Step 3 – Plan your protein

Your grocery list always need to start with proteins.  

You have to get into your head what counts as a protein; here in the good ol’ Midwest we tend to lean towards beef.  And, yes, of course, it is a protein.

But, expand your thinking: include dairy, eggs, nuts, chicken, pork products, and fish.

All of these are ways to get protein.  If you are planning to cook on four nights, you need four proteins for the week.  So, look in your freezer and see what you have on hand.

If you pick something like a roast or whole chicken, depending on family size, you could get two nights of meals out of that single protein source.

Here’s my typical plan: 

one night beef


one night chicken


one night fish


one night left-overs from one of the above

To review:

write down your schedule for the week, divide your days, and now pick your proteins.

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Guest Post – I Love CIDOs

Was I no good at cooking because I didn’t enjoy it?  Or did I not enjoy cooking because I was so bad at it?  Definitely a bit of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  All I know is that I dreaded being in the kitchen.  

That all changed last year when I got my first enameled cast iron Dutch oven.  It was so pretty!  Like a jewel for the kitchen.  Bold red.  It commanded attention.  It was also extremely heavy, so I left it sitting on my stove top.  It beckoned me.

Overnight, I became obsessed with recipes using cast iron Dutch ovens.  I was cranking out Coq Au Vin, homemade spaghetti sauce, melt-in-your-mouth roasts, and even Artisanal bread.  My picky youngsters started asking for seconds on many things that came out of that Dutch oven.  People who barely knew me thought I was one of those people.  You know, one of those people who actually knew how to cook.  My freezer was starting to overflow with healthier stews, soups, and sauces and with none of the preservatives & extra junk that are found in the canned varieties that I’d been purchasing for years.  Bonus!

Along came a few more dutch ovens & cocottes.  I couldn’t stop raving about my cast iron dutch ovens (CIDOs).  As expensive as these things can be, I believe they were saving me money in the long run.  I was cooking at home all the time.  And (mostly) enjoying it!  

The fun Staub knobs that I received for Christmas were just icing on the cake.  Who would’ve guessed that enameled cast iron dutch ovens & pretty knobs would be the catalyst to get me motivated to learn how to cook?  I guess for me it wasn’t the chicken or the egg.  It was the rooster atop my gorgeous yellow Staub cocotte. 



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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Step 2 – divide your days

The next part of the planning it to get into a routine. 

Our routine is that we go out once a week and we try to limit drive-thru stops to twice a week.  That leaves four days of cooking.

Two of those days still have to be quick meals or something people can eat at different times and two of those days are sit-down family dinners.

Start to plan a grocery list (in your head, just when you’re driving and thinking about it).  Don’t worry about writing anything down yet.

You are really only going to need 8 meals that your family eats well – 2 a week for a month and then you start over.

The next post will teach you how to take all of this thought and really make that grocery list and start making a change in your habits.

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Step 1 – keep track of your schedule

I’ve had quite a few people interested in the weekly meal plan.  These first few weeks I’m going to share my meal plan with them – but I’m going to share the quick steps to getting there by yourself here in the blog.

Step 1 – literally grab a pen/paper and chicken scratch your schedule out

Here’s what mine looks like..



You probably can’t even read mine.  

You might wonder what “R” means.

In college, the university had just moved to scheduling classes by phone.  Since Tuesday and Thursday both started with “T” and therefore would be the same number on the touch tone phone, they labeled Thursday classes as “R”.  It stuck with me.

So, write down what you’re doing and look to see what nights you need a quick meal and what nights you will be home to cook something.

Step 2 – coming soon…….


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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Family Reveals Money Saving Secrets

I decided maybe someone besides my personal friend base could benefit from money saving tips.

And our local Fox affiliate – Fox59 – agreed!

As part of their “Stretching Your Dollar” Segment – they shared this blog and what we do here to save money and eat healthier.


Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Guest Post – My cousin shares her dilemma

My cousin delivered her second son prematurely and shares the on-going dilemma of dealing with his diet.  I’m sure we can all relate to some degree.  


I went into motherhood with this great idea that my children would eat better than me. They would grow up loving vegetables and would request an apple over a french fry.


My plan was moving along successfully with my oldest, Logan. Then along came Reese…..17 weeks early.

We were introduced to a whole new world of food and just how much we take for granted the ease at which we eat. Initially, it was his lack of strength to be able to suck…on anything! With real food came the confusion with what to do with it in his mouth. After 2 years of speech and occupational therapy and finally 5 weeks at an intensive feeding clinic, Reese learned to move food around in his mouth. He mastered chewing at age 3, manipulating the food to the sides of his mouth so his teeth could do the work.

Once he could chew properly we moved onto fattening him up. Lackluster vegetables wouldn’t do so we added butter and oil to everything. He indulged in fatty sweets and slowly his diet became miserably unhealthy.

This was NOT what I had in mind for my children. The struggle to get him to eat something healthy with “fat” on top of it became increasingly tiring though. It was a little bite of pop-tart here and the brownie there just to get something in him so that he could maintain his place in the 5th percentile of the growth chart.


With time, those completely unhealthy foods have become the only diet of our 6 year old who still only weighs 35 pounds. While meals remain a constant frustration, I choose my battles wisely. I’ll give in on the broccoli if it means a pop-tart will add 5 grams of weight to his belly.




Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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I’ve never blogged in order to only share content of another blog.

But this is worth it.  I’m a lover of a snack just like everyone else – but as this blog post points out – it’s never just ‘one’.


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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


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