Monday, April 23, 2012

The Importance of Meal Planning

Last week was kind of unusual for us around here. Normally I am pretty on top of our meals and have everything worked out for the week, but last week my husband was out of town at a conference so I decided to wing it. How do people function like that?? I was a complete mess of daily trips to the store, incomplete meals and less than nutritious choices. It also doesn't help that I have recently realized that my body is not a big fan of dairy so dinners are a bit more complicated. The kids were wanting cheesy raviolis and  paninis on asiago cheese bread. I was surviving on vegan smoothies. Seriously, I felt like I was STARVING. Well, no more because I am back to meal planning!!

This week was a short one. The weekend is filled with Girl Scout recognition banquets so I only had to fill 4 nights. :)

Monday - Carnitas with black beans and brown cilantro lime rice
Tuesday - Spice rubbed Chicken strips with cilantro dipping sauce and veggie dippers
Wednesday - Spicy Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Avocado Mayonnaise, potato salad and pinto beans
Thursday - Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burgers with Onion-Pepper Relish
Friday - Girl Scout banquet
Saturday - Day in Austin for more Girl Scout fun

What is on your menu for the week?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Food Costs are Crazy!

Like everything else, the cost of food is on the rise. Grocery bills are rising, but the cost of eating out is getting crazy. More and more people are wanting to eat on the go, but finding an economical and healthy solution is becoming increasingly difficult.

Last week I asked fans on the Menus, Meals and More Facebook page to tell me how much they normally spend on fast food or fast casual meals.The average cost for a family of 4 to grab some fast food is around $20. If you decide to go to a fast sit down restaurant the price goes up to $30-$40 easily. Many families end up eating out more than once a week. In fact the average American family eats out over 4 times a week!

Lets face it- these meals are convenient, but they are not the healthiest options. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to grab a fully cooked, healthy and homemade meal and just pop it in the microwave while you are getting ready for the rest of the evenings activities? Maybe a meal without all the preservatives injected into most grocery store convenience items?

Menus, Meals and More is now going to offer a convenient quick pickup meal service. 3 meals for the next week will be posted by Wednesday. Meals will need to ordered and paid for by Friday and will be ready for pickup on Monday afternoon. Each week I will feature one beef, chicken and pork entree with an option of adding an additional vegetarian entree. All meals will serve 4 adults with the option of being split into meals for 2 or additional servings being added. This is a great and economical way to get healthy home cooked meals  on your family's table without all the fuss.

Here are the first weeks selections. Let me know by Friday is you are ordering. Feel free to ask any questions!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's talk about the Future

Today I am going to deviate from my normal recipe and food reviews to talk about something outside of my kitchen that I feel passionate about; encouraging young woman to become strong and powerful leaders. Today the Girl Scouts of the USA launched To Get Her There- the biggest cause dedicated to girls leadership in history that encourages girls to grow and succeed to become leaders of the future. Girl Scouts of the USA has a lot of experience in encouraging girls and is the perfect organization to head this worthy cause.

At any given point in time, approximately 10 percent of girls are Girl Scouts, and
• 80 percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts.
• 69 percent of female U.S Senators were Girl Scouts.
• 67 percent of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts.
• Virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout.

I have always felt very strongly about encouraging my girls and letting them know that there is nothing that they can't do. But, as my oldest has gotten further into school I am learning that ME telling her that is not enough. It is a help, but it isn't enough. They need to see strong women and know that they aren't alone. This quote from the To Get Her There website really hit home for me.

         "Studies also reveal that girls idealize leadership qualities and skills, like being talented, caring,  honest, hard-working, confident, good listeners, and team players. But only 21% of girls believe they have the qualities required to be a good leader. In other words, she knows what it takes to lead, but doesn't have the confidence to do so."

This statement breaks my heart. NO girl should feel that she isn't good enough. NO girl should feel like she can't achieve whatever she puts her mind to. The facts that are presented on the To Get Her There website were shocking and disturbing to me. Just a few of these include:

                  Only 1 in 5 girls believe that she has what it takes to lead - Yet corporations whose boards are at least 1/4 women outperform those with the smallest female board participation.

              Nearly 40% of girls report that they have been put down by peers when they try to lead, yet girls fear being laughed at, making people mad at them, coming across as bossy when trying to lead.

            Women account for less than 20% of the bachelors degrees in engineering, computer science and physics,  yet when today's girls graduate from college, the U.S. will need three million more scientists and engineers.

These facts were staggering and extremely upsetting to read. HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS??? 
Moms- be a role model for your daughters. Encourage them to follow their interests and not let others sway them. Show them ANYONE male or female that has been successful in that field and help them learn ways to overcome the obstacles to get what they want.

Dads- encourage your girls and show them that you feel that they can do anything they set their minds too. They need to know that you believe in them.

Give them chances to succeed- encourage them to join sports teams, take classes related to their interests or even just help to complete tasks at home. Having my children do even small tasks, like cook dinner has helped them to learn skills and feel proud of themselves.

Even if you don't have children VOLUNTEER your time. Schools are always looking for presenters to come in an speak about their careers and interests.

Show your support of young women by taking the To Get Her There pledge  and speaking up about these issues.

And lastly, if you have a little girl get her involved in a group like Girl Scouts or another group that encourages and supports leadership skills in young women. There is no reason that our girls should feel like they are anything less than the amazing and wonderful people that they are.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Trials and Misfires

I have a confession. It's a secret that I have kept hidden for as long as I can, but I can't hide it anymore. So here it goes...... I am not perfect. 

If you know me you are laughing your head off right about now because you know how totally true this is. My house is a mess, I rarely take care of my appearance, I occasionally swear in front of my children and have been known to yell. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my list of flaws and I am ok with it. Yes I can be judgemental, but if you say you're not then you are lying. I screw up sometimes and burn an entire cookie sheet full of roasted chickpeas or forget what you told me five minutes ago, but I can deal with that.

The one place however that I should NOT be screwing up on is what to feed my kids to keep them from getting sick. The last few weeks have been a horrible mix of  birthday parties and bad decisions on my part. I had been doing pretty well on keeping an eye on Ashley's carbs and sugars and while her blood sugar was still slightly elevated in the mornings it wasn't something to panic about yet. Her morning fasting levels were maintaining in the 110-115 range and she was feeling pretty good.

And then, it was my husbands birthday. The day before his birthday and the official celebration with his family we decided to go run some errands and get ready for the celebration. While we were out we had planned to go to Chick Fil A for lunch, but when we got there the parking lot was packed and we couldn't even get into the area to see how busy it was. So, on the spur of the moment we decided to go to our favorite sushi place instead. Sushi= yummy and healthy right? I mean, it's fish. Fish is good right? Well, yes fish is good, but the mountain of white rice it is served on is not such a great thing for Ashley. 

We left the restaurant and ran errands for another couple hours. Ashley was starting to act weird and hyper. This is really not that unusual for her because she is 11 and 11 year-olds tend to be weird and hyper anyway, but this was different. I told her to go running with the dog as soon as we got home because this normally helps her calm down and burn off excess energy from being in the car and running errands. We had a Girl Scout lock-in that night and I knew she was excited, so I though that was part of the problem too.  When she got back from running she was pale and sweaty, but hey running with an 80 pound lab will do that to you. An hour later though she was still pale and sweaty so I decided to test her blood sugar. It had been 4 hours after eating lunch and she was at 160. I can't even imagine what her 2 hour numbers were like. The rest of the day was a mixture of trying to give her protein so she wouldn't crash and spike all evening. The lock-in was fun, but she obviously wasn't feeling herself and was much more emotional than she is normally. Lesson learned- white rice=BAD bad bad.

Since then Ashley has had a couple similar incidents with a Sprite and a cupcake, but at least I can now look at her and tell that things aren't right. She gets pale,slightly green and sweaty.  Honestly, I am at a loss on what to do for her. Her fasting blood sugar is elevated, but not enough to qualify as full blown diabetes. Her post-prandial numbers are high, but not high enough to fall into the diabetic range. She runs almost everyday and if she doesn't run it is because she has been walking the streets for hours trying to sell Girl Scout cookies (of which she has only had one this year). Some days I think she is ok so I let her eat a cupcake at a birthday party and she gets sick and feels miserable. Other days she is fine.

I know that we will have many days of trials and misfires until we figure out what foods make her sick. There are going to be mistakes and constant worry. Is this "just" prediabetes in an active, thin child or is this the beginning of Type 1? Either way it is scary and uncertain. This is the area where I really need to stop screwing up because I can't keep watching my big girl get sick.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lemonade Pistachio Seafood Tartlet Delight

1 box Lemonades
2 tsps Unsalted Butter
Pinch Salt
1 Egg, Slightly Beaten
1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 4 oz can, Shrimp
1 6 oz can, Crab
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup Sweet Onion
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Ground Pistachio Nuts
Ground Lemonades

Cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add flour, soft butter, salt, and one egg to the food processor to combine together. Press one-inch balls into tartlet pan and bake at 275 F degrees for 10 minutes.

Place all ingredients together and set aside.
Place filling into crusts. Crumble pistachio nuts and
Lemonades Cookies together in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of filled crusts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2 more days! Thin Mint Brownies

I have to admit that I love Thins mints. Usually, I will eat a tube of them right out of a box that I have stashed in the freezer. Frozen Thin Mints are a great treat to have in the unreasonable heat of Texas summers. Right now those days seem a long way off so a nice pan of warm Thin Mint Brownies will definitely hit the spot!


Thin Mint Brownies

Ingredients (yields 6 servings):
• 1/2 box of crushed Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies
• 1 box of brownie mix
• 2 eggs (3 eggs for cake-like brownies)
• 1/4 cup of water
• 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Crush Thin Mints into medium size chunks. Mix all
ingredients into mixing bowl. Do not use electric mixer — batter will be stiff. Spread batter evenly in greased baking pan (13 × 9 × 2 inch). Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting. Serve with mint-flavored tea.
Recipe courtesy of

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

3 More days until Cookie Time!!!

This yummy recipes uses the best selling of the Girls Scout cookies. Sounds Yummy!!

Chocolate-Coconut Brownies

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 chocolate 2-layer cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1-1/4 cups caramel sauce
  • One 7-ounce box Samoas® - Caramel deLites™ Girl Scout Cookies, crushed, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan. Completely combine cake mix, butter and evaporated milk. Pour half of the mixture in the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over warm cake. Drizzle 3/4 cup caramel over chips. Next add 1/2 cookie crumbs. Top with the rest of the cake batter. Bake for 10 more minutes. Drizzle cake with 1/2 cup caramel sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie crumbs on top.*Samoas® - Caramel deLites™ Girl Scout Cookies are vanilla cookies covered with caramel on top and bottom then rolled in coconut and striped with chocolate.