Category Archives: Food

Easy Menu Plan and Goals

Eeek. So posting really didn’t happen last week. Shaun worked late every day because of Pledge Drive at the Christian radio station. This past weekend was busy with family time and catching up on things around the house. We’ll see how this week pans out, but with unexpected company this week (my mom!!!) there will be plenty of help with the kiddos and maybe I can even tackle a blogging project that’s been on the back burner (subscriber freebie, editorial calendar and newsletter perhaps) or maybe that’s thinking a bit too ambitious. We’ll see what happens.

This weekend we had a little daddy daughter (belated) birthday date. She was pretty excited and knew right away which restaurant she wanted to pick. I think that Chick-Fil-A would have come out on top if we had one here just because of the play area. She had to deck herself out in all of her “jewels” as she likes to call them.

Easy peasy menu plan for our family and our little girls birthday date with her daddy!

The weather was gorgeous so we did a park trip as well and let the kids burn off some energy. The little guy might be braver than his sister now (which makes me a little nervous).

Easy peasy menu plan for our family and our little girls birthday date with her daddy!

Last week it worked out well feeding the kids the same supper all week. Since Shaun is eating at work, we are taking it easy around here. This week will be the same – making up a big batch of mac and cheese for them.

Easy peasy menu plan for our family and our little girls birthday date with her daddy!

Suppers:

  • Homemade biscuits, eggs, and bacon
  • Leftover Pizza
  • The last of the leftover baked spaghetti from last week for the kids Monday
  • Mac and Cheese the rest of the week for them
  • I’ve been eating leftovers that Shaun brings home. . . not the healthiest but it’s easy and I think we’ve done this every pledge drive we’ve been married. I’m all about a week off of cooking.

Lunches:

  • Salads for me
  •  Bean Tostadas was our typical Sunday lunch. But I think they might be getting old, so after this stuff is gone, I might have to give them a rest for a while.
  • Birthday date for Shaun and the 4 year old and leftovers for us two at home
  • Cheese tostadas and fruit (and bites of my salad). . . the kids have really been enjoying these lately

Breakfasts will be some of:

Goals:

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

The Best Avocado Spinach Green Smoothie

This avocado spinach smoothie is amazing! I love all the added nutrients and good fat the avocado adds. Even my husband who can't stand avocados liked it and the kiddos did too. Need to make this!

Avocado in a smoothie? Don’t worry, it really is good and adds a silky texture. My avocado disliking (hating even – he doesn’t like guacamole either) husband informed me after having this avocado spinach green smoothie for the second time,

“You know, this really isn’t bad. I could drink one of these everyday”

What??? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After my plot to not have him know the second green ingredient failed, thanks to the 4 year old, I knew he wouldn’t like it. (He has a mental thing when it comes to foods he doesn’t like). That he’d willingly eat them – shocked me!

This avocado spinach smoothie is amazing! I love all the added nutrients and good fat the avocado adds. Even my husband who can't stand avocados liked it and the kiddos did too. Need to make this!

So, green smoothies are one of those controversial foods in the health world thanks to the oxalates in the raw spinach. I figure that since we don’t have these everyday – mainly just once or twice a week, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

My bigger concern with smoothies is the amount of fruit (and their sugars) that can be ingested when you eat them. The added spinach and healthy fat from the avocado makes it all seem a little more balanced.

Cutting down on time in the kitchen is big in my house. So, when I make smoothies,I always make an entire blender full. I take the extras and put it into serving size cups and stick in the freezer. It becomes the easiest breakfast ever later in the week. You can set the cup in the fridge the night before or set out first thing in the morning and you can eat with a spoon in an hour or two.

The order you put this in the blender and mixing it in stages is important for smoothness. I suppose if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec (dream appliance someday), it wouldn’t be an issue. But for the rest of us. . . My current blender is a Ninja Prep and using this blending method, we come out with a nice and smooth drink.

P.S. Feel free to use yogurt for part of the liquid as well. If I have it made up, I’ll add some in. This homemade yogurt is easy and budget friendly! The majority of the time I simply use water.

P.P.S This smoothie isn’t super sweet, if you need to add a touch of honey or maple syrup to it and you can gradually wean your family off of it.

This avocado spinach smoothie is amazing! I love all the added nutrients and good fat the avocado adds. Even my husband who can't stand avocados liked it and the kiddos did too. Need to make this!

The Best Avocado Spinach Green Smoothie
Serves: 6 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups spinach (medium packed)
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 ounces (around 2 cups) frozen fruit - peach, pineapple, a couple strawberries
  • 2 ripe bananas, frozen
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 cups liquid (water, milk etc)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-6 ice cubes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons Chia seeds, optional
  • Touch of honey or maple syrup if needed (I never use)
Instructions
  1. Put spinach in the blender and add 1 cup of water. Blend well!
  2. Add avocado. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add frozen fruit, bananas, orange, vanilla, and additional cup of water or milk.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Add ice cubes and chia seeds if you are using and blend until smooth.
  6. Pour into glasses and enjoy.
  7. Makes around 6 cups.

 

This avocado spinach smoothie is amazing! I love all the added nutrients and good fat the avocado adds. Even my husband who can't stand avocados liked it and the kiddos did too. Need to make this!

You might also be interested in these posts:

Homemade Guacamole - easy and delicious! This recipe came from a Mexican restaurant and is so good.

 

These Oat Flour Banana Muffins are one of our favorite breakfasts are both wheat and dairy free. Bonus - they freeze great. Need to add these to your menu!

Making real food can take longer and some days I don't have the time. These tips are how I cut down on the time I spend in the kitchen.

 

Linking up to these fun parties!

5 Top Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen and Easy Meal Prep Ideas

Making real food can take longer and some days I don't have the time. These tips are how I cut down on the time I spend in the kitchen.

Feeding our families is something we all have to do.

A draw back of real food for a lot of families is that it takes too much time. I’ll admit that it does take longer than stopping by the drive thru or opening up a box and popping it into the oven.

Do know that there are ways to cut down on the time you spend in the kitchen. There are some easy meal prep ideas you can implement. Give it some time and you’ll learn how to work efficiently as you are preparing meals and what works best for your family.

Keeping things simple and cutting down on time in the kitchen also helps ensure you’ll follow through with your healthy (and frugal – I keep my grocery budget under $150 a month) eating goals instead of hitting up your favorite restaurant or eating a bag of chips for lunch.

(Because, let me tell you. If I had to prepare everything for a salad every day – it wouldn’t happen)

Today, I’m sharing my 5 top time saving tips in the kitchen that help me shave off the minutes I spend in there and easy meal prep ideas.

Making life easier and saving time – I am in. Sometimes, simple is good.

Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen:

Do as Much Cooking as You Can the First Time In the Kitchen

This means cooking lunch and supper at breakfast or if you aren’t cooking breakfast, get supper ready the same time you are in the kitchen for lunch.

If you are already going to be messing up the kitchen you might as well do as much as you can for the remainder of the meals that day. Brown the meat, cut the veggies, and get the soup simmering for lunch.

Slow Cooker recipes are great ones to use. Put everything in, turn it on, and forget about it. I have a great round up of all Real Food (Healthy) Slow Cooker Soup, Stew, and Chili Recipes you might want to check out.

Prep Your Meat and Vegetables for the Week

Take a few hours one day and cook the meat, cut the chicken, dice onions, and slice the vegetables that you will need for the week. I put all of my soup vegetables in one storage container, the ones for the casserole in another and so forth.

Then when Thursday comes and soup is on the menu you simply pull of the container of veggies and the baggie of cooked ground beef and dump it in a pot with some broth and spices and your vegetable beef soup will be ready for to simmer in just minutes.

The same goes for the salads you are going to be having for lunch. I like to prepare a big container of lettuce Sunday afternoons and cut up vegetables and place them into smaller containers. Each day, we grab out that stack of containers and Shaun and I can make our salads in a matter of minutes.

Plan For Leftovers

Make a larger batch of dinner and eat it again a day or two later. (If I’m honest, sometimes we’ll have the same leftovers 2 or 3 times.)

My favorite thing about this, is the fact that there are hardly any dishes to do on leftover nights.

This is one tip that gets used several times a week in our house. Just make sure it’s a dish you all like or your family might not be too happy come mealtimes. There’s been a few times I’ve made a big pan for our little family and we’ve had to force ourselves to eat the leftovers.

Make Extra to Freeze

Honestly, I don’t do much freezer cooking. No day long freezer cooking marathons happen in this house. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make extra of what you are already cooking to stick in the freezer.

If you are making spaghetti sauce, lasagna, taco meat, muffins or something else that freezes well double or triple the recipe and package it for the freezer to pull out on another week. You only have to wash the knives, cutting boards, bowls, pans, and spoons once. (See, I really like this fewer dishes thing.)

Hamburger Noodle Casserole is a great one to do this on. Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace has a great list of Freezer Meals that Aren’t Gross and The Humbled Homemaker has a great round up of 35 Gluten Free, Dairy Freezer Meals and 10 Easy Freezer Meals.

Emergency Meal

So, you use the first 4 tips to cut down on time in the kitchen. But some days you need something fast. Or maybe something a child can make. Have a meal or two in your house that you can put together in minutes.

  • Pasta and sauce (easy to have on hand all the time)
  • Broccoli Pasta is another easy, easy meal
  • Rice and frozen veggies that could become a stir fry
  • Bread in the freezer for grilled cheese or french toast
  • Eggs for a quick breakfast for dinner solution

Using these ideas really helps keep the time I spend in the kitchen down. They also keep me from making meal compromises as often and save money since it’s easy to follow the menu and ingredients get use.

What do you like to do to help with saving time in the kitchen?

Making real food can take longer and some days I don't have the time. These tips are how I cut down on the time I spend in the kitchen.

You might also be interested in these posts:

10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

5 steps to go from surviving to thriving

These are the most viewed recipes of 2014 on From this Kitchen Table!!! These need to go onto the menu plan. These are some great ones.

Linking up to these fun parties!

Easy and Healthy Menu Plan

I’m writing this Sunday night to the sound of freezing rain coming down turning to snow later tonight. We’ll see how much we end up with. But never fear, we’ll be back up into the 40s in just a couple days. Oklahoma weather is crazy, that’s all I have to say.
Easy and Healthy Menu Plan for our family of 4 - including a couple of young kiddos. Leftovers are my life saver. :-)

Might not be the most perfectly shaped heart in the world, but at least you can tell what it is and the kids liked it. :-) And the little guy did pretty decent eating his first cone!

After many times of putting it off, I finally tackled the grocery shopping that needed done weeks ago (I’ve only gone for produce) but that means we’ve been using up ingredients in the pantry and freezer which is always good – black bean soup, lentil soup, stir fry and lots and lots of leftovers. It’s nice to be restocked. 

February is already more than half over! It has flown by. I think the next few weeks will be uneventful and then we hit pledge drive week at the Christian radio station my husband works for. I’m thinking this year (and journey to knocking out our financial goal) might go by quickly!

Suppers:

  • Heart Pizza and gingerbread ice cream cones (selected by my daughter)
  • Small Groups – brought dessert and tortillas
  • Salmon, asparagus, and roasted cauliflower (you know, the exact food that comes to mind when you think of being iced in)
  • White Bean Chicken Chili x 3 (I’m hoping we get two meals of leftovers out of it anyway)
  • Pasta with a creamy pesto sauce and asparagus pieces of some sort

Lunches:

  • Bean Tostadas (Yes, these are one of my go to easy meals that we have at least twice a month. I make the beans in bulk and freeze them. This week it was our easy after church lunch)
  • Salads – Shaun and myself
  • Leftover black bean soup, tortillas, and pizza for the kids

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs (Surprise. These have become a breakfast staple)
  • Oatmeal
  • Homemade Yogurt
  • Green Smoothie
  • Pancakes from the freezer are always an option as well

Goals:

(Book links are affiliate links to Amazon)

Did a winter storm come through your area? What’s on your menu this week?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Yummy homemade whole wheat tortillas! These will take taco night to a whole new level and they are healthy too! A family favorite!

Tortillas. You can’t beat homemade ones warm from the skillet. Sure, it takes a little extra time (okay, the rolling them out part might take more than just a little) but they are made with only 5 ingredients instead of dozens and the taste can’t be surpassed.

We’ve made homemade white tortillas for years and recently began to switch to using some whole wheat flour and even 100% freshly ground whole wheat flour. In case you are wondering, whole wheat tortillas are really quite tasty!

Don’t be expecting them to be exactly the same as those made with white flour – they are a little harder to roll out, require more water and the texture is slightly different but the taste is still fabulous. Even my husband enjoys them and trust me, he tries, but fails, at hiding when he dislikes something I make.

This picture shows the difference between all whole wheat, half white/half wheat, and all white!

Yummy homemade whole wheat tortillas! These will take taco night to a whole new level and they are healthy too! A family favorite!

We found that there really is very little different between half and all whole wheat so if you are trying to slowly start getting your family over to whole wheat, start with a fourth whole wheat flour or maybe even less than that and increase slightly each time. Once you get to half and half, you can make the jump to all whole wheat no problem.

Whole wheat flour requires more liquid but you have to be careful of adding too much otherwise it has more of a bready/spoungy texture. Add the water a little at a time to be sure you don’t over do it. After the initial resting period, if the dough is too dry you can add a touch more water and mix it in well.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
Serves: 10-16 tortillas
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups warm water (maybe more)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, baking power, and salt.
  2. Mix in the butter until it is evenly distributed through the flour.
  3. Slowly stir in the water, mixing well. The dough should not be dry or crumbly. You may need additional water.
  4. Divide dough into balls. Size depends on if you want burrito or fajita size.
  5. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll balls out into a thin circle. It takes more work to get the wheat flour tortillas thin enough. Roll and then lift and flip the tortilla over and roll some more. Repeat until it is thin enough.
  7. Preheat a skillet over medium heat (I use stainless steel). Place tortilla on hot skilled and cook for a minute. When light brown spots show up, flip tortilla over and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  8. Place cooked tortilla on a plate and covered with a towel and continue until all are finished.
  9. Best served immediately.

 

Yummy homemade whole wheat tortillas! These will take taco night to a whole new level and they are healthy too! A family favorite!Linking up to these fun parties!

Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes: Soup, Stew, & Chili

25 Yummy and Healthy (all Real Food) soup, stew, chili, and bean recipes for your slow cooker! Perfect for busy days and soup leftovers always taste amazing!

Affiliate links are used in this post.

I love my slow cooker to cut down on time spent in the kitchen. Most often I use it for things like beans and yogurt. But it’s also the perfect thing to pull out on one of those days that’s going to get busier and busier!

Do the prep work early in the day while you have time and enjoy sitting down to eat without the frantic 5 o’clock stress of wondering what you are going to make for supper.

Many recipes that use the slow cooker call for canned cream soups, packaged seasoning mixes, Velveeta cheese and other ingredients I try not to use.

In this list healthy slow cooker recipes of soups, stews, and chili you find all real food/clean eating ingredients. 

Soups are one of my favorite things to make because the leftovers are just as good as (or even better than) the first day! Getting multiple suppers (and maybe even a lunch or two) out of one time of cooking always makes me happy. Hooray for fewer dishes!

Soups, Stews, Chili, and Beans in Your Slow Cooker

Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Clean Eating Chicken and Dumplings

Southwest Chicken Crock Pot Soup

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Chili for a Crowd

Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Sweet Coconut Butternut Crockpot Soup

Chipotle Chocolate Sweet Potato Chili

Potato Soup

Potato Cheddar Soup

Tuscan Beef and Bean Stew

Crock Pot Chili

Lemon Rice Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Harvest Stew

Venison Stew

Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup

Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Ratatouille Vegetable Stew 

Best Ham and Beans Recipe Ever

Spicy Chipotle Black Eyed Peas

Red Beans and Rice

What’s your favorite slow cooker soup recipe?

25 Yummy and Healthy (all Real Food) soup, stew, chili, and bean recipes for your slow cooker! Perfect for busy days and soup leftovers always taste amazing!

Linking up to these fun parties!

Easy Menu Plan and Goals

The weather warmed up again and gave us another beautiful weekend! We spend several hours at the park and our daughter got to ride the bike she just received. Her second time out, she had the hang of it!

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals for our family of 4!

We celebrated her 4th birthday Thursday. After much agonizing and going back and forth between pavlova, cupcakes, and brownies she settled on Vanilla Bean Cupcakes for her dessert. She was pretty cute hunting for her presents and running over to her brother to give him a hug after opening up her crocs from him.

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals for our family of 4!

Suppers:

Lunches:

  • Leftover birthday lasagna
  • Bean Tostadas
  • Salads – Shaun and myself
  • Peanut Butter/Butter Sandwiches and leftover lasagna one day for the kids

Breakfasts:

  • Smoothies from freezer
  • Eggs
  • Pancakes from freezer

Goals:

I got my Etsy shop stocked last week, we tackled cleaning the office Saturday, and had fun celebrating Kenna’s birthday and enjoying the weather! I think last week was pretty successful. :-)

  • Read
  • Read more of Paddington Bear to Kenna and take her out to ride her bike the days it’s still warm
  • Continue BeFit YouTube exercise program (Started month 2 last week and it was definitely harder!)
  • Concert Series envelopes ready to mail with the flyers for next season
  • Plan a little Valentine’s party for Kenna to invite a couple girls to.
  • Get all the thank you cards written

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Easy Menu Plans and Goals

We spent the early part of this week enjoy weather near 80! Perfect for a power walk and a couple of strolls letting the kids wander down the sidewalk. The cold has come back though and it feels like winter once again. (Especially with the nasty wind. Oklahoma winters would be a lot more pleasant without it.)

Saturday we took a little trip to Chick Fil A and the kids played for hours and we enjoyed free food using our calender cards. Win win!

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals! Our simple menu for this week and the 4 year old's birthday meal of choice. :-)

This week our daughter is turning 4! Hard to believe it. It doesn’t seem like that long ago she was a little newborn and now she’s full of personality and spunk and is always saying something memorable.

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals! Our simple menu for this week and the 4 year old's birthday meal of choice. :-)

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs and Sweet Potato Hash Browns
  • Breakfast Burritos from freezer
  • Cinnamon Rolls from freezer – birthday breakfast request
  • Green Smoothie
  • Muffins and pancakes from freezer

Lunches:

  • Salads for Shaun and myself
  • Peanut Butter sandwiches or something for the kids during the week. I made a batch of bread for them.
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes – birthday lunch request
  • Chick Fil A
  • Pancakes

Suppers:

  • Sandwiches
  • Small Groups – Super Bowl Snacks
  • Bean Tostadas
  • Ladies’ Bible Study for me – leftover pizza for Shaun and the kids
  • Beef and Bean Nachos topped with lettuce and tomatoes
  • Lasagna – Birthday Request (She wanted pasta so we went over different options and this was her pick)

Goals:

  • Start another book – I finished The Help last week.
  • Do the BeFit YouTube Exercise program again
  • Get birthday food and little random things together.
  • Pick up the house
  • Start tackling the office
  • Finish adding items to my Etsy shop
  • Maybe start working on a subscriber freebie
  • To be honest, I don’t really think all of these will get done. I’ll be happy if 2,3,4 are the only ones accomplished but we’ll see. :-)

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Easy Menu Plan and Goals

Another week of gorgeous weather! We played at the park, went on walks, and enjoyed every minute of it. The cold will be returning this week. Saturday, we had an impromptu visit from my husband’s parents and nephew. They came the afternoon and evening and the kids enjoyed playing and we visited and ate some yummy Italian food from a local restaurant.

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals! What our family of 4 is eating and what I'm going to attempt to get done.

I’m hoping this week will involve my 20 month old sleeping better. I think he’s started working on his molars and nights have been brutal. They have to come in eventually, right?

Easy and healthy menu plan and goals! What our family of 4 is eating and what I'm going to attempt to get done.

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Italian with Shaun’s parents
  • Leftovers
  • Salads

Suppers:

  • Chinese with Shaun’s parents
  • Fajitas on homemade tortillas x 2
  • BLT Salad
  • Pizza
  • Guacamole and chips and veggies for the other 3 of us when Shaun’s gone one night.

Goals:

  • Read The Help
  • Continue with week for of the BeFit YouTube workout
  • Start cleaning the office. . . Blech. That’s going to take serious motivation.
  • Memorize 2 Bible verses
  • Write a guest post

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Easy Menu Plan and Goals

I think we might be finally crawling out of the Christmas busyness and hopefully settling into a bit of a routine. That is until new craziness hits, but hopefully that won’t be for a little while. I just checked the last one of these mini updates/menu plan/goals that I posted was from December 8. It’s been a while.

My favorite part of the Christmas holiday was actually the week after Christmas. I seemed that life slowed down enough to actually enjoy things. We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve home, I was able to hang out with some good childhood friends one afternoon, and another day had a movie night with another friend. It was nice to finish December with some calmness and relaxing.

We are now halfway through January with the grand intention of going through our house and organizing and throwing away. I’ve actually made decent progress but we have yet to hit the worst room in the house – my husband’s “office”/guest room/craft show storage. It will then get interesting.

I did a quick shopping trip yesterday and restocked up on produce but other than that I’m trying to use a lot of what we have in the house and make an easy menu plan around that.

Easy menu plan for our family of 4 and my goals for the week!

Breakfasts:

  • Leftover cinnamon rolls from small groups x 3
  • Sweet potato hash browns and scrambled eggs x 2
  • Broccoli egg bake
  • Oatmeal
  • Or something like that anyway. Breakfasts are easy in our house and scrambled eggs are a simple default.

Lunches:

Suppers:

Goals:

  • Continue with the BeFit Youtube exercise level 1
  • Thank you cards!
  • Budget meeting
  • Spend time in the Bible each day
  • Actually post this week
  • Get back into going through a blogging series

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday