Menu, Week of 1/11

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This is my third menu plan for the year! I am on track for menu planning again! I know, this is very exclamatory, but I have been really slacking on the menus, and suffering for it. I have missed the ease of a menu already in place, and made abortive attempts to reboot the habit for months with very little success. Now, though, I seem to be doing it, and I am super happy about that.

Another trick I used this week is creating a menu at the beginning of the week before, and adding things as they occur to me. Rather than sitting down on Sunday to create a menu from scratch, I add a meal here and there as it occurs to me that I would like to have a particular dish soon. Then I don’t have to really think about it all at once, and I am quickly jotting things down as I think of them.

Also, I am planning a few easy nights, so I don’t burn out. Sometimes just eating at home is good enough, saving me time and money.

Sunday: Chili, pasta for the kids

Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Italian sausage (I didn’t make this last week, so I am moving it out to this day)

Tuesday: Hamburgers

Wednesday: Buffalo pork chops (these were very popular last week!), buttered broccoli

Thursday: Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Friday: Leftovers or sausage and eggs

Saturday: Doro Wat, with thighs instead of drumsticks, Ethiopian spiced cabbage, based on this recipe, but without the carrots, probably

As always, many more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com

Menu, week of 1/4

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I used to be so good about menu planning. Heck, probably half of this blog is menu plans. Everything goes better when I have a menu, because I don’t have to think about what to make every day. I just come home and make dinner, and even if I am a bit tempted to eat out and spend money, I can usually quash that urge pretty quickly when I know what we are going to eat at home. I only plan to make things I like, after all. As a start to my goals for the year, I am getting back to that planning.

My plan is to try to keep it simple, not taking too much time with the plans. I have been known to spend hours on a menu plan, looking through Pinterest, reading old menus, trying to get the absolute best menu possible, as if that is a thing. I am putting a limit of 30 minutes on planning, and realizing that anything homemade is a good meal. This planning is supposed to be saving me time, after all, not taking up my whole weekend.

Sunday: Spanish Cod – I didn’t make this Friday as planned, so I am moving it to today

Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Italian sausage

Tuesday: Broccoli cheese frittata with smoked salmon

Wednesday: Bacon wrapped chicken tenders, green beans sauteed with bacon

Thursday: Buffalo Pork Chops (some plain for the girl), roasted Brussel’s sprouts, sauteed mushrooms

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Peanut Coconut Curry Chicken

As always, more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com

A Short Menu

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One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to menu planning, and I want to dive right in now, rather than waiting for Sunday, when I usually do my weekly planning. The kids are at their dad’s, so this isn’t a super-detailed plan, but at least I have a plan to go with.

Thursday: Bacon and eggs

Friday: Spanish cod (without the marinated veggies, probably)

Saturday: Italian sausages and peppers in marinara sauce

This gets me to the official menu planning day on Sunday. I am kind of excited about getting back to the menu plan–it makes at least one part of the week smooth, and without having to make decisions.

Goals for 2015

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I started to write a post today about goal setting, and how I am actually pretty good about that. I set goals, or I would never get anything done. I was patting myself on the back for getting some stuff done, thanks to my awesome goal setting. Then I did a quick search on my own blog to see what I have said about goals before, and discovered my goals for 2014. Out of 7 goals, I did one of them, and that one was play more games with my kids. Well, with the boy at least; the girl is 17 and too busy to hang out with us.

So, I am working on a new list of goals for this year, and I need to add a habit to actually check in on the goals this time. I am working on some detailed lists and timelines, but I am sharing some high level goals here now. Some of my detailed goals seem embarrassing or too personal, but the high level goals are good for organizing anyway.

Continue to craft often Learn to use the sewing machine. Crochet blankets. Make whatever I can around the house (health and beauty supplies, art for the walls, whatever else I can make before I buy). I love making things, and producing rather than consuming.

Blog more often Make menu plans. Document projects. Review movies and books. Think about how I am living my life.

Get my house organized Declutter. Get a cleaning routine. Declutter. Try not to buy new things. Declutter. Re-line the kitchen cabinets. Declutter. We have so many things in our house, it is hard to put them away; books and craft supplies are the worst categories, but there are many other things I could get rid of, too.

Do fun things with my kids Take them to movies. Go to museums. Go to the board gaming convention. Play more games at home. These kids are growing up and will be leaving me all too often–especially that girl, who is a junior in high school this year!

Get my finances under control Eat out less. Plan spending better. Pay off 401K loans. Pay off credit cards. My finances aren’t utter chaos–I contribute to my 401K, I have (very small) college funds for the kids, I pay my bills–but I am tired of feeling broke when I make good money.

Develop a plan to travel more So many places to go! Save more money for trips. Find cheaper ways to go. Plan some shorter, closer trips. I love to travel, but it is so expensive; I won’t get it in unless I plan for it.

Also, one bonus geek goal: Watch more scifi series on Netflix I need to finish Fringe and Deep Space Nine, plus watch all of Star Trek: Voyager and Babylon 5. I seriously hope those are on Netflix. I know I have more scifi series to watch on there, but this is enough to start with, ;).

What are your goals for the year?

Menu, Week of 8/3

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Summer is such a lazy time for me. I have been cooking, but without a real plan. My kids are going back to school next Wednesday, though, so I need to get back to planning ahead, or we will either eat out too much or starve.

Sunday: Homemade baked hot wings (we saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which was awesome by the way, so I just made wings and the kids had snacks at the movie)

Monday: Hot wings (because I defrosted too many wings yesterday, so I need to cook them up) Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs, Sukuma Wiki, buttered broccoli and yellow squash

Tuesday: Bratwurst, tahini greens, buttered broccoli

Wednesday: Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Thursday: Salmon patties with tahini sauce, roasted butternut squash, sauteed green beans

Friday:  Six Flags – we have a meal plan and season passes, and this will be a day at the park before school starts

Saturday: Coconut Peanut Chicken Curry

Menu, Week of 4/13

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It is spring cleaning time. My kids are not happy with me, because I made a schedule with tasks for every day. I don’t know what they are complaining about, though, because they get a break when they go to their dad’s house! I have tasks every single day!

Mostly I am trying to get rid of as many things as possible. We are in no danger of being on the show Hoarders, but we do have way too many things. I am a big contributor to this problem, I know. I have so much trouble getting rid of books and yarn. I am making an effort with the books–I have a pile of books that I have never read that I have to give one more chance, and if I don’t like them, I have to get rid of them. I am trying to use up at least some of the yarn I have before buying more. These are fairly long-term projects, though.

For the rest of the house, we are getting rid of whatever we can. Clothes purged. Old toys donated. Papers recycled. It is helping, some. We need to get rid of a lot more, though. At least I can remove one decision from my days: I have a dinner plan.

Sunday: Out to dinner with a gift certificatebratwurst

Monday: Breaded pork chops with mustard sauce, fried cabbage and pancetta, buttered broccoli

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Bratwurst

Thursday: Seafood Alfredo with zucchini noodles

Friday: One skillet paleo dinner

Saturday: Doro Wat, made with chicken thighs rather than drumsticks

As always, lots more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com

Menu, Week of 3/23

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I have been bad at menu planning lately, and I am suffering from it. I have still been cooking most nights, but it was a much more fraught experience, with lots of indecision and angst about how I could have made a better choice. I know that there are people who can look at what they have in the house and come up with a fantastic meal on the spot, but I am not really one of them. I mean, I can do it occasionally, but it is not a skill I can rely on.

I am diving back into the menu planning this week. My kids are relieved–I didn’t know they paid so much attention to the menu plans, but my daughter commented on how weird it has been not having a menu the other day. We’ve been eating late (see: indecision), and we ate out a bit more than normal. We didn’t go out a lot, but we did go to a restaurant one Wednesday for dinner, and my daughter thought that was just weird – “Who goes out to dinner on a Wednesday?” she asked. I guess I am teaching them good things about eating at home after all.

Sunday: Peanut coconut curry chicken

Monday: Chili spaghetti squash casserole, buttered broccoli

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Salmon casserole with noodles on the side for the kids

Thursday: Fathead pizza

Friday: Rosemary chicken, bacon wrapped asparagus

Saturday: Steak, buttered broccoli, cauli-rice, salad

As always, many more menu ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com.

Menu, Week of 1/19

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January is always a bit of a downtime for me. Maybe it is because I run around like a crazy person before Christmas. Gee, you think? Hopefully I will do better this year, starting projects early, but it always seems there are plenty of projects coming up throughout the year.

This past week I have been busy with work and the kids, but we mostly ate at home. On Wednesday, I got home to find that there was a school program for my youngest starting at 6:00 and lasting until 7:30. It was 5:45 at the time, so we ended up picking something up after the event. Other than that, though, I cooked, so it worked out pretty well.

This week I am planning on getting more done besides work and dinner. I am cooking some extra food for a friend who had surgery last week. I want to do one Christmas project (yet to be determined, but probably something small). I want to finish the Creeper blanket I am crocheting for one of my son’s friends. I would like to do more, but I had better stop if I want to actually make my goals, ;).

Sunday: Cheeseburgers

Monday: Fathead pizza

Tuesday: Sauteed scallops and langostinos, sauteed cabbage (both sauteed in butter)

Wednesday: Paleo chicken taco bowls – the kids may eat the food separately, but I will enjoy it all together!

Thursday: Morroccan egg tagine, buttered broccoli

Friday: Spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken, green beans sauteed with bacon, sauteed artichoke hearts

Saturday: Steak, cauli-rice, roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes

As always, lots more menu ideas can be found on orgjunkie.com

Menu, Week of 1/12

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I know, it isn't Monday anymore--the cold must have slowed me down!

I know, it isn’t Monday anymore–the cold must have slowed me down!

January is such a depressing time, budget-wise. Even though I really try not to spend too much at Christmas time, I always go a bit overboard. I don’t go totally crazy, loading up the credit cards, but I do spend enough to make January a bit tight, money-wise. I’ve been pretty good about cooking at home and not eating out, though, so I am feeling pretty good, so far.

At times like this, I am so glad that I bought that deep freeze last summer. We are still eating pretty well even though I don’t want to go to the grocery store, because I have lots of food on hand.

Also, I just have to add that I know it is Tuesday now. I had this menu plan completed yesterday, but somehow I wandered away from the computer before it got posted. I try to stay off the computer on Monday evenings, so that I am not on it ALL. THE. TIME. So, better late than never, right?

Sunday: Peanut Coconut Curry Chicken (I know, we have this a lot–what can I say, it is easy and I love it, 😉 )

Monday: Corned beef and cabbage, sauteed green beans and bacon ( added for the kids, who don’t like cabbage)

Tuesday: Sauteed shrimp with feta and lemon butter sauce

Wednesday: Chili Verde, low carb corn bread

Thursday: Pizza with almond flour crust

Friday: Crockpot Balsamic Chicken, sauteed green beans with bacon

Saturday: Bacon and eggs

As always, lots more menu ideas can be found on orgjunkie.com

Buy Nothing New Christmas: Final Report for 2013

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Today is the day I start planning and making Christmas presents for next year.When I started making gifts in June last year, I thought I was totally on top of things, but I did not give myself enough time. I found myself at the end of the season frantically buying supplies and completing projects (and adding last minute projects!) and I ran out of time to come up with good ideas that didn’t use anything new.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do a terrible job. I made several gifts out of my stash of supplies. I made a large blanket for my brother that did require yarn purchases, but still met my rules because I started with stash yarn and only had to buy some additional yarn to complete the project. But I could certainly do better.

First, here is the list of projects that did fit my rules:

  • A scarf for my dad made with stash yarn entirely (I didn’t get a picture of this one)
  • My brother’s blanket–all colors started with stash yarn, but I did have to supplement that a bit. However, I did say buying supplies to finish a project would count for my purposesBlanket for David
  • A set of 10 coasters for my mother made entirely out of stash yarncoasters
  • The Christmas tree collage for my aunt, made with supplies I had on hand when I started the challengecollage
  • A set of ceramic plates for my cousin using the plates I finished up from my pottery class last fall (didn’t get a picture of these, either)
  • An ebook for each of my kids to read on their Nooks

And here are the things that didn’t quite meet the challenge:

  • Makeup and nail polish for my daughter
  • Magic cards for my son
  • Munchkin game as a family present
  • Scarves for a couple of my friends–I had my daughter sew them, but I did buy new material rather than upcycling old tshirts as originally intended (again with the no pictures–it was a busy time at the end of the holidays, finishing gifts just in time to give them)

Overall, I think I did pretty well. The majority of the gifts I gave were handmade, and I don’t feel too bad about the ones that were new. Makeup is even sort of meeting the rules, because it is consumable. The games are something I should have made an exception for, in retrospect. Anything that encourages the children to spend time NOT watching TV is a good thing, in my book. And at least the scarves were made by me (because I made the girl that made the scarves, 😉 ).

I do think I could do better next year, though, if I start planning now. If I had started with a better plan for the gifts, I wouldn’t have been adding things at the last minute. I am still at the beginning stages of planning, but I will definitely need to have a plan in place soon. I hesitate to say that it will be a complete plan, because things always change, but I want to have at least a framework by the end of this month.

Am I the only one crazy enough to start thinking about this now?