Mom, What’s for Dinner? – Week of September 5, 2022

After a week of being sick, I decided I needed to create a meal plan. Last week, I had a meal plan, but only one day was followed.

Even though I had the meal plan, I decided to change it for this week.

We are having 2 days of soups and 2 days of comfort foods.

Here are the plans for the week:

  1. Broccoli and cheddar soup (I kept this from the meal plan from last week.)
  2. Chicken noodle soup
  3. Big Mac Meal – This is a favorite family meal. I have the hamburger in a freezer. It’s easy to put together. There are no leftovers when I make it.
    We will have roasted potatoes or waffle fries with the meal.
  4. Hawaiian meatballs over rice – I also have stir-fry veggies as a side dish. Yum!
    I found gluten-free meatballs at Sam’s Club. I haven’t had this meal for a long time because I never found gluten-free meatballs.

Have a blessed week!

Traci

Freezer Cooking for the new school year

There are 3 reasons I need to do bulk freezer cooking sessions for the new school year.

  1. Even though there is an increase in the number of gluten-free freezer meals at the grocery store, it is still limited and expensive. I can make my own freezer meals for a lot cheaper.
  2. I’m changing positions this year, plus going after my master’s degree. I need to have meals ready to go for those busy nights.
  3. Inflation is real. If I can get the food at a cheaper price, I’ll have it in my freezer, ready to go.

The other day I went grocery shopping for the week and to do bulk cooking. I spent $148 for 57 items which I believe is a good price. One of those items was a new colander for $10, so I spent $138 for 56 items. One of the best deals was ground beef for $2.99 a pound. I got 5.5 pounds for $16. The only issue was it was 73% ground beef. I usually like a much higher percentage of ground beef. But during inflation, I’ll take a deal when I can.

I also found ground turkey for $6 for about 3 pounds.

Here is what is on my list:

  • Chicken stew
  • Burrito bowls – I cooked up chicken like I make my tacos. I added drained black beans and corn to the mixture. Instead of using the salsa tomatoes, I used Rotel. I did it on the stove instead of the pressure cooker to cook up some cilantro-lime rice.
    In my souper cube, I layered rice, the mixture, a thin layer of salsa, cilantro, and then some shredded cheese. I froze it overnight. Then I vacuumed sealed each block for an easy freezer meal.
  • Hamburger soup
  • Turkey chili stuffed sweet potatoes.
  • Parmesan chicken meatballs – Already made and in the freezer. I have a meatball mold I bought last year from Aldi. I’ll use half for tomorrow’s dinner. The rest will be saved for another meal. (I used gluten-free oatmeal coarsely ground instead of bread crumbs.)
  • Ham and bean soup

I have also made regular meatballs, chicken fried rice, and nacho meat. The nacho meat was also a sort of a take on my taco meat. I added black beans and corn for bulk. Youngest and I taste-tested the nacho meat. He told me it was delicious.

Over the last few weeks, I also got some steak when it was on sale. I marinated the steak for future dinners.

Happy eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of July 10th, 2022

So yesterday, I cleaned out the freezer. I reorganized food and meal-prepped some other foods to put in the freezer. Now that I know what we have in the freezer, I can create a meal plan easily.

Youngest is the person I can brainstorm possible meals with. Mostly it’s just me saying, “How does this sound for dinner?”

He’ll tell me if it sounds good or not. Youngest is also the one who will create crazy food combinations. Hubby found him in the kitchen last night cooking ham, hot dogs, and butter. I don’t know what he was cooking, but to me, it sounds weird.

Next week is Oldest’s birthday. He loves steak. I already know he wants to have that as his birthday dinner. Now he keeps saying he is going to 7-11 on his birthday because his birthday is on 7-11. Now, if he really does that, I don’t know. We’ll have his dinner either on his birthday or the day afterward.

I have a variety of possible breakfasts even though I usually eat the same thing.

  • Cottage cheese with jelly
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Homemade granola bar with cheese
  • Nature Valley Biscuit bar with cheese

Lunches

  • Leftovers
  • Salami roll-ups (salami with cream cheese in the middle) – I eat them with various sides depending on my mood.
  • Gluten-free pizza rolls
  • Out to eat – I’m going to be out of town for a few days. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I will pack a few options if we can’t find anything I can eat.

Dinners

  • Pork Tenderloin – I have not figured out how I’m going to cook it just yet.
  • Gluten-free nuggets for me, chicken patties for everyone else, and French fries
  • Big Mac Skillet (a favorite of Youngest)
  • Steak, roasted or fried potatoes, corn on the cob (Oldest’s birthday dinner)
  • Out to eat – I’m going to be out of town for a few days. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I will pack a few options if we can’t find anything I can eat. Plus we are going to be near an Aldi. I know I can find something there to eat.

The First Day of Kindergarten Blues

Oldest turns 19 on Monday. Where has the time gone?

He graduated from a career center and high school in late May. A few weeks ago, we had his graduation party. In preparation for his party, I created a movie. This is one of my favorite photos from the video.

You see, Oldest had and still has sensitivity towards certain foods. If it’s not what he wants, he won’t eat it. On his first day of kindergarten, I took the morning off to walk him into school. He cried and threw a fit. Why did he throw a fit? He was not happy the lunch ladies made him take a pop tart. He only wanted the chocolate milk they were offering.

A few weeks before his party, I walked through the elementary school where he attended kindergarten. They are getting ready to tear it down. I walked down that hallway and remembered his first day of kindergarten. It will always be a bittersweet memory of mine.

Freezer Clean Out

So today, I cleaned out and organized my fridge’s freezer. Since I started my master’s program, I needed to ensure I had ready meals when I went back to school in a month. With the rising food price, I am happy I have meat ready to go so I can feed my family.

I’ve had my food saver for almost a year but had never figured out how to use it. Now that I’ve finally mastered using it, I’m food-saving everything. My favorite gluten-free bakery had donuts this week. I got some and put them in the food saver for later. It will be nice to have some when my work has a donut day. I’ll be able to bring in my own and not feel left out.

When I went grocery shopping today, I discovered that some cheaper steak pieces were selling for $5.49 a pound. I could not pass that up. So I got them and then marinaded them. Hey, you won’t know the difference with a good marinade. (Just an FYI: I only used the first marinade on the steak.) My family is happy because they know we will have steak on the menu next week.

I bought 3 packages of steak. Marinaded them and then used the food saver on them. As I said, my family will have one of those packages next week. It’s nice to have that meat ready to go in the freezer.

Some of the other things I did besides marinade steak and freezing donuts is I took some chicken legs and marinaded them with a bottle of zesty Italian dressing. This will be another quick protein for my family. The package of chicken legs was 7 something, and the bottle of dressing was around $1.50. So for $4ish, I will have a protein for the meal.

I also organized my freezer to see what I had for future dinners. It’ll be easier to meal plan knowing what I have in the freezer. Next up will be the pantry. But that will be for another day. Maybe when I need to step away from my studying.

So what did you do today?

S’Mores Kits (Gluten-free option)

I eat a gluten-free diet. Three things could happen if I eat gluten.

  1. My eczema on my elbow has become irritated.
  2. I get a headache and/or tired if I have a large amount of gluten.
  3. Or my sugar drops, and I crash.

In my town, I have a local, gluten-free bakery. This past week the bakery had gluten-free graham crackers. I had to get some but knew I couldn’t eat them all right away. So I used my food saver to create a S’Mores kit.

In the kit, I put 4 graham crackers, 2 large marshmallows, and 2 blocks of chocolate. Then I used the pulse feature of my food saver to vacuum out the air in the bag. Now I have a S’Mores kit ready for summer fun. I know my treat will be safe to eat.

Happy eating,
Traci

Weekly Ramblings | July 2, 2022

So I started a thing yesterday. For the past 10 years, I’ve put off returning to school for my master’s degree. The boys were young. I worked full time. Writing IEPs takes too much time. Those were all of my excuses.

Now I’ve taken away one of those obstacles. The boys are teenagers. One has graduated from high school, so I can take that excuse away from my reasoning.

Yesterday I began my master’s degree. Instead of going to a brick-and-mortar school, I’m doing it online at Western Governor University. It’s self-paced, so I don’t have to go to an actual class. I can sit down for half an hour at a time to complete some of the work. (My attention span is small. If I tell myself, “You have to work for half an hour,” then I will. If I’m truly into the material, I won’t move for a few hours. Movement breaks will allow me to reflect on what I’ve learned from my reading or the video I watched.)

So what is my major? I’m getting a master’s degree in science in the area of Learning Experience Design (LXD) and educational teaching, K-12. I will be able to create a learning experience for students that will take into account their needs. I’m also considering getting the adult portion also. That way I can do professional development for teachers.

I’m both excited and scared but know I can do it. Thank you for reading about my newest endeavor.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Eagles at Carillon Park

The Carillon

Carillon Park is a park full of the history of Dayton.

Carillon Park is also known for their eagles. For the past few years, the Eagles have laid eggs in a tree above the building that holds the 1905 Wright B Flyer.

Today I decided to go and hopefully take some photos of Orv and Willa and their eaglets. I was successful. YEAH!

So I think this was a successful day! I had my zoom lens on the camera and just took photos. It was not until I got home and edited the photos did I realize how lucky I was at getting photos of the eagles.

Since I now have a membership to Carillon Park, I just went to watch the eagles and to check out the new printing building. The next photos are of the new printing press building and some of the exteriors of buildings or exhibits.

ET phone home

On Saturday morning, we decided to go to Lake Michigan. Really close to where we were staying was the Saugatuck Dune State Park. The directions on my Google Map lead us to a convenience store, so we ended up driving around in circles. Luckily our GPS unit lead us to the correct spot.

When we got to the parking lot, Hubby still thought we were in the wrong spot because there was no beach there. All we could see were trees.

In order to get to the beach, we needed to hike through the woods.

Some of the woods reminded me of the scene where Elliot flew his bike with ET in the front basket. It was totally worth hiking through the woods to get to the beach because of the views.

Once we saw the outhouse, there was an opening in the trees. We finally made it to the beach.

Even though it was in the 40s, I had to take my shoes and socks off. I wanted to dip my toes in that cold lake water.

Hubby wouldn’t let me roll down the dunes. He told me that he didn’t want to take me to the hospital. Spoilsport.



The beach – Absolutely breathtaking . . . I wanted to feel the sand between my toes. There is nothing like that feeling. It feels like Heaven and freedom all rolled into one.

Oh, and the shoes I was wearing are Sketchers. I highly recommend them. I walked over 18,000 steps on Saturday. My feet never hurt.

Once we got to the wooded area, I went down the other path to the beach. I found this bench on top of a dune. The view was breathtaking. If you look closely, there is a photo of a shadow of me sitting on that bench.

Then there was the walk back to the car. It was a little more difficult because of the hills. Finally, we made it back to the car. Then it was on to our next adventure.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

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