Happy Eating and a Month of Meals

90% of the meals we eat are homemade. What's my biggest secret? Meal planning. It saves us money, helps us eat healthier, and keeps the stress level way down.

If I'm able to write up the dinner menu for the week, write a shopping list for just those meals, and then stick to that list- it's an easy week. For the most part I'm usually able to do this 3 out of the 4 weeks each month. Without fail though, I miss a week and we always eat out, go to the grocery store multiple times, and stress out over dinner time.

I really can't say enough good things about making a meal plan! Especially when you're trying to have better eating habits. It's important to us to have family dinner together every night, so we've made it a priority in our lives. It's also important for us to eat healthy, so we don't eat pre-made meals out of boxes or bags. Of course sometimes Bart will have Mac & Cheese after work, or we'll enjoy chips and salsa for a snack, but for dinner- we have chosen not to eat that way. It's been almost 3 years since my diet had to drastically change, and I would say we have found a very realistic way for us as a family to eat.

Okay- so back to my love of meal plans. I did something awesome thing morning. Mckenzie woke up at 6 a.m. (typical) and as she played, I wrote down a long list of meals we eat regularly. And I did them by category. So this is what it looked like: 

chicken tacos
beef tacos
fish tacos
bean and cheese burritos
sausage soup
veggie soup
grilled salmon
crispy fish
tuna patties
salmon and rice
chicken salad wraps
tuna salad wraps
grilled chicken sandwiches
pizza casserole
chef salad
fried rice
rice chicken bowls
hawaiian haystacks
chicken and green bean dish
baked potato bar
roast and veggies

It was easier for me to think of things when I thought of the category (tacos, soups, pasta, etc). After making this master list, I divided them out to each week. So Week 1 gets chicken tacos, Week 2 gets beef tacos, Week 3 gets enchiladas, etc. That way, we're getting a good balance of dishes each week. I was so happy with how it turned out! Here is what our 4 week menu looks like

Week 1                                 Week 2                                 Week 3                                 Week 4
Chicken Tacos                    beef tacos                           enchiladas                           fish tacos
Sausage soup                    veggie soup                           chili                                        spaghetti
Grilled salmon                   crispy fish                              tuna patties                        chef salad
Chicken salad wrap         chicken sandwich                  pizza casserole                  tuna salad wraps
Fried rice                             rice bowls                        Hawaiian haystacks         chicken & green beans
Potato bar                           bean burritos                     roast and veggies             salmon and rice

I don't include breakfast or lunch and leave one day for leftovers. We eat leftovers for lunch and something egg related most mornings for breakfast. I also don't worry about having several courses for each dinner. Most nights we don't have a side with our enchiladas or tacos. Sometimes we do. I don't let the thought of making sure I have a drink, side and dessert with every dinner stop me from making dinner in the first place. I try to have veggies with every meal, so if it's not included in the main dish we do our best to have a veggie side.  Our go-to meal is usually something Mexican because Bart can enjoy his flour tortillas while I use corn. Plus you can shove as much veggies and/or protein you want in them. Pasta is kind of a pain to cook because Bart gets the good stuff and I have to cook my GF noodles in a different pot.

We use brown rice, not white. I eat corn tortillas and Bart and Macs use flour. We cook with olive oil, not butter, and leave out the cream-of-whatever in the recipes. I would say the most indulgent menu item above would be the pizza casserole- but it's just SO good.  We also don't do dessert. Unless I'm on a baking kick- we don't keep goodies in the house. Mostly because I just get angry when Bart gets to eat them without me!

It's not perfect, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what a month worth of meals looks like. Not too bad right? After 3 years of fresh eating I have also become quite a good cook...so they all actually taste good too! Mckenzie will eat everything on this list, including the fish and soups. She's been fed real, fresh food since she was 6 months old and has never shown any kind of picky tendencies.

I don't know why I was so excited to share with you what our meals look like- but there you go! If you want any recipes... let me know :) Happy eating!


No TV Week and One Long Nap

I'm on a TV cleanse again this week. Whenever I get done binge watching a show, I feel bad about myself and a little pathetic. This time around I watched all 3 seasons of Elementary and as always I'm sad season 4 isn't available...yet.

It's amazing how productive I am when I'm not watching TV. I did still watch my Monday night Bachelor, and I'll watch TV with Bart at night before bed, but during the day and during Mckenzie's 2.5-3 hr siesta the TV is off. Which means my fridge got cleaned out, my 9 loads of laundry were finished. My work projects were started, completed and added on. I have 4 books on que and I'm leaving time to exercise. I still haven't found the time or desire to blog...but hey...I'm trying now.

I don't know why, I just haven't had anything to say on here lately. Life is just life is just life. All the same and wonderful. I've calmed down on my picture taking (sort of) so I don't really have 24024 pictures from each day to show off. Macs is still beautiful and smart and funny and we love her. She might not be talking yet, but we can completely communicate with her- and it's awesome.

Her current nap schedule though has completely destroyed any hope for me to have a social life. She now naps from noon-2:30 or 3pm every day. It's wonderful and I love being down to just one long nap! But it's also hard because now I'm stuck AT HOME from noon-3pm. Right when I could be grabbing lunch or meeting up with girlfriends. Nope. No longer. Thanks Kenz.

after she woke up from a 3.5 hour nap! I was so bored and happy she woke up. She...wasn't.

Speaking of one nap a day- should we talk about that?? I mean...she used to take 4-5 naps a day. No wonder my life was a living hell. Coordinating and dealing with so many naps and each nap affected the next naps and WHY ISN'T SHE SLEEPING TODAY?? Ugh. That sucked. Even just having two naps a day was hard because the afternoon nap was totally dependent on the morning nap. There was never a for sure nap time and length. I don't even want to think about how many moments I've spent worrying/thinking/planning/mothering nap time. I'm going to enjoy this before the next baby comes along (no, not pregnant).

I've been cooking dinner every night the last several weeks and I kind of love it?? I have grown to really enjoy cooking. I'm sure Bart wishes our meals had more meat, potatoes and pasta- but they're mostly veggies. But it's been awesome to learn new ways to make healthy food taste good. I've been playing around and experimenting in the kitchen and I'm finally to the point where I can throw something together and create a taste combo that is so good- without a recipe.

mmmm cookies!

....I mean....I really don't have anything to write!! It's so sad. I thought about just getting rid of my blog, but I feel like all my thoughts and opinions might come back if/when I have another baby?? Maybe? Who knows. It's not that I don't have opinions and that things don't irritate me anymore, I just feel like I've grown up a little bit and now it's weird to voice those opinions/complaints all the time. Does that make sense? *sigh* Apparently I'm becoming old and proper and polite and stuff. Gross.


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