Oct 092013

Whew! September was a horribly busy and chaotic month for me! I was glad for once to flip the calendar to October – though it’s going to be a busy and quick one too! (In fact so busy I couldn’t get this post finished the day I planned or the meal planning – better late than never right 😉 )

I loved having my meal planning done throughout the month of September!

It really was a great stress reliever not to have to do it each week and having a plan for each day! I did run into several snags though – one of them being that I planned a lot of ground beef meals for the month – and ground beef didn’t go on sale at all 🙁  I ended up changing several meals to chicken meals as I was able to pick up quite a bit of it on sale.

With a small grocery budget and a special diet planning is essential – even if you can’t follow the plans you laid out perfectly. I did spend a lot of my shopping trips stocking up and Manager Specials meats and freezing them, so I had a good amount of other meats to substitute for my ground beef meals – and thankfully a local store finally put ground beef on sale this week so I stocked up on what I could for this month.

I decided I’d start my meal planning for the month from what I already have on hand.

Since I’ve had a lot of questions about how to meal plan – I’ll walk you through my process – it’ll help us both as I still hate to meal plan 🙂


Breakfasts in our household are pretty easy and basic: Eggs. And on the weekends we usually through some potatoes (for Chris) and some sweet potatoes (for me) in the mix. As an occasional treat we make pancakes. I’ll share my recipe soon 🙂


I stopped buying lunch meat for Chris’ lunch last month – wow was this a time and money saver! Often I made a special trip to Aldi just for lunch meat – and I always picked up other stuff too. You know the trips where you don’t get a buggy but see a bunch of good deals where you load your arms down to the breaking point. 😉 I found that buying Chicken Legs on Manager Special and cooking a whole batch was cheaper than the lunch meat – as well as healthier. Soups are too – so I tried to make these on weekends so he’d have these to take for lunches. Worked pretty well!

So this is my plan for lunches for both of us – though I need to actually start eating a lunch… and not just grabbing a snack of fruit throughout the day.


Here’s the crux of any meal planning – the “BIG” Meal.

Since I stocked up a lot in September on meats I’m going to make my meal plan from these. My hope is then to only buy meat when it’s extremely on sale for November – and do it again. This is one way to save money on groceries. 

First things 1st, I figured out exactly what I have on hand – at least in the Meat area – (I’ve done the inventory the whole house thing several times and I don’t recommend it – I never keep up with it and I’m exhausted at the end of the process.)

Here’s my List:


  • 11 Meals of Steaks (I got a great deal on these – $3.66 per meal – and it’s a very quick go to meal for us)
  • Ground Beef 5 – 2.5lb packages
  • Beef Ribs – 1 lg package
  • Liver (doubt I’ll use this)


  • Chicken Legs 2 ~4lb packages
  • Chicken Thighs 1 Meal worth
  • Chicken Breasts (Boneless/Skinless) 3 ~2-3 lb packages
  • Chicken Leg Quarters 1 – 4.5 lb package (4 Quarters – these are great for a quick meal or soups, and often marked down)
  • Chicken Wings – 1 meal worth


  • White Fish Nuggets (got these marked down – we’ll see how they are!)


  • Turkey Thighs – 2 packages


  • Pork Steaks – 3lb package with 5 steaks (I don’t eat pork as a personal choice, but Chris does, so got these for him)

With all of this I have enough to make at least 33 Meals with leftovers or more. 🙂

I decided this month instead of planning out what to have each day, that I’d like to have several options to choose from. That way I can cross off what we eat and vary it up based on factors I can’t plan for (last-minute craziness, anyone?) From there I figured out what meals I could make from what I had on hand.

Here are my meals for the rest of the Month:

(Note 16 days for us as we’ll be traveling one week. and it’s already the 9th – I’ll be posting about Paleo Traveling soon 😉 :


  • Steaks, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes & Veggie – 3x (1 per week)
  • Sloppy Joes, sautéed Green Beans, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes – 2x
  • Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole (see recipe below) – 4x (make a double batch 2x and freeze remaining)
  • Barbecued Ribs – 1


  • Roasted Chicken Legs, Roasted Veggies – 2x (freeze half for lunches)
  • Oregano Chicken, Potatoes/Sweet Potato, Green Beans – 1
  • Easy Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Peas – 1x
  • Chicken Soup – 1


  • White Fish & Gingered Carrots – 1

Here’s what it looks like in Evernote – I printed it on and put on my refrigerator too, and I’ll cross off what we have as I go – I’ll let you know how it works next month 🙂

Evernote Meal Plan Paleo October



Paleo Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole Recipe:

This is a great quick and easy meal – that’s jam-packed with healthy veggies!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package frozen 3 Pepper & Onion Blend (I get this at Kroger – but I’ve seen other brands)
  • Diced tomatoes (2 small cans or 1 large – I’m using Tomatoes I froze from the summer)
  • ~1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ~1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ~1/2 tsp Oregano
  • ~1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper to Taste
  • Optional: Other frozen or fresh veggies (I often use frozen loose leaf spinach to add bulk/nutrients to beef recipes, whatever you have on hand works great here!)
  • Optional: Shredded Cheese (if you can handle dairy – this is great! If you can’t, it’s still yummy without it (Praise God!))

Seasoning Note: I don’t measure – but do the sprinkle method, so these are approximate 🙂


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Either pre-brown the ground beef or break up in casserole dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. (I sometimes skip this step and throw it all in together, but it’s a bit greasier this way depending on your ground beef). Drain grease.
  3. Mix in frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and spices.
  4. Bake for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Taste for seasoning preference.
  6. Add Cheese if desired and melt on top.

This recipe freezes great and making a double batch is super easy, so a great one to stock the freezer with! Also works great in a crockpot! Try experimenting with spices to your liking and different veggies – it’s a great way to vary it up a bit. 🙂

Be blessed & don’t stress this October!

Blog SignatureWhat’s on your Meal Plan for the month? Is there a recipe you’d like to see me make “Paleo” style – leave me a comment below and I’ll try if I can ;-).




Sep 062013

(looking for the Paleo “Heinz” Style Ketchup recipe … scroll down 🙂 )


I’ve got an extremely busy September planned!

So I took some time last week and earlier this week to try to get a plan in place!

I wanted to share my September Meal plan (I actually did it – YAY!) and what I’ve got scheduled to post this month 🙂 AND a recipe that we constantly use 🙂

So here it is:

Meal Planning


I know this isn’t very easy to read. I created this using the Vertex 42 Monthly Meal Planner I downloaded a while back and Evernote. I use Evernote to keep track of different recipes I find and then put them into this Excel spreadsheet. I’m not sure I’ll continue doing it this way – but it worked for this month. If I get the spreadsheet setup correctly it will even tell me how much I need to buy of each ingredient for the month. 🙂

Here’s the meals were having – we eat “pretty much” Paleo (just remove the beans and sub the potatoes with sweet potatoes (which is what I do, but hubby likes the others and tolerates them well.)

Breakfasts: (not on the list)

  • Eggs (our everyday staple)
  • Pancakes (on weekends)
  • Omlets and French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries (on weekends when we don’t do pancakes)


  • Soups (I discovered this is cheaper than the lunchmeat I was buying) I’m making these on the weekends.
  • Leftovers – when we have them 🙂


  • Chicken Quarters with Roasted Veggies
  • Taco Pie
  • Stirfry (Chicken or Beef)
  • Roast Beef, Carrots and Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
  • White Fish & Gingered Carrots, with Mashed Cauliflower (had this last night again – one of my FAVs right now! And I’m not a fish person!)
  • Zucchini Lasagna – had this tonight – Yum!
  • Chicken Soup
  • Sloppy Joes, French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries, Peas
  • Chicken Nuggets, Mashed Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts
  • Steak, Broccoli, Potato/Sweet Potato
  • Crockpot Chicken w/ Carrots and Potatoes
  • Hamburgers, French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries, Peas
  • Chili
  • Meatloaf, Mashed Cauliflower, Peas
  • Oregano Chicken & Roasted Veggies
  • Cowboy Beans (for Chris)
  • Chicken Legs & Roasted Veggies
  • Salmon Patties, Mashed Cauliflower, Green Beans
  • Spaghetti with Zucchini noodles (or Zoodles)
  • Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Typing this list I’ve decided that next month – I’m going to pick fewer dinners and rotate them throughout the month!

The one thing that isn’t on the list but is a daily staple in our house is Ketchup!

We eat a lot of ketchup – it is the number one must have for my husband! We used to spend a large part of our budget buying ketchup. When we went Paleo it was very hard for us as I struggled for a long time to find a good grain-free (no HFCS) one to buy – and I really didn’t like all the homemade recipes I tried.

Until I found this recipe – and started playing around to make it Paleo.

A friend asked for my recipe recently so I decided to share it with you here!

Paleo Heinz Style Ketchup

Paleo “Heinz” Style Ketchup

Ingredients: (makes ~ the equivalent of 6 24oz bottles of ketchup)

25 oz tomato paste (can use 24 oz if using 6oz cans, just under measure a tad on liquid)

3 cups vinegar

1.5 cups water

2 Tbsp salt

1.5 tsp Onion powder

3/4 tsp Garlic powder

Honey to Taste – I never measure, but just drizzle it on top. I’d estimate ~.5 – 1 cup depending on how sweet you’re used to.


Measure tomato paste into a 5qt crockpot turned on high – don’t need to cook the ketchup but warming it helps it mix faster. Add vinegar, water, salt and spices. Mix thoroughly. Leave set ~15 minutes and stir again. When thoroughly mixed add Honey to taste and turn off crockpot.

Note if the ketchup is super hot I recommend letting it cool before adding the  honey – especially raw local honey so you don’t “kill” the good stuff in the honey.


And speaking of Local Honey…

My very first magazine article got published this month! You can find the article Taste the Benefits of Local Honey on page 18 here.

I’ll write more about the great benefits of honey here on the blog soon – there are so many great things that come from a bee hive! Which brings me to my last plans for September:

What I’m going to write about this Month!

I’m working very hard to try to write ahead so I can have great posts up and ready for you to read! It hasn’t been going so well so far, but as I posted yesterday life’s a Cha Cha! However here is what I have planned to bring you this month:


And Finally: We Have a WINNER!

I really enjoyed my first ever Review and Giveaway! And I’m loving my Flexi! In fact I’m diligently praying about becoming a consultant, so we’ll see where that goes.

If you didn’t happen to be the blessed Winner, but want to get a Flexi please check out my online party! It’s open until next Friday. The beautiful Flitter into Fall is only available this month – and I know last’s months went fast! If you’d like more information I’ve created a group on Facebook – so check it out hereUpdate: I loved my Flexi’s so much that I did decide to become a consultant with Lilla Rose!!! You can check out my store here!

These are my plans for September 🙂

What Post are you most looking forward to?

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Looking for more great recipes??? Check out the great books found in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle on Sale now through April 28, 2014!!! And there are SO many more great things too! Don’t miss it!



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Jul 192013

I promised a post on Meal Planning last week – so here it is 🙂

Staying with yesterday’s post Words, I’m going to keep it short and simple. (I can always post more later, right? 😉 )

Meal planning is my #1 way to save money, reduce stress, and actually have good food to eat in my house. That said – I HATE MEAL PLANNING!!!!

For a family on an extremely tight budget ($250/month or $67.50/week), a limited diet (think pretty much Paleo), and without a lot of time/energy to cookit’s a frustrating process!  I find that this also makes it even more necessary to do, and when I put it off and don’t do it, it’s not good all the way around.  I also don’t enjoy cooking all that much either.

But I’ve found that meal planning helps this too!  I’ve tried many different systems to make meal planning easier. From Spreadsheets (check out a nice one here that incorporates your pantry, recipes, and more), to a few apps, to just plain pen and paper, and I’m now beginning to use Evernote.

My tried and true method is just a plain old piece of paper and pen.  It’s quick and easy. My biggest hang-up to meal planning is when I make it too complicated.  So if you’re just starting out – keep it simple!!!

For the last 2 months I’ve gotten back in the habit of meal planning this way.  But I’ve really wanted to make some time to write down all the different meals we can actually eat, so I don’t have to come up with meals off the top of my head (this is why we eat a lot of the same foods, and I get bored!).  So I started today.

I took my menus from the last 2 months that I wrote down, and entered each food/meal we’ve eaten into Evernote. I then included a tag for the type of meal (i.e Dinner, Side Dish), and the main ingredient (Chicken, Beef).  I’ve already been including new recipes I find online into Evernote so that I can refer to them anywhere and not forget them (I always forget what I have on Pinterest!!!).

I’ve also been typing my new menus into Evernote for the last two week.  Here’s what next weeks looks like.

Evernote, Meal Planning

My plan is that next week, I can use the tags in Evernote to browse ideas to place in the slots for each food. Hopefully this will help me to vary it up a little bit 🙂  I can also look through the new recipes I’ve found and add them in.

It’s still a work in progress but it’s helping.  I also print this out to put on the fridge, which is helpful when I’m standing there and can’t remember what I was planning on feeding Naomi for lunch!

If you are looking for some more resources for meal planning check out this weeks eBook Bundle of the Week below. This bundle is only good until Monday, July 22 at 8 AM, so check it out soon! Here’s some more info.


Bundle #29: Cooking Basics

This week’s bundle takes you back to the basics with 5 cooking resources to help you meal plan, create your own recipes, make homemade condiments and reduce waste. With a little planning, you can save time and money in your kitchen, and this week only get all 5 ebooks for just $7.40, or 85% off their list price!

With your purchase, you’ll get all five of these ebooks:

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Well that’s all for today 🙂

Leave me a comment and let me know what your Meal Planning strategy is.  What’s your motivation to keep at it?



(Affiliate links are used in this post. This means that if you decide to purchase a resource I’ve recommended that I get a small fee for sharing the resource with you. Note: I will only use affiliate links that I’ve personally used and honestly recommend! See Disclosure Policy)

May 212013

It’s been a Monday, a Meal Planning Monday.

Monday Meal Plan

BLAH! I hate Meal Planning Monday! Can you relate?

Always trying to find Cheap, Easy to fix, Yummy, Healthy, AND pretty much Paleo meals is exhausting — but doable.

‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I can do …’

This needs to be my mantra on Meal Planning Mondays.  (Well, everyday, but especially on Meal Planning Mondays!)

I did it.  I may not be ecstatic about my plan, but I did it.  Here it is:

Breakfasts: Eggs, Paleo Pancakes, French Fries/Sweet Potato Fries

Lunches: Chris: Ham & Fruit, or Leftovers      Me: Chicken on Salad, Fruit, or Leftovers


    • Oregano Chicken, french fries (not really Paleo)
    • Crockpot Turkey Thighs & Veggies
    • Veggie Marzetti
    • Chicken Legs, Broccoli, & Squash
    • Veggie Pizza
    • Ginger Mahi Mahi, and a vegetable
    • Out


  • Easy Grain Free Muffins (these are really yummy, tried tonight, but took more than 5 minutes to make for this Mommy, but not too much!)
  • Ice Cream – haven’t decided on flavor yet  🙂

So that’s my plan for the week.  I’m exhausted. I’m looking for some wisdom and some help to make this process easier.  If you’ve got any tips, tricks, or suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know!!!

There’s got to be a great app for this?! Right.

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