Meal planning

Do you ever take the time to meal plan for your family? My husband and I find it to be beneficial when we are feeding more than just the two of us, we meal plan. When we are getting bored of the usual stuff, we meal plan. Now that my focus is to eat better, healthier foods, we meal plan. Part of eating healthier is eating with your eyes…..meaning to eat what is visually appealing. Most of the recipes we have picked are very visually appealing.

So we typically shop and therefore plan for a 2 week time frame. I will say that often when we plan on this magnitude, meals will last for longer than 2 weeks. Pretty much ever meal we make we have left overs and eat it at least twice, if not more, unless it is something we modify to accommodate just the two of us.

When we have the kids with us, we meal plan to the day, with flexibility as needed. When it is just the two of us, I usually just list our options and we go through them as we see fit. I do try to pay attention to what options need to be made sooner, rather than latter, due to ingredients that are perishable.

Here is our meal plan with recipes and comments. Please enjoy.

1st is a drink recipe that my husband found for me. I read so much about pineapple and it’s health benefits, however I have never been a fan of pineapple. My wonderful husband looked up this recipe and I have already tried a glass of it and I really like it a lot.

Skinny Sparkling Mint Pineapple Lemonade

When looking for the sparkling lime water, be careful, the bottles of flavor water sometimes have added ingredients that some avoid for health reasons. We ended up getting some cans of lime Perrier because it doesn’t contain additives or artificial sweeteners. For the lemonade we used Simply Lemonade, because it’s my favorite. If you are asking yourself what the benefits of pineapple juice are that made me want to find a way to drink it, here is a link with some

These 1st 2 meals are vegetarian. Having vegetarian options is important to me, because I feel like we depend too much on meat to eat sometimes, and I know my body likes the break from meat. Vegetarian meals are healthy, and also sometimes a struggle because my husband isn’t a big vegetable fan. Thankfully I have pinned several that he is willing to try.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Flautas

Caprese Calzones

This next recipe is a favorite. I love chicken pot pie, and everyone who has tried this version loves it, too. We have decided that we like pie crust for the top instead of the puff pastry. Also, we have often done this and made 2 smaller dishes and put one in the freezer for later use.

Amazing Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

We tend to eat a lot of chicken. It is inexpensive and healthier. Some day we hope to raise our own chickens. This recipe is easy because we always have chicken on hand to cook and we have the ingredients because of other things we are making. That is the single smartest thing I can relay to anyone wanting to meal plan, seek recipes with similar ingredients to keep your grocery bill in check. I might add that I am excited to try this, too. (Instead of avocado, we will be using guacamole.)

Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken

Simple Beef Stroganoff
Beef Stroganoff is a favorite of mine. I requested that we use cubed beef (stew meat) instead of hamburger, and I also love mushrooms (my husband doesn’t) so I grabbed some for this and for salads. We have tried several stroganoff recipes, I can’t recall my opinion on this on in particular.

This is an easy chicken recipe that everyone should try at least once. I bet you will love it, and so will your family. My husband LOVES pepper jack cheese, so since I am allowed creative differences in recipes, he is too. We use pepper jack slices in place of the Swiss.

SWISS CHEESE CHICKEN: A Must-Have Meal for Your Freezer & Food Storage!

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

I love Mexican City Tacos at our favorite restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa, Tequila Mexican Restaurant Facebook Page. And here on my favorite app for finding good food and coffee, Yelp….Tequila Mexican Restaurant on Yelp. Just a note on making these, I am not sure why or where my husband decided that we needed Beef Flank Steak or Carne Asada to make these. Where we shopped didn’t carry Carne Asada and Flank Steak is pricey. We did find some finely cubed steak, so that is what we picked up.
Authentic Mexican Steak Tacos

Tilapia is something we eat frequently. Fish contain good oils, and are healthier than meat. Salmon, Whiting, Shrimp, and sometimes Scallops help break up meat eating days along with our vegetarian nights. Finding new ways to cook a usual food is important to keep from burn out. That is what we are doing here, trying a new twist.
Panko Crusted Tilapia

Ginger Honey Garlic Chicken Tenders (hubby uses this recipe for pork chops, instead of chicken)

Pork Chops have a funny story in our house. Many years ago I mastered pork chops. What that means is that I cooked them perfect, juicy and never dry. That being the case, my nephew and niece love my pork chops, my daughters love them, my step children love them and so does my husband. It used to be the one thing my husband would concede the kitchen to me to make. Yes, my husband does the cooking in our home because he loves to cook and make good food for us and our family. I taught him how to make pork chops the way I do, and he does a really good job at them. This honey garlic recipe has become a favorite. It’s a nice change from just fried pork chops. Also, ginger has the benefit of helping ease pain from arthritis, so it’s great that it’s in this recipe.

My husband loves desserts. I enjoy them too, but could live without them most of the time. We agreed that this year we would not be so dependent on the box mix desserts and would focus on making more from scratch. This has resulted in several fruit cobblers, which are always enjoyable. There will be a peach cobbler made at some point.

Cherry Bread

My husband loves cherries, so when this came up in my Facebook feed I just knew he would want to make it. It is very good. He put the icing on when it was still too warm, so he ran off. I told him just to set the extra icing aside and use it on the pieces as we eat it.

Banana Bread Bottom Cheesecake

I LOVE banana bread. I make great banana bread. It is a family favorite and never last long once it is made. This recipe combines banana bread with another favorite of mine, cheesecake. I am really looking forward to trying this one. Here is a great tip when it comes to bananas for banana bread, invest in some freezer zip lock bags and when your bananas turn brown, peal them and put them in the freezer zip locks and put them in the freezer. Once you have enough to make banana bread, then thaw the bananas and use them and the juice from them in your recipe.

We also have Salted Caramel Brownies on the list.

The next two (likely 3) weeks we will be eating very well. In addition to these great recipes we will be enjoying loaded salads and other healthy snacks and meals. Thank you to all of the bloggers who have pinned these recipes and blogged them or shared them to Facebook. I hope that you enjoy and are inspired by our meal plan. I will gladly share my thoughts on menu items if anyone has any questions, comment here or hop on over to my Facebook page and comment. My Facebook Page

Yoga is changing me

I don’t know that I would call it a New Years Resolution, but in a way that’s what it is. I didn’t start on January 1st. I was sick. Dealing with some upper respiratory stuff. On Monday January 8, I started. I have a favorite yoga teacher to watch and practice with. I find her comforting, and I don’t feel rushed. Her name is Melissa West.

Every day last week I did yoga. There are so many free yoga videos on YouTube that you can find something for whatever you feel up to that day. There are videos for dance yoga, couch yoga, 5-minute, 10-minute, bed yoga, restorative yoga, beginner, etc, etc….

Why yoga? Because it helps work on the core and is gentle while still being a work out that help build strength and helps build self awareness and increases general health and wellness over all. I will share some links that have some great thoughts about how yoga is helpful once I have told about my experience.

Practicing yoga daily has helped me be more relaxed and have a sense of well being. It has helped my sinuses drain and my illness retreat. I am more aware of my posture. I am more aware of what food I put into my body. My muscles around my spine hurt a little at the moment, I am sure I over did it a little during yesterdays practice. I will do some restorative yoga today to help ease the pain. That’s the beauty in it, I can do what I feel I need or can do for the day.

On the note of resolution, I think it’s more a declaration to living a better life in my case. Yoga 5 days a week, going to bed by 11pm, not eating after 8pm, eating better, drinking more water, and looking for new things to add in slowly. This life is always a work in progress. Those not afraid of change and growth enjoy the ride a bit more, in my opinion.

As promised, here are some links to read up on the benefits of yoga. 38 Health Benefits of Yoga from Yoga Journal
Web MD’s assessment of yoga
Yoga benefits beyond the mat by Harvard