Meal Plan Monday 3

Back again with another Meal Plan Monday! Every week when I sit down to write this post I am astonished at how quickly the week has flown by! Scary! This past week we enjoyed several days of amazing weather! Playing outside at the park with the kids in jeans and a short sleeve shirt?? Pretty much unheard of for February in Pennsylvania. None the less we enjoyed every second of those beautiful days. And are back to more characteristic February weather today… cool 40 degrees.

This week is grocery shopping week for me. So today I am snuggling a sick baby and attempting to make a meal plan. The hubby and I also decided to start another Whole 30 today so all of my meals for the next few weeks will be Whole 30 approved. If you have been following for a little while you know we recently went on a family vacation to Disney. We completely enjoyed our time there, which included indulging in delicious food! Now not all of those foods were “healthy.” So we feel we need another little reset now that we are back home and back into our routine.

This morning I also started reading Melissa Hartwig’s Newest Book… Food Freedom Forever. I am only a few pages in and it is already AMAZING. Everyone has a connection with food. But, putting  yourself in control of the way you interact with food can be a challenge. Melissa’s Whole 30 program gives you a chance to “reset” your health, eating habits and your complete relationship with food. And “food freedom” is what you can obtain. I cannot wait to finish it!

Drawing on the cover thanks to my creative 1 year old!

Part of Food Freedom for me is our ability to enjoy our Disney Vacation whole heartedly!  We enjoyed food we do not normal eat, because it is what we wanted to do. We did not feel bad or guilty about one thing we enjoyed there. Now it’s time to do a Whole 30, because that helps us to feel good as well. Stay tuned for a post later this week detailing all of the deliciousness we enjoyed at Walt Disney World!

Now onto the recipes of the week. Oookkk I am going to be completely honest here… Last week I was a slacker in the kitchen. Two kiddos were and still are sick. We also enjoyed the weather a little too much and dinner became somewhat of an afterthought most days. But, I do still have two

amazing recipes to share with you this week! I was also a huge slacker in the picture department… so forgive me for the lack of food pictures!

The following recipes come from some amazing bloggers, follow the links to the original recipe!

  1. Halal Cart Chicken and Rice– We eat a fair amount of rice on a normal basis. It is gluten free and a grain that make us feel good, so a good amount of our meals contain rice. I have been searching for new and different recipes and came across this one from Sabrina at Dinner then Dessert. Great combination of flavors, easy to good, and enjoyed by our whole family!
  2. Easy Oven Fajitas– One pan meals are my favorite and Beth from Budget Bytes came up with this easy and delicious oven steak fajita recipe. We ate ours in a bowl with lettuce, salsa and guacamole and they were awesome! Her website is full of so many healthy and budget friend;y recipes we love!

Like I said before I was a cooking slacker last week so these are the only two recipes I have to share… sad face emoji. Our other meals consisted of a one pan chicken and veggie dish I am working on, leftovers and take out! But tune in next week for lots of Whole 30 approved recipes! Have a great Monday and please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know of your families favorite healthy weeknight dinners! I am always looking for new things to try!

 

 

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Happenings on the Homestead Vol. 3

So ready for this weather again!

Ok I have come to the conclusion that I am soooo over winter. With the warm weather we have had around here the past week I find myself dreaming of summer.  I’m longing for the lush green grass, fresh produce, beautiful flowers and warm breezes that Spring and Summer have to offer. I think this happens to me every year around this time! Now we have been spoiled with a pretty mild winter and these past few days have really been beautiful! I think that makes my Spring Fever even more intense!!

There has been a lot going on around our tiny homestead in the past few weeks. Most of it is preparation and planning for the next few months. There is the possibility that we will raise some more meat chickens sometime this spring, so expanding our chicken run is something we may look into. Check out our first adventure with meat chickens here! Also, the idea has been thrown around to build a new permanent barn structure for our goats and mini horse. We built a small enclosure for this winter, but they need something a little bigger for next year.

The gals need a little more space!

Once the weather warms up a bit more we will start cleaning and tidying up a lot. I feel we get a little more lax with this over the winter when the weather is cold, but come Spring everything will need to be revamped. Our chicken coop and run could use a good spring cleaning, as could our goat area! Flower beds need to be prepped, weeding done and mulch placed. We also have a small outbuilding that needs a new roof, so plans to get that done are also being made. Lots and lots of tasks to accomplish. Thankfully we have three tiny humans that are always looking to lend a hand!

My Evening Chore Sidekick!

Now I like to think I am good at a lot of things, but gardening and tending to plants is not one of those things. Hence why we have never have had a really successful garden. So this year we are working really hard to actually grown some things we can eat! We have been busy selecting our crops and finding the perfect spot for the garden. In the next week or so we will go get our seeds and look into starting our seedlings. Sooooo if anyone has any tips in this department I am all ears! We purchased a CSA share last year and I plan to again in case this is a big flop. If we are successful this takes us one step closer in being self sufficient!

So those are all our big plans for the next few weeks and what we have been up to around here. In other news our hens have finally started laying a little more! We eat a ton of eggs in our home and when you have 20 laying hens and still have to buy eggs from the store there is a problem! So everyone is happy with the warmer weather! We are excited for what the next few weeks have to bring and are looking forward to spending a lot more time outside!

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Meal Plan Monday 2

Well Friends it’s Monday again… and that means I have more of my favorite recipes to share with you all!! Hope everyone had a wonderful week and weekend! The weather has started to warm up around here… so the kiddos and the hubby got to spend tons of time outside this weekend! While I slaved away at work! Boo! But… this week is suppose to be beeaauuttiful so we will be parking it a lot and hitting up our favorite nature trail! With bikes and strollers in tow! This week is my off week from meal planning and grocery shopping too, which gives us more time to soak up the awesome weather.

Now I am all about quick, easy, cheap and healthy dinners lately. We have been attempting to make some huge changes in our house this year! Healthy eating, budgeting and spending more time as a family are on the top of my list. Check out all of my New Years Resolutions here! Anyways… I have been making big changes in the way I grocery shop and meal plan. It’s a struggle trying to bring down the amount of money we spend on food without sacrificing the quality of the food we eat.

Over the past month I have completely stopped shopping at our local big chain grocery store. I have been able to find everything we need at Aldi’s, Costco, The Grocery Outlet and our local Dairy. This change has managed to save us close to $200 a month, crazy right?!? This process takes a fair amount of planning and a little more time, but it has been worth it. And that extra $200 a month can go towards other things we want to pay off, win win!

Now I am super Type A! I need to have everything planned out and I have lists for everything! This super planning gene I have comes in handy with the whole meal planning process for sure! I am slightly obsessive about my meal plan and grocery list, and will never step foot into a grocery store without my trusty planner! I try to stick to my list as much as possible and avoid buying things that are not necessary.

Sooo the meal planning tips to take home today are check out stores that are out of the norm for you. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you actually find! Not gonna lie I was a little unsure of Aldi’s at first, but it has quickly become a staple stop for us! I cook dinner at home for my family almost every night. Soooo I am always on the hunt for new, delicious, affordable and healthy recipes to serve my family.

Check out my favorite recipes from last week… some are mine and others are from other amazing bloggers! Click on the link to get to the full recipes! Enjoy and happy cooking! Get out and do something out of your comfort zone this week and please feel free to share all of your thoughts on this amazing food with me! Have meal planning tips to share?!? Post them in the comment section below, I would love to hear what works for you and your family!!

  1. Cheeseburger Rice – I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for budget friendly gluten free dinners on Pinterest. If you are on a budget but still want to eat healthy Erin from $5 Dinners has hundreds of tips and tricks to help you cut money on your grocery bill! So much amazing information!  Merissa from Little House Living came up with this delicious recipe and we loved it!
  2. Hearty Sausage, Pepper and Onion Skillet– I looove one pot meals! And I scored some good quality sausage on sale last week so this recipe was a no brainer! I came up with this recipe because I always have all of these ingredients on hand! Quick, easy, and delicious… just how I like it!
  3. Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry– Beth at BudgetBytes has a knack for creating delicious, healthy meals that don’t break the bank, and this one did not disappoint! I am fortunate to have kids that will eat almost anything and cabbage is a favorite in this house! So this recipe was a win all around, and the leftovers were even better!
  4. Butternut Squash Lasagna– Like I said I scored a good amount of sausage on sale last week so I needed recipes to use it up! This is a simple and gluten free favorite in our house!

That’s all the recipes I have for this week! The rest of our menu last week was not so exciting… roasted chicken and veggies, ribs with potatoes and veggies and lots of leftovers rounded out our menu! Come back next week for some for delicious recipes!!

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Meal Plan Monday

Happy Monday Everyone!! How is your week starting off? It is cold and windy over here and the kids had a 2 hour delay this morning. Now that gave us the opportunity to start our week a little less rushed, which was a welcomed change in this house. Although it does make the rest of the day go a little faster… more things to fit into less time.  The story of my life.

I’m attempting to take things a little easy today because my left foot has really been bothering me. Which means no gym this morning and some of those chores can wait. Now I’m not much of a complainer, but I know when things aren’t right with my body. My nurse judgement tells me it is nothing serious and something that a ice and rest will take care of.  Buuuut that is super hard to do when you are a mom of three littles with a hubby off at work for most of the day. But I’m trying my best!

In the spirit of resting I am currently watching two children destroy my house while I work on my meal plan for the next two weeks. With my foot propped on a stack of pillows with an ice pack. I am scouring Pinterest, my cookbooks and the grocery store circulars to make my list. Always searching for the best deal and new affordable recipes my family will love. I am all about cutting our grocery budget lately so all my meals need to be affordable but still healthy and delicious.

I grocery shop every two weeks and usually meal plan for about 12-13 dinners during that time. I figure we will eat dinner out once and will rely on leftovers another night. Each dinner also usually makes enough leftovers for lunch the next day for most of us. I have also been leaning towards meals that are easy to throw together. Casseroles and One Pot meals are all the rage in our house lately!! We also generally stick to Gluten Free meals that are full of tons of veggies! Stating today, each Monday I will share a few of our families favorite meals from my most recent meal plan! Hopefully these will add a little inspiration and variety to your week!

 

  1. Teriyaki Chicken Casserole– Holly’s blog Life in the Lofthouse is one I follow and I have been meaning to try this awesome recipe for quite awhile now. I made a few substitutions to make it gluten free and it turned out absolutely delicious and a family favorite! We will definitely be making this one again!
  2. Gluten Free Tater Tot Casserole– We lived in North Dakota for several years while my husband was in the military and there was the first time I haven ever even heard of “Tater Tot Hotdish.” Holy Comfort Food! Brianna from Flippin’ Delicious created an awesome gluten free version with homemade cream of mushroom soup! Not full of crap, easy and delicious, what more can you ask for?!?
  3. Sausage and Kale Soup– I seriously make this soup every week! We love it and the leftovers are even better! This is my adaptation of Zuppa Tuscana soup and it is the perfect weeknight meal!

    Sausage and Kale Soup
  4. Chicken Apple Sausage Skillet– Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage was on sale last week, woohoo! So I stocked up and searched for yummy recipes! I can across this one from Leah at Simply Made with Love and it was delicious! The kiddos even gobbled up the peppers, score!
  5. Spatchcocked Chicken– We butchered our own chickens in November and still have a few left in the freezer. I am always looking for new ways to cook them and this cooking method from Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo is a delicious and quick way to do it! I seasoned ours a little differently that she does in her recipe but the end result was great!

    Spatchcocked Chicken

The rest of my meal plan basically paired a meat with veggies. We do eat rice and potatoes so those make an appearance at most meals as well. Tune in next week for our favorite meals of the week!

 


 

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Homemade Stock from Your Kitchen Scraps

Happy Thursday Friends! Right now I am sitting here planning my meals and getting my grocery list ready for next week! We seriously have nothing to eat over here! I still haven’t really restocked after our trip and we have been basically living out of the freezer for the past few days. If you read my last post you know I am all about making huge lifestyle changes for the New Year. On the top of that list is tackling our debt! The hubby and I sat down last night and wrote all of our debt down and it is a little daunting seeing it all laid out like that. Then again it gives me way more motivation to make the lifestyle changes needed to become debt free.

On that note I have been looking into ways to decrease our bills and monthly spending. Once I wrote down all that we spend in a month I realized we are spending a tooooonnn of money on food. Like it is our second largest bill next to our mortgage. If you have been following me for a little while you know health and clean eating is very important to me. So I have always justified the large amount of money we spend on food. But, since we are looking to save money I have been searching for ways to bring this expense down.

One thing I have been trying to do is not waste money on things I can make myself for next to nothing. I am constantly cooking and have large amounts of veggie and fruit scraps that accumulate over the week. Usually I toss most of them to the chickens or goats for treats. But recently I have been saving them in a gallon sized ziplock bag in the freezer to use when I make stock.  Soooooo easy! And why spend money on something you can make for free! I use stock for everything… making rice, soups, roasts, or even to just sip on! Check out my recipes for Hearty Chicken and Vegetable SoupSausage and Kale Soup, or Hearty Sausage, Pepper and Onion Skillet, which are all awesome ways to use your homemade stock!!

As you prepare your meals during the week toss all of your vegetable scraps into a gallon sized ziplock bag.  Store it in the freezer until it’s full. Carrots, onions, celery, herbs, garlic, zucchini, leeks, squash, parsnips, and potatoes all make amazing stock! Stay away from cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli as they can make your stock taste bitter.

The basic stock starts with onions, carrots and celery. But you can go in any direction you like with your flavorings, get creative people!! For stock that works well in Asian recipes try adding ginger and lemongrass. I just toss in whatever veggie scraps I have for the week into that ziplock bag, I don’t get too fancy!  The stock will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.  If you are like me you will accumulate lots of scraps and will be making stock weekly.

I do the same with my chicken bones that I do with my veggie scraps. Toss them all in a baggie in the freezer and then when the bag is full I load up my stock pot! Add chicken bones and a bag of veggies scraps, a pinch of salt, bay leaves, a splash of cider vinegar and some seasonings and let it simmer away. I usually let it simmer for at least 6 hours to get the most amount of minerals and collagen from the bones! Then I store the same as with the vegetable stock, see recipe below!

Thanks for tuning in and check back soon for more ways I am saving money on our food budget, while still keeping things healthy and family friendly!

 

 


Halfway Wholesome is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Print Recipe
Homemade Vegetable Stock
Put all of those vegetable scraps you accumulate to good use with the amazing homemade vegetable stock! Fresh, delicious stock for next to nothing, Awesome!
Cuisine Whole 30
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Whole 30
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. When your freezer bag of scraps is full empty into a stockpot, cover with water, add bay leaves, salt and seasonings of your choice and simmer for about an hour.
  2. Strain through a mesh strainer or with cheesecloth if you prefer, and store however you like. I like to fill a few mason jars, let cool then freeze them. Or you could freeze in an ice cube tray and transfer the cubes to a baggie for easy access. Whatever you like!
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