Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

We just wrapped up a rockin’ Barbie birthday party yesterday for our SG. She turns five next Saturday, but since her birthday always falls around Thanksgiving, we usually celebrate it a week early. All this to say I’m behind the ball for Thanksgiving prep because I was busy preparing for her party.

This morning has been my catch up time. Here’s what is on the menu for this Thanksgiving. And y’all, I better get to getting! The fam has agreed to a dairy, egg, beef & pork gelatin free Thanksgiving but that means I make it all. I gladly do it because it means I can relax around the safe food and know that my daughter won’t react to cross contamination. Totally worth it!

Menu for Thanksgiving 2015

Cutlets

Gravy  (I omit the onion now and add 2 teaspoons of onion powder- makes the gravy smoother.)

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Simmered Fresh Green Beans (Rinse beans.  Snap off ends.  Snap beans in half.  In a pan, cover beans with vegetable broth.  Sprinkle some garlic powder, onion powder & Adobo seasoning.  Simmer until tender.)

Arroz con Gandules (No recipe yet.  My mom is going to teach me how this week!)

Dinner Rolls (Sub non-dairy milk and vegan butter. Use the bread machine to make dough on dough setting.)

Pumpkin Pie with Coco Whip

Cherry Pie and/or Apple Pie (I hope to make both.)

Buckeyes (If I have time and energy left!)

And if I can find an easy vegan carrot cake recipe, I’d love to make that. Does anyone have a good and safe carrot cake recipe to share?

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!  I hope you have a wonderful and safe day filled with love!

Above are the cutlets and gravy, dinner rolls, and cherry and apple pie.

Pinterest Win: I Made My Own Magnetic Menu Board!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m a pinning fool. I also LOVE to menu plan.

I’ve menu planned a week at a time and used this to keep me on track:

Weekly Menu Board

And maybe a year later I tried menu planning this way:

Menu Planning My Way

Then I menu planned around meats I stockpiled in my freezer and typed up my menus and shared my menus on this blog:

Menu Planning Around Meats in the Freezer

Menu Planning Around Meats in the Freezer

16 Dairy & Egg Free Dinners  Typed on Cardstock and Held up with a Magnet

16 Dairy & Egg Free Dinners Typed on Cardstock and Held up with a Magnet

Then sometime early this year I came across this on Pinterest. It is from I Heart Organizing. She was highlighting a project from the blog The Homes I Have Made. A magnetic menu board!

Seriously, y’all, I think I might have drooled when I clinked on the link and saw the menu board. Obviously, I’ve tried LOTS of ways to organize my menu planning. All have been good, but I kept trying new ways. But this… this was a thing of beauty!

Luckily, I had some budgeted spending money and went straight to Staples and Target. Here’s what I needed for my board:

Magnetic Calendar

Magnetic Printing Paper

Menu Board Supplies

Menu Board Supplies

I couldn’t believe the magnetic board was on clearance at Target. That was a major score!

I think it cost around $22 for both the board and paper.

You can visit any of the above linked blogs to see how they made their magnetic menu planning boards.

The first step was compiling all of our favorite recipes.  See the pic below of the clipboard to see my list of our favorite recipes.

I used “Pages” with my MacBook and played around with rectangular shapes. I printed rectangles, cut them out, held them in a menu board square, adjusted the rectangle size and tried again until I had the right size.

I picked colors that I liked. I typed in our favorite recipes in white letters. Then I printed that bad boy and held my breath. My cheap little ink jet printer did awesome! It took the sheet through completely one time before printing it. It did that both times. But then it printed it beautifully the second go round.

I have to admit… when the magnetic sheet came out I was as giddy as a child. I think I even danced my way to our bedroom to show the Huzz. Even he loved the magnets. Our little printer made us proud.

Anyway, the Huzz cut out the magnets for me. (I have tendonitis that flares with excessive scissor use. For real!)

Then, I lovingly placed each one according to my written menu plan.

And then I just stared at it in awe. I can’t believe I made this, y’all! I. am. not. crafty.

I do sit down and write out our menu plan. I photocopy our big calendar and then with a pencil, plan our meals. I plan a month at a time. I do it slowly- not all at once. When I have time, I sit down and grab my clipboard. I keep the photocopied next month’s calendar on my clipboard with a pencil attached. I grab my iPad, my list of favorite recipes, get on Pinterest for new recipes and plan away.

My Favorite Recipes List.  I add new favorites & use this to help me menu plan.

My Favorite Recipes List. I add new favorites & use this to help me menu plan.

My photocopied calendar.  I write in recipes on here when I have time.  Blurred out for my own privacy.  :)

My photocopied calendar. I write in recipes on here when I have time. Blurred out for my own privacy. 🙂

Yesterday, I had almost the entire month of June planned on paper. However, I was just stumped for a few dinners. I took the magnets down from May, organized them according to color, and placed what was planned on the board. The best part? The blanks in my menu plan were easily filled with the remaining magnets. Y’all… I just picked up magnets and finished my menu planning that way. Easy peasy!

Here’s some pics of the printed magnetic sheets:

I printed 2 sheets.  I added some blanks to handwrite new favorite recipes.

I printed 2 sheets. I added some blanks to handwrite new favorite recipes.

Close Up

Close Up

Another Close Up

Another Close Up

Close Up

Close Up

Last Close Up

Last Close Up

I found this in the Dollar Spot at Target.  It's perfect storage for my extra magnets.

I found this in the Dollar Spot at Target. It’s perfect storage for my extra magnets.

My magnets not in use live in this container.

My magnets not in use live in this container.

Menu Board Display

Our Menu for June.

Our Menu for June.

Do you think you’ll make a magnetic menu board? I’m so glad I tried and succeeded!

Pinspiration Sources:
I Heart Organizing
The Homes I Have Made

28 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

I have been working hard on this menu- on and off since early January.  It’s finally ready, y’all. Whew!

We had the roasted broccoli from Day 1 last night (see, I’m already off schedule!) and the Huzz declared it restaurant worthy!!! I’m going to start roasting broccoli, folks, instead of steaming it. It was SO good!

The Sticky Chicken on Day 17 (from Once A Month Meals) was another recipe the Huzz declared a hit. He said I could make it EVERY WEEK!  That’s high praise.  So, it’s making its way into this month’s menu again.  I love finding good recipes that are worthy of repeats and adding into my regular rotation of meals.  This one was SUPER easy to make, too.  Thanks Once A Month Meals!  (Can you tell I love OAMM?  I really do!)

  1. Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli
  2. Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps (use leftover chicken from day 1 & make homemade ranch)
  3. Mexican “Beef” & Beans Casserole (sub ground turkey, black beans & add 1 cube of sofrito)
  4. Easy Lo Mein (sub zucchini for snow peas & use safe spaghetti noodles & liquid aminos for soy sauce & omit Sriracha)
  5. Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots (make enough carrots for 2 days)
  6. Southwest Crispy Pork Wraps & Leftover Roasted Carrots (sub homemade “sour cream” & Daiya vegan “cheese”)
  7. Allergy Friendly “Beef” Enchiladas (sub black beans for beef & make this new enchilada sauce)
  8. Ranch Chicken Tenders, Ranch Mashed Potatoes & Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (make homemade ranch dressing {see link on day 2}, dip raw chicken strips in ranch and roll in safe bread crumbs, bake at 400 degrees until cooked through, about 20-30 minutes- I haven’t figured out the exact cook time yet)
  9. Flex Meal
  10. The Best Fried Rice & Homemade Potstickers (for rice: omit the egg, sub vegan butter, omit oyster sauce, sub olive oil for sesame oil.  for potstickers: sub garlic powder for garlic paste and sub olive oil for sesame oil)
  11. Easy Tuscan Bean Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter
  12. One Pan Enchilada Pasta (use homemade taco seasoning from 100 Days of Real Food, enchilada sauce from day 7 & Daiya “cheese”)
  13. Veggie Pizza
  14. Nana’s Ribs, Baked Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus- Heart Shaped Wacky Cake for Dessert
  15. Flex or Leftovers
  16. Pasta E Fagioli with Rosemary Olive Oil Drizzle (use fresh tomatoes)
  17. Sticky Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli (see link on day 1)
  18. Ranch Turkey Burger Sliders with Homemade Rolls, French Fries & Sautéed Zucchini
  19. Spaghetti with Ground Turkey & Bread & Vegan Butter (I use jarred spaghetti sauce)
  20. Garlic Chicken, Garlic Ranch Potatoes & Slow Cooker Southern Collard Greens (use link from day 1 for chicken recipe & sub homemade dry ranch mix- link on day 2)
  21. The Best Chicken Soup Ever (use leftover chicken from day 20, use fresh tomatoes, omit corn, sub zucchini or chopped carrots)
  22. Pineapple Fried Rice
  23. Leftovers- Hurray!
  24. One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken & Tomato Pasta (sub Daiya mozzarella shreds)
  25. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  26. Easy Chicken Tacos (sub 2 tsp of homemade taco seasoning instead of store bought packet- use link from day 12)
  27. BBQ Chicken Pizza
  28. Mojo Pork Roast, White Rice & Black Beans

There ya have it friends… our menu for the month of February. Happy eating!

14 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Dairy, Egg & Beef Free Recipes

Here’s our menu plan for the second half of January.

1. Nana’s BBQ Pork Ribs, Baked Potatoes & Roasted Carrots

2. Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls & Steamed Broccoli

3. BBQ Chicken Nachos (Use leftover chicken from day 2)

4. Simple Ingredient 6 Minute Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

5. Sticky Chicken, Ranch Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

6. Veggie Pizza

7. Veggie Spaghetti (See photo below for recipe)

8. Flex Meal

9. Slowcooker Vegetarian Black Bean & Rice Soup with Lime & Cilantro

10. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

11. Easy Chicken Tacos (use 100 Days of Real Food homemade taco mix- click here for link)

12. Raspberry Glazed Pork Chops & Eat Your Veggies Casserole

13. Creamy Potato Soup without the Cream & Homemade Biscuits

14. Turkey Meatball Sliders on Homemade Rolls (see link for rolls on day 2), French Fries & Steamed
Spinach

Here’s how Nana makes ribs:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Salt and pepper ribs. Wrap ribs completely in foil. Put ribs on a cookie sheet and add a little water to the sheet to keep ribs moist. Cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Raise temp to 350 degrees and cook for another hour. Take ribs out. Open foil. Add bbq sauce to ribs and broil for 5-10 minutes, until bbq sauce is warmed.)

I’m also still on the hunt for an easy but yummy turkey meatball recipe for Day 14. Please share in the comments below!

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Coconut Oil Biscuits

Coconut Oil Biscuits

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on Homemade Rolls!

15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners (July 1st- July 15th, 2014)

Before my last blog post, I had never attempted to menu plan for longer than a week. These past few weeks following my 16 Days of Dairy and Egg Free Dinners! have been amazing. It’s been stress free for me. I don’t have to wonder what’s for dinner anymore.

Since I enjoyed planning and following a two week menu, I decided to do it again for July. I tried to menu plan around the meat in my freezer- hence the beef stew in July!

There are a few repeats from last month like the “Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken.” Wow. We thought that was AH-MAZING. And my “Mojo Pork Tenderloin” makes another appearance.

image

I try my hardest to vary our menu and try new recipes.

Here is my latest labor of love.

Click on this photo to see my printed menu.

Click on this photo to see my printed menu.

July 2014 Menu

Tuesday (1st): BBQ Pork Sandwiches (Use leftover pork from June 30th menu), Oven Potato Wedges & Steamed Cauliflower

Wednesday (2nd): Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken, Baked Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus

Thursday (3rd): Italian Crockpot Chicken Soup (Use HyVee Italian Frozen Veggies)

Friday (4th): Grill Steaks, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

Saturday (5th): No FPU/BBQ Chicken Pizza (Uses cooked chicken. Use half dough recipe. Sub Daiya mozzarella shreds and use nutritional yeast.)

Sunday (6th): Date Night (12th Anniversary!!!) Spaghetti or Pizza Leftovers

Monday (7th): Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken & Lemon Pasta with Spinach

Tuesday (8th): The BEST Crockpot Beef Stew & Homemade Biscuits

Wednesday (9th): Leftover Stew & Biscuits

Thursday (10th): Grilled Pork Chops & “Cheesy” Baked Cauliflower Poppers

Friday (11th): Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, French Fries & Steamed Broccoli

Saturday (12th): Last FPU/Date Night. Leftovers

Sunday (13th): Mojo Pork Tenderloin, White Rice & Puerto Rican Style Black Beans

Monday (14th): Mojo Pork Tacos

Tuesday (15th): Veggie Nuggets, Fruit Salad & Homemade Biscuits (Make Homemade Parm Substitute)

Just a few notes. We have a weekly date night so SG and our sitter usually eat leftovers or spaghetti. Spaghetti is my fallback because it’s quick, easy, and yummy. I use frozen ground beef that I’ve already cooked, seasoned, and portioned. I like easy for date nights!

FPU means we have Financial Peace University. If you’ve never heard of it or have ever thought of taking the classes, I highly recommend it!

A few nights ago, I had one new recipe fail- the cauliflower tots. They wouldn’t stay together because I left out the cheese and added nutritional yeast. Instead I smushed them into muffin tins and we ate crumbly cauliflower “tot” kind of muffins. But the taste was good! Sometimes substitutions just don’t quite work out. And that’s okay.

Have you tried any of the recipes from my menus? Please share.