Tag Archives: meal plan

Gluten free weeknight meals & budgeting

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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.

Now THIS is a MOM purse

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.

Apple slices + goofy faces

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:

  1. fajitas (chicken or flank steak)
  2. enchiladas
  3. taco salad
  4. one-pot rice dish (random meat/tofu, rice, veggies – a la jambalaya)
  5. tarragon chicken tenders
  6. Bo-jay-fan (Chinese one-pot chicken/rice/sausage/mushroom)
  7. pork chops and apples
  8. steamed fish + tofu
  9. split pea soup (thank you crock pot)
  10. jambalaya
  11. quinoa salad (a la fried rice/couscous – NOTE couscous is NOT gluten free!)
  12. pasta salad (schars or jovial)
  13. parfait (yogurt + granola)
  14. pancakes (corn ones here) or waffles (to save time, i’ve made “waffles” in a panini pan with pancake batter )
  15. chicken chili
  16. mongolian beef (marinate night before or immediately upon returning home for 45 min at least)
  17. spaghetti (schars, jovial or homemade on the weekend)
  18. lasagna (no boil/lazy method – make ahead, pop in oven)
  19. pot pie (make ahead OR make muffin-sized (lunch/dinner) OR make with crescent roll dough  for last minute)
  20. roasts (pork loin is our favorite as faster than whole chicken, etc)
  21. meatballs and mashed/roasted potatoes
  22. kebabs
  23. tortilla española (potatoes, eggs, onions, seasoning) – leftovers are great lunches too
  24. shrimp and grits
  25. chicken marsala
  26. risotto
  27. lettuce wraps
  28. migas
  29. corned beef (crock pot or reheat after cooking on Sunday), roasted cabbage
  30. curried chicken
  31. beef and broccoli
  32. spicy green beans and tofu
  33. arroz con pollo
  34. baharat chicken or lamb
  35. chowder (Chinese corn, OR salmon/fish, etc – whatever you got and put it in a pot!)
  36. arepa sandwiches
  37. jibaro sandwiches (plantains, flank steak, etc)
  38. burgers (bean or beef) (speedy buns – done in the oven while I grill/cook burger or pao-d-quejo buns – quick too!)
  39. beef stroganoff but served over rice, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower/broccoli in lieu of noodles
  40. teriyaki chicken (or whatever is on hand)
  41. quiche
  42. fried rice
  43. ….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 
~Kate

Gluten Free Menu Swap 9/15-9/19 & the Autumn Moon Festival

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Finally the Full Moon, originally uploaded by jalalspages.

Happy Autumn Moon Festival, All!

Today we are celebrating the Autumn Moon Festival with a little pomelo, Asian pears and apple slices under the moonlight.  The paper lanterns are lit and glowing softly and our stone garden lantern is aglow with the flames of a tea light candle.  Oh, it is a beautiful night.  My love is gearing up to take some nibbles of his two-yolk moon cakes (Sadly, moon cakes are not gluten free.  I’m glad I got to try one in my previous gluten-filled life.  But right now?  I’m completely satisfied by the Asian pear and apple slices.)

Autumn Moon Festival is a harvest festival that is especially enjoyed by children.  My mother-in-law told me fun stories about her childhood when the adults would bring the kids to the park at night with paper lanterns that hung from a stick on a string.  Each lantern was a unique shape (her favorites were a rabbit and a butterfly).  And into each lantern, they would place a small candle.  The kids would then run and chase each other around the park with the glow of the lantern as their guide – and give away!  I asked her if the lanterns often caught fire as it seemed rather dangerous to me.  She laughed and said that yes, she remembers feeling mighty remorseful over a couple of her lanterns catching fire and quickly burning out.  (And she quickly reminded me that they were only allowed to play with these lanterns on THIS particular night and OUTSIDE only.  LOL)  Today you can still buy lanterns in a wide variety of fabulous shapes, but you are more likely to find them with LED lights that hang from a flashlight grip.  A tad more Smokey-The-Bear friendly, if you ask me!

Autumn Moon Festival has quite a wide variety of legends woven in to it.  The first thing you need to know is that Chinese people talk about a GIRL on the moon – not a man.  And she often has a rabbit (or hare) with her.  In my mother-in-law’s case, she remembers a version of the legend in which the girl has to run away to the moon to escape an excellent hunter/archer who also happened to be an emperor.  (You can read the legends here on Wikipedia.  My mother-in-law relates the legend found labeled as #5.)

We searched through several Chinese markets today but failed to find a rabbit lantern for the house.  I’m a little bummed, to be honest.  It was fun to hear the memories and joy that my mother-in-law had of this holiday as a child.  I guess my search for a rabbit lantern will have to continue a bit longer.

We’re also on the look out for a dragon’s gate – but that’s another story all together and you guys came here for the food, huh?  LOL  Ok ok… here’s the plan:

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

Monday:

  • LunchNori-wraps with smoked turkey, avocado, cucumber and a salad.
  • Dinner:  Baked tostones and taco salad

Tuesday:

  • Lunch:  Crab & Cucumber salad
  • Dinner:  Roasted organic chicken with gingered-carrots

Wednesday:

  • Lunch: Cherry & Almond salad with banana chips, carrots and hummus
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken breasts, caesar salad

Thursday:

  • Lunch: Chicken salad wraps, Asian pear slices, almonds
  • Dinner: Roast pork loin with apples and fennel, rice and black bean salad

Friday:

Thank you, Asparagus Thin, for hosting the GF Menu Swap this week!  The chosen item for this week is plantain.  It’s a perfect excuse for me to make the plantain empanadas again – this time I will bake them.  Oh MAN they were so good!  I’ve been thinking about them lately too.  And the tostones are an easy plantain goodie that we enjoy frequently too.
And it is with thanks to Seamaiden that I found OrgJunkie who also has a FABULOUS menu swap!
Be sure to check them both out.

Happy Moon Festival, All!
And may you have many happy Gluten-free meals to share with your loved ones this year as well –
Kate

GF Menu Swap & Meal Plan Monday 9-8 through 9-12

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Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

Forgive this tardy post…. I’ve been awash in memories and faces of the new school year. Here’s my lunch & dinner menus for the week. :)

Thanks for hosting the GF Menu Swap, Natalie.
Sorry my post is so stinkin’ late! And thanks, Orgjunkie for hosting Meal Plan Mondays.
It really has been helpful to stay on top of my menu planning.

Monday:

  • Lunch: Caesar Salad with Shrimp, zuchinni muffin (mmm!), an asian pear
  • Dinner: Korean chicken thighs, brown rice, peas and strawberries for dessert!

Tuesday:

  • Lunch: Leftover chicken and rice, salad, apple-pear
  • Dinner: Flank steak with yam oven fries with cinnamon or curry (Undecided…LOL)

Wednesday:

  • Lunch: Salmon salad with cherries and pumpkin seeds, zuchinni muffin and a banana
  • Dinner: Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Basil, corn and black bean salsa, mangoes for dessert

Thursday:

  • Lunch: Black bean and corn salsa (leftovers) with corn chips, shredded lettuce salad and fruit.
  • Dinner: Beef brisket with yams and carrots, slow roasted. Mango chutney.

Friday:

  • Lunch: Tuna & Egg Salad sandwich, apple slices with cinnamon peanut butter and a peach
  • Dinner: Grilled Chicken taco salads with mango-peach-jalapeño spicy salsa

Ahh…school/work. It always throws me for a loop in the beginning to be back balancing it all again. Sorry for getting this up so late!
I hope your week is going well!
-Kate