The Menu Plan: Week of May 26, 2013

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http://onceamonthmom.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-chicken-skewers/

BBQ Sauce for the chicken skewers:
http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-bbq-sauce/

I marinate our chicken in this and freeze. Then grill when ready.
http://angelaskitchen.com/2011/06/22/make-your-own-italian-dressing/

http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/04/crockpot-20-to-40-clove-garlic-chicken.html

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Getting it Together

imageBefore SG, I was quite the homemaker. Then came my long awaited pregnancy and it all came to a crashing halt. Then adjusting to life with a baby…well, that adjustment period lasted almost two years!

I feel like only in the past few months have I really gotten my groove back. I’m finding a new groove- a new me. And I like her!

I’m finally figuring out how to keep the house tidy, have a happy child (somewhat, she’s 2!!!), and get dinner on the table (dairy and egg free) almost every night! Let me tell you my biggest discovery, which I’ve already written about once before (click here┬áto read it.) My FREEZER! Y’all, it has changed my life!!!

I’m serious. I have realized I do things in spurts. Some days I’m the amazing super wife and super mommy and sometimes I’m a giant blob who barely moves. (Or only shops and avoids cooking and cleaning. Did I really just admit that???)

When I’m hot, I’m hot! If chicken is on sale, I won’t buy just one package. Instead, I get excited about saving money and I’ll buy 5-10 packages and have a chicken mini-freezer marathon. The same thing with beef.

I spend my evenings (after SG goes to bed) perusing the internet for new recipes to make and freeze. I just love freezer cooking.

As for tidying the house, I try to vacuum at least every other day, fold the laundry mmmm… a few days after it’s clean… then put it up a few days later… Okay, so that part is not yet perfected. But I’m getting there! I actually ironed some clothes for the Huzz this week- the first time in a year!

Even the Huzz said he feels like he has his old wife back. Yay!

While I’m not perfect and please hear this- I’m not saying I’ll ever be- I am getting it together.

What about you? How do you manage things? Do you love your freezer? Do you have any tried and true freezer recipes to share with me?

The Menu Plan: Week of May 19, 2013

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This week I’m using meats and meals I have frozen in my freezer. Hooray for me!

Here are the links:

To make “sour cream”:
http://cassidyscraveablecreations.com/2012/01/easy-peasy-dairy-free-sour-cream.html

Taco seasoning:
http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/11/23/misleading-products/
How to make the tacos:
http://onceamonthmom.com/bulk-taco-meat/

BBQ Chicken Pizza:
http://onceamonthmom.com/whole-foods-bbq-chicken-pizza/
To make it dairy free, I use a Pillsbury pizza crust (read the labels!) and omit the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle nutritional yeast on the pizza instead. I also changed the red onions to yellow onions, and made a less spicy bbq sauce. (link below) This was DELISH.

Zesty BBQ Chicken:
http://onceamonthmom.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-zesty-bbq-chicken/
BBQ Sauce:
http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-bbq-sauce/
I cut way back on the pepper bc SG kept saying her mouth was too hot.

Italian Dressing for this recipe:
http://angelaskitchen.com/2011/06/22/make-your-own-italian-dressing/

Meatballs:
https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/dairy-and-egg-free-meatballs/

Potato Wedges:
http://onceamonthmom.com/oven-potato-wedges/

Chicken Stir Fry:
http://www.sweetandsavoryfood.com/2013/04/20-minute-skillet-stir-fry.html
The Huzz told me I can and should make this stir fry every week…it’s that good! You’ll most likely see this on our menu A LOT!

Worn

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“I’m tired
I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing…”

That’s the beginning of yet another wonderful and soul baring song by Tenth Avenue North. Have you heard it? Here’s a few more verses from the song Worn:

“And my prayers are wearing thin.
I’m worn, even before the day begins…”

Ever feel that way? I know I do. Not all the time. Just sometimes. Sometimes when life feels extra hard, I feel worn down.

Like this morning. Trying to decide if I should let SG eat a small piece of Sara Lee bread. I called and spoke to a manager. The bread is processed on a line that also processes milk, but not made directly after a milk product. And the line is cleaned thoroughly after each product. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. I stressed so much over this decision. I felt worn. In a tizzy. As I was sitting there, at 7:30 this morning, this song came on through K-Love. I feel The Lord gives me the right songs at just the right moments. They calm me and remind me that The Lord is in control. When I’m worn, I sometimes loose sight of that. (If you are reading my blog for the first time, my toddler is EXTREMELY allergic to milk and introducing new foods is a source of stress and anxiety for me.)

Then I started thinking about other areas of my life (infertility) and the lives of my friends and family. This song can apply to all of us in some way. We all get a little worn. Sometimes “even before the day begins.”

I’m reminded of the verse that touched me so deeply a few weeks ago.

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for The Lord has been good to you.”
Psalm 116:7

This verse has been repeated silently so many times in my mind in the last few weeks. When I feel envy, sorrow, anxiety and just plain worn down.

This is not intended to be a sad post. Here’s the best part… The Lord can give you rest. Psalm 91 tells us “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart… ‘Because he loves me,’ says The Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him'” (verses 4, 14-15.)

You must only believe that He died for your sin. Him for you. Call upon him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17

That is my hope. My rest. My Jesus.

“Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn”
Worn by Tenth Avenue North

What about you, my friend? Are you worn? I’m feeling much better now than this morning. Talks with a great friend, reflection of these scriptures and prayer, reminding myself of my blessings rather than my struggles… it has all refreshed me. I’m once again ready to be at rest.

Whatever you’re dealing with: infertility, family problems, life threatening food allergies, a frightening diagnosis- I hope that you find rest in the One who created you and loves you. He’s waiting for you to turn to Him.

The Challenge Update

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I’m a former public school teacher turned homemaker, so I’m good at evaluating and assigning grades. For this challenge, however, I’ve had a hard time evaluating myself. So, I pulled out the calculator: 78%. I earned a C. Not terrible, not great. I was hoping for an A.

Let me focus on the positives.

My Victories:

  • I only went out to eat once for lunch.
  • I spent more intentional time with SG.
  • I kept the house tidy.
  • I spent more time in prayer and reading the bible, although not every single day.
  • I greeted the Huzz with a kiss every afternoon.
  • I was motivated to tidy up (fold clothes, do dishes, etc, during naptime) so I could blog and have time on Facebook.
  • I cooked dinner every night except date night.

My Struggles:

  • I went to the grocery store 3 or 4 times last week…that’s AFTER I made what I thought was a thorough list for my “first and only trip.” Ha!
  • Connect with the Huzz after SG’s bedtime.

I’m glad I challenged myself. I’ve learned a few things. Everyone’s life is different. Just because I read something on someone’s blog doesn’t mean it’s right for me. (As much as I loved that post!!!) I felt like a withering flower, trying to stay home all week. And by the way, something popped up every day. Seriously… we left home Monday-Friday.

I did have some wonderful and precious moments because of this challenge. Little things I caught myself agreeing to do because of those two index cards challenging me on my fridge.

A simple little moment: SG spread out two couch pillows on the floor and asked me to sit on one while she sat on the other. “Let’s sit on the pillows together and drink our smoothies!” Before the challenge, I would probably have said no (too much housework to do at that moment or I need to do ___ first.) Instead, I said yes, sat, and savored the moment, complete with my two year old beaming because I focused all of my attention on her.

The Huzz came home from work and I forgot to give him a kiss: “Where’s my kiss?” he asked.

The Huzz and I zoned out after bedtime several nights in a row before I said, “Hey, we’re supposed to be connecting!” We decided to sit down and have coffee together after SG goes to bed and just chat. We haven’t done it every night, but it has been wonderful! I enjoy having his undivided attention.

Good things. Positive things.

The Huzz and I discussed my week in review. In general, I keep the house clean, I’ve been cooking more, SG is happy, loved, and well rounded, I keep to my weekly eating out budget, and I love my husband. We both agreed that our life is very blessed. Yes, I can make small changes. Can’t we all? There’s always room for improvement. But, I need to be who God created me to be. After all, I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). And I will rest in that truth.

I will end by saying I’m glad I did this. I learned some things about myself and was encouraged by the Huzz encouraging me to be who I am. I LOVE that man!!!

Until next time, my friend.

The Menu Plan: Week of May 12, 2013

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I’ve been pondering posting our menu plan on the blog for several reasons. One, to show the world that we have food allergies and we eat completely and totally normal food. Two, to have a goal set for my menu planning. If I have a deadline for posting, it will motivate me to plan. So, I’m going to try to post our menu every Monday. It will most likely just be a photo of my handwritten plan. I have been inspired by a few bloggers out there who also share their menus for the week… Thanks for the nudge!!!

I’ll try to post links (if there are any) to recipes I’m using each week.
http://onceamonthmom.com/oven-potato-wedges/

http://www.sweetandsavoryfood.com/2013/04/20-minute-skillet-stir-fry.html

https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/dairy-free-and-egg-free-meatloaf/

http://angelaskitchen.com/2011/06/22/make-your-own-italian-dressing/ (For grilled Italian chicken)

http://onceamonthmom.com/grilledhoney-soy-flank-steak/
This is needed for the above recipe: http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-italian-dressing-mix/