July 26, 2013

Week 30 - Real Simple

Printable Version of Meal Plan

The theme this week is in reference to Real Simple Magazine - I love this magazine!  I don't subscribe but treat myself to an issue from time to time.  I picked one up on our way to enjoy at the bungalow the last time we were down.  Nothing like sitting on the deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and reading a magazine... heaven!!  I pretty much want to try every recipe in the latest issue and started with three this week.

This isn't my typical post... first you'll notice I'm publishing the meal plan with no grocery list.  Also no Recipe Quick Links (although links are provided in the Meal Plan) or Week in Review.  Life has not been "normal" for us in the last couple of weeks and as a result meal planning and blogging have taken a backseat.  Dave's brother Rob passed away last week after a two year battle with cancer.  He spent his last weeks enjoying time with family and friends and just days before he died was with us at the bungalow.  Before he flew out last Monday I was sitting on the deck sipping my morning coffee enjoying the sun, the view and his company... a memory I'll treasure always!  He was a special brother, brother-in-law and uncle.  We love you and miss you Rob!

Family time at the Bungalow

So this week I'm just posting the meal plan we followed last week.  I'm also posting a little document I put together of my favorite salad dressings.  I've been singing the praises of homemade salad dressing lately - they're typically cheaper, tastier and healthier than store-bought and really quick and easy to throw together.  The only thing that usually slows me down is digging out the recipe.  So I put my tried, tested and true dressings together on one page and plan to print and laminate it to store in my spice cupboard for quick reference.  Feel free to do the same! (Salad Dressing Printout).

And since photographing my food wasn't high on my priority list this week, here's a picture of my cutie pie enjoying her first S'More...

mmm S'more!

We're off for another week of vacation, see you in 2 weeks!


July 10, 2013

Weeks 28 & 29 - Short Term Meal Planning

For the next couple of weeks we'll be back and forth between home and the cottage (referred to as "The Bungalow"), so long term planning isn't going to work.  Instead I've decided to compile a list of meal ideas so that I can quickly refer to it and make mini plans and grocery lists for two to three days at a time.  I'm hoping that having a go-to list of ideas will keep me from falling into the "oh well, we're out of food so let's just eat out" trap.  That's definitely a pitfall when planning this way but I just know that planning for a week would end up with lots of waste. 

I'm crossing my fingers for good weather in the days ahead so that I can sip my morning coffee while sitting out and enjoying this fabulous view... it's all about the morning coffee for me!!

View from the deck
Can't remember when this picture was taken but I'm quite sure it wasn't January 1st of any year!

Marin embracing life at the bungalow!

Work Lunch Ideas

At Home Suppers

  • Feta Omelettes & Roasted Potatoes
  • Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken, BudgetBytes (can make multiple meals, use as filler for quesadillas)
  • Garlic and Lemon Chicken, Key Ingredient
  • Asian Style Noodles, All Recipes - Note, I use this recipe for the dressing and vary the pasta and protein (eg. Tofu and Chow Mein noodles).  Also good for an Asian Slaw.
  • BBQ - Chicken, Pork Chops, Steak, Shrimp Skewers...
  • Pizza - Take and Bake or homemade

Cottage Meals

  • Salmon with White Sauce - this seems to be a "bungalow" favorite when everyone is down.
  • Lasagna & Ceasar Salad -- It's not supposed to be too hot so turning the oven on might be worth it to feed a crowd easily.
  • Quinoa Salad - big batch quinoa and add different add-ins to switch it up (eg. Black beans, avocado, salsa and cheese in wraps or tomato, cucumber, feta and Greek salad dressing)
  • Kale Salad, Marin Mama Cooks -- a yummy salad that doesn't require a lot of chopping!
  • BBQ Burgers
  • Deli Meat Sandwiches
  • Annie's Mac & Cheese

Cottage Snacks

  • Cheddar Crackers, Weelicious (make ahead)
  • Tea Biscuits, 100 Days of Real Food (make ahead)
  • Almond and Date Energy Bars, My Whole Food Life (made a batch of these last night and they are so good they might not make it to the bungalow!)
  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Veggies & Dip
  • Yogurt
  • Frozen Apple Sauce - I bought 2 varieties of the flavored Mott's applesauce for a cool slushy treat. (note: Some Mott's applesauce have artificial colors - beware!)
  • Popcorn
  • Rice Cakes with Butter & Nutritional Yeast - a Marin favorite
  • Frozen S'Mores, Marin Mama Cooks - I think the kids would love these!!

... and of course, the essentials.... chips and beer!  Umm... how is it that the snack list is the longest??

Have a great week everyone - I'll be back to regular programming in a couple of weeks!


July 05, 2013

Week 27 - Quick and Easy Summer Eats!

Printable Version of Meal Plan and Grocery List

We were at the cottage on the weekend and Monday was a holiday so no groceries until Tuesday this week.  On the drive back I jotted down some ideas to get us through until I could get to the grocery store and since I was shopping mid-week it turned into a small order.  I took the opportunity to refresh a few of our staples.

Recipe Quick Links

Tex Mex Rice Cakes, Weelicious
Southwestern Beans on Toast, Chatelaine
Tex-Mex Salad, Chatelaine
Raspberry Vinaigrette, What's that Smell?
One Pot Pasta, Marin Mama Cooks

Week in Review


Lunch - Tex Mex Rice Quinoa Cakes. I was limited by what we had on hand so I made up the Weelicious Rice Cakes using Quinoa instead of rice.  Not bad.  These "cakes" are becoming a go-to lunch.  The recipe is easily modifiable to suit your mood and/or what you have on hand.

Supper - Southwestern Beans on Toast with Tex Mex Salad.  This was a really quick week night meal that I enjoyed A LOT!  I didn't follow the recipe exactly - I just heated the beans in a frying pan with a little oil and the spices.  They were a tad on the dry side so I think next time I'll boil them as suggested.  But I actually just ended up mixing them in with the salad (which was totally yum!) and then had the cheese bread on the side.  Marin is not a big bread eater but ended up eating her cheesy bread first and noted how much she loved it.  Kid thumbs up!

Southwestern Beans on Toast with Tex Mex Salad


Lunch - Beet, Chickpea and Feta Salad.  I meant to make the salad that I'm linking here but I forgot to "Pin" it so when I went to get lunches ready I couldn't find it.  So I actually made a slightly different version which I also forgot to "Pin" and now I can't find that one!  GAH!  Anyhoo... the beet, chickpea and feta combo made for a tasty salad and there's lot of recipes out there with slightly different dressings so take a look and pick one that speaks to you or uses ingredients you have on hand.  I used canned beets and chickpeas making this a really easy meal to put together on a hot summer night!

Raspberry Vinaigrette
Supper - Deli Chicken and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette.  Deli chicken makes for a super easy supper.  You can make your own in the slow-cooker or pick one up at the grocery store.  I do love the slow-cooker version but sometimes you just can't beat convenience!  The salad was spinach, fruit (blueberries and peaches) and walnuts with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette.  I'm really loving making my own dips and dressings... most of them take little effort but taste so much better than bottled.  And they're typically healthier too.  Plus from an economical point of view most of the dips/dressings I've been making use common ingredients and I no longer have a fridge full of expired bottles that have barely been touched.    Tastier, healthier, cheaper... Win, win, win!  Don't know why it took me so long to make this transition.


Lunch - Pesto Chicken Pita Pizza.  I left this on the menu but we actually had enough leftover chickpea salad that I just chopped up the rest of the chicken to have on the side.

Supper - One Pot Pasta.  I first noticed this on Marin Mama's Cooks blog and have seen it around Pinterest a lot too.  I was intrigued and had to try it.  The verdict... pretty darn good!  It couldn't be any easier to make yet I felt like I was eating at an Italian restaurant.  Do make sure you read through Jackie's post though because I think I would have been concerned about the extra water and likely would have overcooked it had I not been properly warned.  We had it with cheesy garlic bread (slice of French bread spread with butter, a sprinkle of garlic powder, shredded mozza and broiled until the cheese bubbles and bread browns on the edges).  The only downside was that it was a really warm night and we ate it warm so weren't exactly beating the heat with this one.  So although I'd highly recommend trying it and it is a perfect no-fuss summer meal, save it for a night that's not too hot or let it cool... I nibbled Marin's leftovers and found it even more flavorful when it was cooled down.  Also a note about making this for kids... Marin liked it but I went easy on the red pepper flakes.  I'd say either go easy on them or add them at the end after you've scooped out the kids servings.

One Pot Pasta


Lunch - Date Lunch!  It was so nice out Dave and I decided to save the leftovers for the weekend so we could meet up on patio.  Lobster Poutine at Cut Grill... yum!!!  And for the record I didn't have Poutine last friday after all so I'm not actually OD'ing the stuff.

Supper - Cheese Platter. I left this night open when I planned the week so that we could do whatever pleased us.  That's how I like to roll in the summer.  I'm planning to pop back into the grocery store for some Brie and we're going to clean up on some of the odds and ends and have a no-cook supper of cheese, fruit, nuts and bread.  I think I'll make us some fancy drinks too and have an al fresco night!  I love summer!!

That wraps up week 27... can't believe I'm past the half way mark of my 52 week goal!  Thanks for following and welcome to all the new followers over the past few weeks!