family

Monthly Dinner Menus

Monthly Dinner Menu

This is something that I have been wanting to post for awhile since it has been so helpful to me. I (like many people I’m sure….I hope…) get so busy getting other things done and thinking of a million and a half things that by the time supper rolls around, I don’t have anything planned. So many nights have consisted of whipping up something quick simply because I don’t feel like making something or it’s too last minute to thaw out chicken or anything else for that matter! This means many nights of “Lets just do spaghetti…” or “Lets go out to eat instead.” Which means it either starts to get boring making the same ol’ thing or costly by going out to eat more often.

So I finally discovered a routine that really helps me with this problem so I want to share it! I’m sure I am not the only person who does this but I wanted to get it out there anyway! I must admit, this does take a little bit of organization but it really will save you in the end!

I started making these monthly dinner menus a few months ago and my husband and I LOVE it! I think some people may think this is crazy and that’s okay! But for me and my family, it really works!  I type up and entire month of meals planned out for each day. Including everything: main dish, sides and vegetables. I do this at the end of each month so then just a few days before the new menu begins I do one big grocery trip. It DOES feel like an expensive trip but I find myself not having to go to the grocery store every other day for certain meal items. I do still make quick trips now and then for fresh fruit, milk…things that just don’t really last a whole month.

Positives to monthly dinner menus:

-You have something planned for each day

-Groceries can all be bought ahead of time

-Be more organized so things don’t go bad (I hate wasting food just because I forgot about it!)

-Having everything written out gives you a visual of what you’re eating so you can be motivated to eat healthier

-Planning meals out ahead of time makes it easier to take the time to try new recipes

 

When I plan out a menu I take an evening to sit down and pull up all of those amazing looking Pinterest recipes that I have been wanting to try! Whereas, if I am just trying to make dinner plans last minute, chances are I am not going to try something new or even have all of the stuff for it. I also get super frustrated when I have to go to the grocery store a million times because I forgot something for a recipe (okay this still happens, who am I kidding! 😛 ) so planning ahead of time, looking at recipes and making a grocery list for everything really cuts down on this a lot.

Tips for making a monthly dinner menu:

– Leave Saturdays (or whatever day you have open and like to splurge) open for pizza, going out to eat or anything else fun your family likes to do.

– Take leftovers into account. If your family likes leftovers leave days after larger meals open for leftovers. I don’t usually plan for leftover days since it works out really well for my husband to take leftovers to work for lunch.

– Don’t plan huge meals that make lots of leftovers multiple days in a row, spread it out.

– Still plan for quick n’ easy nights like simple pasta or grilling burgers. For example, when I make lasagna I make the sauce homemade and have lots leftovers. So we will freeze serving sizes in ziplock bags to take out and quickly make up spaghetti or a pasta bake another night.

– Add new recipes you’ve been wanting to try to your menu.

– Add a vegetable to your menu for each day. I feel like by having a particular vegetable actually planned makes it way easier for me to have vegetables each night. Otherwise I find myself saying, naaa we don’t really need it! This is extra helpful for me since I want to be setting a good example for our 1 year old!

– Switch things around! There are times when my husband has to work late so we will just switch what we had planned with something simpler from another night. Make sure to still stick with it though or it is easy to fall out of taking the time to make the menu and follow it.

 

Hopefully this helps some of you the way that it helps me!

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Holiday Cheer

Christmas Goodies

Yesterday was a wonderful day for my baby boy’s very first Christmas!


We have had a wonderful time the past few days making Christmas candies, cookies and goodies! We are lucky enough to have family come and visit this year and more family is on the way this weekend to stay through New Years! I am so thankful for everything and feel so happy to see my little guy so happy on his first Christmas!

 

 

Christmas Goodies

Christmas Goodies

Christmas Goodies

 

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!!

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Whippersnappers

Tips to Making Homemade Baby Food

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I’ve been making all homemade baby food for a few months now. I started making homemade baby food since my son turned 6 months (He will be 9 months this Wednesday…wow where does the time go, right?!). I love it for many reasons. First of all, my son loves it! I think that is first and foremost the most important thing right there. Have you ever smelled or tasted baby food from a jar? Most of them are pretty disgusting! Nothing against anyone who uses jarred baby food…I just prefer this method myself. Secondly…it’s way cheaper, and I mean WAY! Okay, there may be a few exceptions here, such as the mega expensive and out-of-season blueberries I have been buying but that is besides the point 😛 Take for example, I just bought a huge butternut squash the other day for well under $2 (I can’t remember exactly). And it made 9 servings of baby food! Considering that most baby food jars or especially the food pouches cost over $1 as it is, this is saving a lot of money. Another reason to give you motivation for making your baby’s food homemade is that it is much more fresh! They are trying to find more ways to make jarred baby food more natural such as the Beech Nut brands that say there are no additives but I don’t think that it gets any healthier or more nutritious than making it yourself homemade. Only then can you know for sure what exactly is in your baby’s food. My last main reason for making my son’s food homemade is that I enjoy it! I would have a whole lot less motivation to do it if I dreaded it every time I had to make a new batch of food. I love making it and coming up with new recipes to try for him, so it is really easy to make it fun too!

Are you thinking of trying to make your own baby food? Here are some tips I can give you that I have learned over the last few months that can hopefully make things a little bit easier. Like I said, I have been doing this for a few months so I am by no means any sort of expert in this but I can at least share what I know and hope that it helps! Not to mention, you really don’t have to be an expert to make your own baby food…it is that easy!

 

First Starting Out – Around 6 months (You can follow what your pediatrician suggests, but my son’s suggested foods at 6 months and he had started cereal at 4 months)

  • Start out with fruits and veggies that will be easy on your baby’s tummy such as:
    • avocado
    • banana
    • green beans
    • peas
    • carrots
    • squash
    • sweet potato
    • apples
    • peaches
    • pears
  • At first only make single purees like these and wait until your baby has tried a variety before mixing them.
  • Only introduce one fruit or veggie at a time and give the same one to them for at least three days. This is to make sure they have no allergies to that particular food.
  • Bananas are the EASIEST food to give your baby and perfect for on the go. You can simply mash it with a fork and it doesn’t have to be cooked. This is one of my easy go-to foods for my son.
  • Avocados can also simply be mashed with a fork. My son was funny about texture at first so I had to blend them, but I am now to the point where I can just mash them up along with a banana.
  • Your baby may not like the new texture of eating solids right away. If they don’t like a particular fruit or veggie, try giving it to them with a little bit of baby cereal on the spoon as well.
  • Don’t give up right away if your baby doesn’t like it! Sometimes it just takes awhile to get used to the new texture, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like the taste. For example, my son haaaated green beans at first. He would eat everything else pretty well, but the green beans…nope! I will say, they were a grittier texture. I didn’t give up though, I continued to offer the green beans for a few days in a row, then offered a new veggie and then came back to the green beans again. He eventually got used to them and now loves his green beans!
  • You can add breastmilk when making a puree instead of water for added nutrients.

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After trying a variety of fruit and veggie purees – 7 to 9 months

  • You could now start making combinations of foods
  • Try adding spinach or kale to a veggie for added nutrients
  • Add some new fruits and veggies into your baby’s diet such as:
    • cantaloupe
    • potatoes
    • blueberries
    • mango
    • eggplant
    • papaya
    • asparagus
  • Some combinations that I have found to work really well are:
    • banana-avocado (my son’s favorite and SO easy to simply mash together with a fork!)
    • blueberry-pear
    • Green bean-kale
    • Kale-potato-peas
    • Spinach-sweet potato

Find more great combinations on my Homemade Baby Food page!!

baby food

 

As baby gets older they will start learning to pick things up and feed themselves. I started giving my son puffs at 6 months. It was a bit early for him but by 7 months he was picking them up and putting them in his mouth like a pro! Now he is starting to do that with more things and liking that he can feed himself. I will give him cut up bits of noodles, green beans, cooked carrots, melons and recently started with cheese (which he is not yet a fan of!). I’ve also started giving him yogurt and cottage cheese (make sure it is full fat, NOT the fat-free kinds) for snacks. Just remember that every baby is different and this is what worked for us. You can always talk to your child’s pediatrician to check with suggested ages to start a certain food.

Check out my Homemade Baby Food page for all kinds of recipes and how to prepare them! Whether you are just getting started or simply looking for tips, good luck to you and I hope that this helps if even in a small way!

 

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Whippersnappers