Weekly Meal Planning

Weekly meal planIf you don’t have a lot of time or money, then you’re going to like this article. Every week, I usually go and eat pho soup and while I’m there, I prepare my weekly meal ideas. However, I do it with the intention of trying to save money and make more than 2 meals each.  Well, there are some weeks that I do great and some that are not so great. It depends on what’s on sale and if I feel like cooking. It does happen that I eat out a lot, but I try not to because it’s very salty and, I prefer my cooking.

I put together a template that you can modify with meal ideas and what groceries you need. I also put some links to recipes from other people. Next months meal plan, I will be sure to put my own recipe links because most of mine involve using leftovers.

Weekly meal plan and grocery list

If you have other meal plans you wan to share, please add the link or send me the document so that I can post it.

Have a wonderful week.

Tina

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What to do with leftover cilantro or mint?

My Man made a wonderful lamb last Tuesday and it was amazing!!! I know I said he doesn’t cook, but he does…sometimes😉. There was a little bit of it left over the next day and I was going to make a salad with it, but….he ate it when we got home from work. Oh well, on to the next idea. We had lots of leftover cilantro or coriander, and mint from the lamb and I wasn’t sure what I could I do with all those herbs. So, what do I do? Google ideas and poof. I found a recipe I LOVE. Vietnamese food. I LOVE Pho soup, spring rolls, salad rolls, vermicelli salad. OMG, I could eat this every day, but I would be a bit broke and overweight because of all the rice noodles.

After going through my pantry and the fridge, I saw that I had the leftover ingredients from previous recipes and could make shrimp rolls or vermicelli salad. I decided on both, but only wrote how to do the rolls. However, i added a link at the bottom for a good recipe.

Here’s what I had for leftovers :

  • 10 small shrimp
  • 1 piece of roasted chicken
  • 30 rice wraps
  • Hot sauce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Lots of Mint
  • Lots of cilantro
  • ½ seedless cucumber (I hate seeds in them)
  • 1 left over roast chicken meat

And here’s what I came up with shrimp rolls and vermicelli chicken salad.

IMAGE

 

Shrimp rolls

3 small shrimps

1 Rice rap stuff

1 Mint twig

2 Cilantro twigs

¼ piece of Lettuce

Small amount of Vermicelli (optional)

4 pieces of shredded carrots

 

1 ingredient Dipping sauce

  • Hoisin sauce and that’s it. Dip away.

If you like the peanut butter one, here’s one you could make with leftovers too.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

 

Instructions:

  • Cut up all the veggies and meat to be in slices so that it will fit lengthwise
  • Rice paper rolls – get a large enough bowl to fit the papers in, and poor very warm water in it. Dip 1 rice paper at a time into the water for 15-20 seconds. I hold it down and swirell them around. Make sure not to make them too soft, but slightly firm so you can roll them. Immediately remove from the water and place flat onto a cutting board.
  • Time to fill the rolls – Place a few pieces of shrimp, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and if you want a small amount of noodles and a bit of cilantro and mint. Do not over stuff the roll!
  • Roll everything up tightly by gently pulling at the bottom of the roll and roll in the filling. Try to tuck the filling in as you go. I say try because those little suckers don’t want to stay in, but you’ll get it…after 3 tries😊
  • Place on plate or what I did I put 3 in my mouth and the other 3 I saved for work the next day. NOTE: they will stick to the bags, so add a bit of water to the storage bag, or do like someone else said and wrap each one in siran rap. Ah, for me, that was way too much work.
  • For the Dip – – just put the hoisin in small dipping bowl and voila. And for lunch, buy those salad dressing containers and put it in there.

 

Here’s another recipe I found online for the vermicelli salad that looked amazing, but had stuff in it I couldn’t eat like cabbage or hot peppers. WOW, talk about running to the bathroom for me😊.

Enjoy and if you have other recipe ideas for left overs, please share in the comments below.

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What exercise program will work for me? UPDATE

As part of my new years resolution, I have decided to go back to working out, which is what I like. I like to lift weights. I am not a big fan of fitness classes because  I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but I am now starting to do hot yoga and OMG, it’s frigging hot:) So for January , I tried an exercise program that I put together and, well, it didn’t work.  For many reasons, mostly because I didn’t commit to it. consistently. I also didn’t do more than 1 set of 12, which is what I was testing to see if there would be a difference. So, this month for February, I am going to try using a stability ball exercise program. I am going to do 3 days a week no matter what. If that means I go later or a different day and it messes with my routine, too bad. I have to do it, or rather I want to do. I found a program with actual images from Runpretty.com. So, for the next 28 days because February is shorter, I will do this circuit program and track my results on my workout log and will report the results on Feb 28.

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Goal #7 – De-clutter my house – week 1

If you could only see my house right now. It’s a mess! I have clothes sitting on the floor, laundry piled up, dishes that need to get done, and there are files all over my desk, receipts everywhere. I have a Service Ontario bill to pay for my sticker for the car, which I’ve been trying to do all day, but for some reason I can’t get through the website. I think it might be because of Mozilla. Most government departments use Internet Explorer when they create they sites and they don’t test it with other search engines. My goal this year BEFORE August as advised by my friend and Intuitive Numerologist Laura Young said that I need to de-clutter everything in my life from my space, clothes, and relationships. She never mentioned anything about Ma Man…so I think I’ll keep him.lol

OK, so Goal #7 is to de-clutter my house, but that’s a big order. I have sooo MANY things to do. In order for me to not freak out, I am going to start with one pile at at a time, but before I do that I need to write down which rooms I need to work on and what do I need to do.

I tried to add the image, but it wouldn’t work, so I have attached a link to it here.

If you want to learn more about what Laura does, she sends out a monthly newsletter with really great information to help you move forward. If you want to be added to her email, simply email her at Laura Young lbaird@istar.ca. Or if you ready for a reading, email her and if you wouldn’t mind letting her know that you heard about her from me, that would be great. Thanks.

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How to eat well on $90 a week or $360 Canadian a month

I have been spending wayyy too much money eating out, especially since my salary went down as I am no longer acting in higher role. Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy I am no longer doing that role because I was very busy and felt very isolated. I am back working with a great team who makes me laugh and they do things together like coffee or lunch. This is better than the extra pay. However, with a smaller salary I really need to smarten up on the spending. So, the first thing I did was try to find someone who mastered it and while I found a few ideas, they were not exactly everything I needed as they were American. However, I got some great suggestions from Bobbie from www.livinginretrospect.com. One of her articles talked about going through your cupboards and seeing what you have, then come up with a meal plan for 30 days. Yikes!!! I like variety, but not sure I could come up with 30 days’ worth of meals. I also needed breakfast and lunch where she provides great ideas for dinner.

I reviewed my previous grocery bills for the last few months, and no I didn’t keep my receipts. I should have but I didn’t. I looked at my withdraws from my debit account and found them to be way out of sorts. Some weeks I spent $120, while others I spent $60. It all depends on what I had on hand and if I actually wanted to cook, which I didn’t the past month.

The next thing I did was follow Bobbie’s suggestion and did an inventory of what I had in the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry. Well, I have LOTS of things I can use. I had things in the cupboard that I wasn’t sure what to do with them like sardines, and rice roll paper. So, now comes the fun part, finding recipes I can make with the ingredients I have on hand that don’t take too much time and not too many ingredients. I don’t have patients for either.

Let me warn you though that finding recipes is LOTS of fun, but it can also be very VERY time consuming. So, I thought I would give you a head start and wrote down a few that you likely already have.

Another important thing to note about me is I don’t ever follow the recipes exactly, but they always seem to turn our great. Just ask my man…because there’s never any leftovers.

One more note, I didn’t write down exactly what I bought at the grocery store, but I do know I went over againJ. However, here’s what do I have on hand to eat in the house to make these meals.

Meal ideas

what do to with a Roast Chicken

Rice dishes that taste better than take out Chinese (secret ingredient?)

  • I used what i had in the cubbard i.e. rice, and the fridge…left over roast chicken, carrots, zucchini, green onions and 2 eggs. Secret ingredients? I added ½ teaspoon of Sesame oil. Omg sooo good.

 

 

Chicken and rice soup

Left over roast chicken, carrots, celery, onion, chicken stock, Italian seasonings and cooked rice (or you can add uncooked rice to your chicken stock and then add veggies after it’s cooked. It tastes amazing.

NOTE: you can make your own chicken stock by simply boiling the carcus after you take off the meat and add the same ingredients above, minus the rice as that’s for when you are ready to eat it.

Thai Curry chicken and rice

Steam and veggies you have on hand, the add 1 teaspoon thai curry paste, can of coconut milk, left over roast chicken, and stir and make your steamed rice as you’re doing this and voila…

Pasta that’s somewhat healthy

cold asian noodle salad? /carrots/green onion/sugar snaps, noodles, (soy ginger dressing)

another one

http://domesticsuperhero.com/one-pot-spicy-thai-noodles/

I replaced a few items with carrots and celery

 

Sheppard’s pie with ground deer meat (it actually tastes better than ground beef)

http://www.thebackyardpioneer.com/2015/01/05/venison-shepards-pie/

I only used onions, cream corn and corn niblets, deer meat and cauliflower to replace potatoes

 

Salads

  • Thin sliced apples or grapes/lettuce/almonds (mustard vinegrette)

 

What I found for Sardines

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/eating-well-on-50-a-week/

Note: I’m not sure I’m going to try this, but thought I would post it for you;)

 

French onion soup

  • I like to cook my onions in butter, then add water and beef broth if I have it or chicken stock works well too, then the onion soup mix. I use whatever cheese I have on hand, but the best I found was swiss.

NOTE: Trick to make the toast fit the bowl? Use the bowl to cut the bread by using the inside of the bowl it like a cookie cutter.

 

If you’re looking to find ideas for things to cook and budget friendly grocery stores, here’s a few that I like.

RECIPE ideas

http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes

www.yummly.com

www.pinterest.com

FOOD places

www.Costco.ca (great price for hummus, coffee cream, zucchini, eggs, spinach and mini cucumbers)

www.Walmart.ca (good price on chicken breast and pork)

www.producedepot.ca (best fruits and veggies because they are not oversized. You know, the ones that was injected with god knows what)

 

Good luck and if you have other places to save money, please let me know. I love to save and try new things.

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Lookout Alfredo, here’s comes cream cheese

I had bought some fresh spinach ricotta stuffed pasta, but I didn’t buy the sauce because I was going to make an oil and garlic sauce, but The Man wanted a sauce. However, the spaghetti sauce was frozen. So, what did i do? Look up recipe for something with cream cheese and found this one on Food.com .

It was really easy, but I’m warning you…it’s VERY rich, so don’t put too much on. Maybe add a blop and dip the pasta in it.

Ingredient I used in the house

1/2 of the cream cheese recommended

2 tables spoons of butter as that’s all i had left

poured in 10% cream because we don’t have milk.

pepper….pepper…and more pepper…but not too much.

Spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta from Giant Tiger that cost $2.50 each bag. I used only one.

Also, I didn’t follow the instructions, but it turned out OK.

Here’s what the pasta and sauce look like separate. I know I know, I should have taken the photo together, but as I said before..when the Man is hungry, I just get enough time to take the photo when things are cooking..wink wink.

 

 

 

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Best, easiest and cheapest french onion soup for 2 people

My Man loves French onion soup that I make. He use to love the one at The Kegg, but after having mine, he prefers mine. So last night I was hoping to go out for dinner, but he asked me to make French Onion Soup. I love the man, so I did, but not without giving him a bit of the biz about not taking me out. For those that don’t know what “the biz” means, it’s teasing him.

The one thing you’ll notice in my recipes though is I rarely use the same ingredients. This latest version I used he LOVED.

Here’s what I used

½ Beef stock (store bought)

2 table spoon of butter

1 cup of water

Packet of onion soup mix

1 small onion chopped length wise. If you chop too small it doesn’t really taste like onion soup, eh!

2 pieces of white bread (whole wheat bread is too sweet for us)

2 square slices of Swiss or old cheese

 

Instructions

  1. Cut the onions into big pieces as that’s what makes the flavor
  2. Melt the butter on medium heat. Add the cut up onion to the butter and cook for about a minute
  3. Add the broth and water to the beef stock and water. I have also used my homemade chicken stock which tastes really good too
  4. Add the onion soup mix packet
  5. Turn the stove oven on broiler onto high. This is to cook the cheese
  6. Cut up the cheese into thin slices and make 4 slices. I prefer slices because shredding is a pain, but whatever works for you is fine.
  7. Toast bread and the use the onion soup bowl to cut out the circle in the bread. You can keep left over bread to make croutons or breadcrumbs. I just throw it out. It’s too much work for me.
  8. Place the soup into the soup bowls, then place the toast on top, but don’t push it in or the cheese wont melt in the oven. Then add the cheese to the top
  9. Place in the over for about 3 minutes, but keep looking

VOILA! Your soup is ready to eat.

P.S. This is the first recipe I actually wrote down with amounts listed. I never do because I like to wing it in the kitchen and so far, it’s been OK.

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Left over pork tenderloin becomes BBQ pulled pork

I made an awesome pork tenderloin dinner with spinach/arugula and mushrooms…mmmmm, pork-spinachbut didn’t want to eat the same thing again, so tried to find something on Pinterest and Google and not much came up for what I was looking for. So, I am going to wing it and make my own version.

Here’s the ingredients I used

1 box beef broth

1 onion cut into medium chunks

5 sticks left over carrots and I piece of celery I had in the fridge

1 pound of cooked pork tenderloin.

Directions:

I placed it all in a slow cooker on high in the hopes it won’t take too long i.e. 3 hours max. Then, I’m going to shred the meet with a fork and then….put some bbq sauce on it…Voila BBQ pulled pork.

Stay tuned for the final result image.

 

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I’m bored! Where do I look to see what’s going on in the city?

I’m trying to find fun things to do in Ottawa that are not too pricey and are fun. I like to look for deals or coupons for dates, but when I do a search on Google, they come up with thousands of pages. Then, you have to go to each one because there isn’t one site that contains everything. I wish there was a site that contained ALL the deals and maybe it could be a mobile app? Hint hint for those that like to create apps. I would use this app for sure…if someone created it.bored

I remember there was a website for online coupons that compiled all the deals online into one location.  I can’t remember what it’s called. If you know of it, please share.

I like to try different things to learn, but with so many places to look, I forget where I found the deal or what the place was called. Then I have to go and start my search all over, until now. I am going to use this page to continuously update where I find things. No more trying to find things all over. It will be one click away.

Here you go. Hope it helps you as well.

Event Brite

Ottawa Tonight

Apt 613

Ottawa Start

Groupon (I LOVE IT.)

https://www.livingsocial.com/ca/cities/83-ottawa

http://www.wagjag.com/deal/ottawa (not really good deals)

Also, if you have other sites, please share in the comments below. I am always looking for new ideas.

 

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Updated – I have 136 things on my bucket list, do you?

NOTE: This is just to let you know I’ve updated my bucket list with things I’ve accomplished. I’m back to having some fun:)

Also, this is NOT for children!

the_bucket_list_movie_poster_onesheetDo you remember the GREAT movie the Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? I do and it gave me a kick in the pants to make changes.

Is there a list of things you’ve been wanting to do, but never really wrote them down and forgot about them. Then, all of a sudden you ran into someone who talked about a painting class they took and how much fun it was, or maybe you ran into a fun party friend who told you she (you know who you are…lol) she makes homemade wine, and you suddenly remembered these were things you wanted to do. Well, why aren’t you doing them? For me, it was because I put the list aside and forgot about them, but I am reading a book from Jack Canfield called The Success Principles – How to get from where you are to where you want to be. One of the exercises in the book is to write out 101 lists of things you want to do before you die. Well, I went to town on this list, but at one point I couldn’t get past 30. I won’t tell you how to do it. You can get that from the book as it’s really a good book and, you can get it for free from the public library. Ya, they still exist and…FREE books. The best part I like about the library is it forces me to read the book from start to finish in 3 weeks or else if I don’t bring it back in time, I pay a fine PER DAY! No thanks.

Here’s my list and there are now 136 I think and counting.

REMEMBER…this is before you die. NOT get it done in a week.

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