Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 8/25-31

I'm sorry for being absent last week... Monday was my birthday and it started with Maleah waking up with pink eye! The rest of the week was just as stressful, so I didn't really have time to write anything!

Last week was a strange week... we had to alter plans because of sickness and then we also went to a couple of dinner parties. So, this is all I can remember cooking last week:

Monday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, brown sugar & bacon green beans
Thursday: BLTs & baked sweet potatoes

That's it! Haha!

This week's plan is a little more "normal":

Monday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, sliced cucumbers (gotta eat them before they go bad!), and roasted zucchini & squash
Tuesday: Campbell's Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole, baked corn on the cob, brown sugar & bacon green beans (seriously, they're so good!)
Wednesday: Zaxby's 
Thursday: Taco Soup, tortilla chips & salsa (if you remember, I made a double batch of taco soup a few weeks ago so all I have to do is let it thaw and reheat it!)
Friday: pizza
Saturday: popcorn shrimp, mac & cheese, sliced fresh veggies
Sunday: Church Potluck - I'm bringing a dump cake topped with powdered sugar! I will probably use blueberries instead of cherries 'cause that's how I roll!

I did want to briefly share my smoothie system as well as a new lunch item for Maleah!

I am on a smoothie kick right now. I haven't tried too many combinations (I'm counting down the days 'til I make this pumpkin pie smoothie!!!), but I've just been figuring how how to make the process simple during the busy morning times. I bought those bags at Sam's and they have lasted over a month! 

What I've been doing lately is making individual portion-sized bags. I put about 1 - 1.5 cups frozen fruit in each bag (and this week I added a few spinach leaves). So, all I have to do in the morning is grab one of these bags and the rest of my ingredients to make a smoothie in five minutes or less! (These have 1/2 banana - previously frozen individually - 1/2 cup strawberries, 6-8 blueberries and 3-4 spinach leaves.

 This is the "tropical" smoothie mix, which Blake prefers. We bought a bag of tropical fruit mix so it's just 1.5 cups of pineapples, strawberries, peaches, and mangoes! 

I make 14 bags. I know that seems wasteful - but wait! - it's not! A coworker suggested I not throw the bags away after each use. I have been using them for about 3 weeks and will probably toss them after the fourth use. I just put the sealed bag back in the freezer after it's empty. So far, it has worked great!

For my smoothies, I add four heaping tablespoons of plain or vanilla yogurt, the fruit mix, about 6-8 ounces of coconut milk, and a big heapin' helpin' of peanut butter (about 2 tbsp)! So tasty!

This past week I had a little lunch revelation for Maleah. I have been buying avocados, halving them, and putting them in Ziploc bags for a while now. I just take them out of the bag (and use the bags 3-4 times each to reduce waste), put them in her lunch container, and it's usually thawed out pretty well by lunch time (we might heat it for 10-20 seconds just get it to the right consistency).

So when I cooked sweet potatoes recently, I wondered if I could do the same with them. I had made sweet potato puree when she was smaller, but hadn't just tried to freeze it whole. Sure enough, it worked great! I waited until the potatoes were cool, scooped out the meat, put them in freezer bags and let them freeze. I let it thaw in the fridge until lunchtime and then heated it for 20-30 seconds. And since were were home Monday, I tossed in a little brown sugar & cinnamon. Maleah ate sweet potatoes twice this week for lunch! I might even make a few for myself for days when we don't have leftovers and I don't feel like making a sandwich (which is basically every day... I hate making sandwiches!).
I also put some of the frozen strawberries and blueberries in small individual containers to pop in Maleah's lunch box. I personally do not like to eat thawed frozen fruit, but she loves it! I keep the containers in the freezer and then just put it in her lunch box and... by lunch time, they're ready to eat! (They stay in the school fridge until lunch.)

So, even though last week was a little nutty, we're back on track this week and ready to roll! Hope you all have an awesome week! Happy homemaking! :)

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