this is a page for

Category: Recipes & Meal Planning

5 Ways To Help Your Husband Eat Better

This post contains affiliate links.  Read full disclosure here.

My goal this year has been to clean up my eating and get into a better exercise regimen so I can be healthier and more confident.  I’ve done pretty well so far (yay!), but it made me realize how much my husband struggles with it.

I mean, he actually enjoys vegetables, and he’ll eat pretty much whatever I make for dinner (even if it’s hours later), so pickiness isn’t an issue: the issue is time.

And it’s not uncommon.  That whole donut-eating-cop stereotype has a lot to do with police officers not really having time to sit and have a relaxed mealtime.  They’re usually downing energy drinks and whatever food they can eat in a hurry before they’re needed again.

Spicy Tuna Stuffed Baked Potatoes

One thing I admire about my dad is how he’s able to use up what he has in the fridge.  At times in my childhood, it irritated the crap out of me, but as an adult, I can appreciate how resourceful he is.  He can turn a bunch of random ingredients into a pretty good meal.

This recipe comes from him.  When my parents visited to help with my son when he was born, he made this.  I thought he was crazy at first.  I thought it was another of his crazy experimental recipes I’d hate (especially because I had so many food aversions when I was pregnant.

I was so wrong.  It was so freaking good.

Thin Blue Line Cake Balls

Our friend Paul is a great guy.  The Hubs doesn’t have a lot of close friends, but Paul has been a constant for over 5 years since they first met.  He’s always there for us, even across great distances.  He was at our out-of-state wedding without hesitation.  When the Hubs was faced with the prospect of losing his job, Paul drove four hours to where we lived at the time just to be with us when we found out.  It’s not like it was a fun time for anyone.  I was in shock and the Hubs was depressed, and gone a lot of the time in “meetings”. It was probably equal parts excruciatingly boring and uncomfortable for him.  Nonetheless, he stayed for a couple days to just be there for us.  And then there’s the time he pulled our car out of a ditch after a snafu with AAA, or the time he helped us get rid of a mattress.  He’s awesome… even if the Squish has a weird fear of him. Oh, well.  It won’t be long before Uncle Paul is his favorite and Mom and Dad are old news.

7 Amazing (And Easy!) Crock Pot Freezer Meals

It’s no secret I love freezer cooking.  Especially when the Squish was younger, it was often the only way dinner got on the table without making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… which is probably what I’d eaten for both breakfast and lunch.  Even now, it’s a great way to take a little pressure off if I have a busy week ahead of me.  Having dinner ready in the freezer to pull out the night before that I can then “set and forget” in the crock pot gives me more time during the day to play with the baby or get other chores done.  I try to plan to compile the meals when the Hubs has a day off, or even if I can just snag a few hours of help.  Sometimes it’s a nap time event.  But either way, in under two hours, I can get 7-14 meals prepped and only have to clean up after myself once, instead of cleaning up after each one of those 7-14 meals.  I don’t honestly know how I lived before I made use of my crock pot.

Easy No-Bake Acorn Cookies

I made these for the Squish’s first birthday party not expecting much.  I thought they were cute and on theme, but I didn’t expect them to blow my mind or anything.  I was totally wrong.  They were delicious! My dad even stole a sandwich bag full for their drive home.  Needless to say, whether I need things that are fit for a squirrel-themed party or not in the future, I’ll definitely be making these again.  These would be great to make in the fall, especially!

10 Unique Muddy Buddy Recipes

As much as I love making things for holidays that are “on-theme”, I haven’t been able to find anything for Easter that really spoke to me.  I suppose Easter is my favorite holiday for store-bought goodies like jelly beans, so a lot of the recipes I kept coming across didn’t compare.  That being said, I love muddy buddies (or puppy chow… Is that a regional thing?) all the time, whether it’s a holiday or not.  I remember the joy I felt as a kid if I caught my mom in the middle of making a batch.  Until recently, I had no idea there were so many different varieties you could make.  I’m here to share the recipes of some more creative people than myself who have come up with delicious-looking variations on the traditional chocolate and peanut butter muddy buddy.

If you’re looking for something a little different to bring to an Easter celebration this weekend, here you go!  These are simple, delicious, and easy to serve to a crowd.  I think I’m most intrigued by the Nutella muddy buddies. Yum. I’ll have to send the Hubs out for some Chex!

10 Muddy Buddy Recipes

  1. Lemon Muddy Buddies featured at A Few Short Cuts
  2. Cupcake Puppy Chow featured at Sally’s Baking Addiction
  3. Andes Muddy Buddies featured at What’s Cooking, Love?
  4. Root Beer Float Muddy Buddies featured at Tasty Kitchen
  5. Fluffernutter Puppy Chow featured at Homemade Hooplah
  6. Butterfinger Muddy Buddies featured at Family Fresh Meals
  7. Apple Pie Muddy Buddies featured at A Pumpkin and a Princess
  8. Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies featured at Eazy Peazy Mealz
  9. Nutella Muddy Buddies featured at Motherhood Defined
  10. Chocolate Brownie Muddy Buddies featured at Your Cup of Cake

As always, if you make any of these I’d love to know! Feel free to post how it turned out in the comments below.

How To Write A Meal Plan (When You Hate Meal Planning)

It took me a long time to start meal planning. It sounded so painfully dull, and I hated the idea of being obligated to make a particular meal for dinner. I mean, what if it didn’t sound good that day? No, I wanted to decide each day what sounded best to me and make it. Who needs a meal plan?

Then, I realized we had a few problems.

  1. We were spending way too much on groceries.
  2. We constantly felt like there was “nothing to eat” even with a full pantry.

The problem was, when we bought food, we had no idea how we were going to use it. We’d buy stuff and say, “Oh that sounds good!” or “I’m sure we can find a use for that.” So we’d just have a mishmash of different items that might or might not go together.  As a result, we went to the grocery store far more than necessary and thus spent way more than we needed to.  Or, we would give up and get fast food, which, of course, would completely blow our budget.

I realized I needed to suck it up, put on my big-girl pants, and embrace meal planning.

15 Delicious St. Patrick’s Day Treats

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  Well, I love holidays in general, but a holiday where the Irish are celebrated is important in our home due to our Irish heritage and, of course, the fact that the Hubs is a big Notre Dame fan.  I suppose I should edit that and claim we’re ALL big Notre Dame fans, but…  I haven’t been completely indoctrinated yet. Sorry Hubs (and in-laws)!

Anyway, one of the best things about holidays is the excuse to make tasty treats you might not make otherwise.  I rounded up 13 of the best St. Patrick’s Day treats I found via Pinterest to share!

13 Delicious St. Patrick's Day Treats

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Puppy Chow featured at Gal on a Mission
  2. Homemade Gum Drops featured at A Mitten Full of Savings
  3. Fruit Parfaits featured at Thirty Handmade Days
  4. Shamrock Punch featured at Passion for Savings
  5. Leprechaun Hat S’mores featured at The Cake Blog
  6. Thin Mint Truffles featured at The Recipe Critic
  7. Mint Chip Sugar Cookies featured at Little Dairy on the Prairie
  8. Pistachio Kiss Pudding Cookies featured at Yesterfood
  9. Lime Cheesecake Bars featured at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
  10. St. Patrick’s Day Muddy Buddies featured at Frugal Mom Eh!
  11. Chocolate Rainbow Cake featured at The Melrose Family
  12. St. Patricks Day Rice Krispie Treats with Lucky Charm Marshmallows featured at Classy Clutter
  13. St. Patrick’s Day Cake Pops featured at We Heart It (not instructions, but the designs seem easy enough to replicate.)

Oven-Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

So, we’ve tried this combination in the past.  The recipe I used back then was messy and labor intensive.  It was tasty, but we never made it again.  That was a few years ago.  When I came across this easier-looking, oven-baked version, I knew I had to give it one more try.

Wow, am I glad I did.

It’s SO GOOD.  I mean… I look at the picture and drool.  It’s just wrong to feel that way about cauliflower. And yet, it’s that good.

We’ve made this recipe twice so far.  The second time, we only did half the batch in buffalo sauce.  For the other half, we used Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce so that the Squish could enjoy some.  It was still good, but I think a more tangy, less sweet barbecue sauce would work better.  Nonetheless, Arthur devoured his portion.

I think there are a lot of other variations you could make.  Here are a few the Hubs and I discussed while eating:

  • Garlic butter “wings”
  • Any other pre-bottled wing sauce.
  • Meatless sweet-and-sour, orange, kung pao, etc. chicken
  • Roll in parmesan and dip in marinara sauce for “cauliflower parmesan”
  • Add seasonings to the breading for meatless fried chicken/chicken nuggets.
  • Use on top of salad or in a wrap in place of grilled or fried chicken.

It seems like a great starting point for a lot of different recipes.

In addition to how tasty it was, this meal was also easy to put together.  I think active cooking time was around 15 minutes, possibly less.

While we’d never give up meat entirely, I would like to start incorporating more meatless meals into our diets, for both health and budgetary reasons.  Meat is expensive!  With that in mind, this is a pretty frugal recipe.  I didn’t do a complete cost breakdown, but I would estimate we spent around $4 to feed all three of us.

The Hubs and I have agreed that this needs to be a regular menu item for us.  We had it last night and I already want to make it again. Mmmm.

Seriously: however you choose to make this… I highly recommend it. Give it a shot, and be sure to come back and tell me how you liked it!

Click here to see the full recipe at Spend With Pennies.