Healthy body, healthy spirit, healthy mothering. This is the journey I have set out on with my two amazing children.

Monday, April 04, 2011

What is this planning you speak of?

Well its time for another challenge from Toni over at ABFOL.  It's already week #10 and we are working on our menu planning.  I saw this challenge on the perfect day.  Sunday.  That is when I do most of my meal planning anyway.  :)  Those organized ladies have binders with printed menus and their favorite recipes all typed up and organized.

That is so not my style.  I have cookbooks but only if something is an absolute FAVORITE as in the kids will ask me to make it again and again do I bother re-writing it into my recipe file.  Let me clarify.  I have a itty bitty binder that holds 3x5 notebook cards; I have had this system for about 10 years now and it works great for me.  Here's the categories.

  • Desserts
  • Casseroles
  • Potato dishes
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Salads
  • Soups

We all know that I am not an organized person.  I am trying but well, it's definitely a struggle.  My meal planning consists of checking the sales to see if there are any great deals.  I also get weekly emails from both Coupon Mom and; these are both wonderful helpers for my food budget.  I generally know what I have on hand and between sale shopping and in stock foods I start poring through my cookbooks to figure out what we will be eating.  If I know I have a crazy week I lean towards crockpot cooking.  This week I have an exam Tuesday night (which means I don't get to eat with the kids) and Wednesdays are always my eat out at school nights.  I love to cook and trying new recipes is one of my favorite things to do.  So, outside of spaghetti, holiday staples and beef stroganoff (my fave food EVER) I just don't do a lot of repeat meals.

One time saver for me is the fact that I don't have to plan breakfasts.  I usually make a smoothie in the morning and the kids drink what's left before heading to school where they eat a full meal 5 days a week.  Weekends we do fruit, smoothies or if we wake up some sort of eggs.  :)  Lunches are at school for the kids and I take leftovers from dinner.  So really, I only need to plan our dinners.  Isn't that nice?

This week blogland has been filled with recipes I wanted to try so I made sure we had ingredients for those.  All I needed from the store was some quinoa, 1 bell pepper, sweet potatoes (I was out), fresh cilantro (herbs aren't planted yet), mangoes and clementines (which were on sale).

I began by making a big ol' pot of black beans, lots of brown rice and another big ol' pot of fideos aka Mexican Noodle Soup.

 Rice already made for the week

I can always heat the rice as a side, turn it into a casserole or even make it into yummy mexi-rice-muffins which my mom made for me as a kid and now I make for my babies.  

I pulled the leaves of cilantro off of the stalks.  I will be using cilantro in at least 3 recipes this week so none of this will go to waste.  I tossed a few stalks into my black beans and froze the rest to be thrown into soups, stock etc...I needed some cilantro leaves for my fideos and froze the rest to be used later.

 Cilantro stems

 Fresh cilantro

Every week I like to make enough beans to last us the week.  I'll eat them plain usually but this week I am making black bean cakes and a mexican quinoa skillet that they'll be tossed in.

 Black beans bubbling away.


I was craving Fideos so I did what I always do and headed over to La Estrellita, the only restaurant nearby that makes this even close to the way Grandma makes it.  My heart broke a little bit when I realized they had closed their doors.  

Where was I going to get my soup!?

After a lot of googling and a fairly long phone call to my Tía I came up with my own version of this soup and it was go-o-o-o-o-d!  We had it for Sunday dinner and I have enough left for lunch 1 or 2 days this week.

I know this isn't true meal planning the way those organized ladies do it but it works for us.  It keeps me away from last minute fast food runs and helps us to eat healthy meals at the end of a very long day.


MonkeMama said...

"Those organized ladies". I know you whispered it like the mom in St. Elmos Fire. *Cancer* *Jail* *Those organized ladies*, haha.


La Estrellita closed their doors?! Can you hear me crying all the way from the East Coast?

Tia said...

lmao only you would catch that Monk. :D