Doing the broke dance – a week of meals for $100

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We all have fears and things that create anxiety in our lives. For me it’s money or the lack thereof. I hate being broke more than anything and I can tend towards obsessiveness around finances. Not that I’m good at it. In fact I kind of suck and that really doesn’t help. It takes me a million hours to create a budget and make sure the bills are all paid.

Looking back my concerns probably started in university. I had next to nothing and there were times where the best meal plan I could create was rice with either hot sauce or soy sauce. Coffees were an absolute luxury and I snuck on the train to get to school. I hated it and everything I thought it said about me. Since then I’ve always squirrelled a little away or stockpiled toilet paper and pasta to get us through the little bumps that all families face. Continue Reading »

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Back to work

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Going back to work after kids is a necessary evil for a lot of moms. Either financially, or for career reasons we get pulled back into the workforce. Sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes secretly a little grateful for the break. For me I had always known I would return, just not how. Too much in student debt and a love for my job just can’t be argued with. Initially, I wanted to return only part time but when I found out this wasn’t possible I tried to put on my big girl panties and prepare for going back. I still hated the idea of leaving the kids full time but had limited options. Continue Reading »

Weekly meal plan – Fortunately, unfortunately

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My mom and I have a game we play and I’m going to share it because I think it’s the best way to describe this last crazy week. It’s called fortunately/unfortunately and it’s played like this…

Fortunately, my mom came to visit me this week… unfortunately, the house was a disaster and the kids were nuts so nobody slept.
Fortunately we both really like tea…
Unfortunately, my son barfed all over the car on an outing… Fortunately, it was only once.
Unfortunately, my washing machine broke so we had to take laundry to my dad’s every second day… Fortunately, my mom was super generous and helped us get a new one.
Unfortunately, it still won’t be here for another 3 days making it 2 weeks without a washer…Fortunately the weather is so amazing I’m just letting the kids run around naked cutting back on laundry.
Fortunately , my stepsister came into town with my niece for a visit…unfortunately, I had to share her so I barely got to see them.
Fortunately, my husband came home a day early this week…unfortunately it’s week three of solo parenting and I was completely pooped so I probably wasn’t there
Fortunately, it was our son’s third birthday party on Sunday and we all had a blast…unfortunately, he was so wired that he was up until 11pm about 2 hours past when we were still functioning. Continue Reading »

Weekly Meal Plan – Feeling Springy

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I love Spring on the Island. People believe it rains here all the time but really it is a gorgeous time of year. I start itching to get outside and suddenly have more than enough energy for everything. Especially projects, I started some seedlings with the little guy for our mini garden and I’m working on my herb planters for the front deck. The next projects are our community garden plot that we are trying out this year and repainting an old picnic table in the backyard. Now I just need the rain to clear a little more (okay it does rain here a fair amount) so that we can tackle it all.

My other favourite thing is the growing anticipation I feel for all the lovely produce I know is soon to come. I get just giddy thinking about all the yumminess that we are going to enjoy. I think it’s my most inspired time of the year for new recipes and ideas so I’m sure I will have tonnes to share.

Hubby is away three weeks this time so I’m still going with the extra easy theme for meals. I also decided to switch things up this week. Since I started this blog I shared the menu I was planning on making for the week. Mostly this worked but if I had new recipes I was tweaking it made it hard to get them up in time so I was often having to add extra meals and in short was creating more work for myself. This week I am going to share last weeks meal plan. This way I have all the recipes done and ready and I can include what we had for breakfast and lunches as well. I think overall this will work out a lot better.

Monday

Breakfast – Cheerios with sliced bananas

Lunch – Cream cheese and jam hearts w/ cut veggies
I was being cute and used a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of bread and then spread a layer of creamcheese on each side with a dab of jam in the middle

Dinner – Pesto veggie quesadillas
On a whole grain tortilla spread about a tbsp of your favourite pesto. Add diced tomato, slices of bell peppers, mushrooms, artichokes and whatever veg your family likes. Top with a layer of cheese and a second tortilla. Cook in a large pan over medium low until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melty gooey. I served these with plain yogurt and salsa for dipping

Tuesday

Breakfast – Waffles
When my hubbers is in town I make a massive batch and then freeze what we don’t eat. They turn out perfect in the toaster and I know exactly what’s in them. For this batch I had diced up cooked sausage thrown it into the batter. It made them a perfect breakfast and tasted delicious!

Lunch -Picky plates
Basically this is a plate of whatever’s in the fridge in little bits. I used: crackers, slices of cheese, some sliced deli meat, cut apple, pickles, red pepper and cucumber. My son loves getting a little of everything

Thanksgiving Grill Cheese

Thanksgiving Grill Cheese

Dinner – A grill cheese version of Thanksgiving
I made grill cheese with sliced deli turkey and a spread of cranberry sauce with white cheddar. They were awesome. On the side I had roasted carrot, potato and sweet potato fries, so it was like a thanksgiving dinner minus the 10 million hours of work.

Wednesday

Breakfast – Eggy Bagels
I found these little whole wheat bagels at Superstore and used them for a cute little breakfast sandwich. I cut the bagels in half and placed a slice of cheese on the bottom half. Then the bagels were toasted in the oven getting the cheese melted. I made scrambled eggs and then layered the eggs on top of the cheese with a slice of tomato.

Lunch – Tuna sandwiches with strawberries

Dinner – BLT salad with pesto chicken
I used chicken tenders and rubbed a few tbsps of pesto on them then quickly cooked them on the bbq. While they were cooking I crisped up some sliced bacon, diced a tomato and opened up my salad greens. It made a great yummy salad that took 15 minutes and was devoured by my bacoholic son.

Thursday

Breakfast – Waffles again

Lunch – Ham sandwiches and cut veggies

Dinner – Chicken tacos
My wonderful other mother had us for dinner and she even made the tortillas. I plan on learning this skill as they are a zillion times better then any I buy. The tacos were filled with cooked chicken, diced tomato, grated cheese, lettuce and a little hot sauce for the older folk

Friday

Breakfast – Breakfast burritos
Scramble a few egg then in warmed tortillas (unfortunately not home made) layer the eggs with grated cheese, lettuce and tomato. A great breakfast to take on the go too.

Lunch – Mini bagel sandwiches with sliced apples

Dinner – Pork cutlets with garlicky lemon past and steamed broccoli
The pork recipe will be up in a few hours. I used a spaghetti noodle cooked al dente (still has a bit of bone, my hubby would say). Once drained I added a tbsp of butter, 1 clove finely diced garlic, 1 tbsp lemon zest and 3 tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream. This was a huge hit with the littles

Saturday

Breakfast – Cheerios with sliced banana

Lunch – Leftovers

Bhan mi burger

Bhan mi burger

Dinner – Banh Mi inspired burgers with salad
A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich loaded with flavour. I took inspiration from this and made a pork burger that is unique and inexpensive

Sunday – Bagels with cream cheese and fruit slices

Lunch – Tuna sandwiches

Dinner – I had a memorial to attend an hour away so unfortunately dinner was on the road but Daniel had a lovely stir fry at Oma and Opas:)

So that’s what we ate last week. Easy healthy meals that I was able to get to the table despite the two kids running/crawling around being crazy. A feat I am pretty proud of. Hope these ideas make your week a little easier and I’d love to hear about how you feed your crew. I also share some of these meals that aren’t quite a recipe on my Facebook page My Weekly Dish. You can “like’ me to get recipes, posts and quick meal ideas

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Weekly Meal Plan – Meals that bring a little love to the table

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This last week has been dreary and rainy. We’ve been stuck inside for awhile and, I think, are all going a little squirrelly Add to that a non sleeping baby and I’m pulling every easy card I have for the next week. It’s going to be all about food that makes me feel good, wraps me in a warm blanket and tucks me in, plus that I can make with my eyes closed if I have to.

Isn’t it interesting that food can reflect and impact our emotions and feelings. Certain meals transport me back to childhood and hug me with the warmth of my own mom taking care of me. Others are nurturing to my spirit, either with warming flavours or with hearty ingredients. Both are what we need this week and I hope these meals can be there for you too when you need that little bit of extra food love in your life

 

Monday Night

Fried Egg SandwichesI could honestly eat fried egg sandwiches everyday and have sometimes. I like to use a lovely whole grain bread toasted with mayo, a perfectly fried egg, layers of tomato, avocado, lettuce and cheese. Doesn’t that sound like love between two pieces of bread? My mom is also a huge fan and has been known to serve them to company.

Tuesday Night

Chard, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Easy to make and delicious. I love the green flavour that chard has and I feel like I’m eating something that is both healthy and decadent at the same time.

Wednesday Night

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs, tzatziki and Greekish SaladEasy fast and makes me think of family. Funny, we’re Dutch, Scottish and English but we seem to gravitate to Greek restaurants for family dinners. I can picture a blue and white checked table cloth and time with family as I think about making this dinner.

Thursday Night

Green Bean and Ham CasseroleFrom an old Cooking Light recipe that I’ve adapted. It reminds me of a chicken and broccoli casserole my mom made, (only because it’s a casserole, all similarities end there).

Friday Night

Italian Chicken Meatball and Pepper PizzaThis has become a staple and regular in my rotation lately. I’ve switched to making my own meatballs from ground chicken and it’s amazing. This dinner just makes me smile with its deliciousness. Definitely a spirit lifting dinner

Saturday Night

Going out nightWe haven’t been out for a single meal since I started this blog, which has been great for our budget and makes it so I don’t feel a bit bad about treating myself to an easy dinner elsewhere.

Sunday Night

CurryI’m going to experiment with a fish curry. I have a general idea in my head and if it works I’ll have the recipe up soon. Even thought experimenting sounds a little out of the comfort food, easy theme of the week, stretching my creative cooking muscles brings me joy and is almost meditative. If you are using this meal plan this week I’d suggest using the Indian spiced sloppy joes until I have it done:)

That’s what comfort food looks like for me. I’m sure your family and friends have their own dishes that bring a little love to the table and I’d love to hear what they are, so please share. If you are wondering how I do my meal plans here’s how: Meal Planning Basics

Family Meal Plan Week 3

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Daddy and Maddie

It’s another quite week coming up for us. My husband has taken a leave until March so our lives are exceptionally peaceful right now. Although our savings are quickly dwindling, having him home for the last two months has been amazing. He had to leave for work in Alberta when our daughter was only 6 days old so I never felt like they had the same chance to bond he did with our son. But they’ve made up for lost time and now that little girl only has eyes for her daddy. I’m her meal ticket but once she’s done with me, right back to the love of her life.

Mostly we walk and explore around where we live. So my meal plans don’t have the normal chaotic, life stuff influencing them right now. However, because we are out so much I’ve had to make sure dinners can be made quickly. So, most dinners I post can get on the table from start to finish in under an hour. Many closer to 30 minutes.

Monday Night

Vegetarian Paninis – Sure, I’ll jump on the meatless Monday bandwagon. It’s been a plan to cut back on our meat intake anyway, so why not? Toss strips of zuchini, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion and strips of red pepper in a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast for about 20 minutes at 400F. I use foccacia cut in four. Spread each side with a thin layer of mayo and lots of pesto, sprinkle on goat cheese or your favourite cheese and top with layers of the roasted veg. Cook in your sandwich press until crisp and brown and serve with tomato soup. If you don’t have a press, place your sangie in a skillet and squish it with a large heavy pot on top. It works just as well. I’ll post a recipe for an easy tomato soup as soon as I can.

Tuesday Night

BBQ Chicken Pizza – Easy, fast and delicious. My husband’s favourite pizza hands down! I’m shopping this day so using a rotisserie chicken will save me some time when I get home and I can use the rest for dinner on Thursday.

Wednesday Night

Breakfast Night – Banana Pancakes with walnuts. I use the basic pancake recipe from the Joy of Cooking and slice in one banana and stir in a handful of chopped walnuts. Top with plain or vanilla yogurt and a touch of maple syrup. Serve with breakfast sausages and some fruit salad. I keep mine basic with apples, pears, banana and orange. If you leave out the sausages you have another meatless meal:)

Thursday Night

Chicken Tortilla Bake – A creamy, cheesy, vegetable filled casserole that is where I’m using the rest of the rotisserie chicken. It’s one of my dad’s favourites and I can almost guarantee he’ll find a good reason to come for dinner if he knows I’m making it.

Friday Night

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs, with Tzatziki and Greekish Salad – Ground turkey or chicken make these super flavourful meatballs leaner and delicious. Served with warmed pita this is my version of a Greek dinner in just over half an hour. I’ll be posting this recipe later this week.

Saturday Night

Home Made Burgers with Ceaser Salad – I like to use half and half beef and bison. It’s leaner and I find the bison has a lot more flavour. We like to top our burgers with sautéed onions, tomatoes, lettuce and my home made HP sauce. I’m addicted to the stuff and made the recipe from Canadian Crafter.

Sunday Night

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks with Coleslaw and Mashed Potato – Drumsticks are inexpensive and delicious. I place the chicken on a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan. Bake at 375F and baste with your favourite BBQ sauce every 10 minutes. They take about 30-45 minutes, but always go by temperature, chicken is cooked at 165F.

I hope you find this meal plan helps make your week a little easier. If you haven’t checked it out yet here are my meal planning basics. I’d also love to hear any feedback you have or any questions.

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