Monday, October 29, 2012

Magazine Meal Planning

My mom told me about a conversation she had with one of her friends about family meals.  Her friend asked what our "go to" meals were and my mom answered "lasagna".   But truthfully, I can't remember the last time we had any!
We like to try new recipes and have a lot of variety, so I guess we don't really have any 'go to meals'.  Maybe that's part of why Levi will eat just about any food you offer him, or at the very least, take a "no thank you bite".

So one of our biggest issues is keeping track of recipes we want to try, we are often searching through magazines, pintrest recipe lists, and recipe books to find "that one recipe that had___ in it and looked good".       I've come up with a way to help organize!

Two of our favorite magazines for recipes are Vegetarian Times, and Food Network Magazine.   Food Network tends to have less complicated recipes, plus the format of the magazine is easier to follow.    Of our family of 5, we have 2 vegetarians, and one with lots of food allergies, so we have to accommodate everyone.  The vast majority of our meals are 100% vegetarian so that helps!

So anyways, here is how I do some meal planning with a food magazine, this could easily be adapted for online recipes as well, especially using pintrest.

First, choose your magazine.  Food Network has LOTS in each issue, and most can easily be adapted to vegetarian/allergy friendly.   

Next, go through and pick out what looks good.  I let Levi look through too and fold over pages of things he likes! 

Once you find something you want to make, write down the title of the recipe (use the title in the magazine if it doesn't have a picture index like Food Network) and include the page number (to make it easier to find later)   Then write down all of the ingredients that you will need to buy.   Things that are ALWAYS in your house, you can skip, such as spices, and basic things.  When you write your list, you can change any ingredients you want, like using a different veg, or using almond milk instead of regular, or whatever you'd like. 

As you do this, you will also notice overlaps - maybe a few recipes call for vegetable broth, or parsley or whatever.   This can help you with deciding what to have when, because maybe you want to use up that parsley within a couple days so it doesn't turn into green slime in the bottom of your fridge, so you will plan to have those two meals the same week.   Or if several recipes call for green apples or tomatoes, you might buy a whole bag instead of just a few because you know you will use more.  

Cut out the set of ingredients, like the pic below.   

And stick them back in the magazine on the right pages (its best to cut them out and stick them in the pages as you go, instead of spreading them all over the place)

Now, when you make your grocery list, you will just put your basic items and household stuff on it,  and grab the little lists from your magazine of whatever you plan to cook.   You can either just carry the small lists with you (which is what I do, I tape them to the big list) or transfer the ingredients to your main list (which is a pain, but my dad likes to do it).   

Then just make your meal, knowing you have everything you need!  

  These were yummy Italian cabbage wraps, modified to be totally vegan!    

That's it!  I probably made it sound more complicated than it really is, but it works for our family, and doesn't take up much time.  I also like that its not a "set" day of the week that you have to have each meal, its easy to adapt as much as you want because each list is separate and easy to grab on your way to the store.    

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emma and Eli Owl

One of Levi's little friends turns 1 this month, and her mom asked me to make her an owl shirt for her birthday.   Great timing because I was already planning on making an owl shirt for Levi. 
I really love to make these bright, bold appliques.  They are simple, yet have a big impact and are always fun.  

Here are the results!   "Emma and Eli Owl"

 Here is Levi in his shirt, I can't wait to see little Emma in hers!

I also made her a fun pennant birthday banner, which I think I will put in my shop again soon.   These make great birthday decoration, but can also be flipped over to the side without letters for a nice room decoration.     I also came up with a snapping system that allows the banner to be hung as one big line of pennants, or separated into smaller segments, in case you don't have one giant wall to hang the whole line of flags on!   This also makes loops for hanging, perfect use for those removable hooks from 3M.  

Happy Birthday Emma!  And thanks for the inspiration!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Archery and Gymnastics

Levi takes a homeschool archery class every other week.  He really enjoys it (probably because he is trusted with a real weapon).   And I like it, because they emphasize the safety aspect at the start of every single class.  And as a bonus, its a free class! 

He also takes a homeschool gymnastics class which is every week.  On archery days, they are back to back classes, but only a 2min drive apart, so its not so bad.  He has plenty of energy and then some for both!  

These are MUCH harder to get a good picture of!  The adults stay in a different room, with glass in between.   

One of his favorite things is doing flips, he loves the pit of giant blue cubes, which often leave blue fuzzys in his hair. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Arthur's Little Monster Outfit!

Levi was invited to a friend's b-day party, and for his gift, I made him this adorable little outfit:

Hand stitched details:

Back pocket has some cute ribbon details
 more hand stitching

This outfit is now for sale at The Little Sewing Shop!