Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meal Plan (June 20-25)

What a day! My oldest baby turned four years old. I don't know about the rest of you, but that is huge. Four years old. The start of Toy Story 3 shows Andy growing up....sappy music...snapshots of the passing years.  The movie had not been on for more than five minutes and I was sobbing into my popcorn.  We sent out an invitation to family and friends to join us for the movie Toy Story 3 in lou of gifts, followed by a small party at our home.  Forty-Three people showed up! I am so glad that I had enough cupcakes! And....they were good...worthy of sharing on Meal Planning Mommies. So, look out for them this week.

Here is the meal plan.  It is the week of the Chickpea.  Between Tuesday's soup, Thursday's Falafal and some delicious hummus I would like to proclaim that ~ Chickpeas Rock!

Monday~ Japanese Spaghetti (A delicious whole wheat spaghetti dish loaded with seasonal vegetables and flavor!)
Tuesday~ Spanish Chickpea Soup with Garlic Mint Pesto 
Wednesday~ Soaked Grain Blender Waffles (A little preparation, a big healthy hit!)
Thursday~ Middle Eastern Falafal
Friday~ Mojadra (Rice and Lentils

Plus~ my son's birthday cupcakes (made with freshly ground whole wheat flour), a pretty gross flop, a give away, and a few other extras. 


Friday, June 18, 2010

TGIFRIDAYS link no longer working. Try one of these two instead..

TGI Friday's Coupon - Free Entree ( expires June 20 )
Print coupon and bring it to any T.G.I. Friday's restaurant for a free jack daniels entree with purchase. See coupon for more details...

TGI Friday's Coupon - Free Appetizer
Skip the intro and sign up and T.G.I Friday's will email you a printable coupon for a free appetizer.. ( Sign Up )

Note : The printable coupon is sent usually via email within 24 hours.. You can print it instantly once you get their email.

>> Go here to find the closest TGI Friday's Restaurants in your area.

(Thank you Mommy Saves Big!)

Dining Out Deals

Lots of great dinner ideas for Father's day!!! While most restaurants are going to be participating in these deals, it is always a good idea to call YOUR restaurant ahead of time be to certain that they are participating before you get your family out the door, just to be safe. Don't want anyone disappointed on Daddy's day. We'll be cooking off the grill (which I am very stoked about), but if you are planning to take your man out of eat, here are some other great ideas. Check these out this week:

Smokey Bones--

Dads can be treated to a FREE Meal (up to $20 value) at Smokey Bones on Father’s Day with the purchase of another meal. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer or coupon. Valid on 6/20/2010 only. You must be a Bones Club member to receive a FREE meal but you can do that online or right in the restaurant.

Thanks, My Sweet Savings!

Outback Steakhouse
On Father's Day weekend Outback is featuring 15 meals priced from $9.95 to $15 plus you can receive a coupon for $10 off your next visit.
Print the Outback Steakhouse Coupon Offer (link seems to be having your participating Outback Steakhouse to see if they are participating.)

Texas de Brazil Dads eat free with the purchase of another meal Texas de Brazil coupon

TCBY Dad's get a free ice cream cone or cup at TCBY. No coupon necessary.

Another great Father's Day idea...
Head on over to the Chammps Facebook page and “Like” them to score a coupon for a FREE Burger! Just click on the “Free Burgers” tab and fill out your name and email address.
(Thanks, Chi-Town Cheapskate!)

Friday's Restaurants
Buy One Entree, Get One Free Coupon

T.G.I Friday's restaurants is offering its "Buy One Entree, Get One Free" coupon until June 22, 2009. The entrees range from $5.99 to $21.49. The free entree applies to an entree of equal or lesser value. To get the deal, you must bring the coupon.
Print Friday's BOGO Coupon
Boston Market
The Boston Market has a Father's Day Card/Coupon for children to color and give to Dad. The coupon is good for a free Kid's Meal of $5 or more. The offer expires June 30, 2009.
Print the Card/Coupon

Stop by any Tropical Smoothie CafĂ© wearing flip flops tomorrow, June 18th, and they’ll help you kick off the summer with a FREE 24 oz. Jetty Punch Smoothie! Check out the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Facebook page for more information. Yummy!
(Thanks, Hooked On Bargains!)

Hoss’s: $5 off your entree price (valid 6/18 & 6/19 only)
Coupon is valid Friday, June 18th & Saturday, June 19th only. Good for lunch or dinner, but excludes salad bar only and sandwich items. More offer details on Printable!
Nearly full page coupon/certificate prints.
Thanks, Good Deal Mama!

Buca di Beppo
Get $10 off any $20 Purchase
Valid - June 21, 2009 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Find Locations and Print Coupon

Bob Evans Restaurant: Buy any Bob-B-Q meal (minimum price $5.99) and get a kids’ meal for free!
SmartSource coupon is valid June 14th – August 18th. Offer found on their web page here and Facebook page here. Web page has scrolling ads. This offer is the first one if you are quick enough to click on the coupon link. Direct link may or may not work. If it works, the printing process will begin once you click.

Quiznos: $2.00 off a Regular or Large Sub
If you love Quiznos as much as I do then you are going to want to print out this high value printable coupon and save $2.00 off any one regular or large sub (excludes everyday value deli subs, toasty torpedoes and toasty bullets)
Hurry…coupon expires 6/21/2010.
A&W All American Food: $1 off Original Bacon Double Cheeseburger Combo (PDF)

PDF coupon is valid through July 31, 2010! Valid only at participating locations. Limit one offer per coupon. Not valid with any other coupon or discount. More information on printable. Large coupon prints landscape.
Includes regular fries & a regular drink! Yummy!

For those of you that have a QuickChek nearby, here’s a new Facebook freebie for ya! Just go here to “Like” QuickChek on Facebook (if you haven’t already) and after doing so, you’ll be able to print an exclusive coupon good for a Free 20 oz. Blueberry Iced Coffee! Yummy! This offer expires 6/20.
***Check QuickChek locations here.
(Thanks, Pirates of the Supermarket!

Collin writes: has a new 70% off promotional code! Just use coupon code FATHER at checkout, valid through Sunday, June 20th + you’ll score a FREE $10 Lobster Gram Gift Certificate with every order!
For a total of just $3, you’ll end up getting a $25 gift certificate AND a FREE $10 Lobster Gram certificate! In order to redeem the Lobster Gram offer, you must click on the Lobster Gram logo or link on the order confirmation page or in the confirmation email. A special promotional code will be listed on the order confirmation page and order confirmation email. At the Lobster Gram website, enter the promotional code at checkout for your discount. Not including taxes, shipping charges or items on special.
Or for an even better deal, you can purchase the Dinner of the Month Club. What’s that? It’s a 12 month package that comes with 12 $25 gift certificates and one FREE $50 gift certificate! The total for this package would be $120, but after you type in promo code FATHER—your total will drop down to just $36! Wahoo! That means you’re snagging $350 worth of dining certificates for ONLY $36 + a FREE $10 Lobster Gram gift certificate!
**If your unfamiliar with how works, then be sure to check out this post!
I checked out the Lobster Gram site and they have lots of clearance items available. They’ve got Kid’s Italian Gelato priced at ONLY $3.95, Gourmet Cashews and Almond Assortments priced from $11.50 and up, Butternut Squash & Crab Bisque is ONLY $6.95 and more! You should be able to cook up a very sweet deal with the $10 certificate! Let us know what you snag!

(Thanks Hip2Save!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday: Baked Potato, Spinach Salad and Fresh Bread

Great stand-by meal! Baked Potatoes are always so versatile, filling and frugal!

Here is what you need for the potatoes:
1 baking potato for each person, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper

Here is what you need for the salad:
1 bag of baby spinach leaves, a handful of dried cranberries, a handful of chopped walnuts and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Step 1:

Wash your potatoes, wrap them in foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour. I like to rub the skins of the potato with sea salt for a little extra flavor! *If you don't have time to bake them, poke them with a fork and stick them in the microwave!

Step 2:
While your potatoes are cooking, get your salad ready! Wash your spinach.

Step 3:

Add a handful of dried cranberries and chopped walnuts

Step 4:

Prepare your bread.

Step 5:

Once your potatoes are done, push back the foil and make an "x" in the center of the potato. Push in and up to open your potato nicely.

Step 6:
Serve with potato toppings, bread and salad.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Sneak!

Hi Everyone~  Kimi Harris is offering a sneak peak into her class, A Peasant's Feast. We are getting a glimpse into Sea Food Week which is just one of the topics in her thirteen week course.

The Meal Planning Mommies do earn an affiliate credit, so if you are going to sign up for this terrific course please do so here!

There are only a few more days to sign up!

Wednesday: Margherita Pizza and Fresh Salad

I don't know about you, but fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella on homemade pizza dough is a weakness of mine! Seriously, if you have not had a pizza like this one, try it! I think you will really enjoy it!

Here is what you need for one 10 inch pizza:

Basil leaves, 1-2 large tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese (optional)

Step 1: Get your crust ready!

Step 2: Slice your tomato
Step 3: Mix your tomato with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Step 4: Spread some of your tomato marinade onto your pizza crust

Step 5: Arrange tomatoes on top

Step 6: Top with Shredded Mozzarella

Step 7: Top with Basil leaves and feta (feta is extra, not necessary!)

Step 8: Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and cheese is bubbly

This was seriously one of the best homemade pizza's I have had. I truly love all the fresh ingredients on the pizza. Using olive oil, garlic and salt as your "sauce" makes for a lighter tasting pizza, which is a nice change!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Peasant's Feast: Nourishing Food on a Budget

I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about the class being offered (soon!) by our friends at The Nourishing Gourmet. 

The e-class is a thirteen week course with weekly lessons being taught by a mother, cook of real food, and woman who appreciates a good deal. She has packed a tremendous amount of incredible information into this course and we are so excited about it!

Here is what she has to say:
I’ve put together a great 13 week ecourse, starting on June 28th, that will give you a bite-sized amount of information every week in the form of topical articles, cooking demonstration videos, and shopping guides.  I will give you tips on where to buy quality food for less, demonstrate cooking methods that both boost the nutritional value of your food and stretch expensive meat, and explain in more detail traditional cooking practices.
If  you’ve wanted to learn how to make your own yogurt, sourdough bread, lacto-fermented foods, or how to sprout and soak grains, or simply how to cook real food this ecourse is for you. If you have a hard time balancing the expensive of buying quality ingredients on a budget, I can help.
By taking this huge topic, and breaking it down into manageable pieces, you can learn and digest new information in a timely manner. By the end of the class, you will have the confidence you need in knowing where to shop, what to buy, and how to cook real food on a budget. 

The class will cover many topics, including~ 
  • How to balance your budget with nutritional food
  • How to stretch one chicken into three meals
  • What it really means to eat a nourishing diet
  • Why I am not a vegetarian when beans are so cheap
  • How to make one cup of leftover seafood stretch to feed 6 people
  • The benefits of sprouting and soaking grains
  • How to make your own salad dressings
  • How to make homemade yogurt and sourdough bread
  • How to make one pound of beef stretch to feed 6-8 people
  • How to make delicious fruit based desserts
  • Meal Planning Basics
  • How to make chicken stock
  • What a typical weekly menu of nourishing frugal food could look like
  • How to save money on quality food and where to shop
  • The difference between organic, free range, grass fed and vegetarian raised meats
  • How to save money on legumes and grains

Doesn't it look amazing?  We sure think so! 
To learn more about A Peasant's Feast class click here. 

Tuesday: Southwestern Pasta Salad with Bread & Mandarin Oranges

This is a recipe that I found on I highly recommend this site if you can't find that "new dish" you are searching for! I consider this to be a full meal, others may not. It is pretty filling, but I would add a side of fruit and bread.


Here is what you need:

1/2 (16 oz) package rotini pasta
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 TB chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
1 (15 oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup chopped roma tomatoes

Step 1:
Boil your pasta 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Step 2:
Dice your peppers ( 1/2 cup of red and 1/2 cup of green)

Step 3:
In a large bowl mix together, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 TB (or to taste) chili powder, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.

Step 4:

Stir in pasta to your spices, then add corn, beans, green pepper and red pepper and 1/2 of the cilantro leaves.

Step 5:
Serve~ add rest of cilantro and chopped tomatoes as a garnish.

Add your mandarin oranges (on the side!) or fruit of your choice!


Monday, June 14, 2010

E-Class~ A Peasant's Feast

I am so eager to share with you a class that is being offered through one of my favorite blogs~ The Nourishing Gourmet.  It will teach you everything I wish that I could! I am going to take the class.

Food is changing my life. Our life. And, I am talking real food friends. The kind of food that has a history. The kind of food that has nourished mankind for thousands of years. When I prepare it for my family and partake of it there is a satisfaction that reaches the spirit.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  (1 Corinthians 13:11)

I am moving beyond the childish way of looking at food, at least my childish way of viewing it. Its all pretty simple.  Thousand year old whole grains, naturally grown and cared for produce,  pure raw dairy, and meat raised ethically and honorably (thus healthy!) all make me hear a still small voice from my provider. He says something like this, "See. Now isn't that better. Silly girl, I have provided you with my creation and will sustain and nourish you. "

Mostly, this food adventure is bringing our family back to the way we should be eating. Food.
I have always been a nature girl, but now I see nature in a new light. I have always carried an awe for God because of the beauty of His creation. The newness comes in a significant abundance of trust that has grown in my heart as I see the food he has provided for us all along. Somehow,  it just got lost for me in the maze of fancy packages, factory made minute meals, and tubs of fake butter.

I see now, perhaps only in part as if looking through a poor reflection in a mirror, but in part is a whole lot better than before.  Here at Meal Planning Mommies this change is starting to show in my meal plans.  Today I made our crackers, started a loaf of whole grain bread made with Kasha, and set aside millet and peaches for breakfast and began soaking the oatmeal for granola in goat milk kefir.

Never will I be able to go back to the way it was before. Its a metamorphosis. (And, yes I know this word describes the biological change of an animal....but in a way this food change is changing our biology!)

Today~ I officially joined a natural food co-op. I ordered wheat berries (soft and hard), spelt berries, and kamut to experiment with milling my own grains.  I also ordered kefir, vanilla beans for making my own vanilla, ginormous bags of beans, and oats.

I have so many questions.

1. How do we afford this and make it work? 
2. How do I go about implementing this change in a way that sticks? 
3. How do I organize my kitchen and life to support the change to whole foods? 
4. What in the world is that? (Insert a variety of foods I have never heard of before here!) 

The Nourishing Gourmet, a blog that is a godsend to mom's like myself, is offering an e-class that will answer all of these questions and more. I am pumped about this class and I encourage you to check it out. The Meal Planning Mommies do receive an affiliate credit if you sign up for the class through our website. So, if you want to sign up please do so here, we would appreciate it!

The class is called  A Peasant's Feast: Nourishing Gourmet on a Budget and it looks fantastic. I can not wait and I just know it is going to help me get my act together and I am so ready for this!

So, now just for funsies....gotta love that is a picture of me with a cabbage. Why?

I have no idea. I think because I saw the cabbage and thought it resembled my face or something. It was late. Boy, am I happy about this class! 

A Guest Post by Tracey Bianchi (a MPM favorite author!!)

Bruised Apples and Local Character

Our local farmer's market is a hub of activity every week. Lettuce, jelly, strawberries, nuns who bake bread. The old Greek guy selling olives is definitely my favorite. He takes plump, oval, gorgeous olives and crams them with soft bleu cheese. I don't even like bleu cheese but his olives have made me a devotee.
The family that hauls heirloom apples up from the southern part of my state is another treasure. By late summer they truck in over two dozen varieties of apples. Brown Snout, Adina, Prairie Spy, Akane, Pink Pearl, Chisel Jersey. Did you know apples had these names?
My apple exposure comes from the pile at my local grocer. Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. Maybe on a daring day I dabble in a Jonathan Gold. 
Grocery store apples are perfectly smooth, no bruises and quite hard. I arrive home and they don't taste as stellar as they looked. Mealy and lackluster. These apples come from fabulously far away places like Washington State or New Zealand. I find this odd given the multiple apple orchards near my home. None of the apples in our stores actually come from these orchards (a common occurrence in food life).
Commercial apples are often plucked from the trees long before they are ripe, stealing their sweetness and color. A green apple at your grocer might actually, if left on the tree, become a yellow apple! And sweeter than the one in your cart.
On a recent trip to the farmer’s market my two youngest children were running from bin to bin picking their apples by yanking whatever looked tasty from the heirloom varieties.
Then they scurried over the the stroller where a canvas bag received their selections. At first they gently set the apples into the bag. It was perfectly idyllic. I was the uber eco-mom with the gentle kids and the awesome apples. But the moment quickly changed as competition and adrenaline suddenly took over.
They began racing back and forth, grabbing armloads of apples and throwing them into my bag. Beautiful apples bouncing around and bruising one another. I managed to stop the chaos for a moment so my 2.5 year old said "okay mommy, then let's go buy our apples."
Before I could harness his ambition he darted over to the stroller, grabbed the handle on our bag and yanked it with such force that the bag tipped and apples flew then bounced across the market lot. "Oops. Mommy?"
As we tucked them back into the bag I noticed, beyond our bruises, that each apple had such character. Traits you don't see in stores. Odd colors, lumps, freckles and spots. Each had a story to tell. An heirloom apple's worth of history, seeds from France, family secrets from Germany, local color from Illinois. These apples were ripe with more than flavor.
We relaxed enough to pay the farmer (who smiled and kindly said "happens all the time") and I felt embarrassed of course. But, I also felt joy and history swelling through my little suburban veins. A small moment of triumph over the commercial food industry, victory for my kitchen.
I had a bag of odd shaped character and it felt a little bit like my life. Freckled, bruised and filled with stories. Like the lives of my children as well.
So I beg you to get in touch with your local growers this summer. Not as an act of hatred against grocery chains but a way learning and of growing. To put your hands on freckled apples is to realize that you are connected to the same bizarre, bruised world as our farmers and our food.
A way of living into the reality that we are all connected to our land, God’s land. Our food and ultimately to one another. May you find an odd shaped apple this summer that fills your heart and your stomach with a glimpse of God’s love and grace for this world and for your very soul.
Tracey Bianchi is the author of “Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet.” She is the mother of three and an author, speaker, and women’s ministry director. You can find more of her musings on life, faith and sustainability on her website.  

The Meal Planning Mommies are big fans of Tracey and the message she is sharing. Her book is informative and  inspirational. She will have you nodding your head with understanding  as she uses scripture, humor, and common sense to shed some light on every day things we can do to protect our world. 


Monday: Breakfast Hash Skillet with toast and applesauce

This is a fantastic meal. It is very hearty, healthy, fast and easy! My friend, Jenn gave me the idea for this recipe and I love it!


Here is what you need:

1 tsp onion salt (not pictured)
2 baked potatoes
1/2 green pepper
1 med. tomato
2 cups (uncooked) spinach leaves
2 cooked sausage patties (or whatever meat)
sea salt (or regular)
7 eggs
cheddar cheese (feta would be awesome too!)

Serve with toast and baked apples or applesauce

Step 1:

Wash, Clean and bake 2 potatoes in the microwave.

Step 2:
Chop your sausage (cooked), green pepper, tomatoes and spinach

Step 3:
Once your baked potato is cooked, dice it up and brown in your skillet

Step 4:
Add your veggies, sausage and brown

Step 5:

Add your spinach to the top

Step 6:
Put the lid on your pan to steam the spinach for a few minutes or until tender

Step 7:
Mix it all together and add 1 tsp onion salt

Step 8:
Get your eggs scrambled and ready to go!

Step 9:

Pour the scrambled eggs over your veggies/potatoes. Let sit for a few minutes, then begin to scramble.

Step 10:

Top with cheddar cheese, let melt.

Serve with Toast and applesauce! Enjoy!