his current favorite this coming week.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being. The big kid has lunch at school, so it’s whatever he chooses from the lunch box in the cupboard, plus some fruit and juice or milk. Since the little girl is in the morning cohort at school, she has lunch at home. Buttered noodles, yogurt, apple slices, and a popsicle are her go-to lunch.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers (we’ve got a lot of salsa chicken leftover- maybe I’ll make them into Quesadillas)
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken Tika Masala, rice, veggies (It didn’t happen last week)
  • Wednesday:  DIY salad bar, garlic bread
  • Thursday: Soup and Quesadillas (or grilled cheese sandwiches), fruit
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Today is National Dessert Day!

My kids are ready to celebrate! I’ve found some freebies and low-cost deals for those of you looking for some sweet deals (see what I did there??) and some of our family recipes if you are in the mood to cook.

 

If you are trying to stay on budget, here are a few of our family favorite dessert recipes:

 

If you’ve discovered any other awesome deals or freebies for this National Dessert day, please leave it in the comments below!

Family Recipe: Bean, Rice, & Cheese Bowls

You may have noticed that BRC Bowls is a regular item on our weekly meal plan posts.

Beans and Rice are pantry staples in our home. You can do a lot with both, but the BRC bowl is a quick, easy, and healthy meal that everyone in our home can agree on. If I’ve got more time, I can add roasted veggies too.

We use vegetarian, fat-free refried beans because a lot of commercially made refried beans contain lard, and since I’ve got a small vegetarian in the house, I gotta keep meals vegetarian as often as possible.

It’s also a great recipe to make extra servings of and store in the fridge for lunches throughout the week.

Here is the basic recipe:

Bean, Rice, & Cheese Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 large can refried beans– approx. 28 ounces (or make your own from scratch), heated per package directions. Sometimes we use Ranch-style Beans instead.
  • Rice (I usually make 2 cups rice with 4 cups veggie broth so we have lots of leftovers)- The variety of rice is up to you, but we love jasmine or basmati rice. Did you know that you can freeze cooked rice in portions?
  • Cheese- your choice of variety. I really like the Mexican blend, which generally consists of a blend of Monterey Jack Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Queso Quesadilla, And Asadero Cheese.
  • Roasted vegetables (optional, but I recommend). I like to roast onions, garlic, bell peppers, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. Cut them up into bite-size pieces, toss in avocado oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet for 30-ish minutes at 450 degrees. You can also add 2 T. of fresh lime juice for some zest.

Directions

Once all ingredients are cooked, assemble individual bowls as follows (from the bottom up):

  1. Rice
  2. Roasted veggies
  3. Beans
  4. Cheese

You can do it in whatever amount each person wants. Kids don’t like cheese? Skip it. Watching your carbs? Go easy on the rice.

As I said before I make a few extra servings in leftover containers and stash them into the fridge for lunches later in the week. The girl kiddo loves rice with butter for lunch, so I always make extra rice for her.

Meal Kit Round-Up (Reviews and Deals/Coupons)

In my 10+ years as a blogger, I have reviewed a fair number of meal kits on the market. With the seemingly never-ending quarantine and the new normal being social distancing, something different is now more appreciated than ever.

I love trying out meal kits, they are a great way to try new recipes with new ingredients that I may not already have on hand. Here are a few of the meal kits that I’ve tried, links to reviews, and any deals or coupon codes I could find.

Overall, my favorite meal kit company is Dinnerly.

They have a nice mix of kid-friendly dishes and stuff that is decidedly more “grown-up food”. I wrote a review here. In addition to having a nice mix of dishes to choose from, the other thing I like is that Dinnerly is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving. My big qualm with meal kits is that the meals can sometimes be upwards of $8-$10/per serving. At that point, you might as well go out for dinner!

Freshly is the next up on our highly received Meal companies. I reviewed Freshly in 2016, and it’s a little different that most of the other meal companies in that all of the food comes already cooked. All you do is heat and eat.

The portions are big, so if you wanted to stretch them, all you would need is an additional side, like a green salad.

Right now when you use Promo Code: LAUNCH15 you will save $60.00 on your first 4 orders($15 per order).

Here is one that I did not get a really great impression of…Home Chef. Maybe it’s because I picked recipes that had a lot of delicate ingredients (read my review here) that don’t transport well, but that was a few years ago, and they may have different recipes and perfected their shipping packaging by now.

If you want to give it a shot I found a deal for you: Right now when you order Home Chef and receive $60 OFF. That’s $10 OFF your first six orders.

I will say the thing that has changed and that I like is that you choose from up to 38 chef-inspired, customizable recipes each week — including oven-ready meals, quick-prep options, and grill packs.

Here is one that I personally haven’t tried, but I’ve seen pictures all over Instagram and a few of my blogger friends rave about- Martha & Marley Spoon.

It seems pretty simple: Each week, 10 days before your delivery day, you’ll receive an email with meal choices. If you’d like to swap recipes, you can do so under “My Account”.

Everything is shipped to arrive fresher than you might see at the supermarket. They guarantee you’ll be able to use the ingredients for at least 4 days after you receive them, with the exception of fish which should be cooked within 48 hours.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about Meal Kits that you have tried and which ones have worked for you and your family!

7/27/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

So I haven’t kept up on getting snacks replenished, so I’ll be getting some new snackies this week. Otherwise, we are still ok on groceries and I’ll probably be able to skip a full grocery run.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon. I’ll be posting more info about summer lunches this afternoon or tomorrow.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

We’re in the final stretch of summer vacation. Summer School is over, and so now we are left to our own devices for the next month or so.  To that end, we’ve recently started playing Pokemon Go to help get our bodies active. We go out for walks each day to try and get some monsters and steps. I love that the big kid has a pokemon Buddy in the game and as part of taking care of his buddy, he has to “walk” the buddy daily. It encourages him to get exercise and it teaches him empathy- something that can be hard for kids on the spectrum.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers
  • Monday Biscuits, Country Gravy, hashbrowns, poached eggs, and melon (I am not ashamed to admit I ate half of a cantaloupe)
  • Tuesday:Veggie Burgers or chick’n nuggets, salad or fruit
  • Wednesday: Pulled BBQ Chicken, rice, steamed veg
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Shephard’s Pie (I haven’t made this in AGES, and we have all the ingredients!)
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

7/20/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

I Haven’t gone to the grocery store for this week. I’m trying to use up a lot of what we have on hand. With California re-tightening it’s ruling on what kinds of businesses can be open, the grocery shelves are starting to look sparse again.

I plan on doing some baking this week if it stays cool. Probably cookies, a couple pizzas, and buttermilk biscuits.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon. I’ll be posting more info about summer lunches this afternoon or tomorrow.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

School has wrapped up, but we are starting distance learning summer school. It’s a lot less, but it will still keep the kiddos brains sharp. And we’ve recently started playing Pokemon Go to help get our bodies active. We go out for walks each day to try and get some monsters and steps. I love that the big kid has a pokemon Buddy in the game and as part of taking care of his buddy, he has to “walk” the buddy daily. It encourages him to get exercise and it teaches him empathy- something that can be hard for kids on the spectrum.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers and Birthday Cake
  • Monday Breakfast Burritos and fruit salad
  • Tuesday: Tortellini Casserole (I’ll post a recipe this week)
  • Wednesday: Orange Chicken and veggie stir fry
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Veggie Burgers or chick’n nuggets, salad or fruit
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

6/22/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

I went to the store last night and spent a little more than I usually do- We were out of a lot of staples. I try to keep the weekly grocery budget to around $100, last night I spent $150.

I was looking over everything last night and I realized that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself- we are all home all the time, which means that we are all eating (and drinking) at home, and that means an increase in both food budget and cooking.

4 people eating 3 meals a day, 7 days a week is 84 meals per week, plus snacks and drinks. That’s approximately $1.78 per meal, per person. And I cook a lot from scratch- which saves us even more than buying convenience foods or eating out.  As you can see from our meal plan below, I’m not making Haute cuisine- It’s healthy, wholesome food that the kids enjoy.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon. I’ll be posting more info about summer lunches this afternoon or tomorrow.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

School has wrapped up, but we are starting distance learning summer school. It’s a lot less, but it will still keep the kiddos brains sharp. And we’ve recently started playing Pokemon Go to help get our bodies active. We go out for walks each day to try and get some monsters and steps. I love that the big kid has a pokemon Buddy in the game and as part of taking care of his buddy, he has to “walk” the buddy daily. It encourages him to get exercise and it teaches him empathy- something that can be hard for kids on the spectrum.

  • Sunday:  Customized mini pizzas for Father’s Day (We cooked them on our new Pizza Stone)
  • Monday Chicken Enchiladas, Beans, Rice, and Salad
  • Tuesday: Breakfast night (Pancakes, Eggs, bacon, fruit salad)
  • Wednesday:BBQ chicken and salad
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Veggie Burgers or chick’n nuggets, salad or fruit
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?