Monday, March 29, 2010

Family Menu Planning--A PSA

Come, take a journey with me...a journey into menu planning. A journey that may just save your sanity...

Twice a year I find myself thinking about family menus. I like to plan my the season, combining Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. I write down 4 weeks worth of menus and just keep rotating those weeks month to month. I have found that it really makes planning and grocery shopping far easier! Believe it or not, you really get a sense of common ingredients your family uses (stock up on sales!) which in the long run, helps slash those grocery prices.

I know, I know...sales! You must shop by the sale. This never worked for me. Number one, I am brand loyal. Number two, I don't have time to look through circulars or clip coupons. Again, saving my sanity here people.


Yet, still, with my meal planning method, I feed our family of four on about 500.00 per month. Sure, I could do cheaper but organic and fresh foods rarely have coupons anyway.

Oh yes, I run into meals that just do not work and I have to cross them off my list on a dark and stormy night. No one in the family ever hears of them again...But for the most part, it all works out well in the end.

So, instead of feeling like this when I make a grocery list:

I feel a bit more like this:

"But how? How can I get some of this serenity for myself?" you ask. Well, like a good neighbor, Desperately Seeking Sanity is there....

Here are our family plans for this past fall/winter and this upcoming Spring/summer. If you want a recipe, leave me a comment. Hope it gives you some inspiration! Just think of the foods your family likes, do a little internet research, flip through a few dust covered recipe books. In no time, you will have a list too!

Spring/ Summer Menu (April-Sept)
Week 1
1. Grilled Sausage and Onion subs/fries
2. Slow cooker Mac & beef
3. Soft tacos/fresh salsa and guacamole
4. Margarita pizzas
5. Pasta Roll ups with meatballs

Week 2
1. Club Roll ups/PB& J sushi rolls, chips
2. Fish with lemon pasta
3. Taco pizzas
4. Chicken Picatta
5. Peppers & Pasta

Week 3
1. Slow cooker BBQ sandwiches/corn/baked beans
2. Capallini Pomodoro
3. Summer breakfast: quiche, ham, French toast and muffins
4. Angel Hair Pesto, peas & carrots, crusty bread and salad
5. Greek calzones
6. Taco salads/quesadillas

Week 4
1. Sub sandwiches and chips
2. Kabobs, pesto pasta salad, (cheese and fruit kabobs for kids)
3. Mexican Pasta shells, cowboy caviar
4. Pizza fondue, applesauce, salads
5. Hot dogs, Mac and cheese
6. Onion Horseradish Chicken, potatoes, green beans

Winter/Fall Menus (October-March)

Week 1
1. Homemade Pizza
2. Fall breakfast-pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, cinnamon toast
3. Peppers & Pasta
4. Philly Cheese steaks, fries
5. Tortellini, crusty bread

Week 2
1. Calzones
2. Spinach Pasta
3. Fried chicken, mac & cheese
4. Meatball subs, chips
5. Nachos

Week 3
1. Upside Down Deep Dish Pizza
2. Baked Spaghetti, Bruchetta
3. Tacos
4. Burgers, Black Bean Soup, chips
5. Red Beans and Rice

Week 4
1. Vegetarian Chili & pasta, cheese bread
2. Calzones
3. Grilled cheese, soup
4. BBQ chicken, apples, mashed potatoes
5. Tex Mex Pasta Skillet

Edited to link to Lovin It Friday party

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm Lovin' This Weather

The last day of is a BEAUTIFUL 68 degrees here in East Tennessee and spring is blooming every place I look.

Lovely flowers adorn my foyer, rising up to meet me when I come home.

Recent craft projects display happy spring colors.

Little bunnies are starting to pop up unexpectedly.

Yes, the signs of spring are here. And after a long, snowy winter, we are more than ready to welcome it home.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Before there was Twilight...

There was The Lost Boys. And Corey Haim--the goofy little brother of Michael, who fights for to save the town from blood thirsty vampires. Aside from by boys in Duran Duran (DURANIE 4EVER), Corey was my first "serious" celebrity crush. I had the posters on my wall, the movies dubbed on VHS tapes, lines memorized, daydreams ensuing.

I was a slight bit obsessed with The Lost Boys. As a matter of a fact, I have always loved vampire literature and film, thanks in part to this very movie and the influence it had on my adolescence. But in the midst of that interest sat a mop of curly hair, a crooked smile and sparkly blue eyes. Corey Haim. We had matching moles. In one scene, he sets down a box and pushes up his sleeves. And there on the inside of his left arm, a mole in exactly the same spot as mine. Forget matching tattoos. This was a birth mark and when you are a preteen, that meant something was a foot in destiny.

But time passed, crushes faded. Posters came down. VHS tapes broke. Time is never kind.

Despite the recent images and problems which plagued his life, and that of many other celebrities of my childhood, whenever I see a picture of that little kid, I can't help but smile. Micheal Jackson's "Thriller" still puts me back in 3rd grade. Olivia Newton John's "Lets Get Physical" still makes me tap my foot. Mathew Broderick is always Ferris Buller to me and REM's "Stand" makes me remember high school. Images, moments, feelings, all pinpoints in time. Triggers for memories. A thousand little pieces that make up the whole of your past and help to form your future. Your interests, your hobbies, your creativity. Even some goofy little kid singing in the bathtub to his dog.