Food

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

highlight-laborday-historyHello, hello!  Happy Labor Day to you all!  Are you taking advantage of the holiday to relax from your labors, or perhaps to accomplish even more?  If you’re looking for an opportunity to educate yourself and/or family about Labor Day and how it was started, you can GO HERE to the U.S. Dept of Labor’s website.

 

 

School has started for the kids, and work has started for me.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m exhausted, lol.  I suppose that’s how it always is starting back at work, right?  It takes time to adjust.  To ease a bit of the struggle, I’m hoping to be more organized with the menu planning than I’ve been in the last month.  Here’s our plan:

mpm-chalkboard

Breakfasts:

  • Turkey Sausage, Steel Cut Oatmeal w/apples

  • Freezer muffins, waffles, or biscuits

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Cereal

Lunches:

  • PB&J or meat sandwiches on whole grain bread

  • Sliced carrots, broccoli, and celery

  • Unsweetened applesauce, mandarin oranges, and grapes

  • Greens chew

Dinners:

  • Monday – Spaghetti (with homemade sauce), green salad

  • Tuesday – Black Beans and Brown Rice with Salsa, Grilled Chicken

  • Wednesday – Slow cooker Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

  • Thursday – Leftover Night

  • Friday -Breakfast for Dinner

  • Saturday – Baked Potato Bar (with Slow Cooked Baked Potatoes), toppings:  cheese, green onions, turkey bacon, etc

  • Sunday – Grilled Steak, Oven Baked Fries, Green Salad

I’ve got a good list of goals for the week, and honestly, probably most of them will be getting done today, since it’s the day we’re not at work.  Harvest time is upon us, and I’m loving it!

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night)

  • Can and preserve grape jelly

  • MV5BMTUxMzMzMTUzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTUyMTMxMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches)

  • Can and preserve more salsa

  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway

  • Plan and carry out Activity Days

 

I hope you all have a fun and productive week!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway listed above.  :)

*Linked at OrgJunkie

 

 

 

15 Healthy Snacks on a Budget

indexIt’s 11 O’clock and you still have one hour before your lunch break.

 

You find yourself rummaging in your drawer (or office fridge) looking for something to snack on. Ah!  There’s a bag of potato chips and with a sigh of satisfaction; you happily munch your chips.

 

But wait a minute…….

 

That snack you are happily munching contains about 200 calories that you don’t really need!

 

No, don’t spit it out!
Nutritionists have confirmed that snacking helps fight weight gain and also keeps your metabolism stable.

 

imagesSnacking is great as long as it is healthy and within your budget.  Don’t worry. There are loads of budget friendly healthy and tasty snacks that you can reach for when that snack craving hits you.

Healthy and budget snacks together?

Is that possible?

Definitely!

Below is a list of 15 health budget snacks that you can treat yourself to:

• Air-Popped Popcorn

• Hard-boiled eggs

• Apples

Bananas

• A serving of nuts (raw almonds are my personal favorite, though I eat them in moderation – they can be pricey!)

• Yogurts (make sure they aren’t filled with sugar!)

• Pickled vegetables

• Crackers and cheese

• Carrots (buy the big ones and slice them yourself – no need to pay extra for baby carrots)

5012685818_4bdc2e74baSo…..

 

Be rest assured that you are not alone in your craving for snacks.

 

But next time the craving creeps up on you, try to choose one of the healthy snacks above instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips.  Your body will thank you!  (No really, it will!)

 

Do you have a favorite frugal and healthy snack? Please share in the comments box below.

 

*Linked up at Frugal Friday

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Hello, hello!

 

BoxcarChildren_400x400v2This last week was a good one.  I am officially allowed to workout again, as long as I don’t push too hard!  Yay!  I can feel an improvement and boost in energy, and I can tell my treatment plan is working.  I also had the chance to review a cute kids’ movie and am hosting a giveaway for a copy of the DVD.  Yes, a good week!

 

Holy cow, it’s the last week of summer break.  Time to get organized for back to school and back to work!  I’m sad for the break to end, but I feel partially content as well, knowing that it’ll be good for the kids, especially Buddy Boy, to be back on a more specific schedule again.  I’m hoping to get a lot done this week, but I also want to have some FUN too!  Hopefully I can find a good balance that’ll keep the kids and me happy.

 

Here’s the menu plan for the week:

 

Taco-Bowls__Monday – Baked Potato Bar

Tuesday – Del Taco (we’re running from hair appointments to back to school nights, so we’ll take advantage of Taco Tuesday!)

WednesdayRoasted Chicken and Potatoes

Thursday – Breakfast (waffles, fruit salad, etc)

Friday – Leftover Night

SaturdayHomemade Taco Bowls

Sunday – Family Dinner at my Mom’s

 

 

Goals for the Week:

  • Take car load of stuff to local thrift store.
  • Do a freezer cooking session.
  • Buy stuff for and put together gift baskets for some awesome volunteers at Resolution Horse.
  • Take Munchkin to get her hair done.
  • Take kids to Back to School Night.
  • Back to school shopping trip with Aunt Linda.
  • 2 Horseback riding sessions; 1 gymnastics class.
  • Harvest and juice grapes.

 

Have a great week!  We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Quinoa-Crusted Chicken

This is a quinoa-crusted chicken that is perfect for those that are gluten, dairy, peanut, or sugar free.

I discovered this recipe over at The Baking Beauties, and I adapted it for my own needs, since there are a few ingredients in the original recipe that I have to avoid.  I’ll share my adapted recipe below.

 Quinoa-Crusted Chicken - Delicious!

SO good, seriously!  When my 7-year old heard the word “quinoa”, he told me twice, “don’t forget Mom, that I don’t like quinoa!!”  ha ha….but he ate it right up, along with the rest of the family.

I have since had a negative reaction to eggs, and so the next time I make it I’ll probably omit the egg, but I’ve left it in this recipe for now.  I’m making a big freezer batch of this chicken tonight!!

This was lovely served with brown rice and fresh fruit on the side.

*To get the recipe for the Mango-Chili Sauce you see on top, GO HERE.

Quinoa Crusted Chicken - Amazing!

*Linked at Gluten Free Wednesdays

 

Mango-Crusted Chicken

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Website The Baking Beauties
Quinoa Crusted Chicken - Gluten, Dairy, Peanut, Soy, and Sugar free.

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into strips)
  • 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

Step 1
Put cooked and cooled quinoa in a large shallow dish. Add paprika, cumin, and 1/2 tsp sea salt, gently combine.
Step 2
In another shallow dish, combine the brown rice flour with the pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt.
Step 3
In a 3rd dish, whisk together the egg and water.
Step 4
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 5
Line up the chicken, flour mixture, egg mixture, and quinoa mixture on your counter (in that order).
Step 6
Dip the chicken strips first into the flour mixture, and then into the egg mixture, and finally into the quinoa mixture. Press the quinoa onto the chicken.
Step 7
Lay the strips of chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until completely done (length of cooking time will depend on how thick the strips have been cut).
Step 8
If freezing, transfer the strips to the freezer and flash freeze. Transfer strips to a freezer bag, and label. To reheat, take as many as you'd like and pop into the microwave until hot, or bake in a 400 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.

 

 

August Budget Challenge and Grocery Updates

How’s everyone doing on their budgeting?  I’m doing a great job of keeping track of everything, but I’ve already spent more on groceries than I would have liked this early in the month – doing a lot of stocking up for the school year.  I suppose it’s to be expected!

Here’s a rundown of our grocery purchases:

Shopping trip #1

  • 20 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenders – $1.89/lb, total $35.80

  • 2.28 lbs red grapes – $1.39/lb, total $3.17

  • 2 avocados – $0.99 each, total $1.98

  • 2 red bell peppers – 2 for $1, total $1.00

  • 5.78 lbs bananas – $0.39/lb, total $2.25

  • 0.68 lb carrots – $0.89/lb, total $0.61

  • 1 lb strawberries – $1/lb , total $1.00

  • 2 12-pk toilet paper – $4.29 each ($0.36/roll), total $8.58

Shopping total w/tax:  $56.22

IMG_20140805_083049

Shopping trip #2

  • 2 whole chickens – $1.09/lb, total $10.45

  • 2.12 lbs boneless pork ribs – $2.49/lb, total $5.28

  • 1-lb package frozen corn – $0.88

  • 1 half-gallon almond milk – $2.98

  • 1.17 lbs fresh ground almond butter – $6.94/lb, total $8.12

  • 2 lb package corn tortillas – $2.68

  • 2.56 lbs red apples – $0.98/lb, total $2.51

  • 0.35 lb broccoli – $0.98/lb, total $0.34

  • 1 cucumber – $0.58

  • 1/2 lb bananas (cause we ran out) – $0.52/lb, total $0.25

  • 1/4 lb unsweetened coconut – $3.06/lb, total $0.77

  • 1 lb organic baby arugula - $2.98

Shopping trip total w/tax:  $37.82

Total for both:  $94.04

The GOAL was to spend about $55/week, and as you can see, I went way over that.  We had the cash, of course, but it was meant to last longer.

The bad news:  I’m bummed out about the pork deal, but I was required to add pork back into my diet this week and didn’t have any on hand, so I had to buy what was available, and it was not on sale.  The almond milk is ridiculously priced, but it’s the only milk I’m allowed right now.

The good news:  I’m glad that we’ve got 20 lbs of chicken, although I worry it won’t last long, as we don’t have a lot of other meat in the freezer.  Yay for stocking up!  I was thrilled with the toilet paper deal as well, and kinda wish I’d had more cash on hand to buy a few more. :)  I’m also happy with the discovery of the $.39/lb bananas, since they are “older”.  I take the majority of the bananas I buy and freeze them for smoothies, so it works well!

The plan:  This week I’m planning on stocking up a little more, this time on cereals for the kids.  I’m not a huge fan of the “cereal for breakfast” thing, but with my work schedule change, along with my husband’s schedule change, I want to have a bunch of easy, quick breakfasts on hand to take at least one stress off the table.  After that, we should be good and not need to buy much of anything except fresh produce for the rest of the month.

 

How are YOU doing with your shopping so far?  Are you kicking my trash?  Ha ha, it wouldn’t take much this week! Here’s to a better week – starting today!

Quinoa, Lettuce and Bacon Salad – AIP

IMG_20140711_125650

Anti Inflammatory Diet – An eating plan designed to reduce chronic inflammation, a key factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases.  (See more info HERE)

 

Here is another recipe that is safe for anti-inflammatory purposes. It is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, sugar, and peanuts, some of the most common food allergens.

To Make:

Cook up a batch of Quinoa.

IMG_20140711_125413While that is cooking, drain a can of chickpeas and pan-roast them a bit. Add some uncured turkey bacon (I get mine at Costco) near the end and heat it up.

When the quinoa is ready, add the chickpeas and turkey bacon.  Add some torn lettuce and some olive oil with lemon juice (I use this Lemon Dill Dressing).  Stir to combine and enjoy!

IMG_20140711_125644

Quinoa Lettuce and Bacon Salad

Serves 4
Cook time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Enjoy this salad as a full meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice ((Italian, salt and pepper, etc))
  • 2 thin slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 handful green leaf lettuce (torn)
  • 1-2 tablespoon Lemon Dill Dressing ((See link above))

Directions

Step 1
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. You will use 2 cups cooked for this recipe.
Step 2
While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the can of drained chickpeas and seasoning; heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
Step 3
Chop the turkey bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet; cook for 3-5 more minutes.
Step 4
In a serving bowl, combine the quinoa and chickpea/bacon mix. Add the torn lettuce and gently toss.
Step 5
Drizzle the Lemon Dill dressing (or you can simply use a bit of olive oil and lemon juice), toss gently into the salad.
Step 6
Enjoy!

 

Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa – Anti Inflammatory (Allergen Free)

This Anti-Inflammatory Diet I’ve been on (as part of a treatment plan my doctor put together for me) has forced me to think outside the box when it comes to meals….which, if I’m honest, is probably a good thing!

What is the anti-inflammatory diet?  It’s basically a diet designed to cut any foods that are known to cause inflammation out.  My diet has been personalized based on my test results and right now I am NOT allowed to eat any of the following foods, or any foods with these ingredients in them:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, margarine, shortening)

  • Eggs

  • Gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley)

  • Tomatoes

  • Dehydrated Fruit

  • Rice, corn, potatoes (white, red, yellow) – this is to help me with my blood sugar level, as I was found to have pre-diabetes.

  • alcohol

  • Coffee, black tea, and soda

  • Fruit juices

  • Iodized (table) salt

  • Sugar and natural and artificial sweeteners – no sweeteners of ANY kind are allowed

  • Soy products

  • Peanuts

  • Beef, pork, shellfish, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, sausage

So…today I ate a saSalmon and Salad with Mango-Avocado "Salsa" - AIPlad (like every other day, ha ha), but decided I wanted to try something new with the salmon.

 

 

SO very easy, fast, and I loved it!  Gluten, dairy, soy, peanut, egg, sugar free!

Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

 4-oz salmon fillet, de-boned
1 tsp coconut oil
pinch of oregano
1/4 avocado
1/4 mango
pinch of sea salt

In a skillet over medium heat, heat up the coconut oil and add the salmon.  Sprinkle with the oregano, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook until flaky, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice up the avocado and mango.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.  Plate the salmon and put the mango-avocado “salsa” over the top.  Serve with a salad on the side.

IMG_20140728_135345

 

Menu? Monday and Weekly Goals

Folks, I have a confession.

I didn’t follow the meal plan last week.  At all.  The kids either weren’t in the mood for the food I had planned or I didn’t feel up to making it, and so the whole thing flew out the window.

We did NOT go out to eat instead, so I’m grateful for that.  We just ate what was easy and available, making choices at the last minute.  We also had a lot of fun doing back to school shopping – who needs food when you can shop?! ;)

PicMonkey CollageThis week will probably be much the same.  I’m having a hard enough time coming up with meal ideas for myself, following an anti-inflammatory diet, and to come up with more meals on top of that is something I admit I’m struggling with.

Ah, well.  We all have those weeks, right?  (that’s what I’m telling myself to avoid too much guilt. :) )Here’s a very loose meal plan for the week (for the kids) anyway. My personal meal plan will look different:

Breakfasts:

Toast
Scrambled Eggs
Fresh Fruit (all we’ve got right now are apples and one mango, so we’ll need to shop soon)Waffles (made from our freezer session)

Lunches:

Leftover crockpot chicken
Fresh and canned fruit
Fresh veggies (we have carrots, lettuce, avocado and cucumbers on hand)
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Cheese quesadillas

Dinners (to be served with fresh fruit and veggies on the side):

Breakfast for dinner
Leftovers
Crockpot baked potatoes
Homemade Pizza
Mac and Cheese

As for me, I will be adding in a few new foods this week.  I’m so excited, and so scared!  The foods I get to add back in are brown rice, eggs, and lean beef.  I will introduce one at a time for two days, and if all goes well I’ll add another.  If it doesn’t go well, I’ll cut back down to the original diet until I reach my baseline and try a different food again.  These foods I’ll be eating for breakfast only, so my lunches and dinners will still mostly be salads and beans/chicken.

I did accomplish my two goals for last week, so I did get SOMETHING done.  This week I’m hoping to be more productive:

weeklygoals

  • Repaint trim on the front of the house

  • Calk the baseboards in the bathroom to finally have the job complete!

  • Finish up budget plan for August

  • Reorganize bathroom drawers

 

*Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

3 Superfoods (They are Seeds!)

Searching for some healthy ways to get better nutrition into your diet?  Try some of these super seeds.  They can be easily integrated into your eating plans or diet with out too much fuss.  I’m sure EVERYONE can use an additional nutritional boost! 

Organic White Chia Seeds

Organic White Chia Seeds

Called a superfood by some, Chia seeds contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids as well as high levels of fiber and minerals such iron, calcium, magnesium etc.

Enjoy them on your oatmeal or cereal, stir it into your veggie shakes or add to yogurt for a nutritious boost.  You can also try adding to baking goods (like in this delicious looking gluten-free Quinoa Chia Bread)

 

Organic White Chia Seeds — 12 oz – $9.33 (55% off), Free shipping – Available at PureFormulas

(8 reviews)


Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Popular and known as Pepita in Mexico, they are rich in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and some fatty acids.  They also contain L-tryptophan can also help with anxiety attacks, depression and mood disorders.  Amazing, right?

Enjoy them toasted by the handful or add them to your salads for a tasty crunch (crunch, after all, makes every salad better)!

 

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Original, 4 oz – $3.25, See Site shipping – Available at Tropical Traditions


Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

This is a product that I’m new to.  A truly versatile plant, Hemp is used in a variety of products, from clothing to food.  It contains a high percentage of edible oils and fatty acids.

Enjoy them raw, ground in a powder, sprinkle into your favorite cereal or shake or use in baking.

Have you tried hemp?  What are your thoughts?

 

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed (12 oz) by Manitoba Harvest – $15.89, 5.59 shipping – Available at Amazon.com

(1 reviews)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.


Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Howdy, howdy!  Happy Monday, friends.

I am beginning week 3 of my anti-inflammatory diet.  I can feel improvements, and I’m so grateful.  I actually was feeling good enough to attempt exercise today, but I didn’t last long.  After telling my doctor about it, I received a gentle scolding and was told that my adrenal glands are not recovered enough yet, and that in 3-4 weeks we’ll start talking exercise.  So…I guess that means I’m on mandatory “relaxation”!  :D

The meal plan I’m sharing today is what I’m feeding my family, not myself, since I’m basically eating salads with chicken for nearly every meal, and some sort of fresh fruit for all snacks.

Breakfasts:

  • fresh raspberries (from the garden)

  • toast

  • Greek yogurt

  • other fresh fruit (we currently have oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, and mango to choose from)

Lunch:

  • fresh fruit (see above)

  • chicken and cheese quesadillas

  • leftovers

  • veggies of choice (on hand we have corn, peas, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, squash, and zucchini)

100_1633-1024x568Dinner:

Monday – Taco night
TuesdayChicken and Rice SoupWednesday - Breakfast for Dinner (waffles, homemade hash browns, fruit salad)
Thursday – Leftover night
Friday – Dinner at Grandma’s
Saturday – Dad’s in charge
Sunday – Dinner at Grandma’s

 

As for my goals last week, here’s how I did:

  • 1 hour freezer cooking session – YEP!
  • Start exercising again.  – YES, but got busted for it. :)
  • Finish up my two giveaways – YES
  • Post at least 2 new recipes on the blog. – oops, NO

The plan for this week:

  • Do some yard sale back to school shopping.
  • Declutter and organize the bookshelf area of my bedroom.

Have a great week!