Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

Greetings!  I hope all of you had a fabulous week last week.  Mike and I were off most of the week enjoying a small staycation.  It rained off and on all week so we were only able to get out on day trips two of the days.  The other days we hung around the house, took in a couple of movies and ran errands.  It beat working!

One of the things we did was check out Bergsbaken Sunflower Farm.  I have been wanting to take sunflower pictures and ran across the festival on Facebook.  Since it was one of the nice days we headed up to Cecil to check it out.  It was pretty low key but seeing that many sunflowers was neat and I definitely got a bunch of pictures.

Lone Sunflower

We also went over to Spring Green where we checked out the House on the Rock.  There were some neat aspects of it, but I was disappointed.  They did have a nice Oriental garden as well as the Infinity Room. The best part of the trip was having lunch at Freddy Valentine’s in Spring Green.  If you are in the area and are looking for a great place to eat, that would be it!

House on the Rock_Infinity Room

As you know, we are a Plated.com family.  However, our son has recently been ordering from Hello Fresh.  He had a couple of free weeks to give away so he gave me one.  I choose to use it this week, I was all excited about saving money on groceries.  That is, of course, until I found out I was a bozo and am also getting a box of Plated as well.  Oh well, I guess I’ll be able to do a side by side comparison as to the differences in the two meal delivery systems.  My guess is that a couple of the meals will be carried over into next week.

I don’t even know why I got a box this week considering how busy I am.  Tuesday I’ll be getting home late because I have a senior photo shoot after work.  Wednesday I’m planning on trying out a restorative yoga class in town and there will be at least one dinner out with friends.  Sometimes I think if my head wasn’t screwed on it would fall off!

Oh well, without further ado, here’s the menu.

Grilled Pineapple – A sweet and healthy summertime side dish

During the summer, we make grilled pineapple so often that I don’t even think about the “recipe”.  I don’t usually even bother to put it up on my weekly menu because it’s just one of those sides that I guess I assume every makes.  Until, that is, I was talking to a group and friends and they looked at me like I had sprouted a second head.  I guess not everyone serves grilled pineapple almost weekly!

grilled pineapple

 

Since I knew I had shared how to grill a pineapple before, I figured that I would just pull it up and share it in my weekly menu.  That is until I took a look at what I originally posted and decided it needed quite a bit of updating.  Let’s just say that my picture taking skills and sharing skills have greatly improved since 2012, which is when I originally posted it.  Below is an updated version with pictures for your viewing pleasure 🙂

We were off this week and grilling quite a bit, so even though we had already had grilled pineapple once this week, I decided to do it again so that I could take some pictures.  Given how much we like grilled pineapple, there were no complaints from my family!

Picking a ripe pineapple for grilled pineapple

 Pineapple
Picking a ripe pineapple is key to a good grilling.  You’ll want a fresh pineapple that is firm with gold to brown skin.  The leaves should not be brown or wilted (if the leaves are brown and wilted it means that the pineapple is over ripe and starting to rot inside)  The outside of the pineapple should smell like pineapple if you give it a whiff.
Before we begin, you’ll want to heat up the grill on high so that it will be ready for you.

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

Some weeks I feel like I rock star when it comes to menu planning, other weeks I wonder how I manage to keep my family alive.  This week was definitely shaping up to one of those where I was wondering how I was going to keep my family alive, until I looked in the freezer and realized how much food I had stuck back.  Thank goodness for over buying!

Friday I popped up to Door County again with my parents for the Lavender Festival at Fragrant Isle.  During the car ride I start getting texts from Mike about food.  Namely, our lack of it.  At least any food that he was interested in eating.  In addition, our grill ran out of gas so there wasn’t a convenient way to cook the food that we did have.  He’s been working a lot of hours and asked if I could go grocery shopping on my way home so that he would have food for Saturday.

Here’s the problem.  1) I had done no menu planning at all.  2) We grocery shopping about 30 miles away from home and we would be driving by the grocery store on our way home meaning my parents would have to wait while I grocery shopped. 3) The lack of menu planning meant that I had no idea what to buy, other than the few items that Mike wanted.

Grocery shopping on the way home was definitely appealing because it meant I wouldn’t need to leave the house on Saturday but it also meant that I would totally have to wing this week’s menu plan.  Long story short, I ran into the grocery store after my parents dropped me off, doing my shopping like an episode of Super Market Sweep.  I’m sure I was definitely a sight but I got it done and was back in the car within 30 minutes.

Of course, when I got home I then needed to decide how to turn my hodge podge of food into a cohesive menu.  Fortunately, our freezer is well stocked and I was able to pull the menu plan together with mostly food I already had although I do still have to make one more run out to pick up a few things.  So, although I may not be a rock star this week I feel like I make a fairly decent back-up singer!

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm

While at the lavender festival at Fragrant Isle, we sat in the processing barn to watch a demonstration on how they make lavender.  Let me just say that it smelled so wonderful I didn’t want to leave!  We had some lavender ice cream, I brought home some lavender tea and I bought the yummiest smelling drawer liners (affiliate link) for my clothes and sheets.  Even though it was a long drive, it was a nice day and I’m glad we ran up there.

Asian Shrimp Salad – An easy summer salad

Do you like light, summer salads?  If you do, then look no further than this Asian Shrimp Salad!  Bonus points for this being a super easy recipe!

Asian Shrimp Salad

Long time readers won’t be surprised to find out that this Asian Shrimp Salad recipe originated from one of our Plated.com boxes.  My husband and I love Plated to the point where even on the weeks that we don’t get a box, at least a few of the meals I make are originally Plated meals.

This one is a particular favorite since it takes our love of Asian flavors and mixes it with a healthy salad and protein.  I also like this recipe due to that fact that it can be made on the grill which is my favorite way to cook in the summer.  Oh yeah, it also has fresh mint which I absolutely love!  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

Unless you already have skewers (which I don’t know how many of us do) I would recommend a grill mat (affiliate link) as an easy way to make these on the grill.  If you don’t like to grill or don’t have a grill, these are just as easy to make on the stove top.  Either the grill or the stovetop use medium high heat with the shrimp being on just long enough to turn opaque.  Usually a couple of minutes on each side.

One other bit of advice, keep in mind that red onion has a strong flavor.  I tend to like to keep my red onion to a minimum so I actually add the onion after I plate it so that I can control how much I add to each of our plates.

I hope you that your family enjoys this as much as Mike and I do!

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

 

Welcome to a new week!  I guess it comes whether we are ready or not 🙂  The Northern Lights were suppose to be visible from Wisconsin last night and I fell asleep and missed them!  I’ve only seen them once and I was hoping for another glimpse last night.  Bummer!

This past weekend we celebrated Mike’s birthday, it was a wonderful day.  We spent the day out on the lake kayaking with our good friends (my arms are about to fall off!) and then wrapped up the evening with a cook out with the kids (they bought steaks and corn for Mike’s birthday present) ending with a fun game of Yahtzee.  Now that the kids are older, we don’t quite get those family dinners as much so it was so nice to spend the night relaxing and having a good time with them.

Coming up, this should be a fairly quiet week.  My parents are taking the kids and I for a nice dinner on Wednesday which should be fun.  I’m also thinking about running up to Door County on Friday (depending upon the weather) for the Lavender Festival on Washington Island.  I was up there last weekend with Belle and my parents but I thought it would be nice to run up there again for the festival.  There’s also a smooth rock beach that I thought would be interesting to check out.

Steaks on the Grill – a family favorite!

 

 

Steaks on the grill is a staple in our household.  We do a lot of grilling at our house and steak is one of our go-to meals.  For a long time I was banned from the grill as that was my husband’s territory.  However, when he started working his funky hours I needed to get handle on how to properly grill.

 

Steaks on the grill

When I first took over grilling, I was a bit apprehensive.  If you think about it, it was a bit crazy.  After all, I’ve been cooking for years and how hare could steaks on the grill be!  Brats and hamburgers I learned were pretty simple.  Steaks, those were still a little overwhelming until I got the hang of it.

Steak can get a little pricey and if I wanted to add it into our regular summer rotation, I needed to find a way to do so economically.  Our go to steak is a New York Strip.  Don’t ask me why, we just love them.  There’s a small, local gourmet grocery store with the BEST New York Strips where we can spend about $20/lb.  They are delicious but, not quite in our weekly budget.  Our regular grocery store sells prime New York Strips (usually grass fed but not always) for about $15/lb.  That’s definitely a better price but I tend to look for the smallest steaks which doesn’t make my husband a happy boy.

Enter the whole beef loin.  Our grocery store sells end pieces of a choice whole beef loin for $5/lb.  Yep, you read that right, $5/lb.  As you can guess, at that price there’s a little bit of work to be done!  When I first noticed these loins earlier this year I went ahead and bought it knowing I’d be able to cut it up but not quite sure how it would work.  After doing a bit of online research, I came across this tutorial that helped me cut up the loin into New York Strip steaks.  All I can say is be careful, at times it was a bit like wrestling a greased pig but I did get the hang of it after a while, without losing any fingers!  The steaks turned out delicious and inexpensive enough for us to add it into our weekly menu.  Success!

You know you’ve been successful when the next day your husband says to you “I can’t believe how good those steaks were that you cooked yesterday.  I was a little worried but they were really good!”

Spa Water – How I drink almost 100 oz of water a day

 

At the beginning of the year, I declared this year to be “The Year of Me”.  The year when I would start feeling good and taking care of myself.  A full year dedicated to me.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Reality is that it has been a lot of work.  However, feeling better has been wonderful and makes me push to continue to feel even better.  One of the items that is helping me feel better?  Spa Water.

 

Spa Water

One of the items on my task list was to drink more water, which has been a problem for me.  I have a confession to make, I hate water.  Even as a baby and small child, my mom couldn’t get me to drink water.  Although as an adult I would sometimes stomach bottled water, drinking water straight from the tap is something that I just couldn’t (and still can’t) do.  Needless to say, not liking water has made it difficult for me as an adult to break some of my bad habits (namely sugared drinks) and actually drink the amount of water I should be drinking.

One type of water that I do like is flavored water.   Not the kind that you buy in a bottle, the kind you get in a nice hotel.  You know, you walk into the lobby from a long day of travel and they have a large pitcher of ice cold, flavored water there for you.  Ah, that always makes my day!  Knowing how much I like the flavored hotel water, I decided to add my own pitcher of “spa water” into my daily routine so that I could enjoy what I was drinking instead of torturing myself and trying to endure water.  Let’s face it, if you aren’t liking what you’re drinking you aren’t going to be able to keep it up.

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

Welcome to a new week!  Hopefully everyone got to spend some time celebrating our nations birthday last week with friends and family.  Overall my week was low-key until this weekend.  Saturday I spent the day in Door County with Belle and my parents.  Yesterday we were at a graduation party all day.  Good times – but I need a day to recuperate!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but every week during the summer we tend to have steaks on the grill.  Might seem a bit excessive, but we love steak!  I wanted to share with you my grocery secret to buy steaks (relatively) inexpensive so that we can afford to treat ourselves every week.

Our go to steak is a New York Strip.  Don’t ask me why, we just love them.  There’s a small, local gourmet grocery store with the BEST New York Strips where we can spend about $20/lb.  They are delicious but, not quite in our weekly budget.  Our regular grocery store sells prime New York Strips (usually grass fed but not always) for about $15/lb.  That’s definitely a better price but I tend to look for the smallest steaks which doesn’t make Mike a happy boy.

Enter the whole beef loin.  Our grocery store sells end pieces of a choice whole beef loin for $5/lb.  Yep, you read that right, $5/lb.  Now, at that price there’s a little bit of work to be done!  When I first noticed these loins earlier this year I went ahead and bought it knowing I’d be able to cut it up but not quite sure how it would work.  After doing a bit of online research, I came across this tutorial that helped me cut up the loin into New York Strip steaks.  All I can say is be careful, at times it was a bit like wrestling a greased pig but I did get the hang of it after a while.  The steaks turned out delicious and inexpensive enough for us to add it into our weekly menu.  Success!

This week I also decided to go ahead and get a Plated.com box.  I like doing that because 1) we eat healthier and 2) it really allows me not to think!  Some weeks the thought of thinking about what to put on the table is a bit overwhelming!  Because I buy so much from Plated, I get a number of boxes for free weeks (a completely free week of Plated) to give away.  I get no benefit from them other than sharing my love for a great product.  If you’d like to try a week of Plated for free (all I ask is that if you request a link you actually use the box, it irritates me when I give a link that isn’t used because then someone else doesn’t get to try it) drop me a note here.  I’ll email you over a link so that you can try Plated for FREE!  How great is that?

Shall we get on to this week’s menu?

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

Happy 4th of July! Hopefully everyone is able to spend some time with family.  I have a weird week this week in terms of time off.  Mike had to work this weekend but he was able to take the 4th off along with his normal days off of Wednesday and Thursday.  I decided to work Monday and take Wednesday off instead so that I could spend some time with Mike.  Now that’s it’s Monday morning, I  am questioning the wisdom of that decision 🙂

Last week was a really long, exhausting week.  I traveled Monday and Tuesday, not getting in until late each night (Monday was after 10:30 before we got into our hotel and I didn’t get home from the trip until 9:30.)  Wednesday I had dinner out with The Chicks so by Thursday I was totally exhausted and pretty much climbed into my pajamas as soon I got home.  As you can imagine, my cooking plan went right out the window!  Ugh – the Wonder Woman complex!

Although I did manage to get a number of meals cooked last week, I did have two of the Plated.com meals left that I’ve carried over to this week.  We had the bison burgers yesterday and will have the buffalo chicken sliders tonight.  Or maybe tomorrow….. One thing I have decided is that on weeks when I get my Plated box, I’m going to need to move it to a Thursday deliver instead of Tuesday. We tend to do a better job during the summer of making the meals for lunch before Mike goes to work instead of dinner.

Tonys Pasta Shop and Trattoria Italian Cuisine

Last week’s trip was so quick that I didn’t get to see any part of the area, however we did have lunch at a neat place that I wanted to share with you.  We were in Chattanooga (first time in the city) and the people we were visiting took us to the Bluff View Art District for lunch.  What a neat area!  It’s about a block and a half that is filled with restaurants, an art gallery, a bed and breakfast and other shopping venues.  We ate lunch at Tony’s which was fabulous.  If you are in the Chattanooga area and are looking for a place to eat I’d highly recommend checking the area out.  The gardens are beautiful and a great way to spend an hour or two.

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

Well, that was a quick summer!  Mike and I enjoyed a couple of days of warmth while we were off work and then bam!  Fall was here 🙂  Oh well, although it was a bit chilly the rain has let up so I can’t complain and it was nice have a couple of days off.  Hopefully the warm weather will return and we will have an actual summer before fall really does arrive.

As you know, I’m always looking to save a buck.  With that in mind, I’ve had our cable bill on my radar for a long time.  It jumped up significantly last fall but with my mom being so ill I just couldn’t do anything about it.  I finally got around to call the incumbent cable company only to be told that I didn’t realize that my $180 a month for no frills was a steal.  A steal they say!  I guess they must think I’m an idiot because I’ve done my homework and I’m well aware that I was overpaying quite a bit for my cable.  Although I called twice, they weren’t interested in keeping my business.  So, after 27 years with Time Warner (now Spectrum) we made the leap to a new cable company.  I’d love to ditch cable all together but Mike has a few channels he just has to have!  We’ll see if the $65 a month I’m saving is worth it.

While I was in the money saving mood, I also stopped in at our cell phone company and was able to save another $65 by changing our plans.  In a couple of months another $40 will drop off once two of our phones are paid for.  Between both of them, I saved over $120.  Not to bad for a couple of hours of work!

I shared last week how I was making this year the “Year of Me” and all the steps I have been taking.  I’ve been doing well with my eating for breakfast and lunch but my evening meals have been hit or miss.  We’ve been skipping our Plated.com box and it’s had a negative impact on our healthy eating.  With that in mind, I went ahead and ordered a box for the week.  Eating well versus easy is definitely a struggle for me.  While I like to go easy in the summer, healthy is more important at this stage in my life.

This week I’m also traveling two days so Mike and Belle will be having a couple fend for themselves nights.