Category Archives: Food

Easy Menu Plan

Easy menu plan for our family of 4. Leftovers are amazing and one of my favorite salads is on the menu!

The entire radio station staff had to work 12 hours Saturday at an annual kids event they do. Thankfully, they gave everyone the day  off Monday so Shaun doesn’t have to work today! My day at work will be quieter because I will be kid free and Shaun has plans to tackle some yard work and maybe take the kids on a trip to the park.

One of my favorite salads is making an appearance on the menu this week. The Greek salad is fairly easy and so tasty – in fact, we are having it 3 nights in a row! It’s one of those dishes I don’t get tired off – creamy tzatziki sauce, tangy feta, olives, and chicken all combined into a delicious lettuce salad.

I think that except for the lemon bars I made per my husband’s dessert request for father’s day, everything is oven free this week. We’ll see if I can find ways to cut on on stove usage too.

Suppers:

  • Father’s Day: Steak, broccoli, chip & salsa, and lemon bars
  • Greek Salad x 3
  • Pizza x 2
  • Leftovers/Snacky Supper

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Schlotsky’s using our free sandwich coupons
  • Salads x 5 for Shaun and me
  • Spaghetti x 5 for the kids

Breakfasts:

  • Smoothies x 3
  • Eggs x 3
  • Blueberry Pancakes from the freezer x 3 (for my 4 year old- she’s still not eating eggs)
  • Oatmeal x 7 for the 2 year old. Oatmeal and fruit are the only things he wants for breakfast
  • Yogurt with frozen blueberries and mango pieces

What’s your favorite salad?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

 

Cooking for Preschoolers

Great cooking ideas for preschoolers! These semi-independent ideas will keep your kids busy and you'll have a kid friendly dinner or treat out of it too.

Photo Credit & license

Semi-independent cooking for preschoolers is a great way them to learn new skills and it also has them doing something useful. Kids feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when they help you.

Kids in the kitchen also serve another purpose. It’s the perfect thing to occupy and keep them busy on those days it’s way too hot (or freezing) to go outside and they’ve already gone through reading, art projects, and building. These cooking ideas/projects for preschoolers are all things that should keep them occupied for a while so don’t rush; let them take their time .

Some of the items on this list of things your preschoolers can make or prepare in the kitchen will require a little more supervision and some are more time intensive but your kids will love them all.

There’s one thing you are going to have to do to make this successful, and it’s not always easy. For whatever your child is working on – leave your expectations at the door! Their foods doesn’t have to (and most likely won’t) look perfect. If they are being safe, sanitary, and having fun – let them be! You want to them to enjoy and want to help in the kitchen. Eventually they’ll be able to cook entire meals but if you make them dread stepping into the kitchen it might not happen.

  • Bread Sticks – Garlic and Cinnamon
  • Homemade Personal Pizzas
    Make up a batch of dough and sauce and have your kids help grate the cheese, cut up vegetables, cook meat and then give them a wad of dough and have them go at creating their own pizza.
  • Homemade Pretzels (It’s okay if they don’t end up in the perfect pretzel shape)
  • Bread (or roll) Dough in Creative Shapes.
    Have the kids assist with putting the ingredients for your favorite yeast bread in the mixer and after its first raise let them have at shaping it into artistic shapes – it could be blobs, hearts, people, rabbits, turtles etc. They’ll love it plus it will take them a while. It’s almost like playdough you can eat.
  • Mini Cinnamon Rolls
    Give your kids a small sections of dough to work with at a time. They will roll out a small rectangle of dough, spread with butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. If the rectangle is small enough, they should be able to roll it up themselves. They can then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut into rolls.
  • Roll Out Sugar Cookies
    I really don’t enjoy decorating these cookies but my 4 year old LOVES to frost and decorate for hours. The most time consuming part (especially if the kids are helping) is rolling and cutting out the dough. To make things a little simpler, you roll out and bake the cookies and then they can do the decorating. (Or just save them a small amount of dough to roll out and you do the rest) When it comes to decorating, we just set out a couple little dishes are icing and put topping options into small bowls of some sort and she has at it.
  • Fruit Salad
    Great practice for those cutting skills. If you pick soft enough fruit they might be able to manage washing and cutting everything and you’d have an easy side dish all ready for supper. (Or turn it into dessert and have your child whip some heavy cream to go on top)
  • Mini Fruit Pizzas
  • Fruit Art
    Wash grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, slice up some bananas and whatever else you want. Mini marshmallows would also be a fun addition. With toothpicks they could make some cool grape sculptures and maybe even they could connect them together like people or animals or give them a plate and they can arrange the fruit into fun scenes.
  • No Bake Peanut Butter Bees
    This recipe uses graham cracker crumbs or use this healthier recipe with honey, peanut butter and powdered milk.
  • Veggie Pizza
    Prebake your pizza crust and after cooled let the kids spread it with softened cream cheese and top with assorted veggies that they helped wash and chop. Season with salt, pepper, herbs etc.
  • Salad Bar
    My kids always fight over tearing, washing, and spinning the lettuce. They can also help prepare and put all the other ingredients into bowls: Veggies, seeds & nuts, cheese, beans, meat, hard boiled eggs, etc.
  • Homemade Biscuits
  • Homemade Muffins
    My daughter enjoys helping make the muffins and loves putting the batter into the muffins tins. We like to do the mini muffins. Sure, the pan needs wiped down before it goes in the oven but it’s good practice.
  • Cupcake Decorating
    Like with the cookies have dishes or frosting, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, fruit etc to use to decorate.
  • Cookie Dough Balls for the Freezer
    Make a double or triple batch of cookie dough with their help and then they can roll the dough into balls and line on a rimmed baking sheet to go into the freezer. After frozen, they can transfer to a zipped  food storage bag.
  • Angel Food Cake Trifle
    Make an angel food cake and after cool the kids can tear it into bite sized pieces, make whipped cream, slice strawberries and layer it all together in a serving bowl.
  • Parfaits
    Use yogurt, pudding, or whipped cream and layer in glasses or bowls with fruit, granola, chocolate etc.
  • Sandwiches
    Let the kids make mini sandwiches on little pieces of bread (or use cookie cutters on big pieces) and they can assemble little sandwiches for a fun picnic lunch or tea party.
  • Tacos
    Another great and easy meal with lots of prep the kids can be involved in. They can also help make homemade salsa.



Pick a couple projects a week and by the end of the summer your preschooler will be a little expert in the kitchen and you will have filled up many otherwise long, hot afternoons with fun, educational, and useful preschool kitchen projects!

Great cooking ideas for preschoolers! These semi-independent ideas will keep your kids busy and you'll have a kid friendly dinner or treat out of it too.

 

Photo Credit & license

Great cooking ideas for preschoolers! These semi-independent ideas will keep your kids busy and you'll have a kid friendly dinner or treat out of it too.

Menu Plan

Every time I turn on the oven or stove I wonder what I’m doing, Saturday especially. By the time our company was over for butter chicken, naan, broccoli, and cookies I was ready to swearing off cooking inside until the fall. The rest of the menu isn’t too bad as long as I decide to do the pizza on the grill. (We love how it tastes, but it does add another small step.)

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

Our taco salad from last week in a homemade shell!

Our lunch standard is salads for Shaun and myself and then plan one or two things for the kids to eat over the week days. It keeps things simple and the planning is easy.

My 4 year old is a good eater but after eating things for months, she gets a little burnt out on them. pancakes have been on her not favorite list for months now, but she’s been getting a little tired of eggs and requested pancakes again. I made a single batch up, so we’ll see if she actually eats them this week. Shaun and I will stick with eggs and smoothies and I made up a batch of yogurt we can use for breakfast or snacks.

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

 

If you like Indian food, these are must try dishes! If you’ve never had Indian food before, these are great dishes to try. It’s one of our go to company dishes and it always loved.

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

Suppers:

  • Homemade Pizza x 2 (maybe on the grills)
  • Ginger-Sesame Salad x 2
  • Butter Chicken and Naan
  • Grill
  • Nachos

Lunches:

  • Leftover Pizza
  • Leftover Butter Chicken
  • Homemade Mac and Cheese x 5 for the kids
  • Salads x 5 for Shaun and me

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs x 3 or 4
  • Smoothies x 2 or 3
  • Blueberry pancakes for my daughter per her request
  • Oatmeal for my 2 year old (he won’t touch eggs and wouldn’t even try the pancakes – at least his request is easy)
  • Yogurt

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Easy Menu Plan

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these! Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on menu planning but life has been busy and we’ve been keeping things pretty simple around here. I just finished my grocery shopping and planning and decided to go ahead and share it with you guys.

Summer is here. I’m seriously thinking about doing a summer of oven free and minimal stove usage meals. Yummy salads every night and smoothies for lunches? It would work for me (and save a lot of time) but I don’t know what the family would think about that. At least this week’s menu does a pretty good job of not heating up the house.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

Monday-Friday my husband and I have salads for lunch and the kids eat something different – we do things like sandwiches, a big pot of mac and cheese for the week, leftovers from the weekend, snacky lunch of fruits, veggies, and whatever else we come up with. Then they just have some of the salad veggies along with their lunch.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a “real” shopping trip. If I was thinking I would have snapped a picture of my fridge before and after. But let me tell you, when the only produce you have left is a couple handfuls of grapes and you are out of dish soap you know it’s time to get it done. It’s nice to be stocked up on produce once again!

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Salads x 5
  • Leftovers, sandwiches, etc. x 5 (for the kids)
  • Taco Salad with salsa
  • Schlotzsky’s (when our Schlotzky’s opened a few months ago we were one of the first people there and got a card for a free sandwich a week for a year – so this is our lunch every other Saturday)

Suppers:

  • Nachos (load it up with veggies to increase the “health factor” but I love some easy meals on the weekends especially when there is lots going on)
  • Taco Salad (made enough for two meals)
  • Grill
  • Mexican Sausage Rice x 2 (new recipe)
  • Butter Chicken x 2

What are your favorite oven free (even stove free if you have them) recipes?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

I have to share with you my new breakfast obsession. If you’ve been around a while, you know that my favorite breakfast is a delicious Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole. I love this recipe just as much.

This recipe came to be after I found some chorizo marked down at the grocery store. (I love those kinds-of trips!) Surprisingly, it was the first time I had ever purchased it. I don’t know if I had ever even tried it before.

Did you know you can even make your own chorizo? I have this recipe for chorizo saved on my Pinterest to try! Great way to enjoy it if you are on a Whole30 or eating Paleo and need to avoid some of the ingredients you normally find in it.

Back to breakfast. I know my love of sweet potatoes and we eat a lot of eggs for breakfast so I couldn’t go wrong if I put it all together with some bell peppers and onions. A perfect and flavorful dish!

I make this dish roasting a ton of cubed sweet potatoes in the oven. You could also dice the sweet potatoes and cook them in a skillet. Since I make the sweet potatoes in bulk (I fill up a jelly roll pan), the oven works best. (I’ve even done it on broil when I don’t want to heat up the house as much. I just have to watch them more closely so they don’t get scorched.)

Time Saving Tip: Roast a ton of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and then for the other breakfasts, just grab out and reheat in a skillet with the also already cooked bell peppers, onions, and chorizo while you are cooking the eggs and breakfast will be done in 5 minutes.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½-1 pound chorizo
  • ½ of a large onion, diced
  • 1 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive or Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop/dice your sweet potatoes into whatever size pieces you like best. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place in an oven preheat to 450 degrees and bake for 20-45 minutes depending on the size of your pieces. Toss part way through. You want them to have golden brown parts and be tender but not mushy.
  3. Brown the chorizo in a skillet and remove to a bowl.
  4. In the same skillet saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender and caramelized. Add to the chorizo.
  5. Whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk if you desire.
  6. Scramble eggs in the skilled the chorizo was just in.
  7. Combine the sweet potatoes, chorizo, onion mixture, and eggs in the skillet and enjoy!
Notes
IF MAKING AHEAD:
Combine the roasted sweet potatoes, cooked chorizo, and cooked onion mixture. Refrigerate. In the morning reheat the amount you want in a skillet, remove to a bowl or plate, and cook your eggs in the same skillet. Just add to your already heated sweet potato mixture and your breakfast is ready!

 

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Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

Be sure to check out these other posts for more breakfast ideas:

 

 

This sweet potato breakfast casserole is amazing and can even be made the night before! The leftovers taste amazing as well and it's #paleo and #whole30 approved. SO GOOD!

 

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

Linking up to these fun parties!

Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

“I wish I could buy more fruits and vegetables, but I just can’t afford it.”

“I want to eat healthier, but it costs too much.”

If you haven’t said either of of those things, I’m sure you’ve heard them! They can do it and you can as well. In fact, I think in most cases, families can spend less money and eat healthier at the same time! The majority of people I know, spend more than we do on groceries and buy less healthy foods!

So many people want to change their eating habits and start buying more nutrient dense and less processed food, maybe you do as well, but it can seem overwhelming. You might feel there are so many changes to make and wonder that since you can buy generic brand processed foods for cheap – a lot of times just a dollar of two if it’s really affordable to switch.

There are so many different definitions of what’s healthy, in this post and for our family I focus on whole ingredients, making food from scratch or buying products with minimal ingredients, fruits and vegetables, whole grains,  no artificial sweeteners etc.

You can buy healthy food on a tight budget. These tips really make a difference. For added inspirations, be sure to check out the post on reducing your grocery budget.

Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget:

Baby Steps!

Don’t feel like you have to go and throw out everything in your pantry and refrigerator and start over. Transition one ingredient at a time. Replace your canola oil with coconut oil, olive oil, and butter. Buy another bunch of bananas instead of the chips. When your flour runs out, try whole wheat.

Menu Plan!

This is a huge deal to me – I have an entire post on why it’s important. If you go to the store and just start putting things you think you need into the cart, you will spend a lot of money. Plan your meals and snacks so you know exactly what to purchase (but if you find an awesome sale or markdown be willing to adapt when you are at the store).

Stick to the Basics!

The basics are almost always going to be cheaper than specialty ingredients. Don’t feel like you need to buy 10 different fats just because you’ve read about them. Stick to coconut oil, olive oil, and butter.

Cook from Scratch!

Avoid the “healthy” convenience foods. Make bread, cook your own mac and cheese, mix up a marinade for the chicken, make muffins instead of buying Poptarts.

In Season Produce!

Vegetables and fruit will make up a big chunk of your meals and snacks. Buy what’s in season and on sale. Also, don’t forget about the frozen produce. Sure, I love fresh produce but fresh green beans in the winter just aren’t happening.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy Organic!

If you can’t buy organic, it’s okay. Produce, even conventional, is going to be better for you than a bag of chips or a candy bar. Don’t let not being able to buy what you think of as best keep you from buying what is better.

Free Range/Grass Fed/Pastured. . .!

This follows the same advice as the produce. Sure, I think grass fed beef is the best, but if I don’t have access to someone splitting a quarter of a cow with me or I don’t find it marked down in the grocery store, my budget simply doesn’t allow it. Do keep your eyes open for great deals, but in the mean time feel good about cooking up your own chicken instead of buying lunch meat or browning ground beef instead of picking up taco bell.

Beans, Lentils, and Grains!

These foods are all pretty affordable. Buy several different kinds-of beans and lentils. Try quinoa. Have oatmeal for breakfast a couple times a week. I like meat but I also like these other foods and they happen to be a little easier on the budget so you’ll see them often on our menu plan.

Don’t Waste!

Plan to use those leftovers! I often have each meal I’m cooking twice a week and then there will be another meal that’s leftovers of the leftovers. Instead of eating the same meal twice in a week you could also plan to freeze the other half and pull it out at a later date.

Not only do you not want to waste leftovers, you want to watch the dairy products, produce, potatoes, and onions and make sure you don’t let all the odds and ends go bad! Turn them into a soup or stir fry. Slice up the bell peppers and stick them in the freezer. Freeze the milk in cup portions.

Stock Bag!

This is a continuation of don’t waste! The ends of the celery, pieces of onions and carrots, parsley that’s going bad etc – throw them into a zipped bag and keep in the freezer. The next time you are making stock, add it to the pot with the bones for extra flavor.

Shop Online!

Don’t assume local stores are the cheapest! If you can’t find local honey, order raw honey online (my favorite place for honey is Vitacost – they have an amazing price. If you sign up for Vitacost with my referral link, you’ll get $10 off your first order!) I also like to check (affilate link) Amazon.

Don’t Be A Short Order Cook!

Make one meal and have everyone eat it. In our house we all eat the same thing for supper. There’s no fixing something different for a child. It’s good for the kids and it’s good for the budget! Weekday lunches the kids eat the same thing and the adults do salads. Breakfast my youngest likes oatmeal and us other 3 eat the same thing. Having to buy ingredients to fix two separate meals adds up!

Garden. . . If You Have a Green Thumb!

Herbs are an awesome thing to grow. Fresh ones from the store are expensive. I’m about the worst gardener ever, and have yet to really succeed with planting, but my sister’s herbs flourish! Try tomato plants, squash, lettuce. See what grows well in your area and try something!

Limit the Snacks!

Snacks really aren’t necessary. Even for kids. If we don’t have fruit with breakfast, my kids will have some midmorning and then around 3-4 in the afternoon they’ll have a little something. Fruit, veggies, nuts, popcorn, rice cake etc. It really varies. That’s it. There’s no snacking in the evening because they didn’t eat dinner. Snacks are easy to inhale and can be expensive. Plus, they often cause your meals to go to waste.

How do you handle eating healthy when you are on a tight budget? Any favorite tips to share?

You can do it! Just take baby steps and keep plugging away. We are all doing the best we can. Thankfully there are lots of ways to save, if gardening was the only one we be broke and starved.

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Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

Linking up to these fun parties!

 

Why Menu Plan

Have you ever wondered, “Why menu plan?” Someone recently found their way to this blog searching that exact thing. Sure, people talk about it all the time but does it really matter if I do? What’s the point of it?

Menu Planning is HUGE in my house. These are the big reasons we do it and you should too! Saving time and money, umm yes, I think we all want that.

That hour I take every couple of weeks to plan the menu and shopping list are a must do in my mind for many reasons. If you are single or there’s just you and a spouse in the house, there is a possibility you might be able to pull off not planning, but throw kids into the mix and it just doesn’t work not to.

Why bother taking time out of your busy life to menu plan? Sure, there are a lot of other things that could be done in the that hour but there are 3 big reasons I take the time to make a menu.

Menu Planning Saves Money

There is no way I’d be able to keep my grocery budget so low if I didn’t plan! When I sit down to plan, I check the fridge and pantry for ingredients that are going to need to be used up so I can be sure to include them in my menu plan. I also check the grocery ads to see what’s on sale. I can plan for the ingredients I purchase to be used in a couple meals to get the most bang for my buck.

Not only do you spend less when you are at the store, but having a plan also means you avoid the 5pm “what’s for dinner” stress that causes a last minute grocery trip or running to the restaurant.

Menu Planning Saves Time (and Stress)

Ummm. When I don’t know what I’m going to feed my family, people get whiny. Hey, even I get cranky. “Mommy, I’m hungry. What’s for supper? Can I have a snack?”

Having to only think about what I’m going to feed everyone twice a month saves me so much time over having to come up with a plan every day! I have to grocery shop less and think about it less.

Menu planning also saves time (and stress) because it allows me to use the tips in this post on how to spend less time in the kitchen! I now know what prep work I can tackle on the weekend and have leftovers built into my week.

Menu Planning Saves Me From Unhealthy Choices

No menu plan means the likelihood of grabbing some pre-packaged fast meal in a bag or box at the store goes up greatly. The chances of running for pizza or fast food also go up.

Nothing against restaurants. We indulge in a quick pizza occasionally,  but it’s not in line with what I try to feed my family the majority of the time. I try to save those “cheats” for a real emergency, not a lack of planning emergency. If your family likes eating out, plan a time or two on your menu. Just make it a scheduled event.

Knowing I’ll be feeding my family more nutrient dense food, saving money, and saving time and stress are the big reasons why I menu plan. I don’t have the energy or creativity to pull off making an impromptu menu each day.

Has menu planning made a difference in your life? How do you answer the question, “why menu plan?” I highly recommend you give it a try if you don’t already.

Menu Planning is HUGE in my house. These are the big reasons we do it and you should too! Saving time and money, umm yes, I think we all want that.

Linking up to these fun parties!

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!

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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.

 

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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.

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