Monday, February 23, 2015

Make-a-Menu Monday--February 23, 2015

A young girl the other day said to her friend, "My mom never knows what to make for supper!" I laughed--but understood. How about you? If we had a menu plan, then we'd know what to make, wouldn't we?

So, I'm back to menu planning. I see why figuring out what to make each day is hard because sitting down to figure out what to make this week has been hard because I want to cut back on the wheat. And looking back on menu plans I posted on this blog before, I can see that what we eat hasn't really changed much in the past couple of years. *sigh* I'm sure my whole family would benefit by having some nice new things.

Running out of time before I head to the grocery store, I don't know what will be new, but I have considered things I don't make very often. Here's my supper plan for the week:

MONDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free): pan-fried chicken (I'll use a gluten-free flour blend) and mashed potatoes (with rice milk and vegan margarine) with steamed broccoli

TUESDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free) (early supper with kids; need something that reheats well):  Italian sausage and penne marinara with a salad; I'll probably make a batch of wheat flour penne and a batch of gluten-free penne and just have the sauce on the side for people to add to their choice of noodles. I've made this before and it was delicious! (Although I admit I ended up modifying, but I can't remember why... I think I just ended up putting in far more spices because I didn't have the stewed tomatoes.)

WEDNESDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free): slow cooker day: I'm not 100% decided on what I'll make Wednesday, other than it will be a slow cooker day. I'm thinking either Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms or Beef Roast and Vegetables. If I get a chance to find something vegetarian, dairy-free, wheat-free and sounding tasty, I will make that instead.

THURSDAY (*dairy-free) (only husband, son and I for supper): sloppy joes (at my son's request); my daughter's not super thrilled with sloppy joes and the "men folk" like it so much that one recipe doesn't really make enough for the four of us (I suppose I should fill them up on veggies or something first!) so Thursdays are good days.

FRIDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free) (only both teens and I for supper; it's also Lent, so meat-free): vegetable stir fry, possibly chop suey-style or with chow mein noodles

SATURDAY (only both teens and I for supper): We might actually go out for supper. If not, I'll make it a simple supper or each-to-his-own night.

SUNDAY (*dairy-free):  lasagna (one with cheese for them, small one with Daiya cheese for me). We normally reserve lasagna for a special occasion, but it's been a while! Served with Casear salad and possibly cooked carrots and garlic bread.

Looking at that all typed up and seeing 4 days of gluten-free meals, I'm pretty pleased with it!

What's your menu plan for the week? How do you go about deciding?

Monday, February 9, 2015

More Salt than Cinnamon

It's long been a "thing" to watch your salt/sodium intake when trying to be (pre)hypertensive-free. I haven't really been tackling my blood pressure issues (which fall into either prehypertension or hypertension, depending on the day) and just feel lately like my pressure is up, I'm out of shape, unhealthy, although weight is fine, not eating super well, and it's time to start taking some decent measures toward taking care of myself in this regard.

So, I'm starting to pay attention to sodium intake. I kept it in mind last night when I was making supper. I was going to use a prepackaged flavoured rice mix, then went, "Wait, it's got all kinds of salt I wouldn't add if I were making rice on my own." So, I looked up a low-sodium chicken fried rice recipe and the only sodium added was part of the Bragg's soy seasoning.

Just now, I thought I would eat some oatmeal before heading out for an appointment. I decided to have a look at the label on the box of prepackaged apple cinnamon instant oatmeal: 7% of the daily recommended max intake for one package. I look at the ingredients: salt is listed BEFORE cinnamon. There is more added salt in that package than cinnamon. That's crazy! So, I went for the whole large oats with some almond milk: the oats have no sodium in them, although the milk has the same 7%--at least in part due to the added sea salt. (Did they have to add the salt?)

Now, we need some sodium, but with prepackaged foods, there can be an amount of salt you never would have guessed would be there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Quote--to Encourage Being Clutter-Free

"We go on multiplying our conveniences,
only to multiply our cares.
We increase our possessions,
only to the enlargement of our anxieties."
-- Anna C. Brackett

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Outsourcing--As a Stay-at-Home Mom

Natalie talks about outsourcing today. And then she says she wants us to pick something we don't need to be doing that we will outsource within the next two days.

And then my mind goes blank.

I'm at stay-at-home mom. I would love to outsource the cooking (hm, get my teens to do more of it? although my one teen is so busy with evening activities and work, she's not even home for most suppers...). I've already been "outsourcing" the laundry--both kids have done their own this week. I can't imagine ever hiring a cleaner; my own little quirk in that I would feel like my space is being invaded. Although I would have no problem cleaning somebody else's house, but they want that. I don't. I can "outsource" more of the cleaning tasks to the kids, though, I suppose. Really, though, there is nothing that I do as part of things at home that I would be willing to pay someone else to do.

Income-wise, I have two jobs at the moment: I pick up kids after school once a week and look after them at my house (there is no outsourcing possible there--other than my son looking after the girls when I'm driving my daughter to dance) and I teach a French class once a week. I can't outsource the teaching, it wouldn't make sense to outsource the planning, although I suppose I could try to outsource some of the physical materials I would like. But I don't always know what I want until the last minute.

But that's it. The online French academy isn't a business yet. It doesn't even have a name, so I can't even register a domain or have a virtual assistant get things organized on that end of things or somebody to design it for me just yet. I'm not even sure of all of the components I want. Now that she's brought up outsourcing, I may just find somebody who can, for a reasonable price, design a site for me, or at least some images--once I have an actual name and things are ready to get started. But I also might not since I like to know how everything works. I won't have somebody else do the lesson planning. So... What am I going to outsource? Perhaps once things are really moving I'll find something?

Are you a stay-at-home mom who outsources anything? What? Are you running a fledgling online business and outsourcing something? What?