Category Archives: Menu Planning

Fantastic, Easy Cranberry Bread


My friend Sandy gave me some of this bread as a gift last night, I had to share the recipe with you. It is delish! Made into small loaves, it wraps up into perfect gifts. My loaf didn’t have raisin, but instead extra cranberries. Just like I LOVE it…

Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups light raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

(can substitute more cranberries for raisins to have an all-berry bread)

Sift dry ingredients in large bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist.  Fold in cranberries and raisins.

Spoon into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, 10 minutes for 9x5x3 pan; 35 minutes or so for mini loaf pans.  Cool on rack.  Enjoy!


How To Do A Freezer Inventory- Free Printable


I was inspired by the Pantry Challenge over at   Our freezer, in the name of good intentions, was stuffed.  I talked my family into helping me take every, single item out of the freezer and do an inventory. Can I be embarrassingly frank here? Read the rest of this entry

Breakfast Cinnamon Apple Rice


My daughter wanted to surprise me with breakfast this morning, a new favorite of hers from a family friend. It was delicious! And healthy?

Makes 2 servings. Prep time 5 minutes (with already cooked rice).  Cook time 10 minutes.

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

3/4 cups chopped apple

1/4 cup apple juice

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients in microwave safe bowl on high, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meatballs and Menus


Last step in the big prep.  I was able to buy ground turkey at Costco for 2.29 a lb. and I bought about 8 lbs.  We made taco meat, sloppy joes, and meatballs. Taco meat can be pulled out for the obvious, tacos, but also for salads, quesadillas and nachos. The meat yielded two-quart size bags of the taco mixture, then we made two bags of sloppy joe mix.

The rest we made into meatballs, and they are so easy (and fast). We mixed the ingredients in my Kitchenaid, used a small cookie scoop to form the balls, baked on tinfoil lined cookie sheets and let cool. This small effort produced 5 quart size bags of frozen meatballs now ready for Swedish Meatballs, Subs, Teriyaki, BBQ and one extra. This was well worth the effort. On those nights we get home later, or life happens, one more thing ready for a fast dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to see there was no fat surrounding the meatballs on the sheet after cooking, unlike when I use beef. Every step reduces the last-minute panic of nothing to eat, running to fast food.

Here is the menu I promised…remember this is just a general guideline not a taskmaster. This should only help us friends, not enslave us. I won’t make them all, those might get pushed to next month. BUT, I will not stand here at night and wonder what is for dinner! Can you say, part-e-yy???

Menu Plan For August

  1. IHOP pancakes/sausage/fruit
  2. Burgers/ranch pasta salad/grilled asparagus
  3. Cinnamon chicken salad in pita pockets/fruit
  4. Tacos/quinoa, black bean, tomato salad
  5. Fried crispy chicken/mashed potatoes/broccoli     Dessert: Lemon Polenta Cake
  6. Mini dill meatloaf cups/homemade fries/green
  7. Black beans/quesadillas/fruit
  8. Swedish meatballs/noodles/peas and carrots
  9. Black bean and rice salad/ fish
  10. BBQ hot dogs/macaroni salad/baked beans
  11. Beef, bean and pasta salad
  12. Tuna casserole/ salad     Dessert: Mama’s sweet saltines
  13. Shish kabob/ corn muffins
  14. Tortellini and sausage soup/bread sticks
  15. BBQ meatballs/rice/pineapple
  16. Black bean and corn quesadillas/fruit
  17. Sloppy joes/ broccoli
  18. Stir fry/ rice/glazed carrots
  19. Burgers/ German potato salad       Dessert: Homemade donuts
  20. White BBQ chicken/corn on the cob
  21. Birthday dinner: Tacos/Salad/Rice/ White cake
    with chocolate frosting
  22. Meatball subs/ warm corn salad
  23. Baked potatoes with chili and cheese
  24. Spaghetti/ mixed veggies
  25. Quiche/ broccoli
  26. Pot pie/ cranberry crumble
  27. ?
  28. Fish sticks/ tater tots/ green beans
  29. Teriyaki meatballs/ rice/ veggies
  30. Apple pancakes/ sausage
  31. Chicken and Kielbasa with curried rice/ sugar
    snap peas

Small Chicken, Big Yields


I have started a new habit of picking up Rotisserie chickens from Costco when I go. I think they are larger than many stores, and the price can’t be beat at 4.99 per chicken. Thinking ahead, I picked up two. 45 minutes spent in the kitchen yielded 10 cups of shredded white meat chicken. Juicy, already flavorful, and most importantly, already cooked.

Then thinking about saving more money, I tossed all of the carcass and juice from the bottom of the package in the crock pot. Added carrot, celery, bay leaf and seasoning and turned it on. A few hours later, we drained it, put 2 cups of cooled broth into quart size bags and wound up with 8 cups of chicken broth as well.

Now, 10 cups of chicken and 8 cups of broth is worth my time (very little) and we now have the base of many meals. For example this month we will  have Cinnamon Chicken Salad, Stir Fry, Tacos, and Pot Pie. I could also last-minute make Chicken and Dumplings or Chicken and Rice soup quickly!

Peace and Fullness: Fresh and Frozen


This summer has included a few hours well spent to provide peace in the fall. I planned out 30 whole days of meals and took inventory of my freezers. We cleaned out the fridge. Reorganized the pantry to make the most sense. Why spend precious summer days in this way?

* We’ve all been there. Some of us ALOT. “Oh no, it is 5 o’clock already? We need to eat dinner again?” Too many nights of frustration, as if dinner is a surprise attack. Comes each day. I don’t want to waste any more brainpower in the “Oh No” mode. Peace in the planning.

* It is easy to grab the calendar, mark out the days that are extremely full. For example, Mondays we will be gone all day. Officially now crock pot days. Having company on the 18th? Great, time to plan without running to the store (which usually means spending more than you plan, right?)

* Too much food wasted. It sickens me to think how much poverty there is, and I am throwing food away.

* Too much food wasted. Again. “Yikes, I didn’t know this was back there!” The gross factor.

* Too much food wasted. Yep. These are some difficult financial times for many of us. Planning means using what we have, buying what we need. My list was substantially tighter by looking at the freezer list first, thinking long-term as in what can be used for this or that again? Here is a great site that really inspired me

* Peace of mind. There is something comforting to me about having food set aside. Perhaps it is the sheer privilege of ability. Factor in the rewarding feeling of money well-managed. The gratitude component, being extremely thankful that right now, today, we are abundantly provided for and ready to share with others. Let this not be lost on us.

* Hospitality is set to go! Having a plan means you are ready for spontaneity without stress. Ironic, yes?

It seemed overwhelming at first, but these few hours time investment have just taken away one piece of the Fall Frenzy, and paved the way one step closer to intentional peaceful living. More details to come on Friday.