Meal Planning

[update 1-16-16 - I have a 'week in meals' playlist going on my youtube channel. If you are interested, check it out here: Week In Meals. This morning routine no longer applies, but I am leaving it here for your reference because it worked really good for us at that season of our lives. Now my children are all adults, one has moved out, and the others are doing their own thing so our mornings look quite a bit different!!!! I still send everyone off with a good breakfast, consisting of at least a green smoothie, but we rely heavily on frozen things like muffins, French toast, or breakfast sandwiches, or we just have non-frozen things like muffins with milk (eaten like cold cereal) or sourdough toast.]

For now the only thing I am going to share in regards to 'meal planning' is what we have for breakfast. Our lives (and especially our mornings) are super busy but I always try to send the troops off with a good, healthy breakfast 'made from scratch' ... except for one day a week. Also, in order to keep things simple, I plan the same thing each day of the week. So, here it goes:

every day: 'green smoothie'
monday: vegetable fried rice
tuesday: pancakes
wednesday: breakfast burritos
thursday: biscuits and gravy (sometimes with homemade turkey sausage)
friday: fried egg sandwich with hashed browns
saturday: french toast (made with challah if I have it on hand)
sunday: cereal (either store bought or homemade)

That's our basic weekly breakfast menu. I will change it if I have leftovers that must be eaten up and sometimes for ease I will switch one day with another. A common change would be if we had cake for dessert the night before -- leftover cake is really good with milk over the top and other things like pecans, raisins, coconut shreds, etc. Or some sort of left-over meat might turn in to a component of a vegetable stir-fry for breakfast. In general though I try to keep it as it is so I never have to think "what's for breakfast?"

I'll share a little about some of the meals that do not have links included.

Vegetable fried rice: I soak the rice over night (at the least, sometimes longer if I remember) and then cook it first thing in the morning. Saute frozen mixed vegetables (either the peas/corn/carrot/green bean mix or a 'stir-fry' mix) in olive oil with onion and garlic. Add some braggs or soy sauce, ginger and a bit of sesame oil. When ready, top with 4-5 eggs, if desired or available. Mix in some rice. Serve with hot sauce, etc. This is my favourite breakfast.

Breakfast burritos: that's what we had this morning actually. I stir-fry appropriate veggies on hand like sweet peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms. I heat up some home-canned beans and make scrambled eggs. Serve with homemade or store-bought tortilla shells, hot sauce, etc.

Biscuits and gravy: Sometimes I'll just make biscuits and serve with whatever else is on hand (like fried eggs or some left over item). In this case we'll put butter and honey or jam on the biscuits.

Hashed browns: Plan ahead and bake the potatoes the day before. Refrigerate over night and they are ready to shred and fry in the morning.

Cereal: There are several discount stores in the area that have high-quality, healthy cereals for really cheap. Not too long ago we found an excellent deal on a healthy brand of cereal: 40-ounce bag for $2. It is nice to have one day a week where I can just sit down and eat breakfast without much prep time. We serve cereal with molasses and peanut butter, and sometimes bananas, nuts, and coconut.

TIPS:
- I like to try and have as much prepared the night/day before as possible. Even simple things like setting the table before bed sure save a lot of time in the morning and allows me to sit and enjoy the breakfast table conversations instead of hurrying around preparing other things (like lunches ... which are also taken care of as much as possible the night before).

- I try to always prepare more than we need so I can offer some to whoever might walk through the door ... because this happens frequently around our house. Usually whoever comes through the door has already eaten breakfast, but sometimes not and it's a blessing to be able to offer them something.

- I keep a weekly 'to-do' list in order to keep things straight in my head. For example, on sunday one thing on my list says "set rice to soak". Thursday will say, "bake potatoes for tomorrow". Tuesday: "make tortillas or have some on hand". And so on.

- Breakfast leftovers often times become my lunch or I'll remake them in to something else.

That's all for now! I'll try to add to this as time allows.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Joanne. I've been enjoying reading your blogs personally finally, especially the practical adivices here. I was wondering, what do you put in your green smoothies?

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  2. Hello Luiza! It's nice to hear from you :)

    Our green smoothies vary depending on what fruits and greens we can get cheaply. We order some produce from Azure Standard and then get the rest locally (from the store or from our garden). I generally aim for about 8oz of green things in my smoothie, however I make a separate one for everyone else that is not quite so 'green'. I put in the green stuff first and then add fruits till I have what we need. For me, I like to have about 3 cups of smoothie, 2 for breakfast and 1 for a snack later on. Everyone else gets between 1-2 cups for breakfast, depending on the person (some like more, some like less). I add a few other things like fresh ground flax, a slice of lemon and some hemp seed.

    Now, I meant to get a few names for popular Romanian dishes from you :) If you see this response please let me know! Thanks and God bless you all!

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  3. I guess I hit the post button before finishing :)we serve that potato dish with what we call gogonele, which is pickled green tomatoes(green tomatoes, water and salt) or any kind of salt brine pickled vegetables that one might have on hand. we pickle a lot of veggies in the fall).btw, the sarmale(stuffed cabbage dish is made with pickled cabbage).there is one more dish that I just thought of-salata boeuf.it's a type of potato salad, but its loaded with veggies and even ground beef. I will try to send you an email with more specifics. May the Lord bless you in all your efforts! Thank you for the sourdough series.:)

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  4. Hello again Luiza - it seems the first part of your post got deleted!! So ... maybe you can fill in the gaps over email?

    Thanks so much!! I look forward to trying a few Romanian dishes.

    God bless you all.
    joannesmith6819 at gmail.com

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  5. I hail from Colombia and i often had for breakfast "calentao" leftover rice and beans or vegetables pan fried with egg and spring onions. One of your breakfasts reminded me of that :)
    In my house we a lot of store bought hash browns and they're ridiculously expensive and had the worst ingredients. I hate feeding them to my family but they're addicted. I'm really going to look into making my own to save our pocket and for health reasons too of course! Thanks for your site. I'm hooked!

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  6. I know packaged hash browns are tasty and easy but it really doesn't take much time to make your own!! Just throw a few potatoes into the oven whenever you are baking something else. Bake them 'til they are just 'fork tender' and allow them to cool. Refrigerate until totally cold and then shred and fry. YUM!!!!

    Your caletao sounds very good! There's just something about rice, veggies and eggs or just veggies and eggs that I really like for breakfast.

    Thanks for sharing!

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