Hello – I’ve decided to move this blog from WordPress to Blogger, by Google. I use other Google tools, which makes Blogger more convient for me to use. As you’ll quickly notice by perusing my blog – I don’t post much here. Please check me out on Blogger at http://mrsdietitan.blogspot.com/
Like many families, we try to budget and plan our meals in advance. We generally do a bad job on the follow through end. When we were a new couple starting out, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying new foods, and having a good time. Budget and time were the least of our concerns. We considered it entertainment more then the drudgery of meal planning.
Enter baby and parenthood, and we have much less time and even less free cash. Dinner needs to ready when we walk in the door, but neither of us really planned ahead – so there’s no dinner on the table, let alone in the crock pot simmering nicely.
Recently, I have started following a mommy blog, Simple Mom, that discusses a lot of techniques for Home Management. That really where meal planning fits in – Home Management. We are trying Simple Mom’s system of developing a menu on Google calendars.
I mapped out our next two weeks worth of dinner meals. First Hubby and I discussed what dishes sounded good, then I looked at what we have on hand, which gave me a couple more ideas. Then I noted the frozen meals we have waiting for us in our freezer. I took these quick brain storming ideas and noted them on the calendar, repeating a couple of dishes two weeks from now. I even made a note here and there for leftover nights or sandwich night.
To see Simple Mom’s complete directions check out her site, here.
I spend a fair amount of time in the car driving for work. Today listened to this podcast discussing Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding. I thought it was interesting. Personally, I feel like we too often assume that we, as moms, won’t suffer from postpartum depression. Our risk is real and help can be easy to get, if you realize you’re having a problem. Look out for yourselves and your friends!
I knew I was in trouble when I was leaving daycare at with our toddler at 5:45pm. He already looked tired and hungry. Ideally, he would be happy with getting dinner at 5pm. He’s only 16 months, so he hasn’t told me that – it’s just what I’ve inferred. Dinner at 5pm is nearly impossible with our work schedules.
By the time we get home, he’s grumpy, tired, and hungry – and so are Mom and Dad.
While Aidan was grabbing items out of the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, I had about 1 minute to grab 3 cans from the pantry; Chicken and Rice soup (larger can), diced tomatoes, black beans. I poured the soup in a small pot and let it start warming up. Drained and rinsed the black beans, threw them in the pot. Drained a little juice off of the tomatoes, threw them into the pot. I wanted to add some Mexican flavors but I was wondering if that would bee too much for Aidan. I decided to forgo any spice or cilantro. I added a bay leaf, dehydrated onions (maybe a 1/4 cup), tiny scoop of pre-chopped garlic. Brought the stew-like-soup to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes. I would’ve let it simmer 20-30 minutes but the kid was now falling apart. We both had a bowl. This was nice because we were able to enjoy the same food. If I heat up some spaghettios for him, we don’t eat together.
I must admit, it was a tiny bit bland for my taste, but it wasn’t bad. The beans are a great source of fiber. Most adults and kids do not eat nearly enough fiber every day. Tossing in a couple of beans here and there can boost your fiber intake.
Maybe the leftovers will be better tomorrow – let the flavors meld?
I’m participating the “Price Your Space” party that the Nester is hosting. How does this relate to family nutrition? We renovated our kitchen over the past couple of weekends. A kitchen you enjoy being in makes it MUCH more fun to plan and cook family meals. In the past week, it seems like we’ve already enjoyed more meals at the table, together, the three of us, in our new environment! Bottom line, whatever it is you’re eating, enjoy it and share with others!
Here’s what we did and an estimate of what we spent:
1) Hubby ripped off old tile and sawed off weird wood trim on cabinets. FREE
2) In order to install an above the range microwave/hood, we raised the cabinets about 6 inches. FREE
3) Painted walls Martha Stewart Soapstone Gray MS170. Sanded and painted cabinets a slightly darker, Martha Stewart Midlands Gray MS 172. Sander, Paint, brushes, and rollers etc. ~$150
4) Microwave and electrical stuff, installed by hubby. I had no idea he was handy before we got married. I’m a lucky Dietitian. ~$225. PS. Found Lowes coupon online for 10% off.
5) New ceiling light from Costco $60. The better lightening made us realize we needed a third coat of paint on the walls.
6) New pendant light from Menards $40. We could’ve waited for a lightening sale, but we wanted to finish the project.
7) Door pulls $30 total
8) Hinges and outlet covers, spray painted silver $5
9) Tile Backsplash – uggg here’s where we blew the budget. On the recommendation of the tile store, we bought X amount of supplies. We bought twice as much as we needed. Spent $450 on tiles and supplies. We do have enough to tile area of our master bath. The extras won’t go to waste.
10) We’d like a new faucet. Will probably buy one at Costco for $60, but we’re waiting a little while.
Total spent $955 on kitchen renovation
Aidan loves spaghetti with marinara sauce. He becomes the cutest little mess with tomato sauce all over his face.
We had a late start to dinner tonight. We arrived at home very close to bedtime. I was wondering if he’d have a meltdown before I could even offer him a reasonable dinner. I quickly remembered that Daddy had made chili last night and we had left over black beans in the fridge.
I diced up red grapes for Aidan to start eating while I boiled some pasta. It makes me so happy that he enjoys fruit. I note to the wise – only offer fruit in moderation or tummy upset will occur.
While the pasta boiled, I mixed a small bowl of the chili with a scoop of black beans and warmed in the microwave. When the pasta was done, I mixed the chili over a 1/4c portion of pasta, diced it up, and served to a hungry baby.
He ate it without a melt down. I was even able to sit down and eat the same meal with him. It’s a red letter day.
This particular dish has some nice benefits for small child. The chili was made of ground beef and tomato sauce. The acid in the tomato sauce helps us to absorb the iron in the ground beef. Also, by adding black beans I increased the fiber content of the meal. If you haven’t offered beans to your toddler, you may be surprised how much they enjoy them!
Bottom line, I was fortunate tonight to have leftovers in the fridge to combine into a new dish for a quick family meal. Hope this leaves you with some good ideas too!
My little guy decided he was done eating the instant baby cereal shortly after we opened a huge new box of rice cereal. Do you have an unused box of baby cereal in your pantry too? It’s a nice food for babies because it has been fortified with iron. Not many foods that babies easily eat contain iron. Formulas are also fortified with iron.
I decided to experiment with our leftover cereal. Aidan loves yogurt, but has a hard time feeding it to himself because it’s a little difficult to pick-up with your fingers. I mixed baby cereal into plain yogurt. I particularly like the spongy texture that you get with adding rice cereal to yogurt. Different cereals will probably give you a little bit of a different texture. Aidan enjoyed the treat and I felt sort of smart for coming up with the idea. (Small victories are good.)
To make this baby treat, start with a small bowl, add-in several tablespoons of baby cereal, slowly mix in small amounts of yogurt until you get the consistency you want. The mixture should be thick and easy to scoop out on to the baby’s food tray. Baby should be able to pick up the glob of yogurt. Yes, “glob” is a technical term.
Hope this helps you use up some leftovers items in your pantry! Now that Aidan is almost 15 months, we have begun mixing yogurt with regular cereal, like Cheerios. Again, mixing it with the cereal makes it a little easier for him to pick it up. I also think this is a good substitute for cereal and milk – he’s just not ready for a bowl of cereal yet!