Monday, April 29, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 4/29 thru 5/6

Monday: Pulled Pork Sliders, Macaroni Salad
Tuesday: Make Your Own Pizza Night
Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie, Corn Bread
Thursday: Beef Stroganoff over Cous Cous, Salad
Friday: Baked Mac and Cheese, Steamed Broccoli
Saturday: Spaghetti with Bolognese, Salad
Sunday: Leftovers


Monday, April 22, 2013

Going Green in 2013

Going "Trying to Go" Green

Celebrate Earth Day this year by starting some new "Green" traditions in your family!
Over the last year we Libs have been slowly trying to change little habits here and there in an effort to go green...and by we I mean me, and they will hopefully follow along.
I didn't want to be one of those moms that woke up one day and changed everything all in one fell swoop, leaving the unassuming family stunned and longing for their processed, packaged bad for you treats.  So I have opted for a slow process, I try to explain as often as I can why certain things are bad for you without getting into all the gory details.  I feel like getting them involved in the transition all the while remaining positive... will aid in more lasting results.

1)  I stopped buying paper plates

..this was a big one.  With 4 kids compounded by the fact that I work anywhere from 2-5 evenings a week and the fact the my children are completely incapable of opening the dishwasher to see if their dishes can go in there this was one of the toughest.
For a busy mom with 2 come home to a clean sink is just so amazing...but I know it was bad for the environment.  I even tried to get plastic for a bit so the kids would rinse, wash and reuse (or recycle) ....that DID NOT HAPPEN....I would come home to a trash can full of plastic plates.
So finally a few months ago we went cold turkey...REAL DISHES it is!

 2) I bring my reusable grocery bags...Everytime!

This one took a while to become part of my regular grocery routine....but I have pretty much gotten it down! I think it's been about 3 months since I have forgotten them!

3) I stopped buying bottled water

I invested in a bunch of water bottles...We have a Britta on the counter next to the sink so there's no reason not to use the water from home!

4) Eating less processed/prepacked foods

A work in progress but we have definitely cut down, lots more fresh veggies and homemade versions of some of their favorite boxed meals.
Lots of the snacks that the hubby and kiddos can't live without (They are super Cheezit addicts)
pretzels etc...I buy in bulk and then divide up for them. (kind of time consuming but it makes me feel like I'm doing my part)
I have been slowly trying to use up my pantry stock of boxed mixes etc...In favor of making my own as the year progresses.
I have pinned tons of recipes such as homemade Ranch mix, Homemade Bisquick, Homemade instant oats etc...
I have been looking into some new glass jar options to house my new mixes (I think Mason jars and a few cute purchases online are going to do the trick.
I am working towards making my own salad dressings too!
It's a slow process but I feel that by the end of summer we will be much closer to clean eating!

5) Switching to more "green" products for the household or making them myself

I made my own cleaning solution, with vinegar, alcohol, liquid detergent and lavender essential works great on everything!
The next step is to make my own stain remover.
I also signed up for the amazing monthly email service  through The Honest Company by Jessica Alba...for about $40 dollars a month you can choose 5 different household supplies and you can mix and match them each month depending on your needs.  All her products are non toxic, made with plant based materials and amazing for us allergy prone families!  The light scents are amazing.

6) Eating Meatless once or Twice a week

This one is a toughie, I have been trying to introduce new foods to our repertoire over the past year, but after years of catering to my hubby and kids limited likes it is a slow moving process, but we have added several new items to our dinners. My stepdaughter and the youngest the most open to our new food adventures and I feel the others will follow in suit.
For me I try to go fully meatless two whole days a week, breakfast to dinner and snacks!  I also try to eat fish the few nights I am at work.
For them it usually just means spaghetti with homemade meatless sauce or Mac and Cheese but hey...we're trying.

7) Shopping Seasonally and Organic

I found this great list on pinterest of Seasonal Produce.
I try as much as I can to shop organic, while being realistic.  If I had an endless supply of $$ I would absolutely be more strict about my purchases.  But lets's face it we have 4 kids..the grocery bill already gets up I try to do my part.  I still fall prey to sales/coupon combos.
My mom and I will team up and head to Trader Joe's every few weeks (our nearest one is 45 min away)
I have looked into several of the subscribe and save options on Amazon.
I LOVE Spring/Summer/Fall...I have a favorite local farmstand that I frequent once or twice a week and stock up on tons of goodies and I try to visit the local farmers markets whenever I can.

8) Simplifying while Upcycling

I have been in the long slow process of Decluttering and simplifying and let me tell you...with all "the stuff" I have collected over the years it is a work in progress. It is very hard for me to just throw things out.
I have tried to mindfully donate things that will be reused. 
Recycle lots of things that we don't need but might not be used by someone else.
The kids have taken to making their own cards for people with all the Scrapbooking stuff I collected over the years (that was one hobby that did not catch on) We didn't even buy Valentine's this year!!!
I save gift bags and boxes.  This Christmas I bought one roll of wrapping paper and a little tape and used all the things we had saved from last year.


~What "Go Green" strategies have you adapted?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Healthier Green Goddess Dressing

This is my healthier version of Green Goddess Dressing....this herby flavorful dressing is great on salads and also used as a dip for veggies.

You could make it even healthier by leaving out the mayonnaise altogether.

Green Goddess Dressing

6 scallions (the green parts only) coarsely chopped
10 Basil leaves coarsely chopped
1 sprig of fresh tarragon (strip leaves and chop) *optional
1 clove of Garlic Chopped
The juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
1/2 an Avocado sliced
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Mayonnaise (I use Olive Oil mayo)
1/2 c. Light Sour Cream
1/4-1/2 c. Buttermilk

In a food processor or blender combine first 5 ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add a little dash of buttermilk if you are having trouble getting the herbs to puree.
Add Avocado, Greek Yogurt, Mayo and Sour Cream and blend.
Slowly pour in buttermilk until the dressing reaches your desired consistency approx. 1/4c. to 1/2 c. depending on how thick/thin you like your dressing.

Chill for about an hour to let flavors combine.  Store in airtight glass container for up to a week.

I brought this dressing with a big Chicken Cobb Salad to a lunch with some of my favorite ladies last week and it was a big hit!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday 4/1 through 4/7

Monday: Spaghetti with Sauce and Salad
Tuesday:Tarragon Chicken, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Honey Dill Carrots
Wednesday: Garlic Herb Pork Chops, Cous Cous, Broccoli
Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner.....Pancakes, Bacon and fresh fruit
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday:  Ribs, Mac Salad and Asparagus