Meal Planning ~ Sept. 14

Southern California has been plagued with triple digit temperatures for the last few days and it doesn't look like there will be any reprieve in the near future.  We always get a huge heat wave like this at the end of September or early October and it always catches me off guard. At least this year I'm armed with a huge arsenal of crock pot recipes so I don't have to turn on my stove or oven and not battle my homebody son who for some crazy reason hates to dine out...

Monday - Crock Pot Taco Salad
Tuesday - Crock Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken over Crock Pot Baked Potatoes, Broccoli
Wednesday - Hesby Oaks fundraiser at The Stand
Thursday - Matt is traveling; the kids will probably want breakfast for dinner or pot stickers
Friday -  Matt lands at dinner time,  we'll pick him up and have a family date night
Saturday - Kids are sleeping over at their grandma's house
Sunday - TBD, depends if the heats has abated or not...


Meal Planning ~ Monday, September 8th

Camp Mami 2014 has finally come to a close.  This morning, after nearly five weeks off, Zoe returned to school and I am making a feeble attempt at returning to my regularly scheduled programming. I did not stop meal planning during that time but found it increasingly difficult to get to my computer or even my phone to type up my meal plan.  Most week's it barely made it onto the notepad I keep on the side of the refrigerator.

With both kids back in school and the High Holidays around the corner, here's to fresh starts and new beginnings. How many times have I said that????

Monday - Trader Joe's pot-stickers, steamed rice, sauteed spinach
Tuesday - Baked ziti (double batch so I can start restocking the freezer)
Wednesday - Spaghetti and Meatballs (double batch)
Thursday - Going Out
Friday - Burgers & Hot Dogs on the Grill
Saturday - Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, salad
Sunday - TBD


Menu Planning ~ Monday, July 28 & Kitchen Sink Green Smoothie Recipe

This is an odd week for us, Matt is on the road for a few days and then we will be traveling as a family so I am attempting to not go to the market instead using up what we have in the refrigerator and freezer.  Personally, I would be perfectly happy drinking smoothies and eating breakfast type foods three meals a-day but I'm not sure how that will fly with the kids.

I will not be posting our menu since I do not like to publicize when we will actually be leaving town.  If you're looking for menu ideas, I suggest checking out the very inspiring This Week for Dinner website and community or any of my Pinterest boards - www.Pinterest.com/Bergalicious 

That said, I will not leave you empty handed.  I just made my first ever green smoothie and it's kinda amazing.  In the spirit of cleaning out the fridge and freezer, I threw a bunch of stuff into the Ninja and hoped it would come out drinkable...SUCCESS!

Sharon's Kitchen Sink Green Smoothie
1 cup Kale; torn with stems removed
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup apple juice (could substitute water or almond milk)

Next time I'll probably add some flax and chia and cut back on the juice.  It's *almost* too sweet.


A Guide to Packing Lunches & How to Avoid Smashed Sandwiches

Having grown up in a very progressive (ahem hippie) and environmentally friendly community, brown sack lunches weren't exactly the norm but we still had our fair share of disposable, plastic baggies and convenience single serving food items in our lunches. Smashed bananas and sandwiches were a right of passage every kid experienced, right up there with leaky thermoses and forgotten permission slips or library books (we didn't have homework...told you it was hippie).  These days, sack lunches (aka disposable lunches) are reserved for special occasions such as field trips and off campus events.

When packing lunch for my two to eat at school, I use Easy Lunch Boxes  - they only have two pieces (less things for them to lose!), provide great portion control and keep the foods well separated. They fit perfectly into the insulated generic lunch boxes I pick up every summer at Target (tip - buy each kid TWO identical lunch boxes in case of spills or forgotten lunch boxes for back up purposes!).  If I need to make smaller compartments, I use silicone muffin cups or the Easy Lunch Box minis which are perfect for sauces and sides.

When I do have to send a completely disposable lunch, here's a little trick I learned on Pinterest.  I wish I could remember where I saw this so I could give the original pinner credit- it's brilliant!

Take an empty berries clam shell and use it as a lunch box.  Since this will not be in an insulated lunch box, I send a frozen water bottle as an ice pack.  I line the clam shell with a napkin and put the drink(s) at the bottom then layer with the sandwich at the very top so it does not get smushed.  The berries (not my favorite choice for a disposable lunch but my son's pick) are also at the top next to the sandwich with nothing on top of them.  In today's clam shell my son received two drinks, a sandwich, a carrot, a serving a mixed berries, a fruit leather a pack of pirates booty and a granola bar.  Enough (hopefully) for morning snack and lunch.

*this is not a sponsored post.  I LOVE Easy Lunch Boxes and the opinions expressed are completely my own.  I was not compensated for this posting.


Meal Planning ~ July 20

It's oddly overcast and almost humid in Los Angeles today.  Almost like "June gloom" came a month too late or autumn is trying to sneak in a few months too early.  I have a batch of Guinness braised short ribs in the slow cooker for dinner tonight which match the weather perfectly.  We're trying to capture every last bit of summer, hold on tight and not let go.  School starts up again the second week in August, it's just around the corner and I'm not ready.  Last week, we road tripped to Arizona with Matt's mom and grandparents for a four-generation desert vacation and we'll do one last summer hurrah to the beaches of Mexico with my parents the week before school starts.  This week, we're soaking up time with friends, a few more days of camp and lots poolside grilling. 

Monday - Grilled Chili Honey Lime Chicken

Tuesday - Miso Glazed Salmon

Wednesday - Spaghetti & Meatballs

Thursday - Crock Pot Thai Peanut Chicken

Friday - Hamburgers

Saturday - Sausages

Sunday - Family Night Out

with our chill, lazy schedule for the week, we might not stick to eating these exact things on the prescribed night but this is what I shopped for and I hate wasting food. Whether it's eaten on the originally planned order or not, it will be made (or frozen)... I hope.


Meal Planning Monday - June 23rd

I'm a little late to the crock pot/slow cooking world.  While I have been meal planning and cooking four to five nights a week for more years than I care to count, I didn't purchase my first crock pot until after Jamie was born.  Christine, the amazing instructor of my Mommy n' Me class  asked everyone what we had for breakfast that morning (mind you it met at 11am).  Most of us shrugged and mumbled something about a quick piece of toast, cold slice of leftover pizza or handful of cereal. She reminded us the importance of eating healthy, nourishing meals and rattled off some quick, no excuse recipes that were good for us, helped with our milk supply and would eventually make a great solids for our babies. Crock-pot oats very quickly became a staple in our breakfast rotation.  Sadly for years, that was pretty much the only thing I used our crock-pot for.

Recently, Pinterest has been full clean, lean, summery crock-pot recipes.  I love how easy it is to throw some protein, seasoning and veggies in and let dinner simmer away all afternoon long.  The oven and stove stay off keeping the house nice and cool.  I try to use my crock at least once a week.  So far, all the recipes we've tried have been fabulous.  I'm hoping to keep the streak alive with tonight's tacos.

Monday - How Sweet It Is's Crockpot Short Rib Tacos
Tuesday - Disneyland if the kids aren't wiped after camp OR One Pot Pasta (thank you to everyone who shared their recipes on facebook!) if we stay home
Wednesday - One Pot Pasta or Breakfast
Thursday - potstickers, steamed rice, broccoli
Friday - salmon, grilled artichokes, couscous
Saturday - Dinner A Love Story's Turkey-Spinach Meatballs
Sunday - out


Meal Planning - June 9

With one kid already on summer vacation and the other wrapping up school this week, it's it's time to transition to our summer schedule and routine...Looking forward to more grilling and crock pot meals and less time in front of the stove or turning on the oven.

Matt requested an old standby for tonight's dinner and I'm looking forward to cleaning up the dressing a little bit and trying out avocado oil instead of canola or olive oil. The salmon recipe is one we ate a few weeks back and absolutely loved.  Lastly, we'll be trying out something new from Damn Delicious. So far everything of hers has been amazing.

Monday - Chinese Chicken Salad
Tuesday - out for Matt's birthday
Wednesday - miso glazed salmon, couscous, broccoli
Thursday - Damn Delicious' BBQ Pineapple Chicken Tacos (chicken will be cooked in crockpot)
Friday - Date Night!
Saturday - TBD from the freezer
Sunday - Father's Day