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Don't let the stress of the holidays alter your real food plans. Here are my simple tips to cook real food for a crowd without any stress!

How to Cook Real Food for a Crowd Without Stress

Don’t let the stress of the holidays alter your real food plans. Here are my simple tips to cook real food for a crowd without any stress!Don't let the stress of the holidays alter your real food plans. Here are my simple tips to cook real food for a crowd without any stress!

Is it just me or is the end of the year crazy busy? The last thing I want to do is spend half of my time in the kitchen. Especially when I’m with family.

I’m the queen of making things as easy as possible (like this Instant Pot mac ‘n’ cheese). We just hosted Thanksgiving…and I was able to take a nap in the afternoon before the big meal (being pregnant had something to do with that)!

No rushing around. It was so laid back.

And yet we had quite a feast that I prepared completely by myself (well, my kids helped with chopping veggies and making the desserts since they are experts in the kitchen after doing the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse).

My Secret to Entertaining Without Stress?

Do as much prep ahead as possible. My goal when cooking for a crowd is to make as much food as I can ahead of time and just put things in the oven/crockpot/Instant Pot the day of. I tackle one or two projects a day leading up to the festivities. So I’m not overwhelmed.

Then I get to take it easy and spend time with my guests on the day of the party. No shortcuts with packaged food necessary.

I even have the added work of hosting for several days since my family is all out of town. So it’s more like meal prepping for three full days of meals instead of one big meal. But it’s still totally doable! The only thing I had to make at the last minute this year was the gravy. Everything else for our meal had been prepped hours or days ahead.

First Step to Cook Real Food for a Crowd

The first step is menu planning. Do this a few weeks in advance so you have time to shop for supplies and gradually work through your list. Then figure out what can be made weeks in advance, days in advance or the morning of. And go from there.

Here is my course-by-course breakdown of how to create a delicious holiday menu that you can prepare in advance. Your guests will be amazed by all of the real food goodness and you’ll get to enjoy spending time with them. Pick and choose from each category for your best holiday feast ever!

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing all of my stress free entertaining tips!Don't let the stress of the holidays alter your real food plans. Here are my simple tips to cook real food for a crowd without any stress!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Meal Plans Week of 5-4-14

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Birthday week is finally here.  I’m feeling a little better about it since I got so much done yesterday.  I’m not sure my body was too happy.  But at least this week shouldn’t be too stressful.

This will be a pretty normal week for us.  I have to pick up milk (we’re back to 3 gallons a week!!!).  I have to go grocery shopping.  I have to get the rest of the stuff ready for the party, clean and be ready to host overnight guests.

My goal for today is to make the decorations for my son’s birthday cake.  Once I get that done the rest is pretty easy.

Last week we got to do a little wheat experiment with my son.  Unfortunately it did not go well.  I was amazed at how quickly his body reacted.  It took a few days for the eczema to show up.  But his behavioral reactions were almost instantaneous.  The digestive upset didn’t take too long either.  So he’ll continue to be off wheat for quite some time now.  We’ll try again in the future.  This week we will experiment with peas.  He is very excited, so I hope it goes well.  I’m thankful that so far eggs are going smoothly.

I re-read part of Beautiful Babies yesterday.  It’s such a great book on nourishing your body for before, during and after pregnancy.  It helped me get back on track with how well I should be eating to nourish my little one.  So I started today with gf toast with lots of butter and jam, an egg fried in butter, grapes and a big mug of my hot chocolate with added gelatin and coconut oil.  I can already feel my legs on the verge of starting to swell.  I want to see if I can prevent it this time by combining adequate protein intake with sufficient calories to absorb it.

I’m planning easy meals this week so I have enough time and energy to focus on party prep.  My mind is drawing a blank right now about what to serve when family arrives on Friday.  I’ll have to fill it in later.

By the end of the week I’ll have a six-year old and a three-year old.  My babies are growing up way too quickly!  Enjoy your week.  Eet smakelijk!

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**********MENU**********

S (church, make cake decorations)
L – grilled steak, sauteed cauliflower and brussels sprouts, seasoned rice
D – mac ‘n’ cheese, fruit salad, lettuce salad

M (milk, soak flour, make graham crackers)
D – fried chicken, beans, quinoa

T (AKM, bake brownies, RKM)
D – (prep ahead) – cp meatloaf, baked potatoes, broccoli

W (groceries, clean kitchen)
D – chicken nuggets, peas, tater tots

Th (roast beets, make salad dressing, make muffins, dance, clean)
D – (early) – cp split pea soup, gf df muffins

F (make frosting, crumb coat/frost cakes, make hummus, make lemonade, boil eggs)
D – (easy) – squash and sausage soup, bread, muffins, apple slices
dessert – gf df brownies, chocolate grahams, fruit

S (prep fruits and veggies, decorate cake, party)
B – banana bread, fruit, hard boiled eggs
L – (party) – fruit kabobs, lettuce salad w/ cucumber, olives, cranberries, cheese, beets, mushrooms, croutons and dressing, sloppy joes on buns, hummus w/ pita, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and peppers, tortilla chips w/ salsa, yogurt parfaits w/ granola and berries, potato chips or popcorn, homemade gummies, homemade chocolates, gf df white cake w/ chocolate frosting, yellow cake w/ chocolate frosting, dairy ice cream, coconut milk ice cream, milk, water, pink lemonade
D – grilled brats and hot dogs, grilled asparagus, fruit salad, misc. leftovers

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Meal Plans Week of 2-3-13

I’m pausing just for a moment here to gather myself.  It’s been quite a whirlwind here lately.  Last week I got all of my test results, and I’m still trying to process it all/decide how to proceed.  In addition to that the whole family has been sick…and there may be more to come.  It started Monday night with Abram puking.  I’ve felt somewhat sick pretty much since Tuesday.  Thursday Rebecca started puking (non-stop for 12 hours straight).  Then I got worse Thursday night (one benefit of my digestive issues is that it takes a LOT for me to puke…so I held it together).  And it didn’t help to sleep in the living room floor waking up every 15 minutes with Rebecca.  Friday Justin started.  Yesterday we thought we were on the mend.  Then Rebecca started puking in the night again.  When will it stop?  I’m still hoping and praying that what we are all recovering from is what Abram had last week and not something he has yet to catch.  And hopefully Rebecca is done for real this time.

Just to add to the “fun” I decided that now would be a good time to stop my Miralax cold turkey.  What was I thinking?  I’m not really sure.  But here’s hoping I can manage and my body can figure things out quickly.  I have a sick family to care for.  So far it has led to lots of extra nausea and pain.  But I’m determined to get this garbage out of my body.  I’m trying to drink some extra fluids to help the process.  I’m not a fan of overhydrating.  But I can tell that my body is not absorbing water the same without the miralax.  So I need some extra.

Let’s hope this week proves to be a bit more positive.  None of us will be going to church today.  Another day to rest and recover.  It’s fine with me.  We got so much snow in the past few days.  It’s hard to even get out of the house.  We are starting our new milk drive share tomorrow.  Hopefully that goes smoothly (and doesn’t take an extra hour on snowy roads).  I have an appt. with my psychologist and the kids have a post-ear infection check up.  Our bloggers gathering was cancelled last week because of the snow.  So we’ll try again this week.  Friday is Bible study.  But whether or not I go is TBD.  It depends how much prep work I have to do for Saturday.  We’ll be going to my nephew’s birthday party, and I’m making the cake.

The only extra I have planned so far for this week is the cake.  I hardly had time last week to even think about meals, let alone anything extra.  We’ll just see how everyone does this week.  If time allows I can do some experimenting with allergen friendly recipes.

I will be taking time this week to do lots of research on test results and treatments.  For now I’m implementing a rotational diet (as my tummy is able…sometimes the nausea wins over what I think I should eat).  I am sticking to totally egg free for a bit.  I have about 5 dozen eggs to use up…so I have to come up with some ideas for those (Sara…do you want me to bring you some on Saturday?? :).  I am not completely eliminating wheat and dairy yet.  But I am cutting back and trying to only eat them in rotation.  So you’ll notice in my meal plans that I’m attempting to give myself some guidelines to help keep track of when I eat what.  I know I won’t be perfect since I’m just starting and I haven’t had time to prep all of the necessary food or shop for new things.  But it’s a start.  And I’m trying to plan ahead so I can eat decently at our party on Saturday.

I started my new thyroid medication this morning.  I’m hopeful that it will be a big help.  But I think it can take a couple weeks to really make a difference.

I think that’s about it for now.  My brain is kind of mush after illness, lack of sleep and lots of anxiety (over myself and my kids).  Here’s what’s on the menu for now.  We’ll see what everyone is actually up for eating.  Our Super Bowl menu could turn into chicken noodle soup 😛  Rebecca picked out some new veggies at the store and helped plan some meals this week.
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S (prep dip, make lemon bars, church, Super Bowl, prep smoothies)
  L – leftover hashbrown egg and ham bake, beans, custard w/ granola
  D – 7 layer dip cups, onion rings, lemon bars, bbq hot dog bites, veggies

  Veg: beets, chickpeas, beet greens, beans
  Grain/starch: chick peas
  Fat: butter
  Protein: beans/chick peas

M (bake cake, milk, ps)
  D – “tuna sea salt cakes”, “white kale crunchy salad” / leftover hashbrown bake, toast, broccoli

Veg: kale, avocado
Grain/starch: quinoa
Fat: evoo
Protein: tuna

T (bake cake, KM, Dr. V.)
  D – (prep ahead) – beef and bean nachos, custard w/ granola

Veg: peas, zucchini
Grain/starch: wheat
Fat: cream, butter
Protein: beef

W (bake cake, PS, Dr. S.)
  D – chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower, tator tots

Veg: brussels sprouts, cauliflower
Grain/starch: squash
Fat: coconut oil
Protein: chicken

Th (WM Bloggers)
  D – pork chops and apples over rice, beans, artichoke

Veg: artichoke, green beans, beets
Grain/starch: white rice
Fat: lard
Protein: pork

F (crumb coat/frost cake, MB, PS, BS)
  D – scrambled eggs, toast, corn, custard w/ fruit

Veg: squash, TBD
Grain/starch: tapioca
Fat: palm shortening
Protein: salmon

S (decorate cake, swimming, bday party)
  D – at party

Veg: lettuce, avocado, peas
Grain/starch: TBD/wheat
Fat: TBD
Protein: beef

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Meal Plans Week of 9-30-12

Good (yaaawwnn) morning.  I think Abram finally went back to sleep.  He’s been up for about the last 3 hours 🙁  Time for another round of sleep training I think.  He’s at the point where he doesn’t fall asleep when he nurses.  So he has to figure out some way to self sooth.  Hopefully it won’t be a long process.

making homemade crayons
 

Last week was a bit draining on me since I didn’t get a lot of sleep (for obvious reasons :P) and I did not feel very good (honestly I felt completely rotten).  But I managed to get the necessities done.  I only did one batch of applesauce.  I also made brownies (Justin needed a dessert for work), apple crisp, yogurt, ice cream and  my niece’s baptism cake.  Rebecca and I also made crayons (post to come), set up a restaurant and did some leaf rubbings.

This week will be busy with family stuff.  Today we will be visiting my whole family for the baptism.  Monday is preschool.  Tuesday is farmer’s market and kindermusik.  I also have an appt. with my psychologist.  Wednesday is preschool and Mommy and Me night for Rebecca’s class.  I’m excited to meet the other moms.  Thursday I need to make a quick trip to Meijer for fresh produce for the weekend.  Friday we have MomBreak in the morning and preschool in the afternoon.  Then Justin’s parents will be coming for the weekend.  Saturday Justin’s brother and his fiance will be here.  We’ll spend a good portion of the day with them at a picnic lunch and dinner at our house.  We’re excited to meet Haylee for the first time!  Justin’s parents will go to church with us on Sunday as well.  It’ll be a busy weekend for sure.

So most of the stuff I do this week will be in preparation for the weekend.  Cleaning, baking, etc.  I’m hoping to make pesto, sour cream, muesli, cupcakes and maybe a pie.  I also need to get fall decorations up.  I think Rebecca will enjoy helping with that.

Like I mentioned last week was pretty rough.  My body is going through another bad round of die off from using apple cider vinegar as a digestive aid.  Unfortunately it works so well that now my body is trying to get rid of lots of junk…but it doesn’t know how.  So that leaves me with digestive problems, cystic acne (not really acne…more like fluid filled bumps mostly on my face and scalp that look and feel awful), fatigue, irritability, headaches, bloating, swelling/joint/muscle pain, sores in my mouth, burning tongue,…lots of unpleasant stuff.  I think I’m on the upswing, but I’m still struggling.  It usually lasts two weeks.  This is week two.  Hopefully I can still feel ok for our party today.  And hopefully I’ll be doing better by the weekend.  Nothing like hosting family/overnight guests/meeting new family when you feel rotten :\  Hopefully I’ll have enough energy to get done what I need to.  I’ve been really dragging the last few days.  I’ve had to force myself to keep moving.

I’m still trying to figure out what (if any) supplements are helping.  And I’m researching candida.  Sometimes I feel like my body is full of toxins/yeast/bad bacteria that I need to get rid of.  But then again some people don’t even think candida is real.  Every time I add some kind of cultured or fermented food to my diet I have more die off.  So it seems like something is in there causing problems.  Even just eating some yogurt and sour cream with lunch a few days this week seems to have made things flair again.  It’s all so confusing still.  I just keep praying and trusting that God will meet my needs each day.  He has a plan, and He is in control of this crazy roller coaster I’m on.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week.
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S – (prep dinner, church/baptism/family party, prep smoothies)
  B – zucchini cake, banana
  L – at party
  D – RR – mac ‘n’ cheese, corn, applesauce, chocolate milk

M (make hot fudge, make pudding, ps, make mayo)
  B – smoothie, zucchini cake
  D – fried chicken, peas, roasted potatoes

T (skim cream, make sc, prep dinner, freeze peppers, fm, km, Dr. V.)
  B – soft boiled egg, toast
  D – (prep ahead) – cp tomato soup, grilled cheese

W (make decorations, make muesli, chop vegetables, ps, m/m, wt)
  B – smoothie, muffins
  D – (light/easy clean up) – pork chops w/ apples over rice, carrots

Th (make cupcakes, clean, Good Will, Meijer, make ice cream)
  B – english muffin, yogurt
  D – pan white fish, baked potatoes, beans

F (soak beans, soak oats, frost/decorate cupcakes, MB, ps, Voogts, prep smoothies)
  B – cold cereal w/ milk, banana
  D – cp beef roast w/ vegetables, sd muffins, applesauce, cupcakes, ice cream

S (soak flour, prep yogurt, make beans, Voogts/picnic)
  B – soaked baked oatmeal, yogurt, fruit
  L – picnic (bring baked beans)
  D – (dairy free) – squash/chx soup, beer bread, peppers and carrot sticks, cupcakes

Sun (make biscuits, Voogts)
  B – soaked biscuits w/ butter/jam/pb/ab, smoothies, muesli w/ milk, fruit

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Healthy Valentine’s Day Meals – My First Post

I am starting to write posts for Grand Rapids Natural Living.  It is a trial thing right now.  But hopefully it will turn  into a long term job.  My first post was published yesterday!  Check it out.

Simple, Fun and Healthy Valentine’s Day Meals

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Christmas Menu

Yesterday we had our final Christmas party.  It was a brunch at our house.  This was our menu.  Quite a spread.  I made everything except the fudge.  Doing a brunch for Christmas is a lot of fun.  So much yummy food 🙂

Egg and sausage casserole
Overnight french toast bake
maple pecan scones
carrots and cucumbers with ranch dip
mini dutch apple pies, cherry jubilee cups
ranch cheese ball with crackers
fruit salad
Christmas cookies, chocolate mint cookies
sugared nuts
fudge, chocolate covered pretzels
egg nog, coffee, juice, water

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Meal Plans Week of 12-25-11

Merry Christmas!!!  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.

It’s Christmas…day and week for us.  We’ve got 4 days in a row of celebrations/family time, starting today.  So I am going to be crazy busy.  I hope I can get everything done and still enjoy the parties.

Last week we were able to spend lots of time together as a family.  It’s been so nice to have Justin home.  The kids have loved having Daddy around to play with.  We celebrated Christmas on Friday.  Rebecca is having a blast with her new toys and doll.  Abram is enjoying his little Noah’s Ark.  And he’s really taking off in terms of sitting/crawling/standing.  It seems like overnight he is starting to crawl normally (not just army crawl).  And he gets grumpy if he’s not standing or propped up on something.  If he is on his tummy it’s not long before he’s sitting up.  And if something taller is near by he’s trying to pull himself up.  He is also developing his verbal skills.  He kind of makes horse and lion sounds.  His horse sound is like a silly laugh.  And he loves to growl at us.

The kitchen was definitely a busy place last week as I was trying to do as much prep work as possible.  I think I got everything done that I could.

This week is all about family and Christmas parties.  Until everyone is gone…then we get to relax 🙂  Today is church.  Then we are headed to my parents’ house for our extended family party.  Monday I have to pick up milk in the morning.  Then we have a brunch with some of my extended family that lives in town (grandparents, cousins, etc.).  After the party it’s back home for naps…then my in-laws will be here.  They’ll be staying a couple days.  Tuesday  morning is our Christmas brunch/party with Justin’s family.  Our house guests leave on Wednesday.  I think we might go out for dinner on Wednesday evening…give me a break after 4 days of Christmas baking and cooking.  We might go shopping later in the week.  Saturday we are going to a hockey game.  It’ll be the first time for both kids.  Rebecca is very excited.

I won’t list all of the things I need to get done in the kitchen this week.  But there is a lot.  And I have to squeeze it in between parties, travel and milk pick up.  So my plans will be fairly detailed this week.  I don’t want to forget anything.

I’m doing pretty well overall.  I’ve been making sure that I eat lots of healing, nourishing foods lately.  That really helps.  I just need to be better about staying away from all of the goodies around the house 😛  I know my anxiety/stress levels over the next few days will take a toll on my gut.  But I’m trying to do what I can to keep it under control.  Hopefully I can still enjoy all of the parties and be sane by the end of the week.

Here’s what’s on the menu.
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S (prep salad and dressing, prep lunch, church, Christmas party)
  L – light/quick – chicken salad sandwich, chips, strawberry shake (Justin), chicken salad, veggies (me)
  D – party (I’m bringing salad w/ cranberries, walnuts, parm cheese, cucumbers and croutons; poppy seed dressing and homemade honey mustard dressing)

M (prep dinner, prep veggies and dip, milk pick up, make yogurt, make kefir, Christmas party, guests, prep casseroles, make dip, thaw/drain spinach, make cheeseball, make jubilee cups, make fruit salad)
  Brunch – party (I’m bringing veggies w/ dip and grain free breakfast bars)
  D – pea soup w/ carrots and ham, pumpernickel bread, pesto rolls, applesauce

T (prep brunch – bake casseroles, slice veggies, bake scones, bake pies, Christmas party, guests)
  Brunch – party: egg and sausage casserole, french toast casserole, carrots and cucumbers w/ ranch dip, maple pecan scones, fruit salad, baked spinach, crackers w/ cheese ball, Christmas cookies, sugared nuts, chocolate covered pretzels, mini apple pies, egg nog, chocolate mint cookies, fudge, cherry jubilee cups, candy
  D – meatloaf, baked potatoes w/ butter and sour cream, beans


W (guests, skim cream, make yogurt, make sour cream, make ice cream, make butter)
  B – leftovers
  L – leftovers
  D – out to eat

Th (shopping?)
  D – TBD w/ spaghetti squash (lasagna?, casserole?, spaghetti?)

F ()
  D – fish sticks or salmon

S (NYE, hockey game)
  D – at the game

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with family at our house.  Thought I’d share our menu.  It was quite a feast!  I made the hot food (I’ll post my dishes in green).  My family brought some of the sides and desserts (I can’t vouch for the health factor of those :P).  I did my best to eat safely.  But I know I took plenty of little tastes that add up.  My weakness wasn’t so much the goodies…it was my mom’s layer salad.  I’ve been craving salad lately, and it tasted so good!  It’s the only thing I took seconds of.  Definitely not GAPS legal, but I suppose it could be worse.  I’m glad Thanksgiving is only once a year 😉  I am very thankful for a wonderful family, for a God who loves me more than I can comprehend and for what He is doing in my life.  I have been through some rough days/weeks recently (and will likely have more to come after yesterday!) but I know I don’t have to worry because God has a purpose for this season of my life.  And He will supply my needs.  For that I am thankful.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the spread on the table.  Oh well.  At least we got a family picture.  We were blessed to be able to celebrate with my grandparents.  And some of my extended family joined us for dessert.  My older brother, SIL and nephew couldn’t join us, but I’m sure they had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.

I’ve added a list of ideas of what to make with the leftovers.  The first few are the items I made over the weekend.  Justin enjoyed all of them.  And all of the leftovers were used.  I wish there was more squash soup left 😛  I ate all the leftovers in a couple days.

Thanksgiving 2011

turkey (recipe)
squash (with honey and butter)
peas (with butter and sea salt)
mashed red potatoes (with butter, raw milk and sea salt)
gravy (from our turkey drippings)
apple raisin stuffing (or dressing…it wasn’t in the bird) (recipe)
fresh fruit with dip (pineapple, strawberries, grapes)
corn souffle (recipe)
cranberry sauce
applesauce (homemade)
layer salad
rolls (recipe)

pumpkin pie
pumpkin pecan pie
pumpkin cheesecake (updated recipe to come)
dutch apple pie (recipe)
whipped cream
peanut butter brownies
chocolate cupcakes (decorated like turkeys)

Leftover Ideas:

potato pancakes (mix mashed potatoes, cream and egg; shape into a pancake; fry in butter/lard; serve plain, with ketchup or topped with turkey)

leftover stack (layer warmed stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy)

stuffing cake with turkey and apple sauce (mix stuffing and a little mashed potato; shape into a pancake; fry in butter/lard; cook turkey in the same pan in butter/lard; place cake on plate, top with turkey, top with a mxture of applesauce and apple butter (or leftover cranberry sauce))

stuffing hash (mix stuffing and a little mashed potato; cook in butter/lard in a pan, stirring/flipping periodcially until golden brown; remove from pan; fry egg in butter in same pan; top hash with egg)

turkey in gravy (put leftover turkey in a casserole dish, add broth/stock, lard and butter to the pan; cook at 350 for at least 30 minutes – until the gravy simmers and thickens a bit)

squash and turkey soup (heat leftover squash with broth/stock (I also added some chopped carrot); simmer for 30 minutes; puree with immersion blender; add cut up turkey; simmer 20 minutes; add heavy cream, sour cream, yogurt or milk)

turkey noodle soup

turkey shepherd’s pie

cashew, avocado turkey salad

turkey nuggets

turkey broccoli couscous

turkey pot pie

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Week of 8-7-11

August is in full swing.  And it’s time for vacation 🙂  This week will be a full one with packing, traveling and outings.  So it won’t be my usual weekly post in terms of meal plans.  But I’ll still give my usual updates.

Last week was another busy one.  It seemed a little extra chaotic since Rebecca is having sleeping issues…and some behavioral issues.  We did our usual errands.  Plus we went to Hop Scotch to stock up on a few more cloth diapers so that I don’t have to do laundry so often.  We also went to the libray (and got another 18 books for Rebecca!).  We’re starting to read more chapter books.  I got a few for our trip.  That should help with the car ride.  She could sit and listen to a whole book straight through (serisouly…like 60+ pages at a time).  And yesterday Rebecca and I stopped at a couple used clothing stores to get some new jammies for Abram.  I realized Friday he only has 3 sleepers that fit.  And when he goes through 3 a night from getting wet they don’t last long.  So I had to get a few more before our trip.  In the kitchen I made sd breakfast cookies, mayo, a big batch of pureed veggie soup, roasted beets (some from our garden!!), sd peach muffins, kefir, gf sausage zucchini muffins (these were awesome!!!  check out the updated recipe post), banana zucchini bread and froze a couple batches of beans.

So, this week.  We have a few things going on.  We need to replace our kitchen sink faucet.  So one day this week we have an appt. to go look at some.  Then we can schedule someone to come install it for us.  One day we are going to Michigan’s Adventure.  Which day will depend on the weather and how we’re feeling.  And we will also be going to Double JJ for a couple days.  Our first real vacation of the summer and first vacation as a family of 4.  Hopefully both kids do ok.  There is a chance we could do something else like go to a splash pad, the beach or the zoo.  But we’ll see.  Justin is taking the whole week off, so we want to fit in lots of fun stuff.

So my week will be filled with packing and unpacking and plenty of food prep.  I’ll likely have to freeze more beans.  Not sure about any baking.  We’ll just see how much time I have.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make a new batch of soup at some point for myself.

I did pretty well with no dairy this week.  And Abram had a great week tummy-wise.  So I think it’s helping.  He has been such a happy baby most of the week.  I did give him probiotics most days.  So maybe that is helping too.  We’ve also been working hard on tummy time this week.  It’s amazing to see how much he has developed in just 1 week…going from having his head barely off the ground to a full push up, looking around, talking, playing.  He loves it.  We’ve found that he also loves to stand on his legs.  He’s so strong.  He likes being upright and able to look around.  Abram tries as hard as he can to keep an eye on his sister.  She makes him grin from ear to ear.  Especially when she’s being silly.  I have a feeling he’ll be mobile a lot sooner than Rebecca was.  He is already trying to crawl it seems.  We’re still figuring things out with the diapers.  I think I’m finding how to stuff them to make them absorb enough.  But now we’re struggling with fit when they get bulky.  So that’s next.  One step at a time 😛  I may have to come up with some custom inserts for him.  If I can ever get to the fabric store.

Rebecca had a pretty rough week…only napped a couple times.  The rest of the week she was crazy girl during nap time.  We ended up having to put up the gate in her bedroom again. We haven’t had to do that since right after Abram was born.  She is also getting out of bed at night multiple times again.  Not sure what spurred this on.  Never thought that having a 3 year old and a 3 month old…that the 3 month old would be the better sleeper 😛  There have been a lot of behavoiral things this week that we’re trying to work on/figure out.  Justin and I have been talking about it a lot and have some direction now…we think.  But it will take time and effort and patience.  I think it will really help when our fall activities start again and Rebecca can interact with other kids regularly.  She’s in need of more attention/interaction right now.  Hopefully vacation and some fun activities will help too.

I’ve had a few rough days.  Not sure why.  Am I ever? 😛  Maybe too many grain free baked goods.  Maybe too much stress from struggles with Rebecca.  Maybe partially from the corn on the cob I splurged on.  Just doing my best to eat well and hope for the best on vacation.  This will be a big test for me in terms of my OCD.  I haven’t traveled in a long time…since I’ve made some good progress.  So we’ll see how it goes with travel…one of my biggest anxieites.  I’m trying to stay positive and think logically.  Not let my anxieties take control.  I want to enjoy this trip and make it enjoyable for my family.

So, on to the meals.  I don’t have a normal meal plan this week.  I’ll just list our dinner options for when we’re home and what we’re bringing when we travel.
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Vacation Food:
breakfast:

me – cold pureed soups w/ pesto and avocado
Justin/Rebecca – yogurt, muffins/bread, fresh fruit, granola bars, kefir smoothies

lunch:

me – nut milk smoothies
Justin – pb/j, ham or chx on bun, chips, fruit, yogurt
Rebecca – tortilla w/ pb or pb and honey sanwich, peppers, cucumber, carrots, fruit, fruit leather/dried fruit, crispy nuts

dinner: out to eat

snacks – popcorn, graham crackers, granola bars, fruit, cucumber w/ pesto, grain free breakfast bars

Potential Dinners at Home:

grilled hot dogs
CA chicken
beef roast w/ veggies
grilled burgers
eggs

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Christmas Menus: Meal Plans Week of 12-19-10

Merry Christmas!!  I know it’s not until Saturday, but ours starts today…and goes until next Sunday 🙂  I survived last week’s chaos and being on my own…and got everything done I needed to (I think).  And even had pretty much the whole day to veg yesterday (by veg I mean play with Rebecca, spend time as a family, etc…not just sit around and do nothing) 🙂  We’ll see if all of the planning and prepping paid off this week.  Rebecca and I are both very happy to have Justin home.

This will be a very busy week.  But hopefully also very fun.  This morning is church.  This afternoon we are celebrating Christmas as a family.  We decided to do it today so we could relax, enjoy it and have some time to play with our toys before all of the other parties start.  Monday will be our 2nd Christmas…we get to see the baby!!!  I have my 20 week u/s Mon. morning (I’ll be 19w 2d…20w is Christmas Day).  The baby is getting more active.  Justin even got to feel a few kicks on Friday.  It’s been 10 weeks since our last u/s and we are all beyond excited.  (The only down side is the u/s prep…having to drink a bunch of water and then not be able to use the bathroom is like my worst nightmare 😛  Hopefully it doesn’t make my anxiety go up too much.)  As long as the appt. isn’t too long we’ll go right from there to gymnastics.  Justin gets to come with us.  I’m sure Rebecca will like to show off all of her moves to Daddy.  The rest of the day will be prepping food and cleaning.  Tuesday morning is groceries and milk pick up.  And last minute cleaning.  In the evening my in-laws will be here.  They’ll be staying until Thursday morning.  Wednesday is Voogt party day.  In the morning Justin and his dad might go to the farm where we get our milk…just to look around.  In the afternoon/evening all of Justin’s family will be here for gifts and dinner.  In the evening we have our co-op pick up.  Not sure yet who all is going to that.  At least Justin and his dad.  Thursday I might make another trip to the store for some stuff for our party on Saturday.  Aside from that Thursday and Friday are clean up and get ready for the next party.  And possibly pack for Sunday.  Saturday morning we have church.  In the afternoon/evening my extended family will be here.  That meal will be a little easier since everybody brings something.  Saturday evening will be busy cleaning up again and getting ready to travel.  We’ll be heading to Grand Blanc the next day to see my family.

My to-dos this week are all prep and execution of party stuff.  I’m going to be a bit more detailed than usual in my daily to-dos so that I don’t forget anything 🙂  I just found out that we will not be having anyone here for lunch on Wed., so I adjusted meals yesterday for that.  My goal is easy meals when we don’t have guests.  And doing as much ahead of time as possible so I can enjoy the parties and our company.  Should be a fun week.  Here’s what’s on the menu:
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S (chop veggies, shred cheese, clean, church, celebrate Christmas, thaw milk)
  B – yogurt, crispy nuts, raisins, avocado (me), breakfast cookie, pineapple (Justin)
  L – hot dogs/brats, corn, leftover homemade french fries
  D – hot taco rice w/ salsa, cheese, avocado, lentils

M (make pudding, u/s prep, Dr. E. (u/s!!!!!), gymnastics, prep for guests – clean/prep basement, thaw ham, thaw noodles, thaw broth, thaw chicken)
  B – yogurt, crispy nuts, peas, corn (me), yogurt, granola, pineapple (Justin)
  D – salmon or tuna cakes, peas, baked potatoes OR leftover taco rice

T (feed sd, prep soup, clean, Meijer, milk, guests, chop fruit for breakfast, make muffins, make whipped cream, thaw sausage, thaw bread, thaw scones, thaw cookies, thaw sweet potatoes, thaw rolls, put drinks in fridge)
  B – scrambled eggs, avocado, toast
  D – chicken noodle soup w/ homemade noodles, sourdough granola muffins
  Des – homemade chocolate pudding w/ raw whipped cream

W (make fruit salad, make scones, thaw hashbrowns, put ham in cp, cook sausage for Thurs. breakfast, farm visit, prep corn, prep sweet potatoes, set table, Voogt Christmas party, co-op pick up, prep english muffin dough)
  B – whole wheat maple pecan scones, pineapple, grapes, bananas, yogurt
  L – sausage and hashbrown egg casserole, broccoli, strawberry walnut bread leftover soup
  D – ham, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, beans, rolls, fruit salad, wine, sparkling grape juice
  Des – peppermint stick buster bars, egg nog, gingerbread cookies, Christmas cookies, coffee

Th (make sd english muffins prep/bake casserole, clean, Meijer, HF, chop veggies)
  B – sd english muffins w/ butter, pb, almond butter, jam, raw honey, fruit, yogurt sausage and hashbrown egg casserole, fruit
  L – leftover egg casserole leftover soup, leftover taco rice
  D – leftover ham, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, rolls, peas

F (prep smoothies, clean, laundry, prep for VH party, cook ham, pack? (still have to decide if we’re spending the night with my parents on Sun. or not), thaw bread, buns and cookies, set table, put drinks in fridge)
  B – leftover fruit salad kefir smoothies
  D – egg salad on pita bread, chips, peas OR leftover egg casserole, sausage links, sweet potatoes, granola muffins, corn

S (clean, church, nursery, put away laundry, pack, VH Christmas party, roast veggies)
  B – yogurt, crispy nuts, raisins, corn (me), toast w/ pb, yogurt, fruit (Justin)
  L – misc. leftovers
  D – ham, buns, roasted veggies, banana bread, salads/desserts from family (pickles/olives, sausage cheese balls, peanut butter truffles, salmon spread?, lettuce salad, potato salad or deviled eggs, TBD), gingerbread cookies, Christmas cookies

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