Simple Meal Plans and Real Life – January 27

We’re having real winter this year.  In Kentucky, we sometimes get to skip a lot of the snow and cold. (We do usually have our fair share of gray, rainy days that hover around 35 degrees though.)  But this year, it’s been one snow after another with a lot of cold thrown in for good measure.

I usually grocery shop on Saturdays, but this time I went on Friday.  First, because Saturday was looking way too snowy.  And second, because I wanted to test out our February slow cooker freezer week and shoot the video for it.

Because I knew I’d be loading up the freezer, I needed to make some room.  We still had several freezer meals from the January plan in there.  It was so nice to pop those in the slow cooker and know dinner was taken care of.  Once, I didn’t think of it in time and I made the soup on the stove instead of the slow cooker.  Those meals are flexible and I love it!

This week, I’m planning to test another slow cooker soup recipe.  If the recipe turns out, I’ll share it with you on Friday.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included. January had an extra week to give us a head start on getting back into a routine in the new year. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Southwestern Chicken Chowder 

2. Peach Pork BBQ Sliders 

3. Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken

4. Ham steaks

5. Easy Meatball Subs

6. Chicken Shwarma

7. Coconut Cream and Chocolate Dessert

Traditional Plan

1. Creamy Potato Soup

2. Lentil tacos

3.Kung Pao Chicken

4. Afrtican Pulled Beef Sandwiches

5. Chili

6, Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut

7. Baby Cannoli Cakes

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Simple Meal Plans and Real Life – January 20

It’s a little early in the year for this (aren’t we all supposed to be super-charged, high energy, and goal oriented in January?), but I’m already in a recipe slump.  That’s probably not a great thing to admit since I’m a food blogger.  But I’ve had some trouble coming up with ideas for new recipes to share here.  It’s a phase, and one I’m sure will pass.  I’ve been through this before, so I know it’s temporary.

I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that I started the Whole 30, quite the Whole 30 and at least for this week I need to watch my intake of high potassium foods.  Frankly, it all leaves me a little tired of food in general.

That said, I’m so glad I have a freezer stocked with the January Slow Cooker Freezer meals.  That’s the menu that you see posted below in the Slow Cooker Plan section.  We’ve already had the Beef Stew and let me tell you, that was phenomenal!

And I do have one idea for an easy slow cooker soup recipe that I’m going to be testing this week.  Fingers crossed that it turns out well!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If you find yourself in your own version of a cooking slump, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the planning and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.  I love using these and when I don’t have to do any recipe creation, this is my preferred way to shop and cook.

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  This week includes the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Plan!  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker Potato Soup

2. Easy, Shredded Taco Beef in the Slow Cooker

3. Chicken Broccoli Divan in the Crockpot or Oven

4. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (as pork)

5. Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

6. All day Beef Stew

7. Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

 

Traditional Plan

1. Healthier Sausage McMuffin Casserole

2. Chicken Tortilla Soup

3. Pan Fried Shrimp Sandwiches 

4.Angel Chicken

5. Beef Tacos

6. Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese 

7. Apple Cinnamon Skillet Monkey Bread

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Simple Meal Plans and Real Life – January 13

This is the week we’re back in full swing at my house.  The college kids start back to school.  All our homeschool groups start back up for the other two kids.  The weather is looking better, so no snow days this week.  And the birthday and anniversary celebrations are over for now too.

I’m hoping to stick closer to the Whole 30 plan this week.  Yesterday, I confessed to straying from the plan a few times.  Hopefully, things will go better this week.

I’ve been capturing a few images of our meaningful meal moments on Instagram.  Around here, every dinner is different as far as who is gathered at the table that night.  Sometimes, there are as few as three of us.  And one night last week, we had eight people around the table.  My daughter had picked up a German international student at the airport and took her to her dorm room on campus, but no one was there and she was missing a few essential supplies, like bedding.  So Meredith brought Rebecca home with her for dinner.  It was Rebecca’s first time in the U.S.

We threw her right into the midst of a family dinner, celebrating Meredith’s birthday.  And wouldn’t you know, that night the dinner didn’t want to cook!  (We had a few days of weak electricity during the cold snap.)  So dinner was late and part of it was a near flop for that reason.  We crowded around the table, sang “Happy Birthday” and our special family birthday song.  And after Rebecca left, we realized we’d had her sitting in a broken kitchen chair!

I’m not sure what she thought of all of that, but I think she was happy to be invited to join us.  It was warm.  There was food and friendship.  That’s what meaningful meals are all about.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included. We’re getting a head start this month so we can get back into routine in January. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan    [Read more...]

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – January 6

A few months ago, I was trying to organize the pantry and I was frustrated with it.  The wire shelves drive me a bit nuts, even though I have a simple solution for them.  And there are only 4 shelves in the whole thing, even though it’s very tall and could handle more.  Things tend to get lost at the back of the shelves, just because it’s hard to see back in there.

So I called my dad, who is a genius.  He’s also a contractor and has designed and built many, many kitchens (and other rooms) over the years.  He immediately had an idea for making our pantry better.  And what started as a good idea has turned into a great idea.

Behold the first draft of the design:

tiffpantryscan1

 

Dad is going to open up the front of the current pantry, because the inside is wider than the current opening.  Then he’s building pull out shelves with drawer fronts.  The top will be cabinet doors that open.  And on the right hand side of the moulding, there will be a pull out for spice storage.

We’ve already tweaked this drawing a bit to add another set of drawers and to resize a few of them too.  I can’t wait until it’s installed.  That will probably happen in January, if all goes as planned.  I’ll take lots of photos to share with you.

In other news, we’ve been eating pretty well so far on the Whole 30 plan.  Today, we had the Beef Stew I made for the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals week of the Weekly Meal Plans.  It was so good!  You can get that plan as part of the Weekly Meal Plans.  Keep reading for more info and a sneak peek at this week’s menu.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included. Members have access to the whole month at one time, so it’s easy to plan whether you grocery shop once a month or every week. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken

2. Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

3. Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce with Two Cheeses

4. Sloppy Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos

5. Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken in the Slow Cooker (as pork roast)

6. Mel’s Diner Chili

7. Nutella Muffins

Traditional Plan

1. Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

2. Copycat Chick-fil-a Chicken Strips

3.Wimpy’s aka Sloppy Joe’s

4.Pineapple Chicken

5. Beef and Bean Topped Potatoes

6. Pork and Gravy Sandwiches

7. Old Fashioned Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze

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Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life (and our New Year’s Tradition)- December 30

It’s almost a brand new year!  Are you feeling the urge to get organized?  I start craving clean, decluttered and routine about this time of year.  If you’d like to get your meals organized and have the grocery lists all ready to print, check out the Weekly Meal Plans memberships.  I’ve got a peek at this week’s plans at the bottom of this post.

Our Family’s New Year’s Tradition

Every year on New Year’s Eve, we gather around the table and make predictions for the next year.  We keep them light and fun, guessing whether or not a child will have surpassed a parent in height or if someone will travel to a fun place or meet a famous person.  We also read through the predictions we made the year before.  It’s a fun way to spend some time together at the end of the year, reflecting on the past and thinking about the new year.  We’ve been doing this for over 10 years.  Sometimes we read through the very old predictions.  It’s always fun to see what was on the mind of the kids when they were little.

What New Year’s traditions does your family keep?

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  This month we’re getting a head start so we can all get back into a routine for the new year! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

  1. Ravioli in the Slow Cooker
  2. Apple BBQ Pork Chops
  3. Baked Chicken in the crock pot
  4. Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup
  5. Easy Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
  6.  Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker
  7. Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

Traditional Plan

  1. Mexican White Queso Soup
  2. Linda’s BBQ Chipped Ham Sandwiches
  3. All Day Beef Stew
  4. Chicken in the Crockpot with Noodles
  5. Oven Baked Chicken Tacos
  6. Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks
  7.  Chocolate Chip Cheeseball (Perfect to serve up at a New Years Eve party!)

 

 

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – December 16

This past week we used up several of our Slow Cooker Freezer meals.  I’m going to need to make the January meals and video soon, so I knew I would need to clear out freezer space.

Our dishwasher is broken.  We tried cleaning it out thoroughly and running it with Lemishine and several other tricks too.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I noticed that an essential part has melted, which meant that very little water was getting in to do the rinse.  Since the repairman told me last time that the dishwasher was nearing the end of it’s life, we’ve decided to replace it.

On the advice of my readers on Facebook, I ordered a Bosch, but it won’t get here for at least another week.  And it could be after Christmas before it comes.  Meanwhile, we’ve all taken turns washing and drying.  It’s a two person job, because we don’t have enough space for a lot of dishes on the drying mat.  Doing dishes is a nice time to talk to each other.  Family togetherness over a sink of hot soapy water is pretty good.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this photo last week:

kids wasing dishes

 

Every person in the house has taken their turn at the sink.  I need to remember to pull them all into the kitchen more often.  I tend to handle the kitchen duty myself during the day, but it’s a nice time to work together.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  December includes an awesome gift guide for easy gifts you can whip up in your kitchen that are sure to make everyone happy–even the dog! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional

 Slow Cooker

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – December 9

This is the week for our Slow Cooker Freezer Meals.  I put all 6 of these dinners together in about 1 hour.  You can see the video here.  Members to the Weekly Meal Plans get the grocery lists, recipes and cooking tips for the slow cooker freezer meals and all the Traditional Plans too.

Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner?  Are you done with your shopping?  I am not!  I have been using an app on my phone to keep my ideas and present purchases organized (and secret!).  I bought it last year for 99 cents. It seemed sort of silly to pay for an app like that, but it’s made keeping track of gift buying so much easier.  I think the one I use is just called Christmas, but I’m sure there are others.  I highly recommend it if you use a smart phone.  The passcode keeps prying eyes out!

photo-4

 

This little Santa is one of my favorite Christmas things.  He’s part of a salt and pepper shaker set (my sister has the other one) that my Grandma had when we were little.  Gina and I rubbed the soft beards on them so much, that they are nearly fuzzless now.

I’ve got several new recipes to share with you this week.  Lots of good stuff coming to the blog! And there’s still time to enter the giveaway for a $500 VISA cash card too!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  December includes an awesome gift guide for easy gifts you can whip up in your kitchen that are sure to make everyone happy–even the dog! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional

Slow Cooker

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Simpe Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – December 2

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. We visited my family and Jim’s, eating two turkey dinners in less than 24 hours. Whew! It was fun and filling!

As soon as we got home, I printed the list for the December Slow Cooker Freezer Meals plan and headed to the grocery. I decided not to brave Walmart, where I usually shop, on black friday. We hit Kroger instead.

Shopping in a store that you aren’t as familiar with is always an experience. It takes a bit longer. It’s hard to shop on auto-pilot they way you can if you know all the aisles well. But the store wasn’t crowded. I’m pretty sure Kroger isn’t high on the list for black Friday shoppers.

On Saturday morning, I prepped all the slow cooker freezer meals and shot the video.  The freezer meals week is actually next week, but the plans can be used in any order you like.  Members get access to the whole month at once.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  December includes an awesome gift guide for easy gifts you can whip up in your kitchen that are sure to make everyone happy–even the dog! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional

Slow Cooker

4. Roast w/ red wine, onion, garlic & Italian seasoning

 

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – November 25 (Organizing the Pantry and Playing with Pressure Cooking)

We’ve been working on our kitchen for a few weeks, making a few improvements. We had new countertops, sink and faucet installed. Last weekend, we worked on organizing the pantry, adding full extension slides to two drawers and custom dividers.

The pantry had gotten to be a humongous mess. It seems no matter what I do to it, I have a hard time keeping it organized. Part of the problem is there are just 4 shelves. While I was working on getting it back in shape, I called my Dad and asked him if he could design something that would work better.

Dad is a contractor. He’s designed and remodeled a lot of kitchens over the years. As soon as I told him the pantry needed help, he knew exactly what he could do to fix it. I’m not sure when we’ll get started with the project, but I can’t wait! It’s going to be a huge improvement.

For now, here’s the before and after of the pantry. Not a lot of change, but it is better.

pantrybeforeandafter

 

Jim added full extension slides to our utensil drawers last weekend too.  These make it possible to pull the drawers all the way out, so you can see what’s in the back.  He also made custom dividers.  I love getting in the drawers and easily finding what I need.

drawers

 

I’ve been playing around with my new pressure cooker this week.  I absolutely love it for making rice!  I tried it for potato soup the other day.  It worked great, but I think it would have been just as fast on the stove top.  One of these days, I’ll do a post about pressure cooking.

I tried to get a picture of the steam release.  Steam is hard to capture.  Using the cooker has been fun and easy.  It’s very easy to clean and I’m not even afraid of blowing up the kitchen!

photo-3

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  November features your easiest Thanksgiving ever, with easy recipes to keep you spending more quality time with your family instead of the kitchen stove.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker

1. All Day Beef Stew – Oven or Crockpot
2. Your Easiest Thanksgiving Ever: Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker, plus all the sides
Traditional
  1. Your Easiest Thanksgiving EverTurkey Breast in the Slow Cooker, plus all the sides
  2. Italian Beef Sandwiches in the Crockpot
  3. Shrimp Scampi 
  4. Turkey and Dumplings (Use up leftover Turkey!)
  5. Lentil Tacos 
  6. Loaded Baked Potatoes
  7. Easy Apple Crumb Cake

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – November 18

WeeklyMealPlansandRealLife

This is the week with the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals!  Wahoo!  I’ve got one of them cooking away in my crockpot right now.  Calico Bean Soup for dinner!  I love that I can have 6 or 7 meals stashed away in the freezer with just about an hour of prep time.  So handy!  To find out more about the Weekly Meal Plans and get the grocery list and cooking tips for the freezer meals, click here.  You can also watch a video of me prepping the meals on my YouTube channel.  (The video thing still feels WAY out of my comfort zone!  I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over being embarrassed by them, but I’m forging ahead anyway and sharing it with you.)

This was to be a big week of recipe testing for me.  And I have created/tested several.  Some have been a success.  And some, not so much.  Ah, well.  It’s all part of the process.

I’ll be doing more recipe creation over the weekend.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have more success than failures.  I do have a fantastic soup recipe I’ll be sharing with you on Tuesday.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  November features your easiest Thanksgiving ever, with easy recipes to keep you spending more quality time with your family instead of the kitchen stove.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker

Traditional
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