So this blog post should really be a post of the numerous ways the month of September has come and is exiting before my head has been able to wrap itself around it all. Surely I am not the only mom who finds herself witnessing myself both coming and going in the middle of the dark of night, right?
My new purse is even sporting some tag-along buddies. I don’t think I go anywhere any more without things packed into my purse that aren’t really mine. And despite the extra poundage, I wouldn’t really change the rest of it.
Well, maybe I’d change my sleep schedule: to bed late (or early) and it takes me forever to fall asleep and up no later than 5AM or we are ALL off late for the day already. A change with these hours would be helpful, but I honestly don’t see that happening anytime soon. Teaching doesn’t end with the kids leave… or even when my kids finally crash and go to bed. (PS…they have been in bed for 45 minutes now… and the Chicklet just asked via the monitor “Hey Mom, what’s my cake going to look like?” ”Your cake?” ”Yes, for my birthday.” ”Babe….your birthday is in May. It’s September. We have a while to think about it, okay?” = this is the kind of thing that never ends around here….LOL) Evidence: apple slices + goofy face photos…despite a few attempts we don’t have ONE photo for BOTH smiling nor BOTH making a goofy face at the same time. Egad.
So I decided to share my working mom “Sanity Saver” meals. I’ve been asking and posting here when I thought my world was careening off track, but seldom have I posted when I have done it right (finally) for a month. I challenged myself this month to get the meals down and stick to them.
Next month, I am challenging myself to:
- only go to the grocery store every 10 days to 2 weeks
- STICK to my grocery budget – and SAVE every penny that I don’t spend in an account for a family trip
- stick to my meal plan (come high water or sleep exhaustion)
- stick to a reduced (extremely) budget for “eating out”
Seriously. I’m starting at ZERO here people. There is only room to grow, right?
Some of you are experts at all of the above (budgeting, time-management, meal-planning, saving (!), etc) but these are things I tend to stick to for a short time and then meander down some random thought-path-etc and I blow it. We have had TWO four-day vacations/trips in the last EIGHT YEARS of our lives. (My Love does NOT get time off from work.) But we’ve had SO much fun on these rapid-paced trips to see family (my parents/his parents) that we want to do it more often. And now the girls have seen an ad for Disney Land and CarsLand.
Yeap. My budget better get in gear. NOW.
Want to follow along on my endeavor? Care to add your two cents/tips? I’d love to hear them!
Okay… enough meandering. Some of you are just here for the list of my weeknight go-to meals. Take note: the meals on this list HAD to be able to be prepared and ready to go in under an hour (or toddler + mom meltdown ensures). Well, here it is:
- fajitas (chicken or flank steak)
- taco salad
- one-pot rice dish (random meat/tofu, rice, veggies – a la jambalaya)
- tarragon chicken tenders
- Bo-jay-fan (Chinese one-pot chicken/rice/sausage/mushroom)
- pork chops and apples
- steamed fish + tofu
- split pea soup (thank you crock pot)
- quinoa salad (a la fried rice/couscous – NOTE couscous is NOT gluten free!)
- pasta salad (schars or jovial)
- parfait (yogurt + granola)
- pancakes (corn ones here) or waffles (to save time, i’ve made “waffles” in a panini pan with pancake batter )
- chicken chili
- mongolian beef (marinate night before or immediately upon returning home for 45 min at least)
- spaghetti (schars, jovial or homemade on the weekend)
- lasagna (no boil/lazy method – make ahead, pop in oven)
- pot pie (make ahead OR make muffin-sized (lunch/dinner) OR make with crescent roll dough for last minute)
- roasts (pork loin is our favorite as faster than whole chicken, etc)
- meatballs and mashed/roasted potatoes
- tortilla española (potatoes, eggs, onions, seasoning) – leftovers are great lunches too
- shrimp and grits
- chicken marsala
- lettuce wraps
- corned beef (crock pot or reheat after cooking on Sunday), roasted cabbage
- curried chicken
- beef and broccoli
- spicy green beans and tofu
- arroz con pollo
- baharat chicken or lamb
- chowder (Chinese corn, OR salmon/fish, etc – whatever you got and put it in a pot!)
- arepa sandwiches
- jibaro sandwiches (plantains, flank steak, etc)
- burgers (bean or beef) (speedy buns – done in the oven while I grill/cook burger or pao-d-quejo buns – quick too!)
- beef stroganoff but served over rice, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower/broccoli in lieu of noodles
- teriyaki chicken (or whatever is on hand)
- fried rice
- ….leftovers! (the great list ender…I try to use up leftovers for lunch, but often there is a bit more)
I hope this list helps someone else pull a menu plan together. My trusty purple spiral bound notebook and I roam the aisles of the grocer trying to make sure I have it all together. Maybe that will be what I share next? Ay! Who knows!
Hopefully now that I am getting my feet under me at school the next blog post won’t be delayed as long as this one has been. I’m sorry – and THANK YOU for sticking with me.
Happy GF Eating