Simple Meal Plans & Real Life – April 14

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post with how our dinners have gone over the past week.  I started to say that last week was out of the ordinary, but truly, every week is a little different than the one before.

What is true is that I kept things very simple for dinner last week.  The week before I’d created quite a lot of recipes, so maybe I needed a break.  Or maybe I was just being lazy.

We started off Monday by staying up to watch the NCAA Basketball game.  Such a good game, but so sad for those of us here in Kentucky.  And it made us pretty tired the rest of the week too!

Monday night we had Orange Chicken.  I added a fresh pineapple that needed to be used and it was so good!  We love this quick meal.

Tuesday night I created a new recipe for a client.  It will be posted on the blog next month I think.  You’re going to love it!  I know we did.

Wednesday is an evening that has everyone going in different directions.  It was mostly YOYO (you’re on your own).  I did make a skillet of Migas for Jim, Mia and myself.

Thursday night I had book club.  I picked up a rotisserie chicken for everyone else to eat.

Friday night we ate a quick dinner of tacos before driving Isaac to the high school formal dance.  It was held at the castle and we wanted an opportunity to look around a bit.  This place sat empty for years and years before finally being turned into a hotel.

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It’s not the kind of place you expect to see in central Kentucky, is it?

After we dropped Isaac off, we met friends at Graeter’s for ice cream.  The weather was gorgeous and we were able to sit outside to eat.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If you’ve been looking for a way to save time on menu planning, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the organizing 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.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Whole Foods Menu

  1. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  2. Sweet & Smokey Salmon
  3. Chicken Tacos
  4. Chicken Avocado Lime & Cliantro Soup
  5. Chicken Curry
  6. Veggie Pie
  7. Caramel Apple Pie

Traditional Menu

  1. Chicken, Plantains, and Spinach in Coconut Milk
  2. Steak Burgers
  3. Grilled Fish Sandwich
  4. Ham and Swiss Scalloped Potatoes
  5. Easy Pizza Rice Casserole
  6. Mexican Vegetables over Cornbread
  7. Brownies a la Mode with Wild Berry Sauce

Slow Cooker Menu

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Weekend Links, Latest Reads and My Bad Habit of Not Finishing Books

I loved this post on Modern Mrs. Darcy of book recommendations for writers from Shauna Niequist.  Shauna is the author of Bread and Wine, which I recently finished and highly recommend.

The list of books she recommended was interesting for several reasons.  I’ve read a couple of them.  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is one of my favorites.  Traveling Mercies, also by Lamott, has been on my to-read list for a while now.

I’m in the midst of reading another of Shauna’s recommendations – Gone Girl.  I have to admit, I’m not finding it to be as much of a page turner as I’d hoped.  In fact, I could probably just abandon it and not look back.  I’m going to stick it out and finish this book though for several reasons.

First, it made the list on Modern Mrs. Darcy for its interesting structure.  So far, I haven’t seen anything  too unusual so that must still be coming (I’m about 40% of the way through it).

Second, almost everyone seems to love this book.  They get wrapped up in it and can’t put it down.  There must be something too that.

And finally, I’ve recently (like yesterday) realized that I have a habit of quitting books.  Another book on the list, The Language of Flowers, was one that I quit after a few chapters.  And last night at book club, we were discussing all kinds of books and there were three or four that I had only read part of.

Modern Mrs. Darcy has a post on not finishing books.  I even commented that I have no problem abandoning books part way through, even read-alouds for homeschool.  Otto of the Silver Hand comes immediately to mind.  We hated that book!

But now I’m wondering if I’m too quick to abandon.  Maybe I need to give books a chance to finish out.  It’s possible that it’s unfair to judge a book on the first 30%.

What do you think?

In other bookish news, this came for me in the mail:

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Jessica Fisher is a friend of mine and I’m so excited about her latest cookbook.  Mia actually jumped up and down when she saw Best 100 Juices for Kids.  She loves juice and smoothies!  The book will be available April 15.

One of my friends had a brilliant idea that we should go to Becoming Conference in August.  I’m very excited about this upcoming trip.  Most of the conferences I’ve gone to the last few years have been times of intense learning.  I’ve come away with long to-do lists.  But Becoming looks like a refreshing type conference.  Just what I need!

McCormick Spice has a Pin-Spiration Sweepstakes going on right now.  They’re giving prize packs out every week.  Click here to enter.

Disclosure: I am working with McCormick this year.

 

 

 

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Weekend Links

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Earlier this week we were badly in need of a field trip.  It had snowed a little bit again.  And we just really needed to change things up for the day.  So we bundled up for a hike at Raven Run.  It was only 27 degrees, but the sun was out and the hike was just what we needed.  We didn’t see another living soul on the path.  But we did see a few plants with buds about to burst into bloom.  We smelled the earthy scent of mud, which was thawed despite the cold temperature.  And we spent a little while at the overlook, pondering the pale green color of the Kentucky River.

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Last night we stayed up to watch the UK game against Louisville.  What a game!  Definitely worth staying up for, especially if you’re a UK fan.  I may need to make Blue Velvet Cupcakes again!

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Recently, I watched From Time to Time on Netflix.  If you like movies and shows about old, English castles then you will like this one.  There are two story lines, one that takes place during WWII and another that tells the history of the old house.  The story reminded me of the book,  The Sherwood Ring, one of our favorite homeschool reads.  From Time to Time is streaming for free on Netflix.

Disney FastPass+ News

Starting March 31, off-site guests will be able to make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance of their vacations.  I was able to link all of our tickets to the My Disney Experience website a few weeks ago.  So I’m all set to make our FP+ selections when we’re 30 days out.  Now I just have to get a plan touring the parks together!

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I managed to snag The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for just 99 cents a few months ago.  I’d read it once and loved it.  The other day, I started reading it for the second time.  It’s just as good this time through as the first.  Do you ever read books more than once?  I’d love to know which books you find worth a second read.

I hope you have a great weekend, full of rest and renewal.

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Planning a Disney Trip for a Big Family- Resources to Use

Main Street Confectionary

If I could be transported right into Disney World, I would choose that spot right there in the middle of the Main Street Confectionery.  One sniff of that beautiful, sweet smell and the magic begins!

Our next Disney trip is getting closer and I’ve started into planning mode.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned when traveling to the happiest place in the world with 13 people, it’s this –  have a plan!

Not having one would mean all of us getting hot, tired and hungry looking at each other asking, “What next?”  That’s just frustrating and time wasting.

To make sure that doesn’t happen hardly at all, we go with a plan.  We stick to the plan.  We don’t second guess the plan.  And we have a blast!

(When we travel with fewer people, we have less of a plan.  And when we’ve gone with just two of us, we go with no plan at all.)

In the past, I’ve put together small booklets with our itinerary for each day listed out.  I add other useful info to the booklets too.  Each family gets a copy (my parents, my sister’s family and my family).

This year, I thought about doing the whole thing as a digital version to use on our phones, but I think I’m going to stick with the physical copies.  Not everyone in the family has a smart phone.  And I honestly think I like using the physical copy better anyway.

Once I have ours put together, I’ll share them here on the blog.  Just in case anyone else out there is as much of a planning nut as I am!

Below, I’ve added a few resources I use for planning Disney trips.   [Read more...]

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Weekend Thinks and Links

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What kind of person does this to the ice cream container and then puts in back in the freezer for the next unsuspecting snacker?

If you know my family in real life, you can guess which one of the kids did it.  Yep, it’s the one whose name means laughter.  We named him well.

Speaking of ice cream, I’ve been reading through this book on Scrib’d:   [Read more...]

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Books and more

Are you longing for spring yet? We’ve got another big winter weather system headed our way later this weekend. I’m done with it!  I’m so ready to sit in the sunshine, read on the back porch, and grill out burgers.

Or maybe even hit the road for a road trip.  Do you ever get that urge to pop in the car and go with no plan?  Just a change of scenery and a little adventure?

I’m not sure a road trip is in my near future, but I have been reading an excellent book about one.

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Harry and Bess Truman took a road trip in 1953 after his presidency was over.  I am loving this book!  The author, Matthew Algeo is a fantastic writer.  He takes us to all of the places the Truman’s traveled on that trip 61 years ago.  The former president and his wife traveled without Secret Service escort.  This was in the days before presidents had the protection of the Secret Service after their terms were over.  Truman also had no pension, requiring him to live very modestly.

I’m about half way through the book right now.  It’s an easy read that is enjoyable, and at the same time educates me on historical events and people.  There’s a chapter devoted to a stop in my hometown too, so I’m looking forward to getting to that section.

I found this book on Scribd (it’s like Netflix for books).  I’ve been using Scribd for about two months.  Whenever I search their library for specific titles, I come up with nothing.  They never have the book I’m looking for.  On the other hand, I’ve found several books to read there that I would not have found otherwise.  Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure is one of those.  I’m withholding judgement on whether Scribd is worth it or not until I’ve had more time to test it out.

New pantry is happening this weekend!

My parents are at my house this weekend so that Dad can put in the new pantry he built for us.  I can’t wait to show you!  Heck, I can’t wait to see it myself!  I’ll be posting photos on Instagram as we go along.  Follow me there for updates.  It’s going to be good riddance to the wire shelves and hello beautiful white drawers!

 

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George Foreman Grill Cooking

I don’t use my George Foreman grill very often, but it is handy for certain things.  I especially like using it for fish (more on that below).

The biggest advantage of this small appliance is that it cooks fast!

Tips for Cooking on a George Foreman Grill

First, watch the cooking times closely.  The speedy cooking can lead to dry meat if you aren’t careful.  I use the info that came with the grill to guide how long to cook foods.  I also set the timer on my stove so that I don’t get busy and overcook the food.

The other big tip I have is to add sauces at the end of the cooking time.  Brushing meat with barbecue sauce before cooking causes the sauce to burn.  Not the taste I want.  Instead, I cook the meat and then add the sauce after taking it from the grill.

What to Cook on a George Foreman Grill   [Read more...]

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Answering Your Questions

Recently, I started a search for new contributing writers.  (I’m still working my way through the applications.)  As part of that process, I asked if the applicants had any questions for me.  Most of the questions pertained directly to the contributing writer position, but a few were more general.

I thought there might be others out there who have the same questions, so I’m answering them in this post.  If you aren’t interested in any of this, don’t worry.  We’ll be back with new recipes and foodie things soon!

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What inspired you to start this blog?   [Read more...]

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Weekend Links and Sponsor Spotlight

I’ve been reading Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider of The Art of Simple.

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I honestly wasn’t sure what I would think about this book.  For reasons I haven’t yet figured out, the word “intention” turns me off.  I think it’s because it makes me feel tired and defeated before I even start.  Like I have to give even more thought, energy and effort to every single area of my life.  And that sounds exhausting.

Thankfully, that’s not how Tsh’s book makes me feel at all.  It’s full of stories, very easy to read and gentle.  It’s thought provoking, interesting and inspiring.  I’m really glad that I bought it.  I’m not quite finished with it, but I’m close enough to be able to give it a hearty recommendation.

I loved this post from The Nester.  Watch the video.  It’s worth it!  And then go dance in your kitchen with the people you love.

Have you seen these “slow cookers”?  Very interesting.

Spotlight on The Magic for Less Travel

Every once in a while it crosses my mind that we have a family trip to Disney World coming up in a few months.  Now that’s fun to think about!

If you’ve got a little Disney fever, click over to The Magic for Less Travel.  Here’s info on the latest offer!

Do you want to capture that look of magic on the face of your child when he sees his favorite Disney character?  Disney has released a “kid-sized” special offer that includes FREE digital photos (Memory Maker) in addition to a discount of up to 25% off room accommodation with a minimum 3-night package with 2-day Base Ticket for stays most nights 4/27 – 6/15/14 and 8/15 – 9/30/2014.  The friendly and knowledgeable agents with The Magic For Less Travel can help you with this and other resort reservations!  Don’t forget to request your no-obligation quote today!

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Help Wanted – Looking for Contributing Writers for Eat at Home

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A year and a half ago, I brought on several people to be part of the Eat at Home team.  It was one of the best blog decisions I’ve made!

I love creating and sharing recipes on the site and I have no plans to stop.  You’ll still be seeing mostly my stuff here.  But I also love the recipes that my contributing writers share.  And having the extra help to keep things going has been invaluable.

Rachael, Kate, Kim and Angie are all still with me and I’m looking for a couple of people to join us as contributing recipe writers.  These are compensated positions.

If sharing easy, family friendly recipes with the best readers in the world is something that you’re interested in check out the requirements below and then click the link to fill out the application.

Qualifications needed:

  • Love cooking
  • Have writing and photography skills
  • Love sharing via social media
  • Have an understanding of what Eat at Home is about and who the audience is
  • Willing to write original content, not published elsewhere
  • Willing to take direction from me for the editorial calendar, as well as bring your original ideas for recipes.

If you are interested in the possibility of joining the Eat at Home team, please submit an application here.

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