Happy New Year

newyear2013Happy New Year!  I pray 2013 finds you well and enjoying the company of family and friends.

If you are like me this is a time to reflect on the passing year and make plans and goals for the coming year.  One of my goals in 2013 is to blog more often.  I took time off last year to focus on areas in our life that needed extra attention.  I hope to share what I have learned here on this blog.  So in the next few weeks you will see posts about the areas in my life I want to be more intentional, disciplined and focused.

The first areas is a very tasty one–menu planning.  Menu planning is not as intimidating as you may think.  Sure you may feel a little overwhelmed at first and most likely it will take you a while to put a menu together.  But believe me that it is well worth the effort.  First you will reduce stress never having to worry about what to make for breakfast, lunch, supper or even snacks.  Secondly, you will know what you buy from the grocery store.  And finally because you will have a specific shopping list to shop from you will save money at the grocery store and you will insure that what is in your pantry is what you need to make all your meals for the month.

I have included here my menu for Jan 2013 Menu.  I got this wonderful idea from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Check out her menus for more ideas and a great Italian flavor.  As you will notice my menus are a little different.  My family eats a plant-based diet.  More on that in a later post.  Finally my menu is a word document so you can edit it any way you like so that it will meet your family’s needs.  Or better still you can come up with your own menu plan featuring your families favorite recipes.

I pray you have a happy and tasty New Year.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Here is the Banana Carob Chip Bread recipe I promised to you yesterday.  Okay.  Although I made a triple batch of this recipe that made 2, 12inch loaves, I do not have a single loaf or even a slice left to take a picture to show you.  That should tell you something about how good it is.  Just click the link above or press print at the bottom of this post for your copy of this tasty treat.   Best part, it is no eggs, dairy, refined sugar or high fat.  But you will not be missing out on great taste, super moist

Banana Chocolate (Carob) Chip Bread

Combine in bowl:

4 small or 3 medium bananas

1/3 light olive oil

2/3 cup zylitol (or sugar) and 1 TBSP molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

1 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend–1/2 cup buckwheat/brown rice/tapioca (or ww flour)

1 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 /4 tsp salt

2 tbsp arrowroot starch

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until smooth.

Add in:

1/2 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for an hour, until the loaf is firm, a bit crusty and a tooth pick inserted into the center emerges clean.

Cool loaf on a wire rack.

Because this is hospitality Friday, you can guess what the kids and I are baking today to take to some friends.

Banana Carob Chip Bread

Fiesta Waffles for Breakfast

I have been loving my new menu calendar.  One new recipe that I have tried recently that was a hit was the Fiesta Waffles.  Just click on the words Fiesta Waffles on the calendar to be taken directly to the recipe.

September Menu Calendar

They were so easy to make and look so good to eat.

You just have to try them but I must warn you to keep an open mind.  They do provide a nice change to the usually sweet breakfasts.  My boys were not excited about the possibility when they saw the ingredients that went into the waffles.  But a rule in our house is that you eat what mom makes or you are free to wait until the next meal to eat something different:0  A second rule about the diner table is that you must try everything.  Of course everyone have certain preferences but often children are not able to discern what they will like so they should be encouraged to try.  There are adult like that too.  Well I made a triple batch and I had no leftovers.  We topped them with guacamole and IMO sour cream.  Delicious.

Fiesta Waffles topped with guacamole and IMO sour cream

It has been so nice to have a consistent plan to follow.  There are so many things that a stay-at-home-homeschool mom has to worry about, what to eat does not have to be one of them.  And because I am really trying to watch what I eat (trying to lose some stubborn weight) having a plan keeps me from reverting to the easy but not so healthy meals.

Oh, and for those interested, I created my menu calendar using Keep and Share.  It is so easy, you are send a daily reminder of the things you need to remember and your calendars can be hyper linked.  No more trying to dig up recipes.  I simply click on the links for that day and get cooking.  So easy and fun.  I have however, printed up a copy and posted on my refrigerator for easy access.  The kids seem to like looking up what’s cooking.

Menu Plan–answering the, “I’m hungry, what are we eating?”, question

I just finished our menu calendar for the month.  Right now I only have the week days but I hope in the next few days to finish out the entire month.  I am excited about using KeepandShare to do my calendars.  I am frustrated that I have not been able to embed the menu plan on the site (human error mostly likely on my part) but you can click here to look at what we are eating this week.   This is a nicer pdf menu calendar.  I have printed one out and is on the refridgerator.  I have also created a notebook with all the recipes for easy reference.

For those of you who may not know, we are vegetarian.  We do not eat animal products of any kind.  And because I have hit a plateau in my personal weight loss I have been using the Full Plate diet recipes.  You will see links on the menu for the recipes I have taken from the Full Plate diet.  I would highly recommend the Full Plate Diet.  The concept is to increase your fiber intake.  Checkout  The Full Plate Diet for yourself.  Solid research and science behind the diet and delicious recipes.  I hope to have more recipes posted soon, so keep checking  in.

Again I have not figured out how to embed the calendar into the site.  I will keep you posted as I learn to use this very versatle tool.