Menu Plan Monday

MPM-Summer

I haven’t posted Menu Plan Monday in a long time. Lately, though, I’m making more of an effort to streamline the “must dos” in order to squeeze in more “wanna dos”! Having a set menu plan helps so much! It’s crazy how much time I waste on dinner when I have no plan!

Without further ado, here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:
Monday — Oatmeal
Tuesday — Cold cereal
Wednesday — Muffins and smoothies
Thursday — Eggs and toast
Friday — Hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat or grits); if there is cold cereal left from earlier in the week, it can be eaten instead
Saturday — Pancakes or waffles
Sunday — Bagels and cream cheese; bananas

Lunches:
To be honest, I don’t plan lunches any more. I always have things available to make sandwiches, roll ups or do a “snackie” lunch. There is also always fruit available. People just make their own and someone helps the littlest two.

Dinners:
Monday — Spaghetti; salad; bread made in the bread maker
Tuesday — Stir fry over spaghetti squash or rice
Wednesday — Baked potatoes; salad
Thursday — HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! Hamburgers, hotdogs; baked beans; deviled eggs; watermelon; coconut cream pie
Friday — Taco salad
Saturday — Homemade pizza

We don’t always stick to the plan I make. This morning we had pancakes instead of oatmeal because I didn’t have time to make pancakes over the weekend. Do you plan your menus? Do you have special plans for the 4th?

To see other menu plans for the week, visit I’m An Organizing Junkie!

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Menu Plan Monday

I thought I’d post a menu plan today just for fun.

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Monday:
Sloppy Joes on onion rolls
Sweet potato fries
Homemade coleslaw

Tuesday:
Broiled chicken breasts
Steamed veggies
Bread

Wednesday:
Chili
Rice
Salad

Thursday:
Pork chops
Baked sweet potatoes
Kale chips or steamed squash

Friday:
Spaghetti
Salad
French bread

Saturday: (Dessert night!)
Pizza
Chocolate cream pie

Sunday: (Breakfast for dinner)
Scrambled eggs
Sausage links
Biscuits
Green smoothies

That’s it for the dinners. Breakfasts and lunches will rotate normally.

What’s on your menu plan for the week?


Kitchen week is behind us!

How did you all do this week? Did you get much accomplished in your kitchens? I usually have trouble getting excited about kitchen week. I’m not sure why. Maybe the tasks seem daunting or boring? It was definitely helpful knowing some of you were working along with me. Thank you!

You all have seen my before shots. At the beginning of the week I invited you to submit photos of your spaces if you were game. One of my very dear friends sent me this “before” shot of her kitchen:

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She started working on it Wednesday and worked about 30 minutes. Thursday and Friday she worked 15 minutes each day. Look what she accomplished:

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It looks great! I love all the pretty baskets she has on her counter to contain things. Thanks so much for sharing with everyone!!

I have to admit that I’m still not really doing flylady like I should. I worked in fits and starts. A couple of days I did pretty much nothing and a couple of days I got on a roll and did a lot (i.e., more than the 15 minutes I was supposed to do.) I managed to go through all the drawers and cabinets but only because of the massive purge we did before we moved last summer. I really don’t have much in my kitchen any longer that I don’t really want there. I found a small pile of things to get rid of:

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There is also a pile of out of place things from the drawers for which I have yet to find homes:

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I forgot that I was trying to have a “no spend” month this month and spent about $6 at Walmart on drawer organizers. They helped a lot, though. Those two drawers I showed you are very long and slide out easily so there’s a lot of stuff in them and that stuff rolls around disorganized all the time.

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I need a few more dividers but I’ll wait until kitchen week comes around again next month.

The most disappointing this really is that I can’t seem to keep the kitchen clean to save my life. This morning when I went to take final “after” pictures I had to totally clean the kitchen again. It didn’t look much different than it did when I took the “before” pictures on Monday. I think what I need is some good old fashioned habit training! (And I’m not talking about the kids although there is more that they could do.)

Kenny got out the Vitamix to make himself a smoothie right before I finished straightening up this morning. I asked him if he would mind waiting a couple of minutes so I could take pictures. He jumped in and helped me finish straightening up. In fact, he really got into it and cleaned all the louvers on the pantry doors!

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They look great. Thanks, honey!

So here are the official shots.

Before:

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After (with help from my Honey):

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I did my best to shine the sink. This sink is never going to be “shiny” but it looks better than it did.

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Before

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Not much that I know to do to make this look better. The enamel is just worn away.

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Looks OK from this angle.

I may have tried a little too hard to get the sink clean!

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I was feeling pretty good about the kitchen when we finished although I was feeling a little guilty about cleaning it again before taking pictures. I really felt guilty when I walked down the stairs and saw the messes in the foyer and the great room. I’m hoping a clean kitchen will rub off on the rest of the house!

Next week we have the bathroom and one other room. I have a kid bathroom that could definitely use a deep clean. I’m not sure which other room I’ll choose. I’m kind of in the mood to work in the office. I really want to go through some of the boxes that got stuck straight in the cellar when we moved, too. That stuff couldn’t be too important if I haven’t missed it in a year!


On to the kitchen!

The fun thing about flylady is that you don’t stay in one place for long. Each week you work in a different “zone.” She has all the zones listed on her website so you know what is coming up next. I’ll try to get my post on the new zone of the week up by Sunday evening starting next week and show the week’s progress by Friday evening. We aren’t supposed to do zone work on the weekends. Weekends are for family fun and spiritual nourishment — not housework!! I want to make that work!!

This week’s zone is the kitchen. As promised, here is how my kitchen looked yesterday. I took some trash off the countertops but for the most part this is how I found it:

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This mostly amounts to people (including ME) not putting things where they belong when they are finished with them.

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More of the same. I have all the ingredients out for making oatmeal packets but they’ve been there for about three days and I haven’t made time to make the packets!

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Sometimes I wonder why I can’t seem to keep the kitchen clean. It’s so obvious looking at these pictures! Just clean up after myself (and have the kids do the same!).

Most of my cabinets and drawers are OK. I took pictures of two drawers that drive us crazy. They are not organized at all and we all dig through both of them looking for things on a daily basis. I hope to tackle them this week.

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I haven’t been able to find kitchen scissors for weeks! And there they are — in the wrong drawer! LOL

After I took these pictures I started dinner. We were having spaghetti last night so after putting the water on to boil for the noodles, I cut up all those bananas you saw on the counter and put them in the freezer for smoothies.

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After that I used my trusty kitchen helper the dishwasher and put A LOT of things back where they belonged. Ahhh. Not perfect, but MUCH better.

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I left the oatmeal packet ingredients out on the counter and I’m happy to report I did get to those tonight after dinner. 😉 John Elijah was glad as he has been waking up cold (seriously, in JULY?!) and wants a hot breakfast.

I didn’t time myself but I think I was in the kitchen about an hour and a half total and that included all the dinner prep and cutting up three bunches of bananas.

The very first thing you learn when you start poking around flylady’s site or join her e-mail list is that you start with a shiny sink. I’ll have to hang my head on this one. I didn’t start with the sink. This sink is old and tough to clean but I hope to have it shining as much as possible by tomorrow evening. 🙂 This is how I left it last night:

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Hope everyone has a fun week in their kitchens! 15 minutes a day will make a world of difference. Today I only managed 12 minutes before someone HAD to have a diaper change and I never made it back for the other three minutes. But in 12 minutes I cleaned out one of those drawers. I can’t wait to see what 15 minutes gets me tomorrow!

Remember, if you want me to post pictures of your kitchens on Friday, send them in! I’d love to see your progress, too.

One final thought — don’t worry if you haven’t started your kitchen yet and it’s already Tuesday night. Flylady stresses to “jump in where you are” and “don’t try to catch up”. I’ve read over and over on her site that it’s easy to get excited at first and do a lot but if you do too much too soon you’ll burn out. I’m pretty sure that’s what I do every time I jump on the flylady bandwagon and the main reason I don’t stay on it. This time I’m taking it slow and doing what I can. The hardest part for me is maintaining what I already cleaned! But we’ll get there “one babystep at a time!”


Lentil Beans Part 2: Lentil Spaghetti

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My family loves predictability in our menu plans. Perhaps they love it because it is something they don’t really have? I get bored very easily with the same old thing all the time. But it’s so important for the picky eaters to get exposed to a familiar food time and again.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know my oldest daughter is a classic picky eater. The child survives on cheese and peanut butter. She is slowly coming around. She will eat the chicken out of the stir fry now and maybe a few bites of rice. I’m sitting here trying to think of other examples but at the moment I’m not coming up with anything. Oh! She’ll eat most of the components of a salad as long as they are all separate.

For a long time Monday night has been our spaghetti night. And yes, I still serve the sauce on the side so the pickies (there are a couple of others) can eat their pasta with butter and parmesan only. Occasionally I’ll get fancy and serve oven spaghetti or lasagna instead.

BUT I’M SO TIRED OF SPAGHETTI AND PASTA WITH RED SAUCE IN GENERAL!!

We have another spaghetti recipe that’s been in my repertoire since my reporter days. It came across my desk when I was the Lifestyle editor at the Waxahachie Daily Light in Waxahachie, Texas. (It’s so much fun to say Waxahachie. Go ahead. Say it. Waxahachie. he he) The best part about the recipe is that it is a tasty spaghetti without the red sauce. It has (gasp) a sauce made with lentil beans instead. It does have a can of tomatoes but it isn’t at all like regular spaghetti. It is yummy, thick like stew, and best of all — it is different! (yea!)

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Do the picky eaters eat it? Ha ha ha. Nope. But sometimes mom has to please herself! And people can always eat all the fresh veggies and buttered bread they want. 🙂

Here is my version of Pasta and Lentils by Marialisa Calta as published in the Waxahachie Daily Light, February 17, 1999:

Lentil Spaghetti

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5 cups water
3/4 cups lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can Rotel tomatoes (can use diced if you don’t want the heat)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 pound whole wheat (or regular) spaghetti noodles (can use vermicelli or angel-hair pasta instead)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons of dried

Bring water to rolling boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add lentils, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook, covered, about 20 minutes.
Add garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat again and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until lentils are fully tender.
Break pasta into 2- to 4- inch pieces and add to the lentils. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to done. It should be thick enough to eat with a fork.
Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Let stand about 5 minutes, covered, before serving.


Thanksgiving 2011

We spent the week before Thanksgiving making very elaborate Thanksgiving lapbooks for school. Did I take any pictures of them? Apparently not! Oh well. We had a blast and learned a lot!

The best part about Thanksgiving this year was that I relaxed and let the kids help a lot. They loved it. And they helped with every aspect. I let them each choose one or two recipes with which to help. They chose their favorites. For Abe, it’s all about the rolls —

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Wesley’s my cornbread dressing man —

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John and Sophia tagteamed on the Cranberry Nut bread. The three of us spent the week before Thanksgiving reading and studying the book Cranberry Thanksgiving so they were anxious to help with this recipe. It has been a tradition in the Bailey household since big brother Abe was a first grader. 🙂

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John even helped with the dishes. Yea!

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For Novella Thanksgiving dinner is just a preamble. She waits all year to chow down on her favorite dessert — Pumpkin Pie. One year she even asked for pumpkin pie for her birthday! Somehow we forgot to take a picture while we were making the pumpkin pie but I snapped a shot of her helping me with the mashed potatoes when things got hairy towards the end of the cooking. That girl was a life saver! She did the potatoes pretty much all by herself. They were yummy. 🙂

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And what was little Jesse monster’s job? He was the official taste tester, of course!

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FINALLY, it was time for the feast!!

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Cooking with the kids is great fun — even on Thanksgiving!!

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Feast of Feasts

Happy Thanksgiving to the blogging world. What’s on your menu today? Here’s our plan:

Breakfast:
Breakfast bar (more to come on this; it’s working great!)
Cranberry bread

Snacks:
Veggie tray with dip
Homemade chex mix (I’ve never gotten this to turn out right. Wish me luck!)
Maple leaf shaped sugar cookies
Cheese and olive tray

The Feast:
Turkey and gravy
Cornbread dressing
Mashed potatoes
Homemade whole berry cranberry sauce
Broccoli salad
Macaroni and cheese
Corn
Homemade rolls
Pumpkin pie
German chocolate pecan pie
Freshly whipped cream

I’m so thankful to have a wonderful family with whom to share Thanksgiving. The kids each chose one recipe to help me with (I’ll post pictures sometime after the feast) and we’ve had a grand time. Kenny helped me get the giblet packet out of the partially frozen bird last night and it’s resting in a nice salty bath in the fridge.

This time last year I would never NEVER have guessed that I’d be spending this Thanksgiving in New York and the old house would be up for sale. I don’t know God’s plan but I’m excited to watch it unfold. Thank you, Lord, for including me in your exciting plans!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone.


Apples, apples, apples

Sometimes I used to wish I lived in the Northeast so I could get cheap apples in the fall. I really wanted to can applesauce, apple pie filling, apple butter. But I didn’t think I would ever live in the Northeast. Really. I NEVER EVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS EVER THOUGHT I WOULD LIVE IN NEW YORK OF ALL PLACES!! I’ve been here almost 6 weeks. And I’ve picked apples. Lots of apples. And that makes me happy. 🙂 🙂

What am I doing with all those apples? Kenny is consuming a fair huge amount of them on his juice fast (see Father’s Daily Bread for more info. on Kenny’s diet). We’re also eating apples every day. Novella the fruitarian is loving it! With the rest I have made applesauce twice and baked apple pie oatmeal. I’m hoping to make an apple cake, an apple pie and more applesauce. I may even make some apple butter. Apple butter on raisin toast. Mmmmm. Yep. Gotta make some apple butter. 🙂

The first applesauce I made was too sour. I then added too much sugar and it was too sweet. We still ate it, though. 😉 Then I got a Taste of Home magazine in the mail and low and behold it had an applesauce recipe in it. I made it last night and it was perfect! The only problem is that we can’t get the applesauce smell out of the pan. Our spaghetti tonight tasted a little fruity. Oops!

This recipe is from the October 2011 edition of Taste of Home and was contributed by Deborah Amrine of Fort Myers, Florida.

Chunky Applesauce

8 cups chopped peeled tart apples (this was about 8 medium apples or about 3 1/2 lbs.)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I totally forgot to put this in but the applesauce was still GREAT)

In a Dutch oven, combine apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Mash apples slightly if desired. Serve warm or cold.

The other recipe we have enjoyed is the Baked Apple Pie Oatmeal. Oh my. I’m not sure I can ever eat regular oatmeal again. This oatmeal is the BOMB! It is SOOOOOO yummy. Novella the oatmeal hater didn’t like it but hey, I can’t please everyone. I got the recipe from Sweet Country Life.

Hopefully there will be more apple recipes to come this month. After all, this is the month for caramel apples!

Blessings to all and hope you can find some cheap apples to play with!


Menu Plan Monday

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Breakfasts:
Cereal
Oatmeal packets
Homemade granola cereal
Muffins/ smoothies
Eggs/ bacon/ biscuits
Oatmeal packets or cream of wheat
Whole grain pancakes

Lunches:
Snackie
Roll ups/ wraps
Sandwiches

Dinners:
Cheese and turkey bacon paninis on oat bread/ grapes
Pasta with sauce/ green beans
Stir fry over rice
Soup and salad
Tacos
Homemade pizza
Homemade macaroni and cheese (recipe to follow later this week!)/ chicken nuggets


Menu Plan Monday

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Well, I meant to put up more than just a menu plan last week! We’re still slogging through the flu, though, so I’m not beating myself up about it. Plus it took several days of going through pictures last week to finish the baby’s slideshow!

I’m going to start sharing more about what I spend to make my menu plans works. I spent roughly $72 last week at several different stores. Here’s the plan for the week:

Breakfasts and lunches are the same as always

Dinners:
Monday – Big salad night with chopped ham
Tuesday – Spaghetti using a pack of ground deer meat I found when I cleaned out the freezer (yea!)
Wednesday – Rotel tuna (this was scheduled last week but it got trumped somehow)
Thursday – Taco night (I’m getting tired of this but the kids live for taco night!)
Friday – Homemade pizza
Saturday – Macaroni and cheese