How to Menu Plan in Less Than 15 Minutes

26
Sep
2016

How to Menu Plan in Less Than 15 Minutes

Since moving to the beach, I have taken great care to develop a system for meal planning. Being without a dinner plan when the closest market is 30 minutes away spells DISASTER!

I have always been a meal planner, but some weeks I drift from a real organized plan. Does that ever happen to you?

As I get back into my routine, I wanted to share some of my steps of how I menu plan for the week in less than 15 minutes.

Collect Recipes and Pin Them

Pinterest is a great invention if you really put it to use in good ways, like keeping a dinner recipe board of your family favorites. I just started this Family Favorites board and have found it so helpful when I sit down to plan my meals for the week. I can quickly see the photos of the meals and I write down what appeals to me at the moment! I also am a fan of using eMeals to collect meals that are easy and simple for my family. I can keep those in my notebook. See below.

Write It Down

No if’s, and’s, or but’s – put a meal title on each day that you need to have a dinner made. Don’t make general ideas. Write it down and go right to making the list of ingredients you need to make the meal. If I am in question about any ingredients, I will write them down and then can easily cross them off when I check my pantry stock. So write down your meal and ingredients at the same time.

Keep a Notebook

I will print out many of my recipes and keep them in a divided notebook for easy reference later. I also have a folder where I place all the recipes I need for that week so I am not searching for them later, wasting time, and adding to frustration. I keep the folder in the front of my notebook. I am a paper person, so even when I pin recipes, I still print it out. Call me old-fashioned, but it works for me!

Have a Weekly Menu Planner

This is a game changer. I have to write down my ideas and the days I intend to make meals, not so much for breakfast and lunch, but certainly for dinner. It is pivotal in how I carry out my intended plans. So, if you don’t have one, you can print this FREE Weekly Menu Planner out that I have for my readers. I use it and love it to keep things simple and easy.

Make Double

This is my favorite way to extend my meal planning and time. When I can I will double the recipe (or sometimes even triple it) and freeze a second batch of soup, stew, a crockpot recipe, or a casserole. It saves me time and also I will have a ready made list of dinner ideas set to quickly add to my weekly menu plan. I keep a running list of my freezer items so I can draw from it.

Rotate

If you find a weekly plan that worked well, save it and repeat! This is my genius plan – seriously! I can take those meal plans and put them “as-is” through another week maybe 5-7 weeks after the original plan. This saves me a ton of time and also circulates many of my family favorite recipes in our schedule.

What is your biggest tip for easy meal planning? I’d love to hear!

Is Doing Laundry Killing You?

13
Sep
2016

The Best All Natural Laundry Detergent for Your Family

Okay, I am sure I got your attention with that title. I know most moms feel like doing laundry is a slow death!

But truly (I am being serious here), this is a topic I began learning about two years ago when I made the shift to take control of my family’s health and wellness. I wanted to know what was in the products I used – not just what I put in my mouth, but what I put on my body, cleaned my house with, and more.

Going chemical free has been a game changer in our wellness journey.

Did you know the detergent you are currently using could truly be making you sick or, even worse, slowly killing you with toxins that clog your body and are very difficult to expel?

Here’s a short list of some of the most common dangerous ingredients that you will find in typical store bought laundry detergent (even brands that claim to be “green” and/or “natural”):

Ditching Toxic Laundry Detergent

Go now and take a look at the ingredients in your detergent. Even better, take a look at the EWG.org website and see how they rate the detergent you are currently using. Just warning you – it may scare you!

Um, damage to organs? No, thank you! I feel that we often just chalk these symptoms up to things we just have to accommodate – and that is so far from the truth! Allergies and headaches can all come from added toxins that we do not need.  

Why not find an alternative so you and your family can live the best and most vibrant life now?

I was so happy when Young Living developed an all natural, plant based laundry detergent that I can feel great about using in my home with my family and my pets. What a relief. No more having to read lengthy ingredients on labels or be nervous about some of the ingredients I could not even pronounce or know why it was included.

How about finding a detergent that is concentrated too? This means less waste, less storage space, and less mess. Seriously, doing laundry can be enjoyable! It truly can! I hated lifting big heavy jugs of detergent. It was hard on my wrists. Not with this little concentrated container of Thieves. It rocks because it’s so small and portable!

Thieves Laundry Soap

You get 64 loads (I actually squeak out a few more because I will tip the jugs upside down and let all remains drip out and then add some water to it and swish around to get every last bit!) with this little bottle. I love the smell after my clothes come out of the washer and I can follow up my laundry system with my homemade fabric softener, as well as wool dryer balls. Add a few drops of Lavender or Purification on them in the dryer and it is so refreshing to fold laundry – really! All completely chemical free!

Are you looking for a chemical free alternative for doing laundry? Or maybe you have never even taken a look at your current detergent? That was me two years ago. I had no idea until I began reading labels. How about getting to try the Thieves Laundry Soap for FREE? Um, yeah, sign me up!

Young Living's September New Member Bonus

For the month of September, all new members who join Young Living with a Premium Starter Kit will get a FULL-SIZE bottle of Thieves Laundry Soap. That’s over a $30 value! Add in my free welcome goodies and you are up over $80 of FREE items.  

You can choose from several different starter kits, not just the one with essential oils. Maybe you’d rather start with reducing chemicals in your home. The Thieves Starter Kit is the best one for you! It comes with hand soap, hand purifier, household cleaner, toothpaste, mouthwash, and more. The perfect replacement for all kinds of sneaky items in your home that are filled with chemicals your body doesn’t need.  

Start feeling your best today. You will not be sorry!

Get Started with Essential Oils

14 Easy Gluten-Free Weeknight Dinner Recipes

29
Aug
2016

14 Easy Gluten-Free Weeknight Dinner Recipes

The ease of summer is quickly vanishing (or perhaps you have already had your summer come to an abrupt halt with back to school already). We start next week, so I wanted to grab some tasty and easy weeknight dinner recipes to help ease the crazy busy days the school week brings.

I am a gluten free eating machine and I want to find healthy options that can still be quick in the kitchen. I do love freezer cooking and big batch cooking, but recently with our move, I have not had the space or the time to prepare in advance. I can’t wait to get back into my groove!

Here are 14 recipes to fill your menu planner and mine for the next two weeks. Which one will be your family’s new favorite? Now, let’s get cooking!

One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls via No. 2 Pencil

#1: One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash via The Two Bite Club

#2: Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash

Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak with Grilled Peppers via Paleo Newbie

#3: Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak with Grilled Peppers

Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil via Little Spice Jar

#4: Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole via Making Thyme for Health

#5: Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole via My Gluten-Free Kitchen

#6: Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Zucchini Pizza Boats via A Saucy Kitchen

#7: Zucchini Pizza Boats

Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup via CincyShopper

#8: Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup

Baked White Fish with Pine Nut, Parmesan, and Basil Pesto Crust via Kalyn's Kitchen

#9: Baked White Fish with Pine Nut, Parmesan, and Basil Pesto Crust

Lentil Chili via Little Broken

#10: Lentil Chili

Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken via Julia's Album

#11: Tomato Basil Artichoke Baked Chicken

 Loaded Potato Soup via Iowa Girl Eats

#12: Loaded Potato Soup

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers via Little Family Adventure

#13: Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Zucchini Lasagna via Skinnytaste

#14: Zucchini Lasagna

Insanely Yummy #21DSD Chocolate Energizing Shake

8
Aug
2016

Insanely Yummy #21DSD Chocolate Energizing Shake

Oh my word – I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with you all sooner! I apologize now, because once you begin to add this to your daily routine, you will see why I love it so much.

I recently completed my second round of the popular 21 Day Sugar Detox program and this shake was part of my success. The thought of eliminating the sugar from my diet seemed impossible, but I have done it without losing my mind.

I like chocolate and I need quick and easy food. This powerful breakfast shake has become an integral part of my most productive days.

Insanely Yummy #21DSD Chocolate Energizing Shake Recipe

  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup almond milk (be sure to get a brand that does not have carrageenan)
  • 1 scoop unsweetened protein powder (I use this)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic cacao powder (I use this)
  • 1 teaspoon organic maca powder (I use this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon (I use this)
  • 1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree (I use this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla flavoring (I use this)
  • 1 green tipped banana

Add all of the ingredients to your blender. Turn it on for 30 seconds and ENJOY!

Insanely Yummy #21DSD Chocolate Energizing Shake Recipe

It may take your taste buds a bit to get use to this less sweet version of a shake, but it is so satisfying and packed full of food our body can really use. Sometimes I use 1/2 cup of brewed coffee that has been cooled too. Feel free to change it up a bit to meet your taste – just NO SUGAR!

A Couple Notes About the Ingredients

I recently discovered maca powder. Check it out. Maca powder has been shown to support healthy hormone levels, enhance vitality, and sustain natural energy levels. It also promotes a radiant complexion and glowing skin. It is packed full of minerals, fatty acids, and plant sterols which offer a wide range of benefits for your body. I have noticed a difference on the days I do not start my day with a shake. I definitely have seen an increase in energy, focus, and motivation!

Pumpkin puree is a great source of fiber, rich in iron, and a great source of Vitamin A which in turn is great for your eyes. It is a low calorie source of a great punch for the body.

I have lost five pounds in my second round of the #21DSD. My taste buds have changed. My body has changed. I have more energy and less inflammation. I wake up feeling ready for the day. I especially love knowing I am reducing the risk of illness from the food I choose to eat. I dare you to do any research about what sugar does to your body and how it is hidden in everything. I am thankful to have education and knowledge. That is power for helping us be the best we can be!

Now, go enjoy this fabulous shake recipe and comment when you have. You will want to share it with everyone! Have you done a round of the #21DSD before? Did you have a favorite recipe?

Sanity Saving Family Road Trip Tips

5
Jul
2016

Sanity Saving Family Road Trip Tips

We just returned from an amazing road trip through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Salt Lake City to the Young Living Convention and we could not have done it without a few goodies that we took along for the ride.

I’ve taken road trips before – but this one was by far one of the better ones, and I attribute it to the supplies which helped keep us sane!

I do have to share this amazing photo in the Grand Tetons. We stopped at Jackson Lake Lodge for lunch and were met with this amazing view!

View at Jackson Lake Lodge

Okay, now for the road trip tips!

Have a Car Bucket

This may seem old hat for some, but we needed a “throw-up bucket” for our trip because my son’s tummy can get a bit queasy. We were thankful we didn’t need it for any of the tummy queasiness, but it worked fabulously for a trash can. We could easily toss things in, empty it out, even rinsing it if things spilled. A true lifesaver!

Activities

Melissa & Doug Activity BookI am still the old fashioned mom who rarely lets her child watch endless movies on the road. Our guy was limited to one movie a day, so that left a lot of time to listen to music, chat, or do activities. Here were a few that kept him busy and happy (which is a big bonus) – Hidden Pictures Discovery Activity ZoneMelissa & Doug Water WOW Coloring Book – Animals, and National Geographic Kids Cool Animals Sticker Book.

Diffuser

I love my essential oils, and diffusing some Stress Away in the car is divine for everyone! I purchased two of these mini diffusers and they worked like a charm and I loved the compact size. They were easy to have out of the way and no spills!

Cooler

Coleman 40 Quart PowerChill(TM) Thermoelectric CoolerWe normally take a portable cooler in the car and have ice in it, but this time we decided to purchase an electric cooler and it was SO MUCH BETTER! We purchased this Coleman 40 Quart PowerChill(TM) Thermoelectric Cooler after my husband did some research and it was one of the best investments. We even were able to use this in our hotel room as well because it has dual adaptors for car outlets and electrical outlets. This saved us money because we were easily able to keep snack items cold and accessible.

Easy Packing

I purchased some new packing accessories before our trip and they were great. I needed a new toiletry bag that kept items upright and also completely closed, but was roomy enough for all my items. I found this Travel Toiletry Organizing Bag met my needs great. I loved that it had wonderful ratings. I used it throughout my trip and am really happy with it. In the months to come we will be doing more traveling and I will need to have a sturdy and durable toiletry bag.

I also purchased some Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes on the advice of a friend and these were Shacke Pak - 4 Set Packing Cubes - Travel Organizers with Laundry Bagthe bomb! I loved that I could pack clothes I wouldn’t be needing for the first part of my trip inside the larger cubes and have them set aside in my suitcase. I didn’t have to weed through clothes, it was easy to be organized, and it kept my clothes neat and tidy. I used several smaller cubes for my son’s underwear and socks, which always seem to end up everywhere in his suitcase, so it was a relief when this system worked like magic.

Road trips can often times put FEAR into us moms – but let me just say, these tips were so great! We managed a 10-day road trip and we all still really liked each other at the end of it!

Here we are at Yellowstone, one of my favorite places in the park – the Grand Canyon area.

Us at Yellowstone
Do you have any road trips planned this summer?

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