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February’s Menu

January 31st, 2010 Filed under Food Comments Off

Well, the challenge this month is to get the grocery and eating out budget under $200 for the month!!!  So far so good as my recent shopping run that covered 90% of my groceries for the month only cost $82!!  Here is what I got:


You may be asking, “How can that little bit of food feed you for a month?”  Well, I am glad you asked… Here is what my meals look like for this month:

Breakfast is almost always strawberry/banana smoothie (made with diet V-8 splash, frozen bananas and strawberries), a boiled egg and oatmeal.

Mid-AM snack is an apple and mid-PM snack is homemade yogurt.

Lunch will be vegetable lasagna or veggie chili (still have 3 or 4 packets left from last month) with brown rice.

Dinner will be spinach topped chicken, turkey meatloaf or autumn glazed pork chops (also left from last month) with brown rice and frozen veggies.

Once I planned my month and took out the meals where I was out of town or already had commitments (i.e. church dinner), I needed 17 lunches and 17 dinners. The lasagna and spinach topped chicken each make 12 servings.  Since the chili, meatloaf and pork chops are left over from last month I am pretty much good to go with what I already had in the freezer. I will need to go back and probably get another gallon of milk and fruit but for the most part I am covered.

I spent about 3 hours this afternoon preparing the chicken and the lasagna but it means that I am done cooking for the month.  I freeze everything in single serving sizes so I just check my calendar and see what I planned and pull it before heading up to bed.  This has saved me so much money and calories!!

What are some ways that you save money and/or calories?

Vegetable Lasagna

January 31st, 2010 Filed under Food Comments Off

This recipe is wonderful because I love all of the veggies.  I can use a ton of them and feel full but not have all the added calories.Lasagna #1

Vegetable Lasagna

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

½ cup diced onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 ½ tablespoon Italian Seasoning

½ tsp basil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

14 oz. can chopped tomatoes

6 oz can tomato pasteLasagna #2

12 lasagna noodles

4-6 cups Chopped Vegetables (peppers, squash, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc.)

1-10 oz box chopped spinach, thawed and drained well

3 cups grated mozzarella cheese

16 oz skim cottage cheese

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In 6 qt stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender.  Add seasonings, canned tomatoes and paste.  Cover and simmer 40 minutes stirring occasionally.  (This makes a great marinara sauce as well.)

Chop 4-6 cups assorted vegetables.  I used yellow squash, onions, mushrooms and a bag of frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot medley).  Add chopped vegetables to sauce mixture the last 10 minutes and cook until vegetables are crisp tender.  (If using frozen vegetables, thaw beforehand and only add the last few minutes.) Set sauce aside.

Boil 12 Lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside. Drain spinach (press out excess water) and set aside. Spray bottom of 13 x 9” pan with cooking spray.  Place 4 noodles across bottom of pan. Top with 1/3 of sauce/vegetable mixture.  Spread 1/3 cottage cheese on top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with 1/3 Parmesan cheese.  Top with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese.  Spread entire box of spinach evenly over cheese.  Repeat noodles, vegetable and cheeses 2 more times ending with mozzarella cheese on top. (I actually was only able to do this noodle process twice so I just made a smaller lasagna using and 8×8 pan and cooked it alongside the other dish.)

Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes or until light brown on top and bubbling on sides.  Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.  Serves 12

Nutritional Information: 284 Calories; 9g Fat (27.1% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 19mg Cholesterol; 678mg Sodium.

Spinach Topped Chicken

January 31st, 2010 Filed under Food 2 Comments

Spinach Topped

This recipe is VERY flavorful and the chicken is extremely moist.  I freeze one in a sandwich size zip lock bag and the toppings does fine when I thaw to eat.

12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 ½ lbs)

3 egg whites

¾ cup Italian bread crumbs

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

½ cup sliced green onions

1 Tbl minced garlic

2 Tbl butter

2 Tbl flour

1-cup skim milk

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

4 oz pancetta ham, diced

Preheat oven to 350° F. Slightly beat egg whites in small bowl; set aside. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt & pepper in shallow dish. Dip chicken breasts in egg whites; roll in bread crumb mixture and arrange in 9×13-inch baking dish. Save remaining crumbs.  In a saucepan, cook green onions and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour.  Stir in milk all at once.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir one minute more.  Stir in spinach and ham.  Spoon spinach mixture over chicken; sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes or until done. Serves 12.

Nutritional Information: 211 Calories; 5g Fat; 31g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 79mg Cholesterol; 391mg Sodium.

I Love Seamlessness!!

January 15th, 2010 Filed under Intentional Living 4 Comments

dr cIt is amazing what we can do today with the advances in technology!!  The “Living Out Loud Intentionally” blogradio interview I did the last Wednesday in 2009 is a perfect example of that.  I was sitting in a Suburban in a shopping mall parking lot in Buford, Georgia using my cell phone (I was suppose to be on a LAN line so don’t tell the shows producers.)  Meanwhile, Dr. Carolyn was in Houston, TX uploading this live interview to the world wide web.  Click here to hear the interview.

The most amazing part of the whole thing is the seamlessness of it all.  It was as if Dr. Carolyn and I were sitting across from one another; both to us and the listeners.  Yet, we were hundreds of miles apart!!  Because of the seamlessness of syncing my iPhone calendars, contacts and tasks I switched to a Mac platform.  Now I can schedule an appointment or save a phone number and never worry about remembering to plug in my phone to my computer.  It happens automatically!  Oh, for all of my life to be as seamless!

What are some of the things you do to make your life more seamless?

Getting It Done Intentionally! Part 2

January 7th, 2010 Filed under Intentional Living 4 Comments

Earlier, I shared about how to set up your values which will drive your goals.  Once values are laid out then you set up goals that will make those things happen. Using the examples the previous post – your husband might be like a friend’s husband and want his dinner on the table when he comes home from work so your goal is to have a home cooked meal prepared by 6 pm. Being cheerful – memorize an appropriate Scripture each week; always speak kind words to cashiers; etc. Being fit – lose 10 pounds; walk 4 times a week; etc.

Then you take your goals and drill them down into daily activities. Again using the above goals – go grocery shopping on Thursday; plan your weekly meals on Wednesday; be home at 4 o’clock each day; etc.
By having the plan based on values, the mundane and monotonous things we do in life suddenly have value. There is a sense of urgency about what we are doing.

I would suggest that you take just one value – Christ-follower; husband; father; wife; mother; volunteer; etc. – and work on that one for a month or two than add another value, goal and daily tasks.

How do you know which one to start with? Ask yourself where you have the most “pain” – emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically. Since I minister mostly to woman I can tell you that 99 times out of a 100 married women need to start with being a wife. As long as being a Christ follower is pretty solid the next step will be there. Even if you have an over the top marriage, there are always things you can do to make it better. Do that then move on to the next step.

For me the biggest challenge is to work the plan after I have planned the work. This is a great verse to motivate you on the path…

And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 (English Standard Version)

May we all finish well in the end by finishing well each day!

Getting It Done Intentionally! Part 1

January 5th, 2010 Filed under Intentional Living 4 Comments

Several have asked how I set my goals and plans so I thought I would share with you how I do it. First, you begin with what your values are… what matters most in your life… what you want people to say about you at your funeral… what you are willing to die for. For example a value might be to be an I Peter 3 wife or to love your wife as Christ loves the church or to be cheerful or to be physically fit. Here is my mission and values:

Because of the love of Christ, my mission is to see the Kingdom of God advanced especially in the areas of personal financial giving and discipleship by using my gifts of communication and leadership skills.

Value #1:
I love Christ – I spend quality one on one time with Christ and share Him with others. (Phi. 3:8)

Value #2:
I have integrity – I live a life above reproach both morally and emotionally. (Psalm 15:1, 2)

Value #3:
I am cheerful – My attitude is upbeat and encouraging to others. (I Thes. 5:11)

Value #4:
I seek Truth – Only true understanding will set anyone free from bondage. (John 8:32)

Value #5:
I love my friends – I nurture the relationships with my family through prayer, contacting them and sharing with them. (Psalm 55:14)

Value #6:
I love my family – I nurture the relationships with my family through prayer, contacting them and sharing with them. (Joshua 24:15)

Value #7:
I strive for excellence – I do my best in all things so that God can be glorified. (I Cor. 10:31)

Value #8:
I am financially secure – Money is a means to an end and I handle money frugally. Debt is none or a minimum. (Proverbs 31:16)

Value #9:
I am an influencer – I seek to positively influence all those around me to either show them Christ or to bring them closer to His presence. (Matt. 28:19, 20)

Value #10:
I am productive – My works will demonstrate my faith. (James 2:18)

Value #11:
I am physically fit – I avoid bad habits (i.e. fried foods) and practice good habits in eating and physical exercise. (I Cor. 6:19, 20)

I will follow up with Part 2 of Getting It Done Intentionally on how to turn these values into Goals and Daily Task.

How I Plan My Meals

January 2nd, 2010 Filed under Food, Intentional Living 6 Comments

As I have mentioned before, gluttony is one of my “regular” besetting sins.  To help me in this area I have to make a plan for my meals and then execute the plan.  I begin with reviewing my calendar and determine when I will not be eating out and plug it into an excel spreadsheet.   (I usually do just two weeks at a time but since I will be out of town for a week in January I went ahead and did the month.)  Then I determine how many meals I need – this time I needed 23 breakfasts, 20 lunches and 17 dinners.

Using some old recipes as well as new recipes I then start plugging meals into the spread sheet (breakfast usually doesn’t change.)  Here is my spreadsheet with a few days plugged in:

Weekly Meals Example

The recipes I used this time were Lime Chicken (4 servings), Easy Turkey Meatloaf (8 servings), Mexican Chicken Casserole (8 servings), Autumn Glazed Pork Chops (4 servings) and Vegetarian Chili (15 servings).  Once the spreadsheet is filled out, I can then make my grocery list.  After going to the grocery store on Friday night, I cooked Saturday morning and  made yogurt, the five recipes, bag of brown rice above as well as eight smoothies.  All are frozen in single serving sizes and I will thaw each out as I go through the month.

By doing this I save LOTS of money, calories and stress.  Let me know if you try doing this as well.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

January 2nd, 2010 Filed under Food Comments Off

IngredientsMex Casserole:

10 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced

12 6-in. corn tortillas, torn into pieces

2 10.7 oz. cans reduced-fat cream of chicken soup

1 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes

8 oz. Velveeta Light processed cheese

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° F. In medium saucepan, heat soup, tomatoes and cheese until cheese is melted. Sauté bell pepper and onion in nonstick skillet with 1/4 cup of water or broth until tender. Stir into soup mixture; add chicken and tortillas. Pour into 9×13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes. Serves 8.

Nutritional Information: 243 Calories; 7g Fat (24.9% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 38mg Cholesterol; 989mg Sodium.

Vegetarian Chili

January 2nd, 2010 Filed under Food 5 Comments

Veggie Chili


2  large carrots, diced (1 cup)

2  celery ribs, diced (1/2 cup)

1  medium-size sweet onion, diced

Vegetable cooking spray

2  (8-oz.) packages sliced fresh mushrooms

1  large zucchini, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

1  yellow squash, chopped (1 cup)

1  tablespoon  chili powder

1  teaspoon  dried basil

1  teaspoon  seasoned pepper

1  (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

3  cups  tomato juice

2  (14 1/2-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

4  (15-oz.) cans pinto, black, great Northern, or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1  cup  frozen whole kernel corn

Sauté first 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, zucchini, and squash; sauté 3 more minutes. Add chili powder and next 2 ingredients, and sauté 5 more minutes.

Stir together tomato sauce and tomato juice in a 6-qt. slow cooker until smooth. Stir in diced tomatoes, next 2 ingredients, and carrot mixture. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.

Note: Cool leftovers, and freeze in plastic freezer containers or zip-top plastic freezer bags for up to 2 months.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 124  Fat: 0.8g  Protein: 7.4g  Carbohydrate: 24.5g  Fiber: 7g  Iron: 2mg  Sodium: 566mg  Calcium: 63mg

Autumn Glazed Pork Chops

January 2nd, 2010 Filed under Food Comments Off

Pork Chops


4 pork, boneless loin chops, 3/4-inch thick

1/4 teaspoon pepper, black ground

1/4 cup(s) apple cider, or juice

1/2 cup(s) cranberry sauce, whole

2 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate, frozen

1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick coating. Heat over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle both sides of chops with pepper. Brown chops on each side in hot skillet. Add apple cider. Cover tightly; cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes or until chops are just done.

Drain off juices.

In a small bowl combine cranberry sauce, honey, orange juice concentrate, ginger and nutmeg. Pour over chops.

Cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 220 Total Fat: 5 g Cholesterol: 47 mg Sodium: 47 mg Total Carbohydrate: 25 g Protein: 19 g

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