Weekly Menu

 

 

Weekly Menu Plan

 

Greetings!  Welcome to another Monday morning! The last few weeks have hit reached a frenzied pitch around here (note the lack of menu planning) but I’m optimistic that things are quieting down.

Big news at our house.  After 27 years of having our children living with us, Mike and I are empty nesters.  Belle moved out this weekend into a house with a bunch of her friends.  We knew it was coming for over a year, and on the surface I was fine with it, but last week hit a little hard and I was a bit weepy all week.  Now that it’s over, I’m fine but I think the stress of it coming was just getting to me.

After moving her on Saturday, Mike and I spent Sunday getting the house back in order.  Even though she left her bed and desk (we bought her new ones), the house feels empty with all the other furniture we gave her.  I can’t believe how empty the family room is without furniture in it.  We won’t even talk about how de-cluttered my shower is without all her stuff in it!

I’ve also been busy taking senior pictures.   In the past I’ve talked about finding multiple income streams, I decided photography is something that I’m good at and could get into with relatively little investment.  I have a few more shoots that I’m doing this month so I’ll be busy the next couple of weeks but them I’m sure it will quiet down.

Menu planning has been a bit lax around here given the chaos.  We’ve been getting Plated and Hello Fresh boxes (yes, I’ve tried another box) so we’ve had food even though I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it.

This week I’m not getting a box but I have a couple of meals left over from last week that we’re finishing up.

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.

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.

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.

2017 – The Year of Me (otherwise known as the year I make my health a priority)

Today I want to get a little more persona and share why I decided to make my health a priority.  It’s not always easy for me to open up about deeply personal issues, especially when I feel like it highlights a weakness or a failure,  but I feel it’s time to share some of what’s been going on in my life.  For me, part of the Wonder Woman complex, trying to be all things to all people, has resulted in me not taking care of myself the way that I should.  For probably the last 27 years, I’ve been last on the priority list.  The kids, Mike, my job, the list of things that I prioritized before myself was endless. Putting myself last for so many years resulted in me being completely wore out and \never feeling good.  Exhaustion, migraines, heartburn and generally feel ill followed me from day to day.  Every.  Single. Day.

Make my health a priority

The picture above is one from our last vacation and when I look at it I see someone who is completely wore out.  I wasn’t feeling well, I was exhausted and quite frankly, a shell of the person I want to be.  When I look at it,  I see a person who needed to make some serious changes in her life to start living the life she wants.  The picture actually makes me a little sad when I look at it because it reminds me of how awful I felt.

Maybe by sharing my story,  what’s been going on and what I’ve been doing it will help someone who is feeling the same way.

2016 – a life changing year for me

Last year was a pretty tough year for my family.  In April 2016 my mom had a surgery that went horribly wrong.  From almost the beginning, her recovery went very poorly.  She was unable to keep food or liquid down, she was exhausted and felt terrible all the time. The surgeon who did the surgery at one point suggested it was in her head and maybe she needed to be committed to a psychiatric hospital.  He unknowingly released the Kraken (that would be me) with that statement.  Knowing my mother, we knew it wasn’t in her head and to hear a doctor say that, angered me immensely.  We were determined to get to the bottom of the issue and get it resolved.  Over the course of 5 months, many hospital stays, weight loss of over 100 lbs and generally getting to the point where we didn’t think she would survive, she was diagnosed with a surgical complication that her original surgeon assured me wasn’t the case when I asked him at the very beginning of the ordeal if that could be the problem.

The only way to fix the issue was to perform another major surgery but she was to weak for them to do so.  To get her well enough for the surgery, she needed to go into a nursing home where she could receive nutrition through her PICC line (she was unable to keep food or liquids down).  The type of nutrition she was receiving had a lot of risks so the next four months were filled with a lot of drama.  Two staph infections, an Ecoli infection that sent her into septic shock and a blood clot.  Needless to say, 2016 was an incredibly stressful and scary year for my family.

The good news is that there is a happy ending.  Between Christmas and New Year my mom was well enough to have the corrective surgery and she’s made (almost) a full recovery.  Six months later she’s doing fabulous, my dad was finally able to retire (he was going to retire last year but couldn’t because they didn’t want to change insurance during my mom’s illness) and they’re planning a trip to Alaska next year to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Watching my mom go through this struggle and seeing the affect that lack of nutrition had on her made me realize that I needed to make myself a top priority.  By not making myself a priority all these years, I found that it was even harder to step in and be the support I needed to be when a family member was going through a crisis.  To live the life I wanted and to be strong for those who need me, I knew that I needed to make some significant changes in my life and make my health a priority

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

It was a scorcher this past weekend in Wisconsin.  Although I don’t like the air conditioner on (Wisconsin summers are to short to have the house closed up), I welcomed the fact that we could turn it on and get some relief from the heat.

Yesterday we had a party to celebrate my dad’s retirement.  He had planned on retiring last year but with my mom being so sick, he needed to keep working so that their insurance wasn’t disrupted.  Now that she’s all better, he’s finally able to retire and rumor is, he’s loving it!  Although quite warm, it was a beautiful day in spite of the forecast and we enjoyed being together with our extended family.  I thought I’d share a few pictures from the day

Fun was had by all ages.  We had bubbles and hula hoops for everyone to play with

Bubble Blowing

Mom playing with bubbles

Michael manned the grill for us

Michael GrillingThere was a ton of food

Chicken Shishkabobs

Hamburgers on the Grill

Brats on the Grill

Do you know how you know you’re from Wisconsin?  There’s always brats!

Plenty of desserts

Chocolate Cupcake

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Oh yeah, we threw in some healthy food too.  This is my mom’s Tomato and Black Bean Salad

me and my dad

So – Happy Retirement pop!  I hope it’s long and filled with much happiness and joy!

After such an exciting weekend, I’ll be laying relatively low this week.  As of now, I don’t have a lot of plans so I’m going to just try to spend some time on my patio in the evening and relax.

I did accidently have a box of Plated sent to me so this week’s menu is a bit more amped up than the last couple of weeks where we pretty much had only brats and hamburgers.

 

Weekly Menu

Fontina-Stuffed Chicken

Fontina Stuffed Chicken

Lamb Kebabs

Lamb Kebobs

Persian Chicken

Persian Chicken

Steak on the Grill

Steaks on the Grill

Plus the cook-out and my parents and I’ll throw brats and hamburgers on the grill as well one night.

That’s it for me, what are you serving this week?

I’ll be linking up at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

 

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

Welcome to another week! For being a short week, last week seemed so long….  You’ll notice last week I didn’t do a menu plan; I even debated not doing one for this week.  Here’s the thing, sometimes I feel like a fraud.  Life gets busy and my menu plan is kind of sad.  But it’s during those times when I think it’s even more important to share what I’m doing so that others who may be in the same boat know they aren’t alone and we can maybe glean some ideas from each other.

My summer menus typically tend to be easier than my winter menus. Grilling outside is something I love to do.  Days are longer and I want to take advantage of the sunshine after being locked up inside all day.  Life tends to get a bit busier too with more things going on than in the winter months.

With that being said, you can bet that the majority of my menu includes brats, hamburgers, brat patties and chicken. Not very exciting.  Or, to be honest, healthy.  However, I do have a few things up my sleeve that are super easy and add a bit of healthy stuff to the table.

Here are a few tips for making dinner a bit healthier in addition to easy.

  1. Take advantage of the supermarket salad bar/deli. Our local grocery store has a kick butt deli with roasted asparagus, tomato salads and couscous in addition to the less healthy potato salads. I’ve also been known to make a big salad or two from the salad bar to serve the family along with some cold chicken.
  2. A big bucket of lettuce is your friend. We have a lot of salads at our house. While I like to keep my salad separate from my meat (most of the time) Mike usually piles meat on top of his salad. I usually buy a big box of lettuce, cherry tomatoes and any other goodies I like in our salads.
  3. Frozen vegetables are a great go to. Although I love fresh veggies, sometimes we just have to keep it simple. I always keep bags of frozen veggies in the freezer that I can whip out and stick in the microwave while I have the grill going.
  4. Think outside of the box when it comes to grilling. In addition to meats, we like to use our grill for other things like pizza.

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

Life has been a little crazy the last week.  Crazy and a little tough.  As you may have noticed, I didn’t get a chance to post a menu last week.  Quite frankly, it wouldn’t have mattered even if I did because my menu plan has pretty much been going out the window the last couple of weeks.

You want to know something even crazier?  I didn’t do my formal menu plan and shopping list this week.  I know – crazy, isn’t it?  I’m a true believer that having a menu plan and a shopping list allows you to save money and keep things a bit saner around the household.  Unfortunately, this week we are just winging it.  Sort of.

Now that summer is pretty much here (although it’s a cold dreary day here in Wisconsin), it’s time to bring out our grilling menu.  For Mother’s Day I got a brand new grill.  We grill a lot here so I typically need to replace our grill every 3 – 4 years, if we’re lucky 🙂  My summer meals tend to be a lot simpler which makes me happy as summer is so short I want to enjoy as much of it as I can.

Another reason I’m trying to keep it simpler is that this week I start an exercise program with a trainer and small group at work.  I may not talk about it much, but I despise working out!  I mean, I think I’d rather go head to head with a snake than do a sit-up.  Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch but I just really don’t like working out.  However, earlier this year I declared 2017 the “Year of Me” so establishing some kind of work out routine is a must as I make this journey to a healthier me.

You guys, I’m pretty proud of the strides I’ve made health wise.  Although I’ve got a long ways to go, I’ve seen a decrease in my amount of migraines, my energy level has increased and I’ve cut out a couple of bad habits I’ve struggled to break over the last few years.  Achieving this hasn’t been super easy but I’ve been taking it slow and focusing on why I’m doing it.  Namely feeling good and having lots of energy versus doing it to lose weight.  One of these days I’ll get around to sharing with you what changes I’ve been making and the effect it has had.

Jackfruit

Before I get to the menu I thought I’d share one last thing with you.  For the last few weeks I’ve been seeing this at the grocery store with no idea what it was.  Then, last night as I was shopping I noticed an Indian family picking one up and putting it in their cart.  They most likely thought I was a nut, but I hightailed it over to them and asked what it was.   Turns out it’s a Jackfruit.  According to the woman, this one is for cooking (she uses it in curry dishes like you would a vegetable) but she said that there are sweet ones out there too that are eaten like a fruit.  One of these days I’m going to pick one up and try it myself.  Just not this week 🙂

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

So, after 8 weeks off work, I started back last week.  Wow – all I can say is working is exhausting!  You know that “simple” menu plan I put together?  #menuplanfail.  I would have to say that my Wonder Woman mentality was definitely showing it’s ugly  head.  Although I “thought” I had it all under control I certainly didn’t.

The week started off with two unexpected events.  Monday we had some out of town family visiting (it was a last minute decision) so I expectantly spent the evening with them (not complaining – it was just a long day for my first day back.)  I also found out on Monday that a supplier was coming in on Tuesday and wanted to go out for dinner.  Again, not complaining since it’s a supplier whose company I enjoy and he took us to a super swanky restaurant.  Once again, it was a really long day.

After Monday and Tuesday, I ended up going to bed at 6 or 7 the rest of the week.  Yep, I certainly lead the exciting life!  By Friday I was so tired I left work at 3:30 because I just couldn’t do any more.

Do you want to take a guess on how many meals I ended up making?  Two.  That’s it.  The rest of the nights we either picked something up or had left overs/fend for yourself.  Oh well, stuff happens and it certainly made for easier menu planning for this week 🙂

Saturday I attended a baby shower, taking my camera so that I could shoot some pictures.  I’ll also be doing a gender reveal, maternity shoot and newborn shoot  for the new mother so I thought it would be fun to capture the baby shower as well.  It was so nice spending the afternoon with the ladies in my family.

Baby Shower - Cake

Baby Shower - Bingo Card

Baby Shower

This week I’m hoping will be a little less exhausting and I’ll be able to actually make everything on my menu plan.  As of right now, I only have one evening activity planned and I took it easy on Sunday so I’m crossing my fingers that this week will be easier.