Category Archives: Meal Planning & Organization

Meal Planning Step 1

Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan!

By | Meal Planning & Organization | No Comments

Meal planning can seem very overwhelming, can’t it?

When I think of meal planning, I think of hours of my time, magazines and cookbooks piling up, stressful searching of the internet and Pinterest, and messy, complicated lists.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So many of us WANT to plan our meals but we don’t know where to start.

I’m here to help! I don’t consider myself an expert in meal planning at all, but I know enough to know what NOT to do and what makes it easier.

My methods might not be the ones for you and that’s okay. But, maybe you can pull a few tips out from this series that will help you make your meal planning easier and more streamlined.

First things first – please know that we are going to take this SLOW. In fact, I will give you some tips today and I probably won’t have the next Meal Planning post up for this series until a week from now. And you can always come back to these and go at your own pace.

How to Get Ready to Meal Plan

1. Make a list of your favorite meals and recipes.

This doesn’t mean you have to search the internet for new ones. They might not even be things that are “recipes” (ex. grilled cheese and tomato soup). Just make a list of your family favorites – the ones that you know you and your family will eat. You know, the usuals.

We can get “fancy” later and add some new recipes, but for now, just keep it simple.

meal list

 

2. Extra credit: Put those recipes into categories.

Depending on your food preferences, these categories might include chicken, beef, seafood, chicken, soup, meatless, casseroles, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

This step isn’t necessary, but if you are a little OCD like me, it will help prevent you from having chicken 4 nights in a row. :-)

 

That’s all. This is the only thing you have to do to get started.

Keep a list on your refrigerator and when a favorite recipe comes to mind, put the name of it on your list. It might take a while and that’s okay. You can use your recipe box, your saved links in your email folder and Pinterest.

I recommend somehow having the actual recipes/ingredient lists easily accessible. The next step will be plugging these into a calendar. So, as you think about that and as you make your list of recipe names, be sure you can find them back when we move to the next step!

 

 To check out or purchase the food books in my main picture, visit Amazon:

Cooking from the Farmers’ Market

Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy

Cooking New American

American Classics

 

 

5 Time-saving Tips for Real Food Eaters

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Meal Planning & Organization | 2 Comments

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Your time is valuable.

My time is valuable.

And making/eating Real Food takes time, creating a big dilemma: Do you sacrifice time in order to eat Real Food or do you “settle” for less of it?

When I have “settled”, my experience has been the feeling of regret and guilt knowing that with a little more advance thought and planning I could have been feeding my family more Real Food.

In fact, I recently polled readers on my personal Facebook page and asked this question: “Assuming everyone would WANT to eat more Real Food (health benefits, etc), what are the main challenges holding you back from doing so?”

Here’s how they commented:

“The amount of time it takes to prep, especially if you sprout, ferment, make everything from scratch.”

“Time, money, effort.”

“I do the best I can every day, and while appreciate all the healthy food/living bloggers efforts to educate, sometimes I feel like I do more wrong than right. I make the best choices I can for meat, chicken, fish, eggs, oils and grains. But I know there are things slipping through the cracks. Sometimes I feel more discouraged than helped when I read new blog posts.

“Time and Money.”

“Price”

 “All of the above. Sugar cravings.”

“Conflicting information on what’s good for us. I feel like most sources of food info I get seem to originate from one of two sources: The government (e.g. eat low fat dairy products and avoid all saturated fats) or Weston Price. I’d love some info from some fresh sources!”

“Understanding labels like organic, natural, free range, etc…”

“Finances”

And I’m guessing they aren’t alone in these Real Food “Roadblocks”, right?

I’m hoping to offer you a few tips to help save time when preparing Real Food for your family. Here are some things I have found which help us eat Real Food, (at least 80% of the time, that is!)

Tuesday's Tidbits

1. Plan Your Meals (dinners mostly).

This is probably the MOST important step. Without doing this, you will daily have the issue of “What’s for dinner?”. I hate that feeling, don’t you? Ugh. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. A great solution is to take a hour or so per month to sit down, plan out the meals and grocery list. You will be thankful every day, I promise! I share how I plan out my meals over at 30 Days of Dinner: My Menu Plan.

This is really important as oftentimes when you are eating Real Food it means soaking beans, cooking more, chopping up more veggies, and making more from scratch. If you can plan your dinners for a month you can schedule more “complicated” dinner on the days you have more time. Or, you can prep your meals ahead of time (ex. cutting up the veggies you will need for the week, etc). Reminders like soaking/cooking beans can be written into your meal plan.

2. Cook Whole Chickens in your Slow Cooker.

Seriously. This sounds like a weird “tip”, right? But here’s the reason: The day you cook it, you can have it for dinner with a side of veggies, potatoes, etc. Then, a day or two later you can use the leftover chicken in another dish or a casserole. In between, stick the bones back in the crockpot (this is the one I use) with some other goodies and make Homemade Chicken Broth Then, put it in containers in freezer to use for future recipes and soups. I usually do 2 rounds with the bones to make broth.

So, if you spend $13-$18 on an organic, pastured-raised chicken, you can easily get 2 meals PLUS 16 cups or so of good, real bone broth out of it. Not only is this frugal and easy, but it also saves time when you need chicken broth for a recipe or soup.

3. Save Your Veggie Scraps.

I have a large Ziploc bag in my freezer that I toss things in to use in my homemade Chicken Broth later. I put in things like broccoli stems, celery leaves or celery stalks that are getting “rubbery”, leftover onions (they don’t last long in fridge anyway), any any other pieces of veggies that you don’t want to throw away but aren’t sure what to use them for.

Then, when you are read to make Chicken Broth, you have some great veggies to throw in the pot. This saves time (no need to chop anything up) AND money as it helps prevent throwing away valuable food.

 

veggies cooking

4. Double Your Recipes and Freeze Some.

This is perfect for those busy nights or long days when you don’t feel like starting a meal from scratch. There are so many recipes that can be doubled and then frozen so you have an easy meal for another time.

A few of my favorites to do this with are:  Beef & Bean Casserole, Chicken Veggie Rice Soup or any other Soups!

5. Join a Food Buyers Club.

If you aren’t sure what a Buyers Club is, you may want to read my post “Join a Buying Clubto learn more. Basically, you order together with a bunch of families, thus saving money buying in bulk and obtaining better prices. It saves TIME because it’s sort of a one-stop shopping. You generally order once a month (another reason monthly meal-planning can come in handy!) and pickup your items once a month. No running from store to store to get different items that you need.

*I’m moving this summer to the Zeeland, MI area. If you live near there and would like to be a part of my new Real Food Eater Buyer’s club, please contact me!

 

More Resources for Cooking Real Food:

 

 

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Learn how to teach your kids to LOVE Real Food! No arm-twisting or coercing. Includes 29 Real Food recipes that kids love!

 

 

 

 

 

From-Scratch-Product

Learn how to prepare and nutritiously cook Real Food! Both easily prepared and delicious!

 

 

Real Plans

 

Real Food Meal Plans – 4 wks at a time, with shopping lists, prep instructions and recipes (yours or theirs)

RookieLogonewcopy_thumb1

12 weeks of online classes (that you can access at your own pace) and more for learning how to Cook Real Food!

Do you have time-saving tips to add to this list? If so, please leave a comment so we can learn from each other!

 

Top Photo Credit

Traditional Recipes Bundle – Help for Eating Real Food!!!

By | Kid-Friendly Ideas, Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Main Dishes, Meal Planning & Organization, Special Deals & Giveaways | 2 Comments

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Are you new to real food and wish you had more healthy recipes…including snacks and money-saving ideas?

When someone asks, “What’s for dinner?” do you have an answer?

Is it “the same old?”

The Traditional Recipes Collection is here to help!!!

With 17 books, over 800 recipes and ideas, worth over $150 for just $14.97, this collection is an amazing deal. But, it’s available for 5 days only, from Tuesday, Sept. 17 through 11:59 PM on Saturday, Sept. 21. (There will be no late sales.)

Please see the fine print at the bottom for all sale details. With one simple purchase, you can get access to 17 different books from prominent and up-and-coming real food bloggers. There are book to teach you include more healthy ingredients, to save time, to save money, to create food that goes with you, to make desserts and holiday dishes, and so much more.

PLUS, keep reading below to see the BONUS products and giveaway!

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Here are the Books that are included:

 

Kitchen Help:

Main Dishes:

Snacks and Sides:

Desserts, Baking and Special Occasions:

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Bonus Offers:

IsYourSaltRealBooklet-100x100 15% off Real Salt orders. Get healthy, unrefined sea salt delivered to your kitchen.

 

Wise choice logo

5% off Wise Choice Market orders over $50. Pick up mineral-rich stock, soaked nut butters and cereals, or even potato chips made with coconut oil.

 

Simple natural health

 

Simple Natural Health by Nina Nelson of Shalom Mama. Keep your family healthy this winter not only with food, but with homemade remedies.

 

tradishen-on-green

 

One month FREE premium membership to Tradishen. Your premier 100% real food recipe and meal planning site.

 

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Giveaways:

In addition to the already awesome package we have here, one lucky reader is going to get the chance to win a Healthy Surprise box! If your family struggles with snacks, this company offers packages of healthy snacks that are delivered to your door once a month. There are three box sizes with different amounts of snacks in them. These snacks are all allergy-free (top 8), grain-free, vegan, and mostly organic. They’re appropriate for almost any family!  No purchase necessary to enter. box-healthy-600x554   $75 value “Healthy” Healthy Surprise snack box

 

 

 

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Offer Details:

  • Sale runs 9 AM EST Sept. 17 through 11:59 PM EST Sept. 21
  • No late sales
  • ALL SALES FINAL
  • Buyers may be from anywhere in the world; but books are only in English
  • There are no physical/shipped products; the bundle offer is digital only.
  • Download links are good for 5 attempts or through 10/31/13, whichever comes first.
  • Bundle may not be downloaded and links cannot be re-activated after 10/31/13
  • Bundle files may not be shared. Each book may be on only one computer/one residence at once
  • Buyers are permitted to share books if they send files they do not want to one other person and delete the files themselves, so only copy of each is in use
  • If buyers split the bundle, they only get one set of bonus offers and must share
  • Bonus offers must be claimed by 9/30/13
  • Bonus offers may not be available in non-U.S. areas
  • Bonus offers are made through a third party and we do not have any control over them. Items may be unavailable or sales may end without warning
  • By purchasing, you are certifying that you have read and agree to these terms and conditions

buy-now-button

 

 

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you purchase, I will earn a small commission (thanks in advance!)

Monday Meal Plan & Recipe Share – 9/9/13

By | Meal Planning & Organization, Recipe Link Up | No Comments

Monday Meal Plan picture

Here’s my weekly meal plan! See the instructions below to share links to your favorite recipes (or if you don’t have a blog you can leave a comment!):

Monday: Roasted Chicken, potatoes, veggie (and I’ll make Homemade Chicken Broth afterwards)

Tuesday: Lasagna, salad

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie, salad

Thursday: Grilled or broiled salmon, veggies from garden

Friday: out for pizza dinner (school fundraiser)

Saturday: out for dinner – going to U of M football game with hubby! GO BLUE!

Sunday: Sloppy Joes with lentils, sweet potato fries, veggie

 

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