I think I could probably have taco night at least 3 times a week. That, and just eat green beans or potatoes to accompany my protein source. Pretty boring (but delicious). My husband could actually eat the same 3 things every week, but I feel like we should have some diversity in our meal planning. He also likes to eat a fairly strict primal diet that is grain-free and almost always without white potatoes. I like to eat that way too, so at least he keeps me honest!
Next month I am going to do something similar to the Grocery Savings Challenge, but post totals by the month. We are also ordering our eggs and most of our meat from local sources that pasture-raise their animals, so it might be interesting how much we will spend choosing quality of cost.
We have been getting some lovely weather here; the wind is a bit chilly, but a sunny 50-60 degree day is still nice! We even used the grill last night!
This week’s meal plan:
Monday: Grilled steaks (grass-fed! They were a Christmas gift), with baked sweet potatoes and steamed brussel sprouts with parsley butter (Strauss butter, you are amazing)
Tuesday: Macadamia crusted chicken breast, steamed green beans, mixed green salad
Wednesday: Pork chops with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot stir-fry
Thursday: Italian meatloaf, mixed greens, roasted potatoes and carrots
My mom makes the best spinach dip. I have yet to find a spinach dip that compares. I remember my mom making it for all sorts of holidays and occasions. She’s been making this recipe for so long (over 26 years) that she has no clue where it first originated. She made her famous spinach dip yesterday for no special reason and I had to share. It’s pretty simple to make, too!
Today’s dinner was one of my favorites: thin chicken breasts seasoned with chili, lime, and other spices, then grilled and served with a mango and avocado salsa. It really hit the spot!
I could also eat the salsa by itself. I had to stop eating it by the spoonful or else there wouldn’t be enough for dinner! The salsa lasted us about 3 servings, but it could be more if I didn’t eat half of it just myself. It probably makes about 1 cup of salsa.
Chili-lime chicken with mango and avocado salsa recipe
I’m not too motivated to cook dinner these days. Luckily my husband cooks a lot, so he makes sure all the food we have in our refrigerator doesn’t go to waste! Don’t get me wrong, I still cook, I just find it less appealing than before I was pregnant.
On a particularly motivationally-low day for both of us, I decided to try tinfoil pack chicken. I have never wrapped chicken up in tinfoil before and cooked it in the oven, so I thought I would give it a try. I made a seasoning blend, cut and rinsed asparagus, and awaited for Marc to get home so he could pound out the chicken breasts.
I only had enough tinfoil for 3 pouches and a bit more chicken than that, but we made it work.
The seasoning blend:
The packet contents:
Chicken breasts (pounded out)
Sundried tomatoes, diced
How we made the packets:
Lightly oiled tinfoil
Put chicken in center of foil
Tosses asparagus in seasoning and oil
Places asparagus on top of chicken
Folded up foil packet
How we cooked the packets:
Placed packets in pan (or oven-safe dish)
Cooked on 350 degrees, for 30 minutes
How we cooked the packets, continued:
We had a little too much chicken in the packets, so after 30 minutes, we opened one up and found the chicken still a bit raw
We cooked the packets for an additional 10 minutes, on 375 degrees
May attempt foil packs someday again, with some edits
I think if we would have only put one piece of chicken in the packets the asparagus would have turned out fine.
The spears of asparagus were less over-cooked than the bottom chunks of aspargus I threw in there.
Other recipes call for broccoli and peas, maybe they would fair better in a foil packet
Every year we would get Easter Baskets from the Easter Bunny (just like stockings from Santa). My mom would fill our baskets with special treats and toys along with hiding Easter Eggs. It was almost like waking up on Christmas morning!
This year I only have my toddler-age Godchild to make a basket for, but I have been thinking about lots of other ideas! The following is a list of Easter Basket Filler Ideas that don’t involve candy – some to make and some to buy. Just follow the links for the craft tutorials or instructions!
What to use for baskets:
The cheap wicker Easter baskets they sell at the store
Other stores have more fun “baskets” like fabric animals and colorful pails
Colorful organizational totes at the dollar store (we get these the most – fun and functional for after Easter!)
Toy containers: baby doll bath tubs, strollers or cradles, Lego containers, etc. (holds the goodies and doubles as a toy)
Real baskets from a home or craft store
Instead of using Easter grass, use fabric, a new piece of clothing, a baby blanket, etc.
Easter Basket Ideas (other than candy):
Sidewalk Chalk (make your own without any toxic ingredients if you have the time)
In this week’s review, I thought I would try and break down the meal costs to be more accurate. I did not include the cost of oil or seasonings, since the cost is usually quite small per meal and hard to determine. If I grill in butter, I include the butter cost (and we use butter than comes from grass fed cows, so it’s about $7-8 a box).
Better late than never, but I finally finished by Godchild’s Christmas1st Birthday Valentine’s Day quilt. I’ve been limiting my internet time during the day and wow, does that make me 100x more productive. I used some shortcuts that made making this quilt pretty easy, and while it’s not perfect, I’m happy with the overall results.
This quilt does not have batting, instead, I used a fuzzy blanket I bought for $4 at the craft store – those fleece throws you can buy cheap at drug stores or Wal-Mart work well too.
I didn’t have anyone at home to help me hold it up and take a picture, so excuse the weird angle.
Sew strips of fabric together (can be different widths)
Cut vertically, into several peices (I cut into 4 pieces)
Cut strips of matching fabric (I cut mine 2.5 inches)
Sew strips of fabric together, alternating upside down and rightside up, with the color strips in between
Cut hearts our of felt
Sew several hearts by hand or with your machine, onto quilt top (leave a few to sew on when you put the back on, optional – stuff hearts with batting)
Pin quilt onto fleece throw
Baste (wide-stitch) around the edge of quilt, securing top and bottom pieces together and trim the excess
Pin binding around edges, and sew
Sew on additional hearts to “quilt” your top and bottom together
Hand or machine embroider a note on a felt heart (my first time doing freestyle machine embroidery, looks pretty good for being a beginner!)
Sew on heart to back (but do it better than I did!)
This week is going to be a little odd for us with the Monday holiday, social gatherings, and Lent. We have dinner plans with family on Saturday, dinner plans with friends on Sunday, and two vegetarian meals for Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of lent. I’m only making four meals, and we are eating leftover vegetarian chili on Friday; Marc is fasting from lunch on Wednesday and Friday (for Lent, and I’m still pregnant, so not fasting), so making bigger meals all week to last through dinner and lunch, is not as big of a priority.
The Stores and their Deals The Meal Plan The Grocery List The Final Cost
I’m actually finding grocery shopping a little more fun when I have challenged myself to eat good and healthy meals on a smaller budget. This week was a little harder, though, because I purchased splurge items for a Valentine’s Day dinner and dessert, and we were also out of expensive items like cheese, olive oil, and almond butter.
The Stores and their Deals The Meal Plan The Grocery List The Final Cost
My husband and I have both been pretty busy and really not in the mood to cook. But we have to eat! And we don’t want to eat packaged and processed meals either. Our Meal Plan: Easy Crockpot Stew served … Continue reading →