Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday Menu Plan - Whoops

Well, I have had a rough week, health issues and other things have kept me from blogging.  But I was so excited about my new plan that I wasn't worried, BUT......
When I downloaded the new menu plan this week I realized my family wouldn't eat a single meal on the plan.  I started with the Publix meal plan on Wednesday and I said, nope nothing on there, so I will wait for the Kroger plan on Sunday, and it was very similar (which tells me at this point I won't need both).  So there I was on Sunday with no plan.... :(

So we have been winging it....

Monday - Spaghetti, Texas Toast

Tuesday - BBQ Chicken, Beans, Mac n Cheese and Garden Salad

Wednesday - Stuffed Shells with Sauce, Caesar Salad

Thursday - Slow Cooker Dump and Go Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Green Beans

Friday - Pizza Night

Saturday - Taco Twist Bake, Salad

Sunday - A1 Pork Chops, Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

Find this plan over on

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday - Featured site of the Week

Blogging is supposed to be a release for me.  This week has been less than stellar for me in some ways and really good in other ways.

I have been conducting a little experiment this week with  So far so good.  The dish I made the last night was another big hit.  So not only is it easy to follow but it is also good.

So here is my break down so far:

Easy to read and follow recipes (the entire weeks recipes are on one page!)
So far everyone likes everything on the menu
It made my shopping trip quick and easy
You can search on the internet for a coupon code to get a discount on your meal plan!

The portions are not big enough for my family, so I have to adjust
Condiments are not included in the shopping list and some of the things they consider condiments I would not (i.e. hamburger buns)
I have to substitute healthier items (low sodium broths and soups, etc), I know that they do this to keep the price down, so I choose to use the more expensive item to be a bit healthier.

All in all I really like this site.  Because I have two stores I shop at I now have 14 meals to choose from for my family, the shopping lists are ready to go, I just take my coupon binder and hit the road!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday - Random Acts of Kindness / Gratitude

Well I am trying to get back into a rhythm again.  I am not sure I can get back to blogging every day but I will try.   My husband asked me what would make me happy.  I said, I wasn't aware that I was unhappy.  I feel that I am generally content.  Sure would I like to have more money and not be in debt, you bet.  Could I stand to lose some weight and get healthier, absolutely!  But that is not my primary focus.  I would have to say for now my family is.  Now when my kids are gone and grown, who knows, my tastes and goals may change.

We are working on changing our world a little at a time.  My children are each picking a project that we will engage in as a family.  Each child picks one month.  Last month we worked on the tornado relief in Joplin.  We have friends and family there so it was an obvious choice that was close to our hearts. Our daughter spearheaded a drive at her school and then took the supplies to Joplin.  This month our son has chosen to help package meals for delivery to terminally ill patients.  Next week we will load up in our van and set out to package meals for three hours.  He picked it on his own.  Next month another son wants to help our local animal shelter out by getting donations from his classroom.  We have to run that by the school administration but I am sure that they will allow it.  Even if he just gets his friends to participate and bring in old towels it will help a few dogs that otherwise would not have any bedding.  We also found a great doggie biscuit recipe that we will make at home.

As I have mentioned before I love the site Pebble Tossers.  They log in and they look for their own project.  We talk about it and then we schedule it.  It creates a ripple, hopefully our children will continue to carry this on long after they move out.

So how are YOU going to create a small ripple today?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Meal Plan E-mealz, my new experiment - First Meal Review and Meal Plan

Well, I gave you a pretty good run down of how I thought would work for me.  We ended up waiting until everyone was home to make the Orange Ginger Chicken.  It was a huge hit!  Now one of the best things about their program is that the recipes, the menu plan and the grocery list are on only two pages.  Yes there is a lot of pre-packaged foods (for instance the potatoes) but you can always substitute for fresh.  (Just remember the cost will most likely rise).  So for the first night I cooked six chicken breasts (I used both packages).  I had two left over.  I will use those in a salad this week.  But here is the best part, Next time I make this I will be making four packages and putting them in the freezer to marinate.  Everyone ate, even my kid that hates grilled chicken.  I had left over green beans so they will go into a shoepeg casserole at the end of the week.  But I did call the potatoes correctly, I had one small serving left over and my daughter has called those for breakfast.

So my first meal score - A+

Now I have just downloaded the new Kroger shopping list for this week and printed it out with the current Publix meal plan.  Since I had just done a meat run at Sam's, I do not have to buy as much meat for this week.  I did check out the prices on the sheets and found there are somethings that I can get cheaper at Kroger (from the Publix lists) and vice versa.  So I have highlighted what I need from each list and I will venture out today to try my luck.  Overall I am excited about this.  I got the menu plan done and the shopping list completed in about 15 minutes.  Normally it takes me at least an hour.  Now not everything that I have on here if from their list and I am not posting recipes.  I had substitutions because of things I had already purchased and since this is an effort to save money, I am going to use them. :)

I am ready for my week!

Here is the Plan -
Monday - Pork Chops, Mac n Cheese (because I have some in the pantry, not on menu) Beans
Tuesday - Teryaki Burgers, Baked potatoes, Corn
Wednesday - Pot Roast and Vegetables
Thursday - Tortellini Carbona, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday - Bahamian Tuna, Shoepeg Corn Casserole,  Rolls
Saturday - Steak Salad, Rolls
Sunday - Quiche

As usual find this over at-
This week Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

E-mealz, my new experiment

Ok so I am always trying to find new ways to help myself out, save money and do good things for my family.

I was looking at new blogs on the web and I found one that I just LOVE.  It is Zenhabits.  Now that led me to reading back stories which led me to  Now I have looked at another blog I love $5 dinners.  But lets be honest.  She couldn't feed my family on $5.00 a meal.  I have two teenagers and two tweens and my husband and myself.  While I love the concept I just knew it wouldn't work for us.  But she does do a meal plan that she posts each week with a grocery list and it is FREE!  I love her ideas so please go check it out.  

So back to e-mealz.......  It is a pay service for a very reasonable price.  It is only 15.00 for three months for each meal plan that is only $1.25 a week for each plan but I am not sure this is going to work either.....

I signed up the other night and I signed up for the Kroger and the Publix 4-6 editions.  Now we have six people in our family, and I have a Kroger that is very close but I do like to go to Publix.  They have been sending me $5.00 off coupons each week for two months and I just love the fresh sushi and their egg salad.  So as a treat I like to go there at least once a month.

So these ladies at E-mealz are going to feed my family dinner for an entire week for under $100.00.....well lets see.

Since I started in the middle of the week I decided to pick one meal to feed my family of four tonight (two of them are with my ex).  I picked one meal and decided to see just how that would pan out at the store.

I picked Orange Ginger Chicken.  Now I will not give you the recipe but I will tell you what is in it.
They suggested 1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts they are on sale at Kroger this week for 1.99 a pound.  They were 4.34 and 4.94 a package.  One package of chicken will feed my family of four (that is three breasts) so I can't just use 3.00 worth of chicken.  Last week they were not on sale so I always get extra when they are one sale to keep.
Next item was minced fresh ginger one small piece, they said it should have cost me .50, the smallest piece they had was .85.

It listed 1 tub prepared mashed potatoes as a side, first off my Kroger didn't have the brand they suggested but they did have the Kroger one on sale but not for the same price.  Now generally I buy the powdered Idaho potatoes or make it from scratch but this time I thought, I will just play along.  No dice, the tub is so small, even though it says five servings, it will not do here, so I had to buy two.  Lastly they said green beans, which were on sale as well.

Ok so here is the tricky, this meal plan does not include the price of staples........

Staples for this meal:
Orange Juice (which is NOT a staple in my house, I never buy it)
Garlic (which is a staple but at 4.00 every time you buy should count)
Rice Vinegar and Sesame Oil(which I happen to have because my mother visited last month and told me to buy it)
Soy Sauce (Ok I buy that in bulk)

So here is your break down:
Item                         E-mealz price                         My price
Chicken                        3.00                                        4.34
Ginger                            .50                                        .85
Mashed Potatoes            1.49                                       5.00 (two tubs 2.50 each)
Beans                            1.20                                       1.20
Orange Juice                      0                                       1.99
Garlic                                 0                                       3.99
                                     $6.19                                   $17.37

Hmmmm, this is not looking so good for me.  But I am going to try it for a whole week.  Now understand my family situation is different, we have different kids on different nights, but there are so many blended families out there that it should be a norm at this point.  

I love their concept, I like their menus (my family will never eat the fish but hey...), so I am going to challenge myself to stick to their menu next week (I will do 50% at Kroger and 50% at Publix) and we will see how it turns out.  I am excited to try it. :)


Friday, July 15, 2011

Is it Thursday already? Ok Since I didn't post it yesterday, now it is FRIDAY!

Well, I wanted to get back to blogging, but the week has escaped me again. This week has been filled with work, a yearly mammogram the 3rd delivery of a refrigerator in two weeks, the air going out and generally a normal week.

Down south we used to say that it was so hot, but now it seems that heat has swept across the country. Our heat indexes have been over 100, and yes we know we should expect heat, but it has been brutal over the past few weeks.

So the weather is giving us a break today, a high of 83.  So I am going to try and have a productive day in the office without AC.  We will see.

An update on my goals from the other day.......Thanks to Life As Mom for reminding me I can start a new year anytime.
1.  I have not kept a good food diary.  I have tried on my phone, I have tried on paper, just can't seem to get that down.  Either I do not have the phone with me or the paper with me when I am eating, or I just can't commit.  Can't really figure that one out yet.

2.  I have not exercised.  Terrible I know, but I have vacuumed the entire house.  Vacuuming here is not easy.  We have two dogs who shed and several birds (one that is very messy).  I am guessing I haven't felt that great due to the heat, but I also think I probably had a touch of something this week.

3.  I did make the music mix.  I love my android.  My music sits on my hip.  I get tons of work down around the house, but just haven't made it on the bike. :(*

4.  Taking time for me- I have done pretty good on that front.  Here I am at 6:29 taking time out.  I played my favorite little ipad game (pocket frogs) and I feel pretty relaxed.  I carry alot of stress with me, some self imposed........

So 2 out of 4, I guess that is not so bad.  I think I will still have the same goals (minus the music) for next week.  I will add one more......getting my Household notebook finished.

1.  Food Diary
2.  Exercise 15 minutes a day (changing this to M-W-F-SU) Four times a week should start me out on my goal :)
3.  Finish up Household notebook (I am still deciding HOW to set this up, either digitally or in my notebook.) And I know that a Household Notebook is an ever changing thing.  I just need to decide HOW I am going to do it :)

So there you go.  This weekend I am looking at new meal planning services.  While I love my subscription I still like to look at other options out there.

Have a great Friday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Plan

Well I usually take Sunday's to plan out my week.  Get a little cleaning done around the house and generally just relax.  So I have been really enjoying myself today.  I went out to a wonderful brunch and tomorrow I start on my road to wellness.

Simple goals:
You have to start with simple goals.  Before I know what I have to change about my diet, I need to know what I am eating.  I know I have a menu plan, but I am a grazer.  And then there is portion control (or lack of it).  So right now I am as heavy as I have ever been in my life.  (well beside when I was pregnant) so it is time to shape up.  I have the tools now I just need to use them.  I try to use  I mean how silly is this...... I have access on my android phone, my ipad and my computer, yet I can't even enter in how much water I drink per day or how much I weigh.  Simple goal number 1:  write down how much water I drink and what I eat for five days.

Next, I do NOT exercise.  There were some sites that used to count housework as exercise.  Maybe there is a reason that spark people does not.  It is inconsistent and varied.  So next simple goal.  15 minutes of exercise a day.  I have a wii (with an exercise program) and I have pay per view that has free exercise videos.  I also have a stationery bike and a treadmill.  Certainly I can start small.  So scheduling that 15 mintues is a must.

Small goal number 3.  Make a playlist of music that is 15 minutes long that will get me moving.  I will do two different ones so I don't listen to the same thing everyday.

Finally smalll goal number 4.  Really take 15 more minutes a day just for me. Seems simple enough, but I never afford myself that luxury.  Not that it is not given in my house, just that I do not take it.

After I follow these small goals for a week I need to decide on my next action plan.  I have a few resources that I will be looking at this week so I can start following something.

Flylady - Body Clutter (I have the book and the companion journal), I am trying to find some others to do this with......they also have a daily sheet to make it easier....

I also have Ellie Krieger's Small Changes Big Results book, I joined her website before but is was expensive in my opinion.

Spark people

Oh decisions decisions!
1.  Log my foods and water for one week
2.  Exercise for 15 mintues a day
3.  Make a playlist for exercise time
4.  Take 15 minutes for me.

Menu Plan Monday - been nearly a month!

Well I am well behind on menu planning.  Summer is a crazy time.  Kids are here, not here, all kinds of crazy stuff going on.  I am going back to my regular way of posting.  It is not Monday but I am going to go ahead and post for the week.

Dinner - Beef Brisket (adapted from Paula Dean's Receipe) We added additional Garlic Powder and Cavendars seasoning.

Beer Can Chicken

Tacos / Taco Salad

Tuesday -
Classic BLT Sandwich
Pasta Salad

Wednesday - Chicken Marsala

Thursday -

Friday - Pizza Night

Saturday -
Green Bean Casserole

Sunday -
Twice Baked Potatoes
BBQ Ribs
Mac n cheese