Why menu planning is worth it!


One of our biggest challenges is to do a Menu plan for the week. 

Menu planning is worth it! There are so many advantages:

1. Saves money. (potentially a ton of money).

2. Less food gets wasted. (we waste too much).

3. Eat healthier. (yeah, beats ordering Pizza).

4. Less stress. (no panic for “what’s for dinner?”)

5. Eat a better variety.

6. Saves time.

Well, geez with all of those perks why wouldn’t you  we plan each week?

1. It can be overwhelming.

2. It takes discipline to take the time to sit each Sunday and plan.

3. You must think about the week ahead on your day off…

4. It takes effort, and some creative thinking.

I guess I finally got “sick and tired of being sick and tired” of being unorganized and then doing something quick on the fly. So I made the commitment to take the time this weekend to tackle this area of our lives. I found this amazing menu planner page.


It is from I love the menu planning template for several reasons.

1. It is on one page.

2. It only has dinners on it.

3. It has a large area to “inventory” food we have on hand for planning as well as for a grocery list.

4. It is simple and straight forward.

Here is the process I went through:

1. Print out the template. Click here for link.

bree menu lise 2

2. Inventory your food on hand. Start with the refrigerator. Write down on your menu planning sheet everything you have on hand. ( as you can see from mine I did this on Bree’s sheet to the right). This is a great time to clean out the frig as wel–get rid of food that has gone bad.

3. Inventory the freezer (or both if you have multiple).

4. I didn’t take the time to  Inventory the pantry. (I worked my menu around the frigerator first because those foods have a use by date, then freezer). I then “shopped” in my pantry when I was trying to make menu.

5. I then went to the  and used their search by ingredients function. It is at the very top of their web page.  It is awesome you put in a few ingredients and a list of recipes with those ingredients appear. Here is the link to their page. Click here. 

6. You base your recipes on most of the ingredients that you have on hand, then make a list of what you need to buy.

bree 4

As you can see from this week, after doing the menu planning I only needed to go get 5 things from the grocery store for the week. That is truly amazing.  I was ready to get in the car and do a full shop which for me usually is about 150.00- 200.00 dollars. What a waste of money and effort when I really can get buy with only 5 grocery items. And the funny thing is we will eat healthier, and with more variety. Another plus is the kids are home for the summer and the leftovers can be eaten for lunch.

Another tip- I printed the recipes I got from  and attached them to the back of the menu planner for the week and after I got back from the store I hung this  page and recipes on the refrigerator door.

If we love a new recipe I will make a recipe card and file it away for meal planning.

Hope this helps with your menu planning and getting organized in the kitchen.  I will give you an update next week.




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Thanksgiving Treat–Turkey Buddies that make everyone happy!

Happy Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for this wonderful day. First and foremost, I have my health, my loved ones are happy and healthy. I thank the Lord everyday for his guidance and support in my life. I am truly blessed. Though there was some special ones we didn’t get to see this year because our family is getting so big…we know everyone was safe and warm and fed. That is truly a lot to be thankful for…

Wanna cool treat to make for your next Thanksgiving?

It is made with:

Oreo cookies

Fudge striped cookies

candy corns

chocolate frosting

and any kind of chocolate you want I used chocolate covered cherries. I think truffles would be so yummy but I was going for a low budget hostess gift to bring over.

Hope you enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving.

I have to give credit where credit is due: I got this idea from YouTube from a great site called AustinWarrenDesign. He is no longer posting;0(, and he disabled his link to imbed, but if you search on you tube for Turkey buddies and AustinWarrenDesign you will find it.   He used white frosting but it showed up too much. The chocolate just blends in. They are wrapped for travel in the car…but aren’t they cute.



Happy Father’s Day Banana Pecan Cake!

I let my guy sleep in Father’s Day morning!   I was looking for something that I could surprise him with utilizing ingredients that I had in our pantry and it got me looking for recipes on line  that are made with white cake mix.

Okay before you cringe…..there are amazing recipes out there using cake mixes!!  Okay my inner dessert Goddess  was doing a happy dance at the cake made with Butterfingers. Going to have to try that one.

I found  this recipe by Paula Deen–who doesn’t love Paula Deen—can you say butter?

It is called Spicy Cinnamon Cake, utilizing white cake mix, sour cream, vanilla pudding mix, pecans, cinnamon and sugar. Click here for a link.

Okay this is a” pantry  purging” effort so I used banana pudding mix otherwise I followed the recipe exactly!  Thus I changed the name to Banana Pecan Cake….

Here it is baking.

I am excited that it gave me the opportunity to utilize my new CuisinArt grinder. (Oh Yeah my Salvation Army Find). Here you can see the topping up close…the grinder made the nuts almost into a paste. It was wayyyy cool.

Okay…this was an amazing cake. It is not on my diet but, I had to at least taste it.  It was worth every little bit of sugar and calories.



My DH woke to warm pecan crusted banana cake with hot coffee.  He seriously ate 3 pieces… smile. My DS and DTD also enjoyed it tremendously.  Such a simple pleasure for a special morning.  I would recommend this recipe for any occasion.  I am excited to make it again but, with vanilla pudding.

Don’t worry I didn’t forget my Dear dad, I drove up and had breakfast with him yesterday morning and we had an awesome time!

Try this recipe…you won’t be disappointed. I am going to make one and freeze it for company that is visiting for the fourth of July. YUM!

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Graduation Cap Chocolate Favors- Pinterest Project

It is such a wonderful and “crazy busy” time of year with all of the graduations taking place.

I love to go to the celebrations and see such wonder and excitement in young peoples hearts.  They are off to an adventure and have so much life ahead of them. Okay I love the decorations at the parties too.

I went to a “Martha” party this past weekend.  I call it a Martha party after my DFC- this time dear friend Christy. She is the mother of one of my daughters “Besties”. Our daughters have grown up together. I have grown to enjoy DFC and her family so much.  She has become a great friend and confidant. WEll, she truly is an amazing wife and mother. Always entertaining with the best food and decorations. I saw these at her son’s graduation party.

Well, she inspired me and I decided to bring some of these gems to my nephew Mathew that graduated yesterday.

I had to put a photo of the graduate and his Aunt and Uncle. (Okay I need bangs! lol)

okay exit proud Auntie…here are my chocolate caps…


A couple of things I learned. You only need one tube of minis. I over bought afraid of not having enough of the blue ones.

Open the Ghirardelli chocolate squares according to package so they won’t break in half.

Find a smaller frosting applicator tool so that your string is skinny. Mine was way too fat. Matt loved them–so I was happy.


Here are some versions on interest:



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Favorite Food Friday—via Pinterest !

Okay I love Pinterest! I am so addicted. It is such a fun place to browse and find new ideas.  I was cleaning up my boards and labels and I realized that I have so many food items pinned.  I love all the clever ideas. I need to get trying them. Enjoy…



What a great idea! Jolly Rancher plant is here in Colorado and I grew up eating them. Yummy….Great Birthday party idea.




This looks like a yummy breakfast for a brunch, guests that are staying over or for breakfast in bed for your hubby.



Source: via Beth on Pinterest


see a party in my future…on our deck in the summer enjoying family and friends. Oh yeah we don’t have a deck…someday…looking at doing a patio.  We don’t have that much saved in our “sink fund” so I am challenging myself to see what I can build for what we have saved up so far.





I am afraid to even comment on this one…my favorite ice cream is Oreo…. One of these with vanilla ice cream.



I made this cake for my DTD’s 16th Birthday Bash and it was a huge hit. She loved it.





These look so yummy. They seem easy to make too.

Well, What do you love to eat that you have found on Pinterest? Please share….

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Pumpkin Kadu- Favorite Things Friday

This is amazing

When I was in San Francisco for a business trip last week,  I was able to see my DFC, dear friend Chris, long time 23 year friend Chris.  She is always the hostess with the mostest.  She treated me to a pedicure and to a wonderful dinner at an Afghan restaurant.  Here is a copy of their menu. The restaurant is called KABUL.  She said,” don’t be scared it looks like a Dive but it is wonderful.” And boy was she right. This dish called Kadu was amazing. It is a steamed pumpkin, with sugar and caradine, topped with a creme yogurt sauce, and then a lamb meat sauce. Fantastic seriously.

Copy of their menu from an iPhone...not such a great picture.

I also had this rice and shrimp dish. The portions were so big we had plenty to take home. Truth is I could have order the Kadu as my meal it was so good. The service was amazing and the daughter of the owner remembered my friend and was so friendly explaining the dish and how to make it. If you live in San Francisco please check them out you won’t be sorry.

Thanks DFC! I miss you already.


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Quick Easy Eggs

Egg Cooker


Okay this looks like some weird medical device. Huh? Well this puppy has changed our breakfast routine for life. I bought it at our local grocery store. It was hanging on one of those “impulse” aisle hangers. (I guess it works cause I bought it). It was literally 4-5 dollars.

This is how it works. You open up the plastic device like this.

Egg contraption don't spray cooking spray into it...

Just crack two eggs into it. You can scramble and pour eggs as well. We like our with yoke in middle.

This is how it should look before you close it.


Now close it back up like first picture and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then, add in 5 sec increments until the egg is cooked the way you like it. (remember raw eggs can be dangerous).

Here is how our egg comes out. Just perfect. The minute it is cooking is time to make some whole wheat toast or skinny bagel to make a sandwich. I love making sure my kids have protein before they leave for school. Our kids lunches are so late in the day…I found this at King Soopers (Kroger).


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Day 6 Thanksgiving Countdown— Everything Pumpkin…

Day 6!



One thing that is really cool about Thanksgiving time and Halloween is the focus on Pumpkin.

Seriously, have you noticed how much pumpkin everything there is?

Let’s make a list:

Espresso, pumpkin-flavored syrup and steamed milk. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices.

Starbucks...yum...I know why the "bucks" in the name....cost lots of them!


Bruegger’s bagels has pumpkin cream cheese…see it here on their list? It is seasonal of course.

Okay and now for one of the best recipes you will ever bake. Chocolate Chip pumpkin cookies…I have made these with and without the chocolate chips. Definitely need the chocolate chips they were kinda plain without.

I would double the recipe. I made these for my family and they didn’t even make it to the ziplock bag, they ate them up so fast. I used a spice cake mix. I found this on Pinterest, but I have included a link to the site that has specific recipe. Click here.


What have I missed? Please don’t tell me there is pumpkin perfume…or cologne..or something crazy like that. lol. What did I miss pumpkin that you love?

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Day 12…of the Thanksgiving Countdown…

Day 12!

Day 12- did you get a chance to watch one of the Thanksgiving movies or at least order one?

That’s okay…even if you get to watch a couple it will help get you in the spirit.

One thing that is key in our economic times is making Thanksgiving affordable, with so many people cutting back and on a budget. The best thing to do to save money is to have a BYOS Feast.

What is a BYOS feast? It is where everyone brings a side dish-  “bring your own side”. Get it a play on BYOB!! Seriously, or “legit”, as DTD (dear teenage daughter) would say. Instead of saying legitimate. They shorten the phrase to Le git….

Oh my goodness I caught myself saying that the other day…forgive me Lord.

Advantages of BYOS feast.

  • Everyone has a dish they are proud of and love to bring and show off, some even have a signature dish they always make.
  • People love to help–everyone needs to be needed. (Make sure to give many thanks for what people bring).
  • You are not as exhausted from cooking all week. The host can just be concerned with the Turkey, and table settings…
  • Everyone gets to try something new out. Even though some people will say “my kids/husband won’t eat that”…okay…they don’t have to. Just politely pass it along.Manners please…
  • Less Dishes for the Host and more time to play games and enjoy the meal.
Put together an email with the invite to dinner. Be flexible and accommodating as possible. List out the foods and dishes needed and let people respond yeah or nay. Do this today or tomorrow. It give people plenty of time to think and respond to your invitation. Let people bring their favorite dish. I used to get all controlling about the menu. But, that isn’t the point now is it? It is to have a great time, break some bread and enjoy each other and be reminded of how Thankful we are.

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Thrifty Finds….been wanting one of these…

I hit some amazing sales this weekend. Something that has been on my list for a long time is a belgian waffle maker. I know I could go pick one up at Target and not pay much. But, we weren’t in dire need for one –it is a want. The one my DH and I got for a wedding gift got used alot and bit the dust about 5 years ago.

I love waking before my DH & kids and make warm waffles, and have coffee ready when they wake up! Makes me feel good.

Well….this weekend I hit the best couple of sales… and this is what I found. It was 2 bucks!!! The one if you click the link below the price is about 54.00. Okay I made 52.00 saling this weekend. (yes a  hoarder justification, a good one if I say so myself.).

Whooly Crackers batman it is a waffle iron...

It is a Presto Flip iron. It is heavenly. I made Alton Brown’s yummy buttermilk waffles. They were amazing. So amazing my DH and DS came home after playing 18 holes of golf, and ate them cold! I found a great post about waffle irons and this recipe on a great site called mommyskitchen.  Her website is amazing if you have a passion for homemade grandma used to make recipes. She is talented!

My waffles….

They were delicious. Crunchy on outside soft and fluffy on inside.

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