Five Tips for Meal Planning with Success

If you want to make one change in your life that will dramatically improve your ability to make homemade food for your family, start planning your meals ahead of time. “Learning how to put your favorite meals together into a schedule is a vital kitchen skill that every adult should master.” - Conquering Your Kitchen, page 49 Why Bother Meal Planning? When I began to move away from processed food in favor of a homemade lifestyle a few years ago, the logistics were overwhelming. Day after day, I labored over decisions about what to eat for the next meal. I found myself heading to the grocery store four or five times a week picking up food for the next couple days. It was a stressful transition. But then I discovered meal planning, and life became so much easier. Meal planning … [Read more...]

School’s Out: Summer Menu Planning For Kids

For a lot of us the summer vacation is long, and we spend a month or more preparing in advance.  We secure places in summer camps, organize play dates, book a family vacation, and try to fill in all of those days in-between with activities to keep our little ones happy and entertained.  One thing we often forget to plan for is what we will be eating during the day.  Throughout the school year Monday through Friday we are either preparing school lunches, or sending our children off to school where they will purchase lunch from the cafeteria, but what happens when they are home every day? I have simple tips ahead from menu planning for kids this summer, as well as some fun ideas for creative lunches that the kids can help prepare. Let's start with the fun lunches I created for my kids … [Read more...]

A Thanksgiving Cooking Checklist

By now you should have your Thanksgiving plans made.  Are you hosting?  If you are, you need to start planning now. What you need to do now! Put together your meal plan. If you don't have a meal plan in place, I have you covered and have put a Thanksgiving meal plan together for you.  Ensure that your meal plan will work.  Do you have enough space in your oven for more than one item? Do you need multiple stove-top burners at the same time?  You may need to tweak your menu accordingly. Confirm your guest list. Order or purchase your turkey.  If you have a smaller oven, make sure the turkey is going to fit. Order flowers if you don't want to risk there being very little to choose from the day before. Check your seating.  Do you need to rent or borrow a table and chairs? 4-7 … [Read more...]

5 Most Adorable Themed Bento Lunches

Do you Bento? Bento" originates from the Southern Song Dynasty slang term 便當 (pinyin: biàndāng), meaning "convenient" or "convenience." - source Wikipedia Over the past couple of the years Bento lunches have been rapidly gaining popularity here in the States; you can even buy an entire 'how to bento' book on Amazon called; Yum-Yum Bento Box. I must admit that I'm becoming increasingly fond of Bento - for as long as my daughter has been eating 'big girl' lunches, I've used cookie cutters to make her sandwiches and decorated her plates and lunch boxes with fruits and veggies. Now that she's older, I've been wanting to get more creative. While searching for inspiration, I've stumbled across some amazingly adorable and creative Bento - these are my 5 favorite Themed Bento Lunches from … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

Growing up, Thanksgiving dinner was a grand affair. There were nearly 40 people for dinner at my parents' house—aunts, uncles and cousins all arrived for the big day, bearing casseroles, desserts and more. However, my mother, as the hostess, often prepared the turkey, ham, dessert and side dishes of her own for the meal. It was a chaotic day of cleaning, cooking and preparing to host the festivities. My first Thanksgiving as a married grown-up, I decided to cook the complete dinner for my family. It was a chaotic day of cleaning, cooking and preparing to host a much smaller feast. The next time around, I was a lot better prepared. My mom actually thanked me for creating the most relaxing Thanksgiving she'd ever experienced. I have continued to use the plans and timeline year after year, … [Read more...]

13 Things to Do With Leftover Hamburger Buns

After a big get together, it's not uncommon to have lots of leftover hamburger and hot dog buns. So...what are you going to do with all these leftover buns? There are lots of fun things to do with them. Although my list is for hamburger buns, most of them could be used for leftover hot dog buns as well. 1. Have more burgers or chicken -- Use them for your leftover burgers or cook up some more burgers or chicken for sandwiches. (I love having grilled chicken breasts on sandwiches and adding honey mustard or barbecue sauce. Yum!) 2. Grilled Cheese -- My smartie friend, Amanda, gave me this idea when we visited her house. She made grilled cheese sandwiches with leftover buns. She buttered the insides of the bun and used them as the outsides. Then, she made them just like regular … [Read more...]