We Plan Wednesday: August’s Menu Plan

We Plan Wednesday

I sat down last week and planned out the menus for the rest of the year.

Now, don’t get excited.  I haven’t completely lost my mind.  I simply saw my Chick-Fil-A calendar sitting on the table, pretty much blank, and felt the need to fill it (or, at least, August-December) with meal plans.

Now, do I honestly believe that all of these items for the remaining four months of the year will be made (and eaten) as planned?  Uh, no.

But a girl has to have a plan as the school year gets ready to gear up.  I can always fall back to the plan in the event things get crazy and my mind is fried as far as Meal Plan Monday is concerned.

The goal for August?  To heat up the oven as little as possible.

Here we go:

1:  Korean “Beef” Over Rice from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Country Cook

3:  Perfect Mini Meatloaf from Artsy Fartsy Mama

4:  Mexican Pizzas from Life in the Lofthouse

5:  French Toast Kabobs, fruit, breakfast meat from A Beautiful Mess

6:  leftovers/scrounge

7:  mini pizzas

8:  Crock Pot Cashew Chicken from Favorite Family Recipes

9:  Pork Loin Roast with potatoes, onions, and carrots

10:  Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta from Gunny Sack

11:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse (Hopefully, this time I will get a good picture!)

12:  Marinated Root Beer Grilled Chicken from Six Sisters’ Stuff

13:  leftovers/scrounge

14:  Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes from Kayotic Kitchen

15:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup from A Spicy Perspective

16:  Crock Pot Simple Chicken Spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet

17:  pulled pork (from freezer) sandwiches, cole slaw, chips

18:  tacos

19:  breakfast for dinner (pancakes)

20:  go to Chick-Fil-A (for the Chick-Fil-A deal) and lemonade for National Lemonade Day

21:  mini pizzas

22:  Fuji Chicken from Mandy’s Recipe Box

23:  Crock Pot Bacon Garlic Chicken from Crock Pot Ladies

24:  Mexican Lasagna (try to make it as a slow cooker dish) from Artsy Fartsy Mama

25:  carnitas bowls using carnitas from the freezer

26:  English Breakfast Burgers from Foodtastic Mom

27:  leftovers/scrounge

28:  Pizza Waffles from Life in the Lofthouse (plug the waffle iron in outside)

29:  Waffle Iron BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Buns in My Oven (plug the waffle iron in outside)

30:  Crock Pot BBQ’d Chicken and Cornbread Casserole from A Year of Slow Cooking

31:  Olive Garden Copycat Chicken Vino Bianco from The Slow Roasted Italian

I also plan to make two dessert dishes for inclusion in Muffin’s lunches.

On the weekend of August 22, I plan to make Churro Chex Mix from Six Sisters’ Stuff.  On the weekend of August 29, I plan to make Star Crunches from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.

What are your favorite keep-the-kitchen-cool meals?

Meal Plan Monday: It’s Only July and I Don’t Want to Heat Up the Kitchen!

Meal Plan Monday

It’s July, people!  July!  Today, we will hit 100 degrees for the fourth day in a row!  I REFUSE to heat up the kitchen.  I priced it out.  Little Caesar’s is cheaper than running the oven and then the air having to work even more overtime to cool the house afterward.

Until Friday (when I’m having Mexican Pizzas gosh darnit!), there will be NO using of the oven.  If it can’t be made in the slow cooker or cooked outside or made in the slow cooker (repetition intentional), we will eat out.  I’ve drawn that line.

We still have all of August to go through.

It should be noted that not too long ago I was hoping the rain would go away.

Could we have the rain back please?

I have plans to use the slow cooker seven times over this nine-day span.

(Yes, it’s that bad.)

I’ve heard that the area where my in-laws live is under heat advisory being in the low 30s Celsius.  We will be kissing 40 Celsius (at 39ish now) shortly.

I’d really rather not.  For those who are Fahrenheit-inclined, 40 Celsius is 104 Fahrenheit.

It is literally too hot to eat.

If dairy didn’t give me such a problem, I would be drinking shakes and smoothies only, rather than eating.

If it’s bad enough that I can barely choke down a Monterey Melt from Whataburger, we’ve got issues.

Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that I’ve been sick with bronchitis and sinusitis.  I would really like to drink (cold) my meals for the next month or so.

I thought about calling my boss and saying that I’m relocating to Australia (They’re having winter, I believe) for the month of August. (Teachers start back to school on August 5…yay!)  I don’t think she would appreciate that much.

Yes, it’s that bad.

Anyway…enough of my whining…

Saturday:  Chipotle Carnitas

Sunday:  Mom’s Pork Loin

Monday:  Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday:  Crock Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Chops

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  Mexican Pizzas from Life in the Lofthouse (The only concession that I’m making to the oven.)

Saturday:  Crockpot Coconut Lime Chicken from Crock Pot Gourmet

Sunday:  Grill something/anything or leftovers

How are you beating the heat in the kitchen this week?

Tip Tuesday: How to Pack for a Trip


Tip Tuesday

I’ve seen online how to pack kids’ clothes for trips.  Most of them say to bag up in separate zippy baggies each outfit for each day, underwear to shirt to pants/shorts.  That uses an awful lot of baggies, and it’s hard to find baggies that will hold clothes for older kids and adults.

Yes, adults.

Unless I include a list of planned matching outfits, if I pack for a multi-day trip, I will end up with a shirt and pants that don’t match at the end.

A few trips ago, I hit the nail on the head (when we spent the week in Houston, in fact).

Underwear bottoms and socks go in separate baggies.  (We are still in that stage where we may use more than one pair of underwear a day for Muffin.)

I spread the shirts out and put the folded bottoms inside the shirt (like its the person inside the shirt).  Then, I fold/wrap the shirt around it.

Here’s one of Muffin’s outfits on a recent trip:

I did the same thing with my clothes for the trip, as well.  It works swimmingly.

I hope that your travel during the remainder of the summer season goes as swimmingly as possible.

Meal Plan Monday: Hopefully More Closely

Meal Plan Monday

So…another week that didn’t work so well, meal-plan-wise.

Sickness and multiple appointments pretty much ruled the day, er, week.  Muffin has a sinus infection (nothing viral or in his ears or lungs…yay!), but he gets to get another robot tooth.  He had a check-up with his doctor.  My dad was in the hospital having a pacemaker put in.  Josh worked pretty much solidly the whole week.

Yeah, I didn’t feel like cooking (or eating) much.

This next week will be spent trying to cook ahead in mini-freezer cooking sessions in an attempt to ready things for the school year (like Muffin lunches, etc.).  It’s not as much about trying new things as it is filling the freezer.

Saturday:  Muffaletta casserole, green veg

Sunday:  meatloaf in the slow cooker (I’m going to risk it once more)

Monday:  red beans and rice (save leftovers)

Tuesday:  Chipotle copycat carnitas made with rice bowls/taco salads

Wednesday:  Josh is off, so he will prepare something yummy (possibly breakfast/pancakes for dinner)

Thursday:  leftover/Josh grill

Friday:  pizza rollups (freeze extra for Muffin’s lunches)

Saturday:  chili (freeze extras)

What are y’all planning this week?

Cent Saving Saturday: The 3 R’s Part 1

Cent Saving Saturday

No, I’m not talking about reading, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic.  Those have been replaced by other things.  Just kidding (not really, especially on the ‘ritin’ front, ESPECIALLY if you are talking about handwriting).

I’m talking about the Earth-friendly ones:  reduce, reuse, recycle.  I’m especially referring to the second one:  reuse.  (We are still working on the reduce one.)

If you live in the South, especially, you are old hat at this.  By living in the South, I mean that you are at least a second generation Southerner on at least one side of your family (especially maternal).

In other words, you might be a Southerner if:

1) A margarine, sour cream, or cottage cheese tub in your fridge holds something besides one of those three items (especially leftovers).

2) Your fine food storage devices (see #1) flood out when you open the “Tupperware” cabinet.

3)  You panic if you see one of the aforementioned containers in the trash because they are awesome.

4)  Your small sewing kit is contained in a Danish butter cookie tin.

5)  Aforementioned cookie tins are also reused year after year at Christmas time.

6)  You have Christmas and birthday gift bags in your wrapping area with multiple layers of to/from tags.

7)  Your dad has baby food jars from your infancy holding globs of leftover paint and small tools in the garage.

8)  You wash and reuse zippy baggies (unless they contained raw meat).

9)  Old milk jugs are used to water plants.

10)  Solo cups and Starbucks frappuccino cups are used until they crack and leak.

Yup.  I’m guilty of a few.  And, yes, I know several of those containers are not BPA-free.  But, this way, they are landfill-free.

But, y’all came here for the deals.


Kroger ground beef (chub) $1.99/pound (Chub buying scares me; something about not being able to see the meat)

red, yellow, or orange bell peppers 99 cents

Kroger cheese 8 ounce 2/$3 (meaning $3/pound!) limit 4 with $10 additional purchase

Power Ade 32 ounces 2/$1 (limit 6 with $10 additional purchase)

iceberg, Romaine, and leaf lettuces 99 cents/head

refrigerated International Delight coffee creamers (My mother-in-law loves these!) $1.99 wyb 3

half gallon Kroger orange juice $1.87

Top Flight one-subject notebooks 19 cents (limit 10)

Ticonderoga 24-pack pencils $2.99 (Office Depot had these a few weeks ago and sold out almost instantly)

Kroger frozen waffles or cream cheese 10/$10

Coke, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi 2 L 10/$10

Kroger pasta sauce 10/$10

Paper Mate 10 pack pens 10/$10

Strawberries 4 pounds/$5

Simple Truth organic spring mix $3.99/pound

Paper Mate mechanical pencils, 10 count 99 cents


3 Day-Sale

boneless skinless $1.78/pound

red seedless grapes 89 cents/pound


split chicken breasts, thighs, or drumsticks 88 cents/pound

blueberries, pint 2/$3

goldfish crackers 99 cents (for Muffin’s upcoming lunches)

ramen noodles 10 cents (limit 10)

Essential Everyday frozen veg 88 cents

What are the deals where you are this week?


We Plan Wednesday: Muffin’s Lunchbox for the First Week of School

We Plan Wednesday

Muffin starts kindergarten this year (as I’ve mentioned).  The official start date for kindergarten in our district is August 17.  He will be carrying his lunch this year from home.  I’m not even sure what the full price of lunch is for elementary school students in our district is, but it is not as affordable as, say, taking leftovers or items that I know he will eat.  In fact, the first day of school, I plan on leaving with the school office, his teacher, and the cafeteria a notification that, barring him forgetting his lunch, he is not to go through the lunch line.  Unintentional charges have been known to happen.

So far, I have purchased one of those lunch blocks kits from Rubbermaid at Kroger (on sale half off and a coupon guardian angel had left a dollar off coupon by the Rubbermaid display).  I also plan on purchasing him at least one more lunch box/kit.

I’ve purchased five packages of fruit cups as well as a copious supply of Hostess cakes.  Those will be used SPARINGLY and only with a super-healthy rest of the lunch.

I’ve also been saving unused condiment packets and napkins for use of making his lunch more interesting.

As far as I know, other than being peanut-free (no mention of tree nut-free) and the other federal restrictions (no labeled items or items labeled with a restaurant label–an “ingenious” way of keeping brand-name sodas, etc., out–hint:  remove the label), there have been none mentioned.  That means, as far as I know, the Lunch Nazis will not be going through and confiscating parts of my son’s lunch.

(I probably won’t be very nice about that.)

So, I’ve been trying to figure out WHAT, exactly, I plan on packing in his lunch.

Monday, August 17:  leftover pizza rolls, fruit cup, veggie sticks and ranch dip, spaghetti sauce for dipping the pizza rolls, milk (preferably shelf-stable), Hostess snack

Tuesday, August 18:  homemade lunchables, whole fruit (grapes/strawberries or combination), veggie sticks and dip, Ikea juice box, small candy

Wednesday, August 19:  leftovers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, olives, Hawaiian Punch in thermos, small cookie

Thursday, August 20:  leftover quesadilla, sour cream and salsa for dipping, infused water, fruit of the same variety as the infused water on the side to eat with the water, pudding cup, carrot and cucumber coins

Friday, August 21:  tuna fish and crackers (Muffin loves tuna!), aquatic fruit snack, blue Hawaiian Punch, “sea” cucumbers and celery fishing boats, orange wedges

What do you think?

Tip Tuesday: Google Play Freebie Movie Expiring July 28!

Tip Tuesday

Tip of the Day:  Check Google Play periodically for awesome freebies!

For all those Android lovers out there:  my husband just informed me that Google Play has released a free download of All Creatures Big and Small, listed as “before it is released in the theaters.”  I don’t know if this is going to be a movie that makes it to the theaters or not, but the reviews say that it is a family-friendly cartoon movie.

Remember that Google Play has brought such excellent freebies such as the Frozen soundtrack, Elf (the movie), and Night at the Museum (one that I did not act fast enough on).

Get it while it’s available!

Meal Plan Monday: Hopefully This Will Be Followed a Bit Better This Week…

Meal Plan Monday

Last week’s menu did not go so well as planned.  Sometimes, things happen.  And, last week, things happened.  Or, rather, many things coalesced to make me not…want…to…cook.  I ate salads a lot last week.  It also is that lovely point in the year known as “It is way too hot to cook, thank you very much!”

It’s also way too hot to eat.  The heat index on concrete this evening as I headed home about five o’clock or so was 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is millimeters away from a hundred degrees actually.

There’s a reason why the slow cooker has again made successive appearances in the meal plan.  I’m not ready to do a full Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge, but I’m going to find ways in the next few weeks (Louisiana in August is breathing its hot, acrid breath on the back of my neck already) to not heat up the kitchen as much as possible.

So…here…we…go (Most of the links except next Sunday’s dish can be found on last weeks MPM post):

Saturday:  Fourth of July bash re-do with hamburgers, beans, potato salad, ice cream sundae bar, my mom’s cheesecake

Sunday:  Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen), rice, green beans (Muffin again tried to appropriate extra chicken)

Monday:  root beer pulled pork sandwiches (from RecipeGirl), coleslaw, chips (Um…this did not happen today.  I wasn’t hungry, Muffin ate leftovers, and Josh ate something else)

Tuesday:  Muffaletta casserole from Miz Helen’s, salad (I will hopefully be making the root beer pulled pork here)

Wednesday:  Chicken French (expect this one to be usurped as it was last week) from Ducks N a Row, rice, green veg

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  slow cooker red beans and rice, bread

Saturday:  fried rice

Sunday:  Crock Pot Coconut Lime Chicken (Crock Pot Gourmet), rice, appropriate veg

What’s your plan for this week?

Cent Saving Saturday: My Attempt with Kroger Digital Coupons

Cent Saving SaturdayHappy Saturday, blog fans!  Today you find me a bit peeved and full of consternation.  Now that I have my very own Kroger card minted (as opposed to “borrowing” someone else’s), I have been experimenting with the Free Friday Download, etc.  This week is the first digital coupon bonanza that Kroger has had since I first received this new card.  I loaded the items I wished to buy and visited the store Wednesday (the first day of the sale).  For the first time that I’ve noticed, you could buy more than one item with the digital “coupon.”  In fact, you could purchase five.  I purchased two of the cheese (see below) and five of the Del Monte fruit cups (in preparation for Muffin starting school).  Both of the cheeses and two of the fruit cups were discounted.  The other three?  Uh, no.

So, after writing this post and eating breakfast, I will be going to the “good” Kroger with receipt and shopping list in hand, stand in the interminable line at customer service, and explain the problem AGAIN to someone (as I’m sure the person that I talked to Wednesday afternoon will not be working today).  Hopefully, it will work out well.  Also, I plan on purchasing other items with the digital coupons I have already loaded to my card that I didn’t purchase the other day.


Anyway, here are the sales.


Cantaloupe 87 cents

gallon milk (Springdale) and orange juice (Kroger) $2.99

Kroger cheese 32 ounce (with digital coupon) $5.49 (less than $3 a pound!)

Del Monte fruit cups (grr) $1.50 with digital coupon

Hostess snacks $1.99 with digital coupon

Hawaiian Punch $1.39 with digital coupon

green grapes 87 cents/pound

Kroger apple juice 99 cents (limit 2 with $10 purchase)

green beans/red onions 99 cents/pound

pork shoulder 79 cents/pound (limit 2 with $10 purchase)


Coke 2 L 88 cents

boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.88

Calidad tortilla chips 99 cents

Albertsons 3-Day Sale

leg quarters 39 cents/pound limit 2 with $10 purchase

2 pounds strawberries $2.99

Super 1

Kool Aid Bursts 88 cents

I’ll let you know how my excursion goes!

Thoughtful Thursday: Good-bye to an Old, Now Heavily Damaged, Online Friend

Thoughtful Thursday

I still remember the day I met you.

I was a fresh-faced girlfriend of 26, visiting my then-fiance in Canada and desperately wanting to impress my future in-laws.

My recipe books were at home, and I was at a loss.

You saved me.  It was a simple recipe, comfort food at its finest, salisbury steak, I believe.  I had never realized that the “steaks” were supposed to be oval in shape.

Of course, you were not a person.  People posted the recipes to you, but, looking back at the recipes that I carefully (and not-so-carefully) placed in one of my many “cookbooks,” you marked various stages of my young married life.

I remember how I tried to be alliterative and cutesy with my cookbook titles, like “Punches with Punch” and “Casserole Crazy.”  Yes, I carried it over to Pinterest, but you were my first.  And for a bit, my only.

I was one of the crazies that paid to have multiple cookbooks and no ads.

In those days, Recipezaar, you were, as my sixteen-year-old self would have said, the bomb.

And then came the change.

After Scripps (y’know, the Food Network and spelling bee people) bought you, you were diseased…infected.  You didn’t look the same…or act the same.  To my shame, I began visiting you less and less, using you only to locate old recipe standbys.

They made you change your name…from something so memorable and magical and whimsical as Recipezaar to the much less appetizing (pun intended) Food.com.

You grew less approachable.  At times, I forgot your existence.  I missed the friends that I had met there, discussing OAMC and budget cooking ideas.

Today, I felt a yen to visit you.  I had heard mention (maybe in an e-mail that I had speedily deleted) that you had changed further.

I truthfully couldn’t recognize you.  You were nothing like the friend I remembered.  Even now, as I sob (yes, I know I cry too much) remembering you as you were and mourning what could have been, I am lost.  It took over an hour to find out how to access my recipes that I had spent hours saving over the years.  It will take countless hours to PDF them to my computer.  Once that happens, and I’m saying this in advance:  I am breaking up with you.  We are no longer friends.

You’ve lost the essence of you and I fear there is no way to get you back.  The essence was not a glut of recipes; your essence was how you made everyone optimistic about cooking.  Now, you just seem to be a clone of the Food Network website or AllRecipes (or the especially obnoxious and annoying Yummly).

By the way, I miss the Community Message Boards.  That’s what brought me back today…and the loss of them made my goodbye final.

I am one…in case I haven’t hammered it home before…adverse to unnecessary change.  Recipezaar wasn’t broken, and what Scripps did to it through its various “improvements” destroyed it.  Change is not always good.  Not always positive.  And, in this case, it certainly wasn’t.

Goodbye, my friend.  I will remember you fondly.  Waves