Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday -3/28

Due to the coming change of season and an almost-depleted grocery fund that needed to last me two weeks, here's my menu plan for this week:

Monday: Ham buns (freezer) and carrot sticks

Tuesday: Crab Cakes and Salad (bumped from last week)

Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla soup (freezer)

Thursday: Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas (freezer)

Friday: Homemade Pizza - probably taco and sweet swine

Saturday: Doug's Birthday - The Midwestern, (it was actually a slight variation of this from another site that I apparently forgot - I top with provolone cheese) with Coleslaw

Sunday: Breakfast - Rolls or Biscuits
             Dinner - I'm bringing dessert for Doug's birthday - Pumpkin Roll
             Supper - Leftovers or sandwiches

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I know there are quite a few blogs out there that do "Menu Plan Mondays," and since I always enjoy getting new ideas I thought I would start sharing mine.

Here's my plan for this week:

Monday: Beef Stroganoff Sandwiches, Peas

Tuesday: Cheese Enchiladas Unwrapped

Wednesday: Shell Casserole, Green Beans

Thursday: Crab & Corn Cakes, Lettuce Salad

Friday: Biscuit-Topped Lemon Chicken (with potatoes and carrots added)

Saturday: Breakfast - Mennonite Pancakes
               Supper - Crock Pot Lasagna, Corn

Sunday: Breakfast - Flaky Biscuits with jelly
             Dinner - Cobb Salad Wraps

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hard Work

Medicine is not fun.

Sometimes you put it off so long you fall asleep...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Planning

I learned menu planning from my mom.

My style has definitely evolved over the years.

First I would come up with 4-5 ideas for the week that I would pick from each night based on what we felt like after coming home from work when we were first married.  It worked for a while.

Slowly that became more of a hassle than knowing what we were going to have that night without having to think about it, and I started scheduling meals for nights.  And my plans still changed around a lot.

And now I'm here, where it's rare when we don't have what I planned for that night.  Less food goes to waste.  I rarely stress at 5:00 pm because I just realized supper should have been in the oven 30 minutes ago and I haven't even started.  I stress less over all with cooking because the decision was made days ago and I don't have to think about it any more.

How do I do it now?  I do my regular planning to give a variety of meals during the week, and making sure I use up any partial containers of ingredients to reduce waste.  But the thing that keeps me on track is having our menu displayed in plain sight, where I can glance at it on my way out the door to work and be reminded of what I have to do while getting dinner or doing dishes.

I printed out a sheet with the days of the week and stuck it in an old frame from some silly "certificate" at work.  Every week I get out the dry-erase marker and write out the plan for the week.  As the days pass and the meals get made, I erase them.  A lot of weeks my board is empty by Sunday, but if not it's easy to see the meals that didn't get made and are then moved to early the next week.

My style may evolve yet, but this is by far the most effective tool I've used yet when it comes to meal planning.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thrifty Notepads

In our family growing up, every last scrap of paper was used.  Clean notebook paper was reserved for school assignments, but lists, notes, messages and the like were scribble on the backs of "scratch paper."  And if you didn't use the whole paper, you tore off the part you used and left the rest for next time.

Even now when my dad has asks for a piece of paper while at our house, he turns down any clean paper and sends me off to get a piece of scratch paper (even if the said clean paper was from mini notepads I discovered at work that are 10+ years old and had no hope of being used).

I have a drawer dedicated to scratch paper.  I open junk mail just to salvage the wasted paper that was only printed on one side, and recycle the rest.  I regularly use them for notes, menu plans, and grocery, shopping, and to-do lists.

But I love new notepads and notebooks.  Our local Hy-Vee had notebooks on sale at the beginning of the school year for .19 and I stocked up on a reasonable number.  But they kept setting them out at the same price.  And even yesterday I couldn't resist getting 5 notebooks for $1.  Let's just say that I probably have enough to get Henry through high school...

Back to using up scrap paper.  My stack of paper was getting large, and I rarely need more than a quarter-page of paper at a time.

So I made notepads.

All you need is paper, chipboard (optional), ModPodge, and a small paintbrush

Step One (Optional): Borrow a paper cutter, guillotine style - I was doing a large stack of paper and would have been there forever with my scrapbooking-style paper cutter

Step Two: Cut paper to desired size - I did quarter page (My tip: when I cut the paper, I keep it lined up so that my top edge has all un-cut edges, which makes them line up nice when you stack them together.)

Step Three (Optional): Cut chipboard to same size for backing (cereal boxes work great) - The chipboard isn't necessary to holding the notepads together, it just might make writing on the last few pages a little nicer

Step Four: Arrange the paper into stacks and clamp it together - leave the side you are going to glue hanging out 1/8-1/4 inch
I had a flower press I made way back in grade school, but some woodworking clamps and a few scrap boards is another easy idea.  And I'm sure there's plenty of other creative ways to squish the ends of your paper together.

Step Five: Apply ModPodge to the exposed edge with a small paint brush - I did 4-5 thin coats, letting it dry a few minutes (or hours when I got busy) in between

Easy Peasy.