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Monday, June 9, 2014

Simple, Fun Workouts for the Unmotivated Mom (Part 1)


Dear Mom Who Hates to Exercise,
I know exactly how you feel. I am right there with you. It's kind of hard to fathom that some people actually enjoy working out. Isn't it? Seriously?! Who actually likes spandex and sports bras and sweat (ick!) and shoes you have to lace? Not to mention expensive gym memberships, child care arrangements, etc. Talk about a pain in the you-know-what!
I don't know about you, but I've tried it all. Step aerobics, Zumba, jogging (well...sorta!), spinning, yoga, weight training, Pilates...I have yet to fall in love with anything that involves sweat. Or effort. And don't even suggest that water aerobics would help me avoid sweating. Because I hate bathing suits. (Which I might hate less if I exercised more. Ugh.)
Anyway, the point is--I know exactly where you are coming from. I can promise you that this is NOT a post from a crazy, exercise-loving mom. This is a post from a desperate-to-get-in-shape-but-hating-every-stinking-minute-of-it mom. I was born without an "exercise gene". In its place, I was gifted with a "lazy gene". Maybe you have one, too? Let's redefine the term "exercise" and instead, you and I will just strive to stay active, be good role models for our kids and have a bunch of fun. Okay?
Ashley



The Card Game Workout

The idea for this workout was stolen from fitness guru, Jillian Michaels, herself. It works like this:

1. Remove all of the face cards from a deck of playing cards (We use something fun like Angry Birds Star Wars cards or whatever is handy--Jillian probably doesn't.).

2. Leave the ACES in the deck and the numbers 2-10 for each suit. If you have a couple JOKER cards, throw those in there too!

3. Decide which FOUR exercises you and your kiddos want to do. There are some suggestions below. It works best if you chose a variety of body parts to work with. Trust me--you don't want to pick all ab exercises or all leg moves! I would recommend choosing at least one cardio-type exercise to really get your heart pumping. The jumping jacks are a favorite here, but if you're up for the challenge try burpees.

(Some of these you may have to Google if you don't know what they are. And odds are if you have to look it up, it isn't a beginner move. Haha!)

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Crunches or Sit-ups
  • Push-ups (Make this super fun by putting a bowl of popcorn down and picking up a piece with your tongue as you get near the floor!)
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Calf Raises
  • Burpees
  • Superman

4. Assign each exercise to a suit. For example, you might choose to do HEARTS as Jumping Jacks, DIAMONDS as Crunches, SPADES as Squats and CLUBS as Push-ups. Write the exercises and the symbols on a large piece of paper, like the one above, and post it somewhere visible to you and the kiddos.

5. The ACES will be a one-minute rest and the JOKERS can either be a 2 minute dance party or a 30 second plank, whichever you prefer. My kids live for the dance party! It's their favorite part!

6. Jillian thinks you are going to do this ENTIRE. DECK. OF. CARDS. Now that is some funny stuff right there!! Good luck with that. Ha! We usually do about half the deck. I just eyeball it. I do fan through the half we are doing and make sure there is at least one ACE (rest) and one JOKER (dance party) in the half we choose.

7. Grab some water and a clock with a timer. Turn on some fun, upbeat music and get moving! Flip the first card and do the number of reps and the corresponding exercise it goes along with. For example, a 10 of SPADES would be 10 squats using our chart above. Move onto the next card as quickly as possible. 

8. Try to keep going until you get through all the cards. Jillian has nothing on my 7 year old. Nothing. That boy is one TOUGH trainer! Make sure you don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh! Be silly! Worry about your own form and let them do goofy push-ups if they want.


 **WARNING!! Your kids will make you do this EVERY. STINKING. DAY. They will not forget. They will beg. They will nag. Who needs a trainer when you have kids?!



The Jenga Workout

This is a fun workout that you can make as challenging as you like. There are 2 variations of this game. The first will be a little more game and a little less exercise. The second will definitely give you a fun workout! 

Grab a Sharpie marker and at least HALF of your Jenga pieces. Write simple exercises on one side of the Jenga piece. Some should be a little easier and some a little more difficult. Don't be afraid to vary the repetition number and duplicate the exercise if you start running out of creativity. (So 10 Push-ups on one piece and 5 Push-ups on another.) Here are a few ideas for you. 


  • 30 sec. Plank
  • 20 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 sec. High Knees
  • 20 Crunches
  • 10 Push-ups
  • Jog in place for 1 min.
  • 10 Lunges
  • 5 Squats
  • 10 Calf Raises
  • 10 Karate Kicks
  • Hop on one foot for 15 sec. then the other for 15 sec.

Easy Version: Play the game as usual, having everyone do the exercise challenge on the Jenga piece when it is taken from the tower. Replace the piece somewhere in/on the tower and continue playing until the tower falls.

Challenge Version: Play the game as usual, having everyone do the activity on the Jenga piece when it is taken from the tower. If a piece is blank, or blank on one side, grab your marker and write a new exercise challenge on the piece. Replace the piece somewhere on/in the tower and continue playing until the tower falls. (If a piece has an exercise challenge on both sides, the person who removed the piece will choose which exercise the group completes.)

Have fun!

Don't miss the other 2 upcoming posts in this series. Get new posts delivered directly to your inbox by entering your e-mail address at the top, right under the blog header. (Mobile users will need to click "View Web Version".) You can find me on Facebook HERE.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My $42 Grocery Shopping Trip & GF Menu for 10/21-10/27

This week's Kroger trip included a rare ice cream splurge (on sale), grass-fed
organic beef on Manager's Special (only $4.16 after my coupon!) and a package
of $.99 cilantro. I had a $.70/2 coupon for the Kroger cheese, making it $1.53 ea.

Last week I stocked up at our local bulk foods store and paid the farmer for our monthly herd share of raw, pastured milk. (We pay $11/week for milk, that I also use to make 2 qts. of yogurt.) That being said, the grocery budget is getting pretty tight and the month isn't even close to being over!

If you find yourself in a place where you are trying to drastically cut your grocery bill for a period of time, my best advice is to shop at home first. Take a complete inventory of your freezer, fridge and pantry and see what you have to work with in your menu planning. A can of diced tomatoes, a couple boxes of pasta, frozen broccoli, a package of pork chops, a can of tuna...write it ALL down. Now is the time to be creative! Head over to Pinterest or All Recipes and type in a few of your random ingredients as a search. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can make with what you already have. 

I remember early in our marriage, long before kids and in the height of my couponing days, we had one extremely tight week where I was forced to plan a week's worth of healthy meals with only the $20 bill in my wallet. It was challenging, and required careful planning, but I did it with a few cents to spare! By starting with the things you already have buried in the back of the freezer and those random odds and ends in the pantry, you too can build a simple and inexpensive menu.




I have recently begun listing the contents of my upright freezer in dry erase marker on the door. It wipes off easily and allows me to know exactly what I have available for meals. As I use things up, I simply erase them.

We went in with some friends last year to purchase a side of grass-fed, organic beef from our local farmer and I am still in the process of using it up. Buying in bulk can really save you money--providing you use things up in a timely fashion and don't let them go to waste.

I planned this week's menu using quite a few things I already had in the freezer and pantry. I was able to spend about 50% less than I typically do at the grocery store (which offsets the crazy amount I spent last week!). 

******************************

In the menu below, I will use an asterisk (*) to note the items that I already had on hand. Recipe links are in BLUE.


Breakfast

Steel Cut Oats* x2
GF Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Spelt Pumpkin* Waffles (not GF) & Nitrate-free Bacon*
Banana, Blueberry*, Spinach* & Yogurt* Smoothies x2
Easy Cinnamon Granola & Oranges 

Lunch

Leftovers x2
Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hotdogs* w/Sugar Snap Peas & Apples*
Personal Pizzas w/Spelt Pizza Crust* (not GF), Spinach* Salad & Oranges*
Cheese Nachos w/Raw Carrots & Grapes
PB* & Honey* on Homemade Spelt* Bread (not GF) w/Celery* & Raspberries*
Annie's Homegrown GF Mac-n-Cheese* w/Broccoli & Homemade Applesauce*

Dinner

Steak* Burrito Bowls w/Cilantro Lime Brown Rice* 
Pumpkin* Smoothies

Roasted Turkey Breast*
Butternut Squash* Casserole
Green Beans*

Butternut squash casserole
 
Beef* Stew w/Potatoes* & Carrots
GF Cornbread*
Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce*

Quinoa* & Sausage* Stuffed Peppers
Fruit* Salad
Raw Nut Butter* Cups
 

 
Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole (previously frozen*)
Steamed Broccoli
GF Almond Flour Brownies--sub zucchini* for butter & eggs



*******************
 
Looking for more inspiration on shopping from the pantry? Check out my Dinners By Design series HERE.

 
 
 




Monday, October 7, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Saving Money on Your Gluten-Free Meals (Oct. 7-13)


 
Money Saving Meal Plan Tip:
Eating healthy, and especially gluten-free, can be pricey if you aren't careful. There are so many ways to meal plan--but really, the only ineffective meal plan is NOT having a meal plan. Meal planning not only saves time, but it saves money with fewer trips to the grocery for last minute ingredients and fewer restaurant or take-out dinners.

 
One of my favorite ways to save money on our GF menu is to cook around the weekly sale circular. As I sit down to plan our family's meals for the week (generally on Sunday), I do so with my calendar in hand and my Sunday newspaper ads. I leaf through the Kroger, Meijer and Aldi ads and look for excellent deals on produce or meat and try to work those into my menu.
 
 
For example, this week canned pumpkin is $10/10 with 11th item free at Meijer and $.89 at Aldi. Not only will I make several recipes with pumpkin this week, I will also stock up for the weeks to come (anything less than $1 is a good price!). I also noticed that Aldi has 3 lb. of sweet potatoes for $.99 and ricotta cheese for $1.79. Kroger has Annie's Homegrown Mac-n-Cheese for $1 and fresh pineapple for $1.99. I'll get my spaghetti sauce at Meijer and stock up on 3 lb. bags of onions, both included in the $10/10 sale.
 
 
What if you see that ground turkey, canned tomatoes and cheese are on sale and still have no idea what to do with them? Try Pinterest! Type a few key words into a search and see what comes up to inspire you. {Speaking of Pinterest, are you following me? Click HERE.} Or try a recipe site, like All Recipes, where you can type in ingredients and look for corresponding recipes. For an excellent list of advertised and unadvertised grocery deals, coupon match ups and more--visit Bargains to Bounty.
 

Instead of planning your meals and then paying full price for the ingredients you will need, try coming up with your meals AFTER you check out what you can get for a steal at your local grocery store/s.
 
*******************
 
Here is what is on our family's menu this week. Recipe links are shown in BLUE. Items on sale are listed in RED.
 
Monday
Sauteed Asparagus
  

Tuesday
Pasta e Fagioli Soup w/GF Pasta (tomatoes, beans, celery, carrots & onion on sale)
Spinach Salad w/Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Yogurt Topped with GF Pumpkin Granola


Wednesday
Dinner at church


Thursday ~ (Kids' night--Dad works late)
Spelt Pumpkin Waffles (not GF) w/Pure Maple Syrup
Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage
Blueberry Banana Smoothies (with spinach...shhh!!)
 
 
Friday
GF Crockpot Lasagna* ~ Recipe coming soon!
Spinach Salad w/Homemade Ranch Dressing
 
*ricotta & spaghetti sauce on sale
 

Saturday
Dinner out


Sunday 
Mini Chicken Pot Pies w/GF crust  (Make extra to freeze)
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
 

Do you plan your meals around what's on sale at the grocery? I'd love to hear from you. Please leave any questions or comments in the space below.



MPM-Fall
I'm linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!




Chicken Pot Pie (GF)

Serves 6

2 pie crusts*
2 T. butter
2 T. flour or GF cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. thyme
1/2 c. chicken broth (homemade is best!)
1/2 c. whole milk
1-2 c. cooked, shredded chicken breast
2-3 c. frozen or fresh veggies (corn, peas, celery, onion, carrots, green beans, etc.)

1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and blend in the flour or cornstarch and spices. Stir until smooth.

2. Immediately add the broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

3. Add chicken and veggies to sauce mixture. Place bottom pie crust in pie plate and pour filling into crust. Add top crust and pinch edges to seal.

5. Bake at 425 degrees for 35-40 min.

Delicious served with fresh fruit or a salad!

*For a wheat pie crust, use this recipe. For a gluten-free crust, try this one. Or purchase a store-bought crust.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chicken Corn Chowder (GF)


I don't know about you, but we love soup for an easy fall dinner. I had a ton of milk to use up a couple weeks ago and was scavenging Pinterest for a good creamy soup recipe to try.

I am a huge fan of potato soup, sadly it is one of the very few things my husband doesn't like. He prefers spicier soups like my White Chicken Chili or Taco Soup. Since he is such a good sport and eats so many of my experimental meals, it's only fair to try and accomodate his tastes when I can.

If White Chicken Chili and Potato Soup had a baby--they would name it Chicken Corn Chowder. Ha ha! It's a bit on the spicy side to please my man (but easily tamed down for those who like things more mild) yet still incorportates some well-hidden potatoes and is topped with crunchy bacon bits, green onions and delicious cheddar cheese.

I think it's a winning combo! Paired with a simple tossed salad it definitely hits the spot on a crisp fall night.

Enjoy!


Chicken Corn Chowder
Serves 6

8 slices nitrate-free bacon
1/2 c. onion, chopped
4 oz. can mild green chilies (optional--but I highly recommend adding)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. chicken broth, divided
2 c. frozen hashbrowns, shredded or diced variety
2 c. frozen corn
2 c. cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 t. Old Bay seasoning (or make your own but don't omit--this ingredient makes it perfect)
1/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt (less or more to your taste)
dash pepper
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped or 1/2 T. dried parsley
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
2-3 T. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
3 c. whole milk
shredded cheddar cheese for serving
chopped green onions for serving


1. Chop bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Save cooked bacon for serving chowder.

2. Reserve approximately 2 T. of bacon grease and saute garlic, onion and green chilies.

3. Pour onion and garlic mixture into a large pot and add 1 cup of chicken broth, corn, potatoes and chicken. Simmer 5 minutes.

4. Add remaining broth and seasonings. Whisk arrowroot powder or cornstarch into cold milk and pour into the pot.

5. Simmer for at least 30 min. for chowder to thicken and flavors to meld. For thicker chowder, add more arrowroot or cornstarch (1 t. at a time). To thin, add more milk or broth.

6. Top with bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions. Serve warm.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Easy Tips for Filling the Freezer & GF Meals for Sept. 23-30



Filling the Freezer WITHOUT a Freezer Cooking Day

You can stock your freezer full of healthy, homemade meals with minimal extra work. Look at your weekly menu and decide if there is anything that could easily be doubled or even tripled and would freeze nicely. I try to plan at least one main dish a week that is "freezable".
For example, soups and casseroles are perfect for freezing and reheating. Crockpot meals can be doubled and the extra ingredients thrown into a freezer bag for a future meal. If you are making pancakes or muffins, plan to bake extras and freeze for busy mornings.
How do you decide what will "freeze well"? Think about it this way...if you can buy it premade and frozen at the grocery (Lean Cuisine meals, waffles, grilled sliced chicken breasts, etc. etc.) you can make it yourself and freeze it! I even buy inexpensive glass casserole dishes for $1 at yard sales and Goodwill to use for my freezer meals. {Be sure to thaw in the fridge overnight before putting into hot oven and cracking your dish!}
This week, I am making Skillet Chili Mac which I will double--freezing the leftover as a casserole for later. When freezing soup, like my Chicken Corn Chowder, I use a muffin tin and transfer "soup pucks" to a freezer bag. I am also baking up some Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Muffins and Pumpkin Scones, both of which will be excellent to freeze and reheat. {Recipes coming soon!!}
I don't plan a special freezer cooking day as some people do. For me, it's just as simple to make extra of something I am already cooking anyway and sock away the surplus in the deep freeze. Not to mention that it means a no-mess, low-stress, easy meal for another day. And the best part? You get twice as many meals with half as many dirty dishes!

 *******************
Here is what is on our family's menu this week. Recipe links are shown in BLUE. 

Monday
GF Skillet Chili Mac  ~ Recipe Coming Soon!
Honey Lime Fruit Salad


Tuesday
GF Chicken Corn Chowder 
Mixed Green Salad
GF Thin Mint Cookies


Wednesday
Dinner at church


Thursday ~ (Kids' night--Dad works late)
GF Pumpkin Scones  ~  Recipe Coming Soon!
Nitrate-free Bacon
Blueberry Banana Smoothies (with spinach...shhh!!)


Friday
GF Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic & Butter
Homemade Applesauce


Saturday
Dinner out


Sunday  ~  (Company for dinner)
Grilled BBQ Chicken
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Oven Roasted Broccoli
GF Apple Crisp w/Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream 

Do you have a favorite meal to use for planned leftovers? Something that freezes and reheats beautifully? Leave a comment or link to your recipe in the section below. Have a great week!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Gluten-free Menu for Aug. 26-31


 
Here is what's on the menu at our house this week. Items in BLUE are recipe links. We leave for vacation on Sunday, so these meals are for Monday-Saturday.
 
*Meal Planning Tip*:  Make your family's menu with your calendar in hand. For example, this week I have a meeting on Tuesday night. Therefore, I needed a meal my hubby and kids could serve themselves. I also know this weekend we'll be busy getting ready for vacation, so I chose meals for Friday and Saturday that used up leftovers or were super quick to put together.
 
Take a look at your schedule for the week and decide if there are nights that a crockpot meal would work best (i.e. you'll be gone most of the day and you'll have no time to make a meal). Maybe you have lots of afterschool activities and something quick/portable like walking tacos or sub sandwiches would save your sanity. Sit down with your calendar and think about the week's schedule ahead of time for a less stressful, less take-out dependent (healthier!) menu.
 
 
Dinners
Farmers' Market Butternut Squash
Steamed Broccoli
 
 
Crockpot Black Bean Chili Soup

 
Teriyaki Lime Chicken Kabobs (Chicken, Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms & Pineapple)
Brown Rice
 
 
Farmers' Market Green Beans
 
 
Taco Salad*
Tropical Smoothies
*Drain leftover chili, reheat and serve over lettuce & tortilla chips. Top with cheese, salsa and sour cream. 
 
Quinoa Pizza Bake ~ RECIPE COMING WED!
Raw Veggies w/Homemade Ranch

Desserts
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
UM. phenomenal. I would mix in vanilla protein in the greek yogurt first, it’d be like vanilla frosting!!… OR CHOCOLATE PROTEIN for a chocolate covered strawberry.. omy
I want to leave work & go home right now to try this!!!!! :D
get-thinspiration:

healthylivingforyou:

defining-me:

Dip strawberries into Greek yogurt, freeze, and enjoy!

Things like this is why I love Tumblr. Haha

looks super yummy!

 


I'm using a lot of farmers' market produce this week. What is your favorite fall fruit or veggie recipe? Leave a comment or link to your recipe in the section below. Have a great week!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Better Off Broken

Notice the broken mug. And that is chai
tea with cream and honey--not coffee.

"Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow me to bless you richly through it."  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

read this quote yesterday during my morning devotion time. It has been quite awhile since I've read anything that spoke to me quite as clearly as this passage. You see...I struggle. I have struggled from the time my parents divorced at the age of 4. I can't remember a time when life wasn't hard. Sometimes excruciatingly hard. Those people who "skip along their life-paths with ease" and the ones blessed with "abundant energy"--I have a difficult time with those folks. 

I can be honest with you, right? I have dealt with insecurity and jealousy long before I knew what those words even meant. I try (really I do!) to be happy for people who have been handed an easier lot than me. But the truth is...I am incredibly envious of the ones who were raised by godly and encouraging parents. I often resent the ones who have had smooth, happy and loving marriages. I feel the sting of injustice about the ones who've never lost a baby through miscarriage. There are times when I am bitter about the ones who have a dad who simply shows up and who wants nothing more than to be a grandpa to their kiddos.  I am jealous of the ones who haven't had to endure putting a spouse's parent, a precious surrogate father, in the grave. I envy the ones who have lifelong friends--the kind who didn't move away or just plain move on. 

And how could I forget the ones with "abundant energy"? Oh, some days it is those people with whom I have the hardest time not comparing myself. Because let me tell you...when you are running a race with huge boulders in your path, you are going to fall down. A lot. And you get tired. Depressed, in fact. Life leaves you flat out worn out. Unlike those who are running on that smooth, easy path. They can run faster--get farther. Plus, they have fewer bruises. No visible chips, cracks or scars. 

But this passage--it caused me to consider something for the very first time. Maybe, just maybe, this fragility I have always deemed a curse is actually a gift. Perhaps being easily broken is what brings me the "opportunities for my spirit to blossom" that the others, the ones who are too busy skipping along, don't always get. Since I gave my life over to Jesus my sophomore year of high school, I have done my very best to obey His leading and call. I let the Lord choose my college and major. I even let Him choose my husband. I allowed Him to move me from one job to another, providing lessons and growth along the way. I listen when He asks me to give up something I love (like Facebook or coffee) in exchange for something better. When I break, I give God the chance to put the pieces back together in such a way that I am better off for having been broken. 


"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts."  The Cultivation of Humility by G. B. F. Hallock, 1919

Why am I lying on the ground munching gravel, as everyone around me seems to be skipping past me? Why am I always broken and shattered and just plain beat up by this life? Why do I find myself flat on my face every single time I turn around? 

Seriously, God...Why?!

Because the lower I get, the higher He lifts me up. And maybe this gift of fragility really is a sacred treasure after all. Indeed, I am richly blessed.

Ashley 


P.S. I am completely in love with this song from We Are Human, called We Fall Apart. Go listen to it!
"Isn't it beautiful? The way we fall apart. It's magical and tragic all the ways we break our hearts. It's so unpredicatable. We're comfortably miserable. We think we're invincable, completely unbreakable, and maybe we are. But isn't it beautiful the way we fall apart?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BLT Quinoa Salad (GF)



A couple weeks ago I decided to make BLATs (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) for the family for dinner, only to be disappointed that I couldn't actually eat them because I am intolerant to both the yeast and the gluten in bread. That left me with two alternatives--either wrap up the bacon, tomato and avocado in a romaine lettuce leaf or come up with some kind of cold salad mixture using the sandwich ingredients as a springboard. Utilizing some leftover quinoa I had in the fridge, this was the delicious end result. Enjoy!

BLT Quinoa Salad
Serves 2-4

2 c. Cooked and cooled quinoa*
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Avocado, diced (optional)
6-8 slices Nitrate-free bacon  (I use Applegate Farms brand.)
1/4 c. Real mayonnaise (Spectrum or Trader Joe's Organic are my favorites.)
2 t. Vinegar
2 t. Sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped

*Rince 1 c. quinoa under water until it runs clear. Add quinoa to a medium saucepan with 2 c. water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed and germ ring appears around quinoa seeds. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

1. Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels until cool and then crumble.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine mayo, vinegar and sugar. Mix well. Add quinoa, bacon, avocado and tomato. Toss to evenly coat the dry ingredients with the dressing. Add salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve cold over chopped lettuce. Refrigerate any leftovers right away.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meal Plan Monday: Gluten-free meals for Aug. 5-11


Here is what's on the menu at our house this week. Items in BLUE are recipe links. One night we will go out to eat and another will be a leftovers night.

As much as I like summer, I love fall even more! And with temperatures hovering in the low 80s in mid-August, it's hard not to think about delicious fall meals. Our grill is acting up and it's finally cool enough to use my oven. This week I'm going to be cooking up some fall-ish sort of meals that I wouldn't normally be making until at least late September. Enjoy!

Dinners
Muffin Tin Meatloaf Minis (Use GF oats for breadcrumbs)
Fresh Sauteed Green Beans
Cauliflower Cheesy Bread
Tossed Salad w/Homemade Ranch


Blueberry Banana Smoothies (with spinach...shhhh!)
 Chili Cheese Lentils
Chili Cheese Lentils over Brown Rice (Meatless meal)
Fresh Fruit








Tomato Cucumber Salad (My goodness are we swimming in these! The garden has exploded with tomatoes and cucumbers.)

*This is SO good! I cut back on the lime juice, make extra seasoning for the chicken and use way less cayenne pepper.


Desserts



Do you have a favorite fall recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment or link to your recipe in the section below. Have a great week!