Meaningful Meals

Not long ago I posted about having strangers over for dinner, which still lingers in my mind as a weekly possibility but hasn’t been acted upon yet.  I’ve just learned about another mealtime event that will not only fill your own belly but also help others, too.

Heifer International has designated April as Pass on the Gift Month.  The mission:

“start a chain of Passing on the Gift by hosting a meal
to help end hunger. Get together with friends, family or your
congregation to help us celebrate–and help us raise funds to
give more families a life of hope.

You can have organic/local/healthy meals either catered or potluck.  You could serve a meal in your house and charge per plate.  You could have a large potluck and pass a bowl around to collect what others are willing to give.  The possibilities are many, and the potential is great.

Our local Earth Scouts are hoping to host one in April.  Join the FaceBook group or Yahoo!Group to keep informed about upcoming events in Earth Scouts. 

Would you be willing to give?

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bento_food_rice_1013750_l.jpgMy husband has been on a bento kick for months.  He wants to do this at least for himself, if not for us all.  I cringe at the thought of creating yet another meal, but this has every potential of being another creative outlet.  Maybe it will have to be one for my husband, but for us all, there are definite health benefits to be had.

Many people already do this, so it’s not a new concept by any means.  But, as we know, those of us in Arkansas aren’t always the quickest at keeping up with the times.

Just Bento is one of my hubby’s favorites for ideas and recipes (like this one for chicken skewers).  It also has a great description of basics and picking the right box. The sight also offers a “Bento Challenge,” which is designed for those hoping to trim their figure or to reduce the number of take-out lunches.

Happy meal-making!

(photo by moogs from

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Crafty Meal Planning

food_bananas_banana_240848_tn.jpgIt may be a stretch, but I believe planning meals for your family requires a great exercise of creativity — especially when many kids would like pasta with a side of pasta.  And making sure you get a variety of color and texture requires skill, too, though Mother Nature seems to have no problem providing it.

Fortunately, my kids like their fruits and veggies, and we’re able to fit those into our diet regularly.  But kids, like us, get burned out on the same thing over and over.

So I thought I’d share my past month’s menu (for what it’s worth) to see if it inspires some new ideas for you.  Maybe I’ll do this regularly once a month to see how I’ve improved.  If a meal sounds good to you and you can’t come up with your own recipe, I’d be happy to share.  Just leave a comment asking me for particulars, and I’ll oblige.

It should be noted that I have a family of six, so there usually aren’t loads of leftovers, and when there are, they are usually lunch for the next day.  When we don’t have leftovers, it’s usually a PB&J, unless it’s one of those days, and we head to fast food.  (Honestly, I’m trying to curb this tendency.)

For snacks we keep on hand fruits, crackers/pretzels, cheese and the occasional chocolate or candy — I won’t lie!

You’ll notice this particular month or so seems like a bit of a rut.  We all go through phases.  Right now we’re just buying hot dogs and macaroni and cheese by the case.   It’s quick, easy, and the kids like it — same for tacquitos.

Don’t miss the links at the end that offer some great recipes and managing tools or help me out and use some of the ads to the right!  I haven’t gotten so far as to use Tasty Planner regularly, but it would be nice!  Suggestions/comments on your own successes/tips are welcome.

(* means we either ate out or had help with the meal)

Week 1

*Gathering:  Potluck — Italian pasta salad
Breakfast — waffles, sausage, eggs
Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, green veggie
Grilled ham and cheese and tomato soup
Meatloaf, potatoes, peas, rolls
Paninis, fruit, chips
Lasagne, salad

Week 2

Meatloaf, potatoes (apparently not used in first week, moved to second)
Black bean burritos, guacamole, chips
*Out — hamburgers, etc. — it happens
Beef Stroganoff, green beans
Chili, cornbread
Chicken salad
Chicken pasta medley, salad

Week 3

Chicken salad
Loaded baked potatoes, salad
Pot roast, veggies, rolls
Hamburgers, fries
*Dinner with in-laws

Week 4

Tacquitos (frozen chicken&cheese variety), corn, fruit
Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, green veggie
Breakfast — blueberry pancakes, bacon, eggs
Spaghetti, salad
Ham steaks, potatoes, peas
Goulash, green beans

Week 5

Tacquitos, corn, fruit
Rotel chicken, beans, green beans
Chili, cornbread
Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, green veggie
Meatloaf, potatoes, peas

Some Meal-Planning Links/Sites

    • RealSimple has this article that links to meal-planning sites, some of which have a subscriber fee.
    • WOW.  Family Fun comes through again with a whole month of meals; dishes link to recipe.  Gotta love that.
    • This place lists some of the World’s Healthiest Foods, in case you need new ideas/inspiration.
    • Especially you homeschoolin’ moms will appreciate this free organizing download and their Menus4Moms.
    • For organizing and sharing recipes and making shopping lists, this newer tool is good, though it has a couple of flaws (like putting every ingredient on your generated shopping list, unless they fixed it recently) — Tasty Planner.
    • Just Google for meal planners or weekly meal planners, and you’ll see all the 200k+ possibilties!

Bon apetit!

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