Meal Planning

Are you a planner or a go with the flow kind of person.  I am more of a go with the flow type of person except when it comes to cooking.  We try to plan out our meals each week so that we can keep our food budget low.  We don’t eat many if at all any processed foods so it takes time to plan everything out so that I am not in the kitchen all day.  M wouldn’t let me be in the kitchen anyways.  We have tried a few ways of planning but a great one I found to get started is called the No Plan Menu Plan.  It is pretty healthy, set up easily to follow, and includes over 20 weeks of meals.  They are bit too animal protein and dairy based for me but you can very easily make some changes to the recipes to make them work for you and your family.


This week I tried my own hand at planning in this same style and so far we are 2 for 2 in delicious meals.  Saturday we had crunchy orange cauliflower over rice and today we had red beans and rice.  Both were vegan and delicious and what I needed.  Last week I said I had to get back on the plan that is best for me and look at that one step in the right direction.  High five me!!!

Now this week it’s all about getting back into the work out phase.  I am not sure what program to go with right now.  I have so many that I love.  I could do Piyo again, 21 Day Fix, T25, Les Mills Combat… really the list goes on and on.  Maybe I should just go with the flow and go with what makes sense that day.  I dunno.  My intuition is saying Piyo and I have yet to finish that program from start to finish so maybe I should start that one over.  Hmmm, thoughts anyone?  Well here’s to staying on the path of being the best, healthiest me I can be!



So polenta is a staple that I like to have on hand because it’s hardy, you can do a lot to it, and the cornmeal is very cheap to buy.  Last night I wanted to make something easy and hardy as it is only in the 20’s and snowy here in Minnesota.  I decided on polenta topped with jarred spaghetti sauce and sauteed veggies (we had mushrooms, onion, red pepper, garlic, zucchini, and edamame) and for the hubby chicken sausage.  I got the whole meal together in probably 15-20 min and everyone including my 9 mo old liked it.

Here’s a trick I found online (no I can’t take credit for this one, darnit!) to make polenta SUPER easy (even though it’s pretty easy no matter what).  It uses your rice cooker!  <– this is becoming the best appliance EVER.  Put 1 cup of your cornmeal in your rice cooker with 3 cups water or broth and turn on.  Once it turns to warm let it sit for another 5 min to help absorb any extra water.  This makes the fluffiest polenta I have ever had.  I am never making it on the stove again!

I love meals that are quick, use ingredients you have on hand, are inexpensive, and most importantly healthy!  I am on a mission to prove that healthy does not mean expensive or take a long time to do.  Here’s the proof of one meal that met all the criteria!  So, do you like polenta or grits?  Do you use your rice cooker for anything not that’s not rice?

Chemical Free Bug Spray

I live in Minnesota, to me this is the misquito capital of the world.  They are horrible here and because we have had A LOT of rain lately, they are really bad this year!  Don’t get me started on the nats!  Our family loves to be outside and often times can be found at our garden plot, by the pool, or walking around the neighborhood.  I don’t want to be swatting bugs while trying to be enjoying the outdoors!  I found myself in a dilemma…. use a chemical bug spray or make one of my own.  Now this recipe isn’t mine.  Through searching the internet and doing some combining of other recipes I have found this one works well for me and my family.  I only use Young Living essential oils as I have found them to be the highest quality.  If you use another kind of essential oil it may not work quite like this one does.   Continue reading

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

If you have been reading this blog or know me at all you know I eat mostly vegan.  I would say about 90% of the time I am a plant-based eater.  My husband on the other hand is not.  I often make him meat-based dinners.  I came up with this one last night and even had some.  I have to say it was pretty darn delicious and easy to make too.  These would be great for potlucks or to toss in the freezer and heat up when needed.  Here’s what you will need:

Makes approx 24 meatballs

1 lbs Ground Turkey
1/2 cup Flax Meal
1/3 cup Hot Sauce of your choice
1/4 chopped white onion
1/8 cup crumbled Blue Cheese (optional)
1 T garlic granuals
Pinch salt
1 t cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place everything in a bowl and gently mix to combine.
I used a cookie scoop here but you could just use a spoon and roll in your hands and place on a greased shallow pan.  (I used unbleached parchment instead)
Bake for 20-25 min or until done



Recipe: Orange Chia Seed Pancakes

I love pancakes for a few reasons the top one being they are super easy to make.  I love to make a large batch and put the extra in the freezer for the rest of the week.  They are also easy to make your own.  Changing flavors is fun like throwing in blueberries, chocolate chips, or strawberries.  For me I have been working on trying to make a yummy vegan gluten-free pancake and found a great resource at  I’ve adapted her recipe a bit to make these pancakes and I warn you they are very yummy so sticking with only two, three okay four of them is tough.


Orange Chia Seed Pancakes
Gluten Free, Vegan

Makes approx 15 3.5″ pancakes

1 1/4 Cup AP Gluten Free Flour
1 T Chia Seeds
2 T Brown Rice Syrup
2t Baking Powder
2t Ground Cinnamon
1t Vanilla Extract
1/4t Salt
1/4 Cup Applesauce or Oil
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used vanilla flax)

1. Mix everything together in a bowl (you could do it the right way with liquids in one and dry in another but I say just go for it, less dishes too)

2. Cook on a griddle or pan on med. high heat

3. Enjoy

Super easy, super yummy, and super cheap!  What do you like to top your pancakes with?