2 Week Dinner Menu #1

Several of my friends have told me how they don’t see how I can plan out our meals for 2 weeks. I try to explain that it takes time, but it is so worth it and helpful for our family. Lots of them say that they want to plan out their family meals too, but just can’t seem to get it done. One friend has even asked me to plan out her menu for her! Ha ha! I figured since so many people had talked about having trouble with this task, that I would start posting my menus on my blog. Maybe it will help someone else out with their planning. Tuesday nights are sports night for our family, so it is always something light and easy for us on Tuesdays.

Sunday: Fish Tacos with mango salsa and black beans
Monday: Spinach & Mushroom Ravioli with red sauce, salad and bread
Tuesday: Sandwiches
Wednesday: Cranberry chicken, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts
Thursday: Crockpot BBQ sandwiches, baked beans and french fries
Friday: Frozen Pizzas
Saturday: Burgers or Brats, and fries

Sunday: Catfish, hush puppies,  and green beans
Monday: Leftover night
Tuesday: Sandwiches or Leftovers
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: Leftover night
Friday: Meat Ravioli with red sauce, salad and bread

I didn’t plan a meal for the last Saturday because we usually end up stretching our menu out at least a few days. Sometimes we can even push it out for 3 weeks. It just depends on how many leftovers we end up with from each meal. Plus, I may rearrange some of the meals just depending on what mood I am in or if something unexpected comes up. The good thing is, that I know that we have all of the ingredients to make each of the meals on our menu. It makes life so much easier after a long day at work to not have to figure out what to cook for dinner. It is already planned out for me in advance. I just love it when a well made plan falls into place and makes this simpler!

Menu Planning 101

I have always been a planner, but over the past few years meal planning has become a necessity for our family. With me working outside of the home again, winging it for dinner just doesn’t work anymore. I started out just doing weekly dinner menus. Now I have bumped it up to 2 week menus. Sometimes I am even able to stretch my 2 week menu out to 3 weeks with more leftovers than I expected. I have found that the less I go to the grocery store, the less money I spend. Less money going out for groceries means more money for our family to do other things. Here’s how I go about planning out my menu.

Step 1: Cozi (www.cozi.com)

I started using cozi.com as a family schedule back in August. I pull up the site and go to the calendar. I prefer to use the calendar to show our meals. There is also a meals section, but it won’t allow you to go back and see past meals, so I stick with the calendar. Once the calendar is up, I am ready to type in our dinner plans for each night. I can easily switch a meal from one night to another if needed. Plus here is an added bonus, since the whole family has access to this site it cuts down on having 4 different people ask me “What’s for dinner?” I even have the cozi app on my smartphone. Cozi makes my life so much simpler.

Step 2: Check out my current inventory.

I try to use as much of what I have on hand as possible when planning out my meals as well. Using what I already have helps to cut down on my grocery costs big time. Sometimes I find great deals on ground beef and stock up, so then I have a bunch of beef in my freezer. Then I can plan out meals like spaghetti sauce, taco soup, tacos, burgers, meatloaf, etc. But if I have a large amount of chicken, I try to plan more chicken meals than beef. I also like to check out the weekly sale ads for my grocery store. That can also be a big help to see if I can get an extra good deal on certain ingredients before I start planning. So peruse your cupboards, fridge, and freezer … after you have a good idea of your current inventory that’s when you have a good starting place to pick your meals.

Step 3: Choosing the meals

I have a few favorite websites that I go to for quick, easy, healthy, and delicious meals. www.kraftfoods.com, www.allrecipes.com, and www.foodnetwork.com are my three favorites. I use others too, but those are the sites I am on the most. I also have a three-ring binder filled with my own recipes or some of our faves from the above sites. When I am planning out our menu I try not to have too many of the same types of foods planned together. As much as I  like it, I don’t want to eat mexican food every night for 2 weeks. Same thing with chicken, we would get sick of chicken if we ate it every night. So I try to mix it up and have different foods or styles of foods throughout our menu.

Step 4: The list

While I am plugging our dinner plan onto the calendar, I also plug into cozi’s grocery list the ingredients that I need to buy at the store. Then I have other items that I have to get because we are out or it is something that you have to buy all of the time or that one time you need to grab something for a special event or activity. Once the list is complete I double-check with everyone in the family to see if they need anything else. Then I am off to the store with my favorite weapons … my list, and my coupons. I am not one of those people who walks out of the store with carts filled with food and I only spent $20.00. Too many of the things that I buy don’t have coupons. So I get what I need and maybe snag a few clearance deals and get out of the store to head back home.

Step 5: Organize the goods

Once I am back home, I call the troops to help me get everything unloaded from the van and into the house. Then I have to put it all away in the proper place. I don’t want the meat that I am cooking for dinner tonight to get stuck in the freezer on accident, that would NOT be good at all! Once it is all organized and put away then I can kick back and relax knowing that when it comes time for dinner we are prepared with everything that we need to feed our family something delicious every night of the week.

I think I need to go buy some marbles.

The Lucky Penny

A Thousand Marbles

Copyright © 1999 Jeffrey Davis

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with…

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This is so well said! Simple changes can make big results!

Working out … Like a Boss!


While we were on vacation, I stuck with my diet plan. Thanks MyFitnessPal for helping me stay on track. I’m not sure what I would do without that app on my phone! We did so much hiking and we were so active all of the time that I couldn’t really eat enough calories in a day to go over my daily calorie allotment. Once we got back home I found out that I was down 2 inches in my hips and 1 inch in my waist. That was extremely exciting to me! then I weighed in, down 2 pounds in a week … while on vacation!!! Yep, I was pumped beyond belief! My weight loss has been kind of wavering back and forth around the same 4 pounds for the past month or so. I have started working out more lately to try to keep the momentum going.

A few days after we got home I went for my first walk/run in over 2 weeks. I missed a whole week due to the family vacation. Of course, I was still active, just not doing my normal routine. Prior to our trip I was doing a 17-18 minute mile. walking not just the majority, but almost all of it. Then we come back from our super active trip. My first walk/run, was more of a jog than anything else. I jogged 2 full laps and walked 1. I completed a mile in 14 minutes and 32 seconds. Fast forward a week to tonight, I completed a mile in 13 minutes and 52 seconds! That is a full 30 second improvement on last week’s time. Afterwards I felt totally worn out though. I didn’t even realize just how fast I had gone until my Endomondo app told me how long it had taken me to do a mile. I actually felt like it was taking me longer than the last time. The only difference that I know of was this time I had my headphones and was listening to music this week. I am thinking I will make sure to have my tunes on next week for sure!

I haven’t weighed in or measured for this week yet. So nothing new to report on that front. But I can say this, my clothes are fitting differently. I tried to put on a pair of black dress pants on Monday and I had to change clothes, the pants were almost falling off of me. I can honestly say that I would be totally ok with not losing another pound if I could just get my body in shape and looking the way that I want it to look again. I am so proud of myself for pushing myself to try harder and to do better.

I feel like such a boss!

Gone too soon

I have been trying to get back into my routine and start blogging again ever since we got back into town. It seems like life has gotten even busier since we got back though. However, a few days ago I received a phone call and it was like my life stood still even though everything around me kept right on moving. A close friend of mine passed away very unexpectedly. She was only 28 years old and had so many amazing gifts to share with this world. Gone too soon, those are the only words that keep coming into my mind. I have cried and thought so many things about her ever since I found out the tragic news.

Then today, several of us got together and took some food over to her husband and family. I went there to help to give them some comfort and to try and make things a bit easier for them. The amazing thing is, that they helped me. They kept saying things about what she would have wanted. That made me start thinking about what she would have wanted me to do. She wouldn’t want me to cry and be upset over losing my friend. She would want me to use this experience to help me remember to stop and take the time to enjoy every moment of my life. That won’t stop me from crying and being sad about no longer having her in my life. She was such a joy. She always brightened my day and often inspired me to think of things in a whole new way. I truly am a better person just because I knew her.

However, this will help me to remember to hug my babies even tighter and more often. I will call my family more often and never forget to end those phone calls with how much I love them. Relish in the moments I get with my friends. No more putting it off until another time. I will stop taking the little things for granted. Appreciate more … complain less! I will take more time to do the things that I love, run, exercise, play with my kids, cook, bake, write … and so many more things. The quiet moments in the evening on the couch with my husband will be spent in his arms, not across the couch from each other. I want to cherish every single moment.

My friend was also my co-worker. Tomorrow will be our first day at work without her. Please pray for all of us while we struggle through the pain, and emotions of this awful loss. Please pray for her family while they try to be at peace with the loss of a wife, child, sister, and aunt. She was a teacher, so please pray for all of her students. She used Pete the Cat in a few of her lessons, so I used Pete for the pic for this blog post.

Amberlee … We love you, and we miss you!

Contest

OK, I don’t normally enter these contest things. But I am a lover of cameras and photography, so I figured why not give this contest a shot. Help me out, and help yourself out, sign up for this contest. How cool would it be if one of us actually won?! It is a contest on FB through pictureline inc. You just have to like their page and put your info in to sign up for the contest. Pretty amazing prize too! You could win a Canon 5D Mark III EOS camera!!!

http://bit.ly/HyapXa

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