Menu Plan Monday May 25 - 29

>> Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day to all my friends and family in the States. I hope that you all have a great day and I imagine many of you will be having or attending BBQ's today. Enjoy the extra day of the weekend. I love long weekends. I think we should have more of them ;).

This week's menu for the raw vegan part is going to be a bit different. I am still struggling trying to get back to the level of raw I was once doing. So I have decided rather than beat myself up for whatever cooked food I end up eating, I'm going to allow myself the opportunity to have cooked food at supper if I desire it. That was how I initially started on my raw journey and it really helped. Eventually I got to the point I didn't desire any cooked food, and then shortly after I got derailed from the path. I've just struggled since then to get back to where I felt I should be on raw eating. So my menu this week isn't going to be as detailed, I'm going back to beginnings and simple eating.

Raw Vegan Menu {Monday - Saturday}

Breakfast - Green Smoothie

Lunch - Pink or Green Smoothie or Salad or mono-meal (I'm allowing options based on what I am craving, if I am wanting to chew or if I am short on time mono-meals are great).

Supper - Big salad & a portion of whatever I cooked, if I desire it.

Dessert - Almond milk & frozen fruit shake (if I am craving something sweet after supper).

Regular Cooked Menu {Monday - Friday}
With printable recipe cards (click pics to save and print) & links to original recipes where noted.

Monday - Salisbury Steaks, Mashed Potatoes & Mixed Veggies
(I'll include a recipe card for the Salisbury steaks, but tonight I'll be making this with leftover grilled burgers from last night & just a simple beef gravy.)

Tuesday - Rosemary Pork Chops on the grill, Noodles and Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Tenderloins (Without the grill!), Crash Hot Potatoes, Salad

Thursday - Sloppy Joes (Manwich) on homemade buns, Oven Fries & Corn (Carried over from last week, it was too hot in the house to make buns.)

Friday - Calzones & Salad

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts, questions or if you try a recipe from my menu. I would LOVE to hear what you have to say.
For more menu planning ideas and lots of links head over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie and at Chive Talkin.

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Blondies, any way you like 'em

>> Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yesterday was the last good baking day for this week; so I was determined to get in the kitchen and whip something yummy up for the kids & daddy. I have been making this blondie recipe for at least 4 or 5 years now. It is so good and if I don't keep an eye on the tray the kids will (ok, and daddy too) will devour them in one day.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can do just about anything you want to it and it will still turn out great. I don't add nuts, but you could add any kind you like. I've used all kinds of chocolate chips in it and even butterscotch chips; they always turn out great. You could even just leave them plain for a true blondie and they would still just melt in your mouth.

Oh I've even made a couple batches and put them in the freezer to pull out as needed. This works great in the summer when there are very few good baking days. They are just as good as if you made them that day. So go ahead, get in your kitchen and make a batch up today for your family. They will dance and sing and give you the highest praise. OK, maybe not all that but they will love them!


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional - or any kind of nuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (any kind will work, I usually use milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

Using a large pan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. Let this cool for about 10 minutes.
While this is cooling, sift flour, baking powder and salt together, and set aside. Add the eggs one at a time, to the brown sugar & butter. Be sure to beat well after adding each egg. Add the flour mixture, the nuts and the chocolate chips and blend well (by hand). Spread in the greased pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Cut into small squares when cool.

Click image to save and print

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Menu Plan Monday May 18 -22

>> Monday, May 18, 2009

Sorry this week's menu is a little late getting up. It's a holiday weekend here so things are a little off schedule. I am getting ready now to do my grocery shopping for the week,and I can't do that without my menu. Figure I may as well share it with you now too. Once again this week I am sharing my raw vegan menu and the menu I will be cooking for the rest of the family this week. I Hope you have a fantastic week!

Raw Vegan Menu {Monday - Saturday}

Breakfast - Hot Pink Smoothie

Lunch -

  • Monday - Cool Banana Green Smoothie
  • Tuesday - Green Ambush Green Smoothie
  • Wednesday - Blueberry Blues Green Smoothie
  • Thursday - Minty Treat Green Smoothie
  • Friday - Orchard Green Smoothie
Supper -
  • Monday - Tomato-Celery Soup, Italian Mixed Salad
  • Tuesday - Cream of Zucchini Soup, Spring Mix Salad
  • Wednesday - Popeye Soup, Veggie Fruit Salad w/tomato, avocado dressing
  • Thursday - Raw Chili, Layered Salad
  • Friday - Raw Chili, Tomato-Cucumber Salad
Dessert - (if I am craving something sweet after supper)
  • Almond milk & frozen fruit shake
*All of the soups are raw blended soups.*
For more menus like this and the recipes check out The Raw Divas Sisterhood

Regular Cooked Menu {Monday - Friday}
With printable recipe cards (click pics to save and print) & links to original recipes where noted.

Monday - Dh offered to order tonight, so who am I to deny him this act of kindness ;)

Tuesday - Classic Roast Chicken, Rice & Steamed Veggies

Wednesday - Chicken Fried Rice (use leftover chicken & rice)

Thursday - Sloppy Joes (Manwich), on homemade rolls, oven fries & corn

Friday - Grilled Pizza & Salad
This will be done on the outside grill rather than in the oven. After rolling out the dough, oil the top side. (you can season your oil) Place oiled side down on your hot grill. Oil the side facing up and let the dough cook for 1 1/2 -2 minutes. Flip over and put your toppings on it. Go easy on the toppings so they will cook. Close the lid and let cook til pizza is done.

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions.
For more menu planning ideas and lots of links head over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie and at Chive Talkin.

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Breastfeeding and Guilt - My Perspective

>> Saturday, May 16, 2009

This morning on Twitter @realbabymilk posted a link to an article written by Dr. Jack Newman regarding breastfeeding & guilt. It is one of the best articles I have ever read about the topic. It got me thinking about my own breastfeeding challenges and my lack of guilt over having to use a bottle & formula.

I've breastfed all of my children. I haven't breastfed them all successfully though. Please don't take what I am about to say as I think formula is just as good as breastmilk. I don't and I never have. Breast is best and yes, breastfeeding is normal.

My oldest child was only breastfed for about 3 months. During the first week or so following his birth, the Dr. told me that he wasn't getting enough milk and I needed to supplement some feedings with formula. Did the Doctor ever check to see if I was latching the baby on properly? No. Did he ever ask how many times I was feeding and how long the baby was feeding? No. Just by weight gain (which I'm fairly certain was based on a formula company's chart) he told me that I needed to supplement. He sent me off with a few bottles of formula and that was that. Did I feel guilty about giving my baby formula? No. Did I stop breastfeeding? No. Luckily my mom had told me just keep breastfeeding and to do it more often. He was a small baby and I was waiting 3-4 hours to feed. I had taken a prenatal class on the military base and this is what I was told to do. My mom told me that breastfeed babies need to be fed more often than that and especially since he was so small. I think I only supplemented for 1 or 2 days and then just went back to full time nursing. The baby never again had a problem with weight gain.

Then about 2 months later I needed to go on antibiotics and was told that I would have to stop breastfeeding. So I did what the doctor told me to do. I never felt guilty. I did what I had to do, what the doctor told me was right. Now in defense of the doctor that time - she did try several other antibiotics and they weren't working. So it was a last resort. Could I still have kept on nursing? I don't know. If I was told that now, I have a better resource to check with before just agreeing with the first person that tells me I need to stop breastfeeding. I still don't feel guilt over stopping. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.

My second child was breastfed for nearly 6 months before being diagnosed as "failure to thrive". At which point, I was told I had to stop breastfeeding and give the baby formula. The doctor at the time initially had me come in several times for weight checks, but never once referred me to a lactation consultant to make sure we were breastfeeding properly. She never once asked me how often the baby feeding or how many wet diapers. I'm fairly certain that once again they were using a weight chart provided by a formula company. But the doctor told me my baby wasn't thriving on my breastmilk. Why would I doubt what she knows? She went to medical school. I stopped breastfeeding, gave my baby formula and he gained weight. By the second week on formula it was like looking at a different child. I never felt guilty for stopping breastfeeding. I did what I had to do for my child with the knowledge I had at the time. I know more now, and I would fight harder now if a doctor suggested I stop breastfeeding, but I don't feel guilty now for what happened then.

I listen to women talk about feeling guilty for not being able to breastfeed for one reason or another, and I wonder why I don't feel that guilt. Do I think it's sad I was possibly robbed out of breastfeeding my children for longer? Sure I do! But I did what I thought was best at that time with the knowledge that I had. It isn't my fault that these doctors didn't know more about breastfeeding and the logistics of it, so why should I feel guilty for trusting them? We are brought up and taught that they can and should be trusted. I don't think that the majority of doctors are setting out to intentionally sabotage the breastfeeding relationship, they just aren't informed enough. Add into that equation that the formula companies have their own agenda and are arming them with the ideas that it really doesn't matter what the baby gets as long as the baby eats. I don't believe that any of this should cause you guilt though, sadness sure but guilt - let it go, it isn't your fault.

I listen to some women talk about how they were made to feel guilty because they couldn't breastfeed or they chose not to breastfeed. I have never ran into a situation where someone has made me feel guilty for stopping breastfeeding. I am very much pro-breastfeeding. I hear the stories of mom's who say "I was sent home 24 hours after I had my baby, and the next day the baby would just cry if he wasn't nursing. So I didn't have enough milk and had to give my baby formula." Sometimes I might say, "oh you probably would have had enough milk, but the baby was trying to get your milk in and to the level he needed". I don't say that to make you feel guilty though. You may have another child and I want you to understand what is happening so if you attempt to breastfeed again you have knowledge on your side. I honestly feel that if you run into people that "make you feel guilty" it isn't intentional. Sure there maybe the few that are judgmental, but I think most breastfeeding moms realize it isn't this a romantic, easy process that just happens. It takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge and most importantly good support.

If you chose not to breastfeed and you researched the risks of formula feeding, and not just by reading a few leaflets sent out by formula companies; then why should you feel guilt for making a good, informed decision? If you are feeling guilty then it's only because you are second guessing your choices. That is not anyone else's fault though, so please don't say some pro-breastfeeding mother is making you feel guilty. As a parent you can not constantly second guess your choices, that isn't good parenting either. And most importantly don't try to undermine someone's breastfeeding relationship just because you chose not to breastfeed. That was your choice and you want to be respected for that. Please have the same respect for a mother that chooses to breastfeed. Don't tell her "if you just give him a bottle he'll sleep longer" or "if you just give him a bottle you can have more freedom". She made a choice, respect and support that choice.

So how can we move past this guilt? I think we have to understand that as individual parents we are all trying to do the best we can for our children. We do the best we can with the knowledge we have at any given time. The only thing we can do is strive to learn more and do better. Guilt isn't going to do you or your children any good. It's like living in the past. Let the guilt go it'll keep you from enjoying the moments of the present.

Have a thought you'd like to share about breastfeeding and guilt? Please leave a comment, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

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Menu Plan Monday May 11 - 16

>> Monday, May 11, 2009

This week I am including my raw vegan menu, regular cooked menu for the rest of the family AND printable recipe cards for the none vegan menu. Let me know if you like this and I will continue it. Since this will be a fairly lengthy post I'm going to get right to it.

Raw Vegan Menu {Monday - Saturday}

Breakfast - Hot Pink Smoothie

Lunch -

  • Monday - The Workout Green Smoothie
  • Tuesday - Apple a Day Green Smoothie
  • Wednesday - Minty Treat Green Smoothie
  • Thursday - Green Married Orange Green Smoothie
  • Friday - Green Revolution Green Smoothie
  • Saturday - Purple Passion Green Smoothie
Supper -
  • Monday - Lee's Pinky Green Smoothie
  • Tuesday - Appetizer of Grapefruit, Veggie - Fruit Soup, Delightful Cabbage Salad
  • Wednesday - Appetizer of Pineapple, Green Herb Soup, Spring Mix Salad w/raw Green Goddess Dressing
  • Thursday - Spinach Pepper Soup, Spinach Salad w/Orange Hemp Seed Dressing
  • Friday - Mexican Fiesta Soup, Mexican Greens Salad
  • Saturday - Tomato Parsley Soup, Layered Salad w/Skinny Mint Dressing
*All of the soups are raw blended soups.*
For more menus like this and the recipes check out The Raw Divas Sisterhood

Regular Cooked Menu {Monday - Friday}
With printable recipe cards (click pics to save and print) & links to original recipes where noted.

Monday - Leftover grilled hamburgers & hotdogs, potato salad & coconut cake

Tuesday - Pasta Sans Fagioli, Salad & Garlic bread

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken, Butter & Garlic Potatoes, Grilled Veggies

Thursday - Potato Kielbasa Skillet & Salad

Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad & Homemade Brownies

For more menu planning ideas and lots of links head over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie and at Chive Talkin.

If you want to make your own recipe cards you can find them here. You can edit them in pdf. format or like I did, and save them to your computer to edit with photoshop. I did it that way so I could share them online and re-print easily if I ever need to. There are also several other styles of cards on that site.

I hope you enjoy this week's installment of Menu Plan Monday, please let me know your thoughts. :) Have a great week!

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Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

>> Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last week a friend on twitter (her profile is private so I won't share her name, but she knows who she is ;) ) ordered a bread machine. She wanted to make cinnamon rolls so I pointed her to a recipe online that I use. Well, I should have looked at it closer. I do use that recipe but I make some adjustments and changes. So here is the actual recipe that I use to make cinnamon rolls.

You can make the dough just fine without a bread machine too, just do what you would normally do when making bread. If you need more specifics than that leave a comment and I'll walk you through it.

Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 rolls


3/4 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Place above ingredients in bread machine & start dough cycle. Once the dough is complete, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approximately 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.


1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

Spread butter over dough then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up tightly into a log beginning at the long end. Cut into 12 equal slices and place into a greased 9x11 pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, until golden and puffy.


1 cup powdered sugar (aka icing sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp milk

Let rolls cool for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile combine ingredients for the glaze and then drizzle glaze over rolls. Serve warm.

Click above pictures to save and print recipe

I hope that your family enjoys these as much as my family does. If you have any questions or just want to say hi! please leave a comment. :)

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The World of Strawberry Bread

The other day on twitter @familyeducation posted a link to a strawberry bread recipe on their blog. As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to make it. Since I had 3lbs of strawberries in the fridge, I decided today would be the day. The recipe was very simple to put together and it didn't create a huge mess in the kitchen when preparing it, so it definitely gets bonus points in my book. I made a double batch of the batter and the only thing I changed was using 4 whole eggs rather than 8 egg whites. If I would have had egg whites in the carton I would have just used that. I really didn't want to separate all those eggs and then have to find something to do with all the yolks too. The resulting batter was really thick, so I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. It turned out just fine. I will be making this again as strawberry season gets into full swing here.

Strawberry Bread

1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour (or you can use all purpose flour)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 egg whites (I used 2 whole eggs)
¼ cup applesauce
¾ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of diced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and add the applesauce, milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, mixing only to incorporate. Add the strawberries and mix just a few times, to ensure good distribution throughout the batter.

Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Add the batter. If desired, top the batter with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Click to save & print recipe card

Hope you enjoy this as much as we are, and thanks Family Education for a great recipe.

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Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

>> Tuesday, May 5, 2009

As I promised yesterday I'm back with a photo and a recipe for the chicken enchiladas. Everyone really enjoyed them and they are super filling. For those of you on the West coast you still have time to get the ingredients and whip these up for your family for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. :)

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (I use organic/free-range ingredients as much as possible)
Serves 4-5


2-3 chicken breasts, chopped (done easily if partly frozen)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup low fat sour cream
1 small can green chillies
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 flour tortillas


In skillet brown chicken with garlic powder, salt & pepper. When chicken is browned add soup, sour cream, green chillies. Stir and heat until warm throughout. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese and stir.
Spoon sour cream chicken sauce into tortillas. Roll and place seam down on a baking sheet or 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F

Click photo above to enlarge and print recipe card

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know how your family likes it. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Menu Plan Monday May 4 - 9

>> Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm a bit late getting this up today, but it's really the first time today I've had a chance to sit down and work on the blog. Gonna get right to the menu because I am ready for sleep ;).

Monday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad (Tonight was the first time I used this recipe. Everyone loved it! Definitely will be making this again - very easy too!)

Tuesday *Cinco De Mayo* - Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice (Uncle Ben's), Salad. (I'll post the recipe for the Enchiladas tomorrow after I make them)

Wednesday - Grilled Sausages on homemade rolls, Grilled Veggies, Potato Salad

Thursday - Chicken Burgers on homemade rolls, Oven Fries & Veggies

Friday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza & Salad (Homemade Pizza Dough made in the bread machine)

Saturday - Homemade Fish and Chips, Coleslaw

Sunday - Undecided since it's Mother's Day (holding out for a surprise :P )

Have a great week everyone! If you have any questions about any of the meals I am making please leave a comment and I'll try to sort it out for you. For more menu planning ideas head over to Laura's @ I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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The *Best* Chocolate Chip Cookies E.V.E.R.

Today I decided I wanted to bake. It's been since my last cupcakes that I have done any sort of baking, so it was nice to get in the kitchen today. Little guy co-operated very nicely too. He took a nice long nap. :) These are seriously some good chocolate chip cookies. It's taken me years of trying different recipes to find one that I am really happy with the results. Lets get to it...

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes Approx. 7 Dozen
Original recipe can be found here.


  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed (I always make my own w/granulated sugar and molasses - just add as little or as much molasses as you like.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or use 4 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate or swirled)

Preheat oven to 350°F or 176°C. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt. (I add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix well). Stir in entire bag of chocolate chips.

Using a cookie dough scoop drop on lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 9-12 minutes.

If you want a chewy cookie, you'll want to take these out of the oven just as they begin to brown. If you want a crunchy cookie leave in for 11-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 -3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Since this makes so many cookies and kids are kids, I usually just put out 1-2 dozen on a tray and package the rest up for the freezer.

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