Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekly Menu

Happy Labor Day.

We savored a last little bit of summer this weekend at the lake. It was nice... August had been a little bit brutal. But we made it. Now September. The changing of the seasons is always a little bit energizing. Perhaps it is the change of perspective. And it makes me want to shop. Heehee. I'll be channeling that energy into something else, hopefully something more creative or necessary and less consumerist. Nothing against shopping. I just should not spend my time on it right now. Or maybe I'll just go thrifting instead, to make myself feel more righteous about it. Haaa. Just kidding. Thrifting would take even more time. But I do wish I was good at it. Maybe I will try to sneak some in for a little bit of fun.

Onward to the food.

I went to Aldi and Costco once again and stayed on target with the grocery budget.

we took some popcorn and gf pizza with us to the lake ;)

eggs or some variation of them
homemade turkey sausage
coffee, cream

leftovers -OR-
deli roll-ups
bell peppers and hummus

After school snack:
something with peanut butter
(fudge babies, cookies, pb&j muffins?)

meatballs and zoodles, marinara sauce
chili, sour cream
2 ingredient turkey meatloaf (my wt version), roasted green beans
baked salmon, sweet potatoes, broccoli
primal pizza, watermelon
balsamic-glazed drumsticks, broccoli
burgers, potatoes

Confession: the past couple weeks I've been giving my kids gluten-free boxed mac and cheese for lunch on the weekends. It is $1.50 at Aldi. I get tired of coming up with ideas and making lunches. So it is a break for me :) and a treat for them.

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last week was a weird week. I had coffee with cream each morning (and made bulletproof-style one morning when we were out of cream), but wasn't super hungry, which is rare for me. A lot of days I didn't eat breakfast until noon, and then kind of skipped lunch. I've been trying to eat more fat and protein and less carbs (even veggies ones) during my first meal of the day so I don't start off on an insulin roller coaster. I guess it is working. I've been feeling less crashing during the day. Maybe it is the heat. Or else I've just been too busy to eat. Nah, that doesn't happen. But considering I didn't get an ideal amount of sleep, I'm pretty happy that I didn't struggle and reach for crappy food in the office. Success.

Confession: the past 2 weeks, we have been eating peanut butter. I bought 2 of the huge jars of natural, no-sugar, no added oils peanut butter from Costco when I was feeling too cheap for almond butter, and they have lasted a bit. We had 2 buckets of apples from a friend, so apples and pb has been an easy snack for the kids. Once my littlest one starts preschool next month, though, he can only take sun butter, no nuts allowed.

I made the lemon raspberry swirl muffins from Juli's latest book today. Sugar? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Closest thing to a Tastycake I've had in a long time. :)

phone pic pink hand apologies

I spent $73 at Aldi this weekend and $73 at Costco. Weird. And $15 at Price Chopper. So around $160 which I try to make my weekly average, but don't always succeed. (Last week was way low at $110, but we also went out to eat some.)

Here's the plan for this week.

eggs, salsa, avocados (most of the week)
pumpkin waffles (a day or two) or might try the newer recipe from her cookbook
turkey sausage & sweet potato hash* (dinner leftovers)
coffee, cream

*This is a photo of an I'm-hungry-now-get-in-my-belly food combination that I love.

salami or balsamic drumsticks
chipotle deviled eggs (adults)
veggies & ranch
cookies or fudge babies (kids)

My husband commented that we haven't had any leftovers lately for him to take to work. So I'm going to try to make bigger meals this week - so we have more leftovers!

Sunday - burgers, salad and dressing, potatoes
Monday - sausage & sweet potato hash (save leftovers for breakfast)
Tuesday - garbage stir fry (ground beef + bag of coleslaw mix)
Wednesday - meatballs, roasted green beans, salad
Thursday - school event
Friday - BBQ chicken primal pizza (make your own or grab one of these and pile with toppings)

That's it. Have a good week, everyone!

sharing here.
Real Food Recipe Roundup via Musings of a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekly Menu

I shopped at Aldi and Hy-Vee this week, spending $110. I hadn't been to Hy-Vee in months, but they were having some sales that made it worth it. Most of what I bought this week was conventional, grocery-store quality. But I still aimed for buying minimally processed, whole foods. Everything I bought at Hy-Vee was perishable… I realized that fact when I got to work and had to haul it all inside to the extra fridge with me. And then haul it home again. I did splurge on a bottle of kombucha for the first time. Weird. I think I like it.

Before my free time gets sucked into a vortex called homework, I've been trying to make my way through this book(affiliate link).

I made the lemon rasberry muffins from The Paleo Kitchen(affiliate link) over the weekend. Yum.

I'm getting back on the menu planning wagon. Here's what we will be making & eating this week.

eggs, hot sauce
coffee, cream

leftovers -or-
ham and cheese in corn tortillas (sprinkle with dill before heating and rolling)
apples, raisins

After school snack:
apples or bananas with nut butter, unsweetened shredded coconut, & chocolate chips

I am planning to make a double amount of the 2 chicken salads so that those next days we can have leftovers for lunch the following day, even packed cold in a school lunch.

Sunday - pizza from Primal Cravings(affiliate link), salad with dressing
Monday - cold chicken salad in lettuce wraps
Tuesday - chocolate chili, sour cream
Wednesday - asian chicken salad (using some 99¢ bags of coleslaw mix)
Thursday - easy baked salmon, broccoli
Saturday - stir fry (make fried rice with leftovers for the kids?)

Brain is spinning. You know when you are making decisions to simplify and align your life with what is important to you... and it is hard? Because things get crazier before they get better?  And it almost makes you want to give up? Mmmhmm. I feel ya. (P.S. My kids just want to play with pinwheels as swords. And yell. Really loudly. Maybe I should try that.)

Have a good week. Don't give up. And I won't, either.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paleo/Primal Lunch Ideas for School Kids

We are not super hardcore when it comes to paleo lunches for the kids. My goal: to give them a decent portion of protein, good fat, and carb (carbs preferably in the form of fruit or vegetables, but you'll see some rice and corn). I'm not a big fan of food products manufactured to be specifically gluten-free. Those are for treats on occasion. Also, one's child's lunch has to be nut-free per school rules.

Keep it simple and affordable.
That's a "have-to."
Finger food is preferable.
I lay our containers assembly line style and fill them.
No messing with baggies.
No re-heating.
Just open and eat.

I asked my daughter what she would pick for her lunch and this is what she said:
  • deli roll-ups (similar to these or these; she likes turkey, salami, mustard, and kale)
  • carrots & ranch (my recipe)
  • strawberries & blueberries.
So, we'll probably go with that. Most of the time. Or at least a lot. She also loves pickles and olives which go well with the roll-ups, too.

Other thoughts...

Dip choices
I'm loving the single-serving mini-tubs of guacamole at Costco right now. My kids like it. I wonder if they would like the hummus ones? Both would be great for veggie dipping, plantain chip dipping, or even tortilla chip dipping. So easy. I like to give them something crunchy on the side for satisfaction.

Fun surprise
Like a dessert?
My 4 go-to grain-free muffin recipes:
After school snack
I'm going to save sun butter and jam on corn tortillas or on rice cakes for an after school snack because that would be kind of messy and a pain to pack. (But in a pinch you might see that as the main course for lunch.) The whole apple cookie ideas is fun, too. Or coconut milk or yogurt smoothies.

Special alternatives
Sometimes I'm lazy. Or we get tired of lunchmeat. So here are some alternatives for those times (when I still have to come up with something for lunch of course), most of which are non-paleo "treats".
  • chicken fried rice (my kids love it. the question: would they eat it cold?)
  • burrito bowl (same issue as above)
  • gluten free pizza (cold)
  • Trader Joe's mini chicken tacos (cold)
  • chicken caesar salad from Costco (hello corn-soy dressing…)
  • I could also throw in some balsamic chicken drumsticks or thighs which they like, but sometimes opening cold chicken in the lunchroom is stinky. Same for tuna. And I'd hate them to waste it.
Each year, I try to make lunches a little simpler… you can find last year's brainstorming session right here. And earlier ones here and here.

If you're curious, my kids' stainless steel water bottles: the Thermos Funtainer and the Klean Kanteen (which we've had since using it with the sippy cup spout when they were toddlers.) (affiliate links)

OK, is your brain full to the brim right now, too?

Have a good week!

P.S. Speaking of packing, I used this tip for packing dishes the last time we moved and it totally worked. Tuck that away for later.

sharing here!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Catching Up + Summer Paleo Meals to Try

We've been pretty boring with meals around here with dinner lately, just throwing some beef and veggies together most evenings because we don't feel like cooking. Not exactly following the plan. I did make pulled pork from The Paleo Kitchen cookbook and it was great, lots of spice. We also had the addition of BBQ ribs and tater tots to the menu last week, the request of the birthday boy. We also went out to brunch with the grandparents. This coming week we will still be using some of the dinner ideas from last week's menu. I'll be packing lunches for one child headed back to school (ideas in the works and coming soon.) So we are kind of all over the place. I also have some more recipes I've pinned that I'd like to try before summer is over...

Some dinner recipes other than the classic hamburger and it's endless variations:

dessert idea:

Sidenote: so I wanted a photo of one of my kid's lunches (for the post on packed lunches) to show the containers I use (plastic ziplocs, haven't bit the bullet for stainless steel yet)… and this is what it was, leftovers at home…

I reheated the tots and brats before putting them in the container…
And then realized it was a horrible example because #1 who puts tater tots in a post with paleo in the title? and #2 I don't put anything hot in plastic containers, usually, and #3 this isn't even a packed lunch!


Let me know if you've made any of those recipes above and if they are any good!

Have a good Saturday!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekly Menu

We went camping over the weekend, and I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. And it rained. But on the upside, we got to pick apples and hang out with our friends. And I read and bookmarked a bunch of recipes in The Paleo Kitchen  (affiliate link).

The plan for this week-

eggs, greens, tomatoes
coffee w/ cream

turkey & salami deli roll-ups
carrots & guacamole

Kids' snack:
rice cake w/ sun butter and fruit jam

slow cooker garlic beef stew
zucchini, parmesan, beef, & tomato sauce
slow cooker shawarma beef
pork taco bowls (easy pulled pork, guac, salsa or pico de gallo, sour cream)
bratwurst, carrots, guac
hamburgers, sweet potatoes salad greens, tomatoes, & dressing with most dinners as well

We tried 2 new food items last week.

1. Kalona SuperNatural heavy whipping cream - I noticed it when I was at Whole Foods. We bought it for our coffee. It is gently pasteurized, organic, from grass-fed cows, and almost local. I might be tempted to try their milk once in awhile... if it doesn't hurt me too much. I believe their milk in non-homogenized. I haven't purchased milk in over a year, but buying this delicious cream made me miss the raw milk I used to buy from the farm.


2. Kiva Sun ground bison from Costco - I took the checkout dude's advice from a few trips back and decided to give it a try. We used it to make korean beef (korean bison, I guess, technically) and it was a hit. I would have guessed it was high quality lean beef if I didn't know better. We are fans, now. It is pricier than ground beef so it will be a now and then sort of thing.

Oh, and I made this over the weekend because I had 4 over ripe bananas to use :) Thumbs up.

It's that time of year when I start brainstorming about packed lunches for school (or work)… Each year (or sometimes each semester), I come up with a new list of ideas, depending on our lifestyle and my kids ages and tastes at that time. I like to make a master list of ideas to turn to when I am feeling brain-dead. I've already been compiling my list for this fall so it will be posted here soon, in the next week or so.

Have a great week!

sharing our menu here
Real Food Recipe Roundup via Musings of a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello, again.

Did you miss me?

We took a 10 day vacation. It was lovely. Not perfect, nothing ever is with kiddos, but still very fun and pretty unplugged. We hung out by the water and in the water, my favorite things. My children seriously adore their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, so they were in heaven, too.

When packing, I forgot to bring my 4 back issues of Real Simple to get caught up on. Oh well. But I did read The Fault in Our Stars (affiliate link), like the rest of the female world.

We ate copious amounts of homemade salsa and chips, among other things. Vacation food doesn't suck. I made Juli's chocolate cherry muffins (minus the chocolate chips because we were out.)

Some people took plenty of naps in the hammock, down on the dock.

Brunch? Scrambled eggs with nacho toppings.

I felt some low-grade anxiety creeping in towards the end of our stay as I let myself get overwhelmed thinking about the transition to fall and the number of things pulling me different directions on my "must-do" list in the coming weeks. (All of it is important. And all of it I want to do. I don't like to compartmentalize, but I'm going to have to. It's my coping strategy, it allows me to focus. And from what I've learned from other working, family-oreinted, degree pursing moms, it's what we all do.) After an hour of stewing, I got up and went outside with my daughter and I felt quite a bit better.

You definitely don't sweat any less in these parts. Or at least I don't.

I better head to Costco tomorrow in order to restock the kitchen.

Pssst. Look what I picked up from the library today :)

Now it is time to get to bed…. my alarm will be 4 hours earlier than I've gotten used to over the past week!
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