A Very Manly Menu Plan

bacon_cheeseburger_casserole

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (recipe in Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook)

For the first time in a couple of months, the six of us are all been home together again!  All four of the boys are now home from camp.  We’ve enjoyed some catch up time and heard lots of stories of adventures from the boys being away.  We’re doing tons of loads of laundry and getting caught up on work we are behind on.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to have all of us back under one roof, even if it is just for a couple of days.

So what does this week hold?  Well, since this is the summer of crazy, you can bet it holds more excitement.  I’m heading out tomorrow for a traditional “Sister Symposium.”  (More on that for Gratituesday.)  Then the two younger boys will be heading to Kansas to spend several days with grandparents.  Left at home will be Matt and our two oldest boys.

Since Asa and Justus have been at camps for weeks and weeks this summer, they’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time this week catching up on sleep.  They’ll work with Matt on some house and garden projects.  And what will they eat?

Well, I’m guessing they’d be just as happy as can be if I simply left them several pounds of bacon and some steak.  :)  For the most part, they’ll be fending for them selves.  But I did have the chance to do some freezer cooking in preparation for my being away.  Here are some food choices I left for them:

Breakfasts:

Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage, homemade instant oatmeal, and plenty of fresh and frozen fruit for sides and smoothies

Lunches and Dinners:

Sandwiches, Meat and Cheese Burritos, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (recipe in Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook), Tuna Salad or Tuna Casserole (they can easily make either one on their own), Spicy Avocado Dip, and plenty of fruits, veggies, and salad fixings.

My guys do great figuring out food when I’m away.  I love it that they can all cook!  I’m pretty sure they’ll even keep up with dirty dishes.  :)

guacamoledipwithchipsm.JPG

Asa makes a great guacamole.  I grabbed some avocados at the store so he can whip some up.  Here’s the recipe!

Here’s to a great new week.  Hope your summer has been awesome so far!

Menu Plan for the Week ~ How Do I Cook For Three People?

I believe we should label this summer “The Summer of Never Being Home.”  Never is perhaps too strong a word, since in fact, we have been home for a few days here and there in between all the travel and camps.  But we have certainly been away from home more than we’ve been at home.  After a big trip to Nashville, a smaller trip to Oklahoma, two weeks at church camp – I am home for four days before taking off again.

Where am I going this time?  Oooooh, yay me!  I am blessed to go spend three days with my friend who had a baby a few weeks ago.  I get to love on Mama and Daddy, love on baby, love on baby, love on baby…and maybe do a few dishes and some freezer cooking.  Whatever Mama needs.  I’m very excited.

After I get home, I’ll have two days, then head off again for another quick trip.  Then, our family will all be home together just in time to begin our school year the first full week of August.  Phew!  This has been (and continues to be) one very full summer!

So let’s catch up a little here.  I’ve been online very little in the past two weeks since internet access out at church camp was quite difficult to come by.  I’ve missed you!  Week One at camp found our family in these roles:  Justus and Elias were both campers, Asa was a counselor, and Matt, Malachi, I were helping in the kitchen.  Cooking for 140 campers and staff?  So fun – and completely exhausting.  Wow, and wow some more.

Week two of camp for us was quite different.  It was Senior High session, which meant that Asa was/is now a camper; Justus, Elias, and Malachi were kitchen staff, and Matt and I were Bible class teachers.  The week allowed for much more down-time for Matt and me.  We studied, taught, studied some more, spent time with campers…and took naps and went to bed early every night.  Really, I couldn’t believe how much sleep my body kept asking for.  Apparently, this summer has worn me out more than I realized.  :)  By Thursday, I believe we finally caught up on rest.  It was a great week of refreshment for us.  Matt and I loved team-teaching the youth.  They blessed us so much, and working together in that role was wonderful.

As the week came to an end, Justus and Elias asked if they could please stay for one more week to help in the kitchen.  They loved their role working together with three other middle school boys to keep up with running the dishwasher, wiping tables, filling drink jugs, and doing whatever else the head cook needed them to do.  It’s always fun when you’re working with your friends, right?  (And when you’re having adventures with catching mice in your cabin late at night.  Oh boys.)

Because the head cook said he could certainly still use our boys’ help for the final week of Senior Session, we let them stay.  So three boys are still at camp, and here we are at home with only our youngest, Malachi.  It’s quiet, for sure.

So what to eat, what to eat?  Well, for starters, we came home to find this in our garden:

green beans from garden

Right after Matt brought in the first bunch, we snapped and steamed them – then absolutely pigged out on them.  We could not get enough.  I mean, we did not even take the time to use a fork.  We picked them up and ate them like they were French fries.  No shame.  Wow, they are unbelievably delicious.

For these next few days at home with just the three of us, here is what we’ll be eating.  (You’ll notice there’s no real plan here.  What can I say?  I’m not feeding an army this week, plus I’m planning to leave again in a few days.  Meals will be light and simple.)

Breakfasts:

Lunches and Dinners:

Here’s to a great week of continued refreshment, playing catch-up, and eating amazing summer produce!

Tell me what you’ve been up to the past few weeks!  What has your summer been like?  Full and busy, or restful and relaxing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Menu Plan For The Week in Which I’m Down My Two Biggest Eaters

Yep, both Asa and Justus are at camp this week.  This means I’ll need to try and remember to make less food for each meal.  It is when my 14 and 17 year olds are gone that I realize just how much food the two of them eat.  Wow.

Speaking of camp, Matt and I (and the two younger boys) will also be heading that way a week from today.  Since church camp is such a huge part of our kids’ lives, Matt and I really want to be a part of it with them.  We’ll be there for two weeks in a row – helping in the kitchen during a junior high session, and team-teaching a Bible class during a senior high session.  Since we just got back from a week long trip, and I am still playing catch-up…I am not even close to being ready to be gone again for two weeks.  I’ve decided it just doesn’t matter.  Ready or not, I can’t wait to be there.  After all, God didn’t call me to go and ask me to get all my ducks in a row.  He just said, “Go.”  The to-do list will take care of itself.

(That was me speaking truth to myself, and giving myself a much needed chill pill, pep talk, and kick in the pants.)

Easy Noodle Stir Fry

Easy Noodle Stir Fry is a perfect way to eat all the yummy summer veggies available right now. :)

For this week, while I work really hard to get ready to go totally chill out and surrender all worries about everything I need to do, here are the simple meals we’ll be eating:

Sunday, June 29
Easy breakfast casserole, fresh peaches
Hearty green bean casserole (from Oh, For Real), tossed salad, seven minute strawberry ice cream
Grilled burgers, watermelon, pickles, potato salad

Monday, June 30
Whole wheat waffles, blueberries
Easy noodle stir fry with carrots and broccoli, strawberries
Italian cream cheese chicken, tossed salad, green beans

Tuesday, July 1
Instant oatmeal, blueberries or other berries of choice
Easy cheesy bean dip with chips, carrots and cucumbers with ranch, apples
Italian pasta bake, tossed salad, roasted asparagus

Wednesday, July 2
Pancake and sausage muffins, cantaloupe
Turkey sandwiches, sweet peppers, carrots and cucumbers, watermelon
Sloppy joes, peas, sweet potato fries, strawberries

Thursday, July 3
Dark chocolate almond granola, plums
Pizza boats, peppers and olives, fresh pineapple
Tuna casserole, peas, tossed salad

Friday and Saturday – grabbing the boys from camp to head to a short but sweet family reunion.  Nothing like adding more traveling and packing and laundry and FUN to life before heading to camp for two weeks, right?

Have any fun plans coming up in July?

 

The Three Day Menu Plan…Then We’re Hitting the Road (Plus, Want Some Vanilla?)

As I mentioned last week, we’re heading to Nashville this week for a family reunion.  I can’t wait to hug my Nana, hold the new babies, see all the cousins, watch the kids get reacquainted and play together…it’s going to be great!

On the way, I’m very excited to meet some of you!!  If you live in the St. Louis or Nashville areas, please stop by our Meet and Greet locations so we can have a chance to hang out and visit.  Get all the specifics here.  I look forward to meeting many of you!

Fruits and Veggies On the Go

We don’t mind the treat of eating out here and there while we travel, and enjoy our fair share of burgers and fries on the road.  But to keep our stomachs from rebelling too much, we try to take along some fruits and veggies too.  :)

Doing any traveling this summer?  Here are some posts you might enjoy.

Our menu this week is short and sweet since we’re taking off on Tuesday.  It’s been fun to celebrate Father’s Day with Matt today – making many of his favorite foods.

Sunday, June 15
Peach cobbler (recipe in Oh, For Real cookbook)
Grilled steak, baked potatoes in the crock pot, grilled asparagus and sweet peppers, cantaloupe
Tuna salad on tomatoes and lettuce, watermelon

Monday, June 16
Banana bread, blueberries
Chef salad with leftover chicken, watermelon
Italian roast wraps with tomatoes and lettuce, peas, fresh pineapple

Tuesday, June 17
Scrambled eggs, pineapple mango smoothies (with fresh spinach thrown in)
Pasta Salad Bar - before we hit the road, we’ll each build a big pasta salad to eat on the way for lunch.  Easy and nutritious!
Dinner at my cousin’s house – can’t wait!

pasta salad bar 3

One last thing:  We actually made enough Vanilla Extract this time to avoid selling out within a few hours!  If you want some, come get it now as we’ll only be offering it for sale through Monday or until supplies last.  :)

Menu Plan for the Week

Today is our oldest son’s 17th birthday.  This is super weird since he was just born last week and two days ago he lost his first tooth.  Believe people when they say that little ones grow up quickly.  That never made sense to me until now.

Speaking of the birthday boy, Asa arrived home from Ecuador at 4:00 yesterday morning.  We’ve had a great time looking at his pictures and hearing more about his experiences.  He loved every minute of his time there, and we can’t wait to hear more as he continues to share stories of everything he did.  He and Justus, our 14 year old, actually left this afternoon for a week on the York College campus for a camp called Soul Quest.  Yep, Asa got back from Ecuador just in time to attend this beloved event.  We don’t see much of our older boys in the summer, but we sure do see a lot of spiritual growth in them after all the trips and camps.

So back to today being Asa’s birthday.  In his sleepy state yesterday after he pulled himself out of bed, I asked him to come up with some birthday food choices for today.  Knowing his birthday fell on a Sunday, he hesitated to ask for Biscuits and Gravy.  “Would you have time to make that before church?” he asked.  Ah yes.  No problem.  But only because I had biscuits in the freezer and turkey sausage already made.  Get all the details here for how to put a meal of biscuits and gravy on the table within 15 minutes.

Freezer Biscuit Tutorial

All the other males in the family were thrilled with Asa’s breakfast choice, as you can imagine.  I loved how easy it was to put together and please my men.  ;)

Here’s the rest of our menu for this week:

Sunday, June 8
Biscuits and gravy, raspberries
Lasagna casserole, tossed salad, ice cream with homemade hot fudge
Turkey and cheese sandwiches, carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers, strawberries and chocolate whipped cream

Monday, June 9
Poppy seed bread with orange glaze (recipe in {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook), scrambled eggs, cantaloupe
Sloppy joes, carrots, cucumber, raspberries, chips and salsa
Pizza, tossed salad, watermelon

Tuesday, June 10
Whole wheat waffles, blueberries, whipped cream
Easy noodle stir fry with broccoli and carrots, cantaloupe
Grilled barbeque chicken, tossed salad, asparagus, green beans

Wednesday, June 11
Honey whole wheat bagels, strawberries
Lamburger patties, cheesy cauliflower cakes, peas, pineapple cream dessert
Easy cheesy bean dip with chips, strawberry peach slushie

Thursday, June 12
Cheesy omelets, creamy orange cooler
Chef salads with chicken, cheese, and lots of veggies
Cheesy salsa enchiladas, green machine milkshakes

Friday, June 13
Strawberry cream muffins, applesauce
Black bean chicken nachos, pineapple, sweet peppers
Pasta salad bar

Saturday, June 14
Whole wheat donuts, cantaloupe
Leftovers
Cheeseburger macaroni, tossed salad, peas

What’s on your menu this week?

Menu Plan for the Week ~ the Oven-Free Edition

Oven Free Real Food Menu Plan

The time of year has come that I’m avoiding the oven.  In fact, our entire menu this week is ovenless, except for the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola we baked a couple weeks ago and have on hand for a cool breakfast.

One of my very favorite no-oven ideas is to Bake Potatoes in the Crock Pot.  There are all kinds of fun toppings for baked potatoes.  Since they bake easily in the crock pot, we’ll likely be having different baked potato varieties all summer long.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week.  I love fun summer foods!

Sunday, June 1
Homemade instant oatmeal, raspberries
Baked potatoes in the crock pot (with ham, cheese, and sour cream), peas, strawberries
Small group potluck

Monday, June 2
Green machine milkshakes, scrambled eggs
Chicken salad on lettuce and tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet peppers
Calico beans in the crock pot, tossed salad, watermelon

Tuesday, June 3
Dark chocolate almond granola, blueberries
Tuna salad on crackers or lettuce and tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, cool pineapple cream dessert
Grilled burgers, pickles, watermelon, green beans

Wednesday, June 4
Pineapple mango smoothies, fried eggs
Pasta salad bar with chicken and veggies, apples
Salmon patties, tossed salad, grilled asparagus, blackberries

Thursday, June 5
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries
Grilled hotdogs, baked beans (on the stovetop), sweet peppers, cucumbers and carrots
Italian roast wraps, lettuce and tomato, strawberry creamsicles (recipe coming this week)

Friday, June 6
Creamy orange cooler, toast
Lamburger patties, lettuce and tomato, cheesy cauliflower cakes, sweet peppers
Grilled barbeque chicken, tossed salad, sweet corn, steamed broccoli and carrots

Saturday, June 7
Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, strawberries
Leftovers
Hamburger cream cheese dip with chips, sweet peppers, grapes, cherry tomatoes

Have you been doing much grilling so far this summer?

Menu Plan for the Week and Freebie Offer Reminders

We’ve had a full weekend with relatives visiting and sharing yummy meals.  Since we have a lot of this and that left over, Monday I’m taking the day off.  Ahhh, the joy of leftovers!

Need an easy meal that won’t heat up the house?  Our whole family loves this Easy Taco Salad.  We have fresh lettuce ready to pick from our garden, so this will taste better than ever!

Easy Taco Salad with homemade French Dressing

Sunday, May 25
Dark chocolate almond granola, blueberries, strawberries
Sloppy joes, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, raw veggies with homemade ranch, watermelon
Small Group – grilled burgers, grapes, sides others bring

Monday, May 26
Clean out the fridge – leftovers all day, day off for Mom!

Tuesday, May 27
Crepes, applesauce
Salmon patties, potato wedges, peas, sweet peppers, raspberries
Taco salad, fresh pineapple

Wednesday, May 28
Green machine milkshakes, toast, blueberries
Baked potatoes in the crock pot with cheese and chopped ham, cantaloupe, cucumbers, carrots
Grilled barbeque chicken, steamed asparagus, green beans, sweet corn

Thursday, May 29
Flaky cream cheese pastry, kiwi
Pasta salad bar (more details to come!), watermelon
Italian stew with green beans, honey glazed carrots, cantaloupe

Friday, May 30
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries, peanut butter honey toast
Sliced ham, spicy avocado dip with chips, sweet peppers, olives, blackberries
Teriyaki chicken and veggies (broccoli, zucchini, carrots), tossed salad

Saturday, May 31
Cheesy scrambled eggs, pineapple mango smoothies
Leftovers
Homemade pizza, tossed salad

Hope you got your Free Tealights!  If not, you can still pick them up (completely free) through midnight Monday, May 26.  After you do that, go grab your free $5 Lowe’s gift card.  Seriously…it’s all free with no catch.  TopCashBack is really cranking out the generous offers.  :)

Menu Plan for the Week For Those Of Us Who Need Something To Eat Besides Chocolate Whipped Cream

Well, here’s proof that I apparently can’t get enough Chocolate Whipped Cream:

mug overflow (1)

Somebody thought adding just one more spoonful would surely be a great idea.

Not to worry – I licked it all off the sides of the mug (picture not included).  I considered getting a straw to slurp up everything that ended up on the counter-top, but then I figured, why waste a straw?  So I skipped the straw and just lapped it right up with my tongue.  Sheesh, I’m kidding.  I cleaned it up with a washrag like a normal, less obsessed person.  Then I sat down with my sticky, messy mug and savored every last drop of Chocolate Whipped Cream Coffee.

If you haven’t tried this yet, you must.  It’s the perfect no-sugar treat.  We’ve been going through pounds and pounds of strawberries with the Chocolate Whipped Cream, too.  I can’t think of a better way to eat fruit, can you?

In other, less chocolate whipped creamy news, have you tried making Black Bean Chicken Nachos?  This is a super quick and delicious meal!

Black Bean Chicken Nachos

Just in case my family decides we’d like something other than Chocolate Whipped Cream to eat this week, here’s our menu plan:

Sunday, May 18
Instant oatmeal packets, clementines
Beef stew, green beans
Small Group potluck - butter garlic shrimp, fresh pineapple, flourless banana bars (a recipe experiment)

Monday, May 19
Strawberry shortcake
Tuna salad on tomatoes and lettuce, pineapple mango smoothies, sweet peppers
Peanut butter pancakes, scrambled eggs, bananas

Tuesday, May 20
Quick mix pancakes, sausage gravy, pears
Black bean chicken nachos with lettuce and tomatoes, fresh pineapple
Cheesy salsa enchiladas, tossed salad, cantaloupe

Wednesday, May 21
Snickerdoodle muffins, fried eggs, blackberries
Crustless pizza, tossed salad, sweet peppers, olives
Crock pot barbecue chicken breasts, baked potatoes, peas, roasted asparagus

Thursday, May 22
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries (oh look, there it is again), toast
Popcorn chicken, ranch potato wedges, green beans, raspberries
Lasagna casserole, tossed salad, steamed broccoli and carrots

Friday, May 23
Raspberry oatmeal bars, apple slices
Healthier cheese dip with corn chips, fruit/kefir/spinach smoothies
Leftovers

Saturday, May 24
Whole wheat waffles, blueberries, strawberries, whipped cream
BLT Wraps, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, cucumbers, carrots
Grilled Italian chicken, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, watermelon, grape tomatoes

Tell me if you’ve tried the Chocolate Whipped Cream yet!  Join the obsession!

Just a reminder, Tropical Traditions is offering buy-one-get-one-free coconut oil, plus free shipping today! Get the details here.

Menu Plan for the Week

Happy Mother’s Day to all you ladies, sisters, mothers, aunts, and friends!  I hope all of you are receiving honor and celebration today.  Matt and the boys are spoiling me as usual.  I’ve not lifted a finger (except to type this post of course).  Even though Matt is having a hard time getting around, he’s still been able to talk the boys through making lunch and cleaning up.  Super great!

mother's day lunch 14

Look, Matt is up on two feet!  He’s still hobbling, but his foot gets better each day.  We’re super thankful for the progress he’s making and that his foot is healing so well.  Thank you to all who prayed for our family last week.  :)

mother's day may 2014

He doesn’t look it in this picture, but Asa really is as tall as, if not taller than, Matt. 
Everyone is growing, or I’m getting shorter by the minute. 

Last week’s meal plan went out the window after Matt hurt his foot on Tuesday evening.  Thankfully, I had plenty of prepared food in the freezer that I could pull out and use.  Plus, I ran to the store and got some sandwich stuff to fill in the gaps.  Between that and simple to throw on the table fruits and veggies, we made it just fine.

If part of this week’s menu looks a lot like part of last week’s menu, that’s because I just copied and pasted it over.  May as well use what I already planned last week, right?

Sunday, May 11 (Mom’s Day Off)
Instant oatmeal packets, raspberries
BLT wraps, fresh pineapple, strawberries with chocolate whipped cream
Pizza

Monday, May 12
Strawberry cream muffins, fried eggs
Calzones, pineapple mango smoothies, cucumbers with ranch
Italian cream cheese chicken, tossed salad, steamed broccoli and carrots

Tuesday, May 13
Oatmeal breakfast bars, raspberries
Hamburger sauerkraut dip with chips, kiwi, blackberries
Orange chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, tossed salad

Wednesday, May 14
Poptarts, blueberries
Chicken tacos, tomatoes and lettuce, olives, cantaloupe
Chili mac, tossed salad, peas

Thursday, May 15
Cheesy scrambled eggs, pears
Easy noodle stir fry with broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and mushrooms
Grilled barbeque chicken, creamy coleslaw, cucumbers and carrots with ranch, watermelon

Friday, May 16
Whole wheat waffles with strawberries and whipped cream
Cheeseburger zucchini boats, fruit and kefir smoothies (with spinach)
Hearty green bean casserole (recipe in Oh, For Real cookbook), tossed salad

Saturday, May 17
Giant breakfast cookies, blueberries
Leftovers
Black bean taco salad, cantaloupe

Our Mother’s Day lunch today was incredible.  Watch for those new recipes here this week.  You must learn to make BLT Wraps and Chocolate Whipped Cream for Strawberries!