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We’ve been enjoying lots of fresh fruits and veggies! We don’t have a garden (just two tomato plants and a pepper plant), but we’ve been blessed with a few friends sharing some of their bounty with us. And we also live in Amish country and are able to get fresh produce rather inexpensively for the most part. There’s something that just feels so good about eating fresh, locally grown things and we’ve been enjoying it immensely.
If you are new to these menu plans of mine, it’s probably helpful to know a couple of things first:
- Our family of five consists of two adults with fairly big appetites, a 7 year-old boy, a 3 ½ year-old girl and an 18 month-old girl.
- I buy lots of fruits and veggies in bulk from local farmers/orchards in the summer and then freeze or can them. This is not only much cheaper it is also healthier too.
- I have a stockpile. My cupboards are full from previous shopping and here’s why. When I can get pasta for free with coupons, I buy as much as I have coupons for. If I’m able to get flour for $0.50/bag like I did last fall, I’ll buy half a dozen and put them in the freezer to use as needed. I do this as much as my budget allows, on as many items as I can and as a result save lots of money. Then when I go to plan menus, I simply plan our meals around what I already have in my cupboards and freezer, as much as possible. Obviously, I still might have to buy a few things at regular price here and there, but by stocking up when the price is at rock bottom I save a lot.
- I cook almost totally from scratch. That means when I make a cake, I rarely use a cake mix. I make my own bread totally from scratch. I rarely use pre-packaged sauces. I make my own cream soups and pie crusts. Making your own food is typically less expensive and healthier too.
- We rarely snack. By eating “heavy” food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunch time. And the same goes for the afternoon. Our lunches are big enough that we usually are fine until dinner time. When we do need a snack, I try to keep it mostly healthy by offering fruit, nuts or maybe No Bake Energy Bites. We don’t always do it perfectly though, and sometimes end up having chips or cookies instead.
- Our breakfasts consist of Easy Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, the occasional bought cereal that I was able to get for $0.50/box and sometimes some fruit too. I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but we actually all really enjoy it and prefer it over other breakfast food. I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage every morning. It’s just one of the little things that I do to add a bit of sunshine to my days!
Below you will find our lunches and dinners. (If we ate something other than our usual breakfast, I’ll note that too.) Since it’s summer vacation, all three children are home for lunches right now and since my husband is currently only working 1 to 2 days a week, he joins us most of the time too. The days that he goes to work, he takes a packed lunch with him that typically consists of sandwiches, fruit, homemade yogurt and sometimes random leftovers too.
- Kidfresh Chicken Nuggets (got free with couponing a couple of weeks ago); Baked Sweet Potatoes & Potatoes (with butter, salt, pepper, sour cream); Fresh Green Beans; Homemade Applesauce; Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake (similar to this recipe, but more cake like)
- Joined some friends for the evening- took ingredients to make two flavors of 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie (peach and strawberry)
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Blueberries; Grapes
- Bratwurst with Rolls and Toppings; Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes (this recipe is very similar to what I make); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce
- Various Leftovers; Fresh Blueberries; Grapes; Home Canned Peaches
- Ate free at Chick-Fil-A as part of their Cow Appreciation Day promotion 🙂
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapes; Home Canned Peaches
- Hamburger Zucchini Quiche; Fresh Green Beans; Homemade Applesauce
- Various Leftovers; Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Blueberries; Grapes
- Cheesy Ham, Potato & Green Bean Casserole; Homemade Applesauce; Turkey Hill All-Natural Ice Cream
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Blueberries; Home Canned Peaches
- Salsa Ranch Chicken Wraps; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce; Glazed Blueberry Scones (a recipe I was working on that sort of flopped 🙁 )
- Helped my husband’s family move–lunch was provided
- Leftover Cheesy Ham, Potato & Green Bean Casserole; Homemade Applesauce; Ice Cream Bars (various ones that I’ve gotten free recently by using coupons)
- Ham Loaf (comes pre-made- I just make a glaze for it); Baked Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes (butter/sour cream); Green Beans; Homemade Whole Wheat Bread (butter and homemade strawberry jelly); Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream
– a friend joined us for lunch
- 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie (blueberry/peach); Homemade Popcorn
– we were all still pretty full from our big lunch, so we didn’t each much for dinner
- Various Leftovers; Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Bananas; Grapes
- One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Home Canned Peaches; Grapes
- Ate out at Red Robin- my son and I got our free birthday meals!
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Home Canned Peaches; Frozen Blueberries (I preserve)
- Bean and Cheese Smothered Enchiladas; Fresh Green Beans; Homemade Applesauce; Blueberry Buckle (similar to this recipe)
– The enchiladas were good but way too spicy- and I even reduced the amount of cumin. (I didn’t mind it that bad, but I like spicier food than my hubby and kiddos do.) Next time, I would probably only add ¼ tsp. total. I also reduced the amount of cheese significantly and we thought it was still nice and cheesy.
- Various Leftovers; Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Frozen Blueberries & Frozen Peaches (I preserve)
- Breakfast Sandwiches (English muffins/eggs/cheese/bacon); Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Blueberry Buckle
- Meat/Cheese/Lettuce Sandwiches (made with homemade bread); Super Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapes; Fresh Cherries
- The children and I were away- my husband ate leftovers
- The children and I were away- my husband ate a variety of things that he prepared…not sure what all it was, but he said he was well filled. 🙂