Organizing Meal Prep while SAH - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-17-2006, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What are your menus like? When do you begin dinner? What type of lunches do you do? Breakfasts? I am trying to come up with a nice schedule that works for us.
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:09 AM
 
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our menus are 2 weeks at a time. I do only a dinner menu. Our meals consist of things we all like. Everyone gets a say in the menu planning, so that we can all be happy. I also add a new recipe each 2 weeks to our menu lineup. This week our menu is

Saturday- YOYO (you're on Your Own) fix it yourself night
Sunday- BBQ ribs, beans, pasta salad
Monday- BLT's, chips, raw veggies
Tuesday- Homemade Minestrone in Bread bowls, salad
Wednesday- Baked potatoes, garlic toast, chefs salads
Thursday- YOYO
Friday- burritos, enchilada style, rice, beans
Saturday- Spaghetti, meat sauce, garlic bread, salad

For breakfasts we all just make what sounds good during the week. we have teenagers so they can make what they like. Our 16 month old likes toast and yogurt for breakfast, multigrain cheerios with cut up fruit in it, cheese toast, oatmeal, sausage and biscuits. On the weekends we do HUGE breakfasts

For lunches, during the school year the kids eat at school during the week and then whatever they have a taste for on the weekends. For Dominic he likes grilled ham and cheese using different types of cheese, crackers, cheese pieces, and fruit, peanut butter and jelly, macaroni with butter and parmesan cheese, fruits, left overs.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:59 AM
 
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Once a week I make a menu...and a shopping list. I actually shop twice a week, if I go once...my dc eat all the fruits and veggies for the whole week within 2 days. i make a menu for all meals, including snacks.
for the first half of this week we are having...

Breakfasts (these just rotate)
Scrambled eggs and toast
mushroom omelet
oatmeal and chicken sausage

Lunch
Greek salad with shrimp in a pita
chicken and black bean wrap with a spinach salad
steak and blue cheese wrap
salad nicoise with tuna and 1/2 a wrap
The kids will most likely eat a couple of those things...and then pb and j if they dont want it or a turkey sandwich...one of the days they will have a cheese pizza.

dinners
Chicken en Papillote with vegetables
Marinated flank steak with sauteed broccoli roasted peppers and goat cheese
mediterranean pork chops with broccoli and almonds and toasted quinoa pilaf
Tandoori chicken with a roasted eggplant salad.

Snacks are generally...
carrots and dip
apples and p. butter or almond butter
granola bars
pretzels
sliced veggies and dip
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:35 PM
 
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I also do a menu once a week. I actually sit down on Sunday afternoon at some point and decide what we're going to be eating for dinner, write meals/recipes/pages from cookbooks on my meal planning calendar (nothing fancy...just a grid I printed off my computer), and make a grocery list. I often check the pantry/freezer at the same time to see if we need any staples. I only have one dd right now (she's 17 months), so I don't plan breakfasts or lunches at this point. For breakfast, dd likes a pancake and fruit (I make big batches of pancakes and freeze them) or a muffin (also bake/freeze). I usually eat cereal. Lunches are leftovers or easy kid meals like mac and cheese (Annies is really good!) or chicken nuggets or something like that.

As far as when I begin dinner, it depends. If I can prep a meal in the morning/early afternoon and just put it in the oven around dinnertime, that's my ideal. If I use a crockpot, I try to get it ready the night before. Otherwise I try to pick meals that are quick and easy that don't take much more than 20-30 minutes to make.

We eat lots of different stuff. Last week we had:
--a variation of chicken and rice
--a mexican type one skillet meal
--ham and pasta toss with broccoli

Since there are only three of us, I usually don't cook every night. We do leftovers a couple times a week, too.
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:37 PM
 
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Alana - may I come to your house for dinner? yum!

I used to do a monthly meal planner and stick it on the fridge (dinners only) but as I enjoyed grocery shopping more frequently as a fun outing with ds, i dropped it in favor of planning only a day or two at a time. I know it sounds nuts, but it's a so-so plan. I think I'd like to go back to weekly planning, at least - even if we shop more frequently.

I'm a big fan of crock pot/casserole/one skillet things if at all possible. I'm generally poor at trying new things b/c I always worry "if this stinks, what will we do with a hungry toddler and evening meltdown". so i stick to what's worked and rotate the heck out of it.

I second the "get it ready early" idea so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the evening when things are generally nuts, at least here. We also do leftovers alot - whether it's second dinners or lunches. I like to do "italian bakes" frequently (lasagna, ziti, manicoti as my ds LOVES HIS NOODLES!). these always last 2 days for me and dh dinner as well as some small lunches for ds.
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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I was planning my dinners on a menu (spreadsheet and print) every 2 weeks (to coincide with pay day). i haven't completely gone back to that BUT i have more of a list of possibilities...i don't have to ask myself what do we have, what sounds good? i just look at the list of stuff i/dh/ds likes and get it out. this also helps my pg cause when i plan i have no idea what will "sound" good, or what kind of day it is!! i am notorisouly bad for NOT getting new recipes tho...i want to try new stuff but not so new that its completely off the "normal" chart. i found a kewl website. www.krraftfoods.com you can enter a couple ingredients (last night i entered chicken and cheese and i found a yummy recipe for Cheese Chicken Tortilla Bake). if you have ingredients you want to use, or you know might be good together but have no where to start its really great. and if you sign up theres a place to save the recipe so you don't have to write it down/remember it etc.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:01 PM
 
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Breakfast and lunch for us are usually short order. That is, I fix whatever the kids ask for. For breakfast we have yogurt and fruit or cereal or oatmeal; on the weekends I cook a more complicated breakfast like eggs/omlets/waffles/pancakes/hashbrowns/scones. And for lunch I'll usually offer leftovers or pbj or quesadillas or something quick like that. I plan my dinners out by the week and pretty much stick to the menu. I may switch around what we're having on what day, but I do cook what I plan to.

We usually eat breakfast whenever we get up and get downstairs. Lunch is around noon and dinner is at six, sharp. I typically start getting ready for dinner around thre-thirty or four. If I'm making something more complicated (like Indian) then I spend all day in and out of the kitchen.

We eat very little meat and I own a zillion vegetarian cookbooks, though we do have our favorites. Unfortunately, DH is not a salad fan (he enjoys hot meals) so summer cooking is always a challenge. The kids are really involved in my cooking and help a lot in the kitchen. That way we are always working together and learning (counting, fractions, reading etc) and having fun. It is really nice.

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Old 06-17-2006, 06:07 PM
 
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I do my menus on a two week basis, and supplement that one big trip with fresh fruit, milk, etc.

I plan all 3 meals now that DS is eating everything I'm eating. I keep a Word document with all my dinner ideas separated into chicken, vegetarian, pork, beef, fish/seafood, breakfasts, and lunches. I just pick what sounds good and mix and match. I have probably 70 dinners in there that we like.

Breakfasts during the week are typically fruit and yogurt with granola, oatmeal, eggs and toast, cereal and fruit, or bagels. On the weekends, we have big breakfasts of pancakes, turkey sausage, etc. Lunch is usually leftovers, or salads with some sort of protein (eggs, chicken), tuna salad, PB & Js, or Annie's mac n cheese.

Dinners are the only meal I do "real" cooking. I alternate between chicken, vegetarian, seafood, meat, etc, each night, and make sure I alternate heavier meals with something light like a big salad or fish.

I begin dinner usually when DH gets home. If it's going to be late, I start around 7 without him. DS will go ahead and eat. Before DS was big enough to entertain himself while I cook, I'd just make him something quick (steamed veggies and some tofu or something), and make the "real" dinner when DH got home.

Have you checked out the Meal Planning forum? It's a subforum of Nutriton and Good Eating.
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Old 06-18-2006, 01:55 AM
 
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Our local paper arrives free of charge on Thursday's with all of the grocery store flyers - I try to plan my dinners for the week based on what's on sale. I also have the fun of trying to incorporate dinners that work with my son's numerous allergies.

Breakfast is easy - I'm a whatever girl, my dh loves his cereal and my son has two basic breakfasts - banana, Kix (the only commercial cereal he can eat) and raisins or Granny makes him grits and bacon a few mornings a week (my mil lives with us).

Lunch - Again, I eat whatever (usually leftovers), hubby has his sandwhich and fruit and Aiden usually has nitrate free lunch meat, cheese and fruit or green beans (my son practically hyperventilates when he sees green beans he loves them so much)

Aiden is the big snacker in our house - Kix, yogurt, ice cream, and his "special" cookies that don't contain wheat, soy, egg or any of his other allergens. In the last few weeks, we have given in and been allowing him to have those freezer pops that you buy in mass quantities and pop in the freezer when you need them - he has four molars coming in.

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and DS2 (3) - allergic to all legumes, egg, soy, peanuts and tree nuts
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:41 AM
 
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I do the same thing for breakfast (oatmeal and fruit) and lunch (sandwich, soup) I plan a dinner menu on the shopping day for the next week so I buy only the foods on the list. how well we eat that week depends on how much money we have. This week we are kind of broke so we are eating a lot of chicken dishes next week (I have a bunch in the freezer) with veggies.

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Old 06-19-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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ohmigosh you girls are all so organized! im such a scatterbrain we're lucky to even eat breakfast lunch (usually just snacks - fruit, cereal, yogurt, tofu chunks, crackers, etc whenever we're hungry).
I make supper every night but my older daughter and I are vegetarian and my husband and younger DD are not ... so supper is never easy. I make meat about once a week and I try to make something that I can cook separately and then combine, such as stir fry (tofu in 1 pan chicken in the other).
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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I shop for three main meals (dinners) at once. Between leftovers and eating elsewhere (out or with family members at their homes) that leaves me grocery shopping about three times in two weeks, which is just about right to keep us in milk and fresh produce too.
Dinner is the only meal I really prepare, except that I'll make muffins or waffles and freeze them every so often so we can thaw for breakfast as desired. Usually for breakfasts we do PB&J or toast with almond butter and honey, cereal, yogurt, granola, or some combination of those things. Lunch is sandwiches, canned soups, leftovers, noodles, quesidillas, whatever is around and fast (DH packs his lunch). As far as dinner preparation, I start working on dinner whenever I can during the day. I pick whichever of the three meals I planned for sounds good that day (or which one is left!) and do prep work on and off, whenever I have the chance. Chop veggies, bread chicken, marinate something, whatever I can do to make dinner come together ASAP when DH comes home. DD cluster-nurses in the evening, so if I don't do almost all the prep work before DH is home, we don't get to eat veeeeeeeeerry late.

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Old 06-20-2006, 02:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotheringHeart
Breakfast and lunch for us are usually short order. That is, I fix whatever the kids ask for. For breakfast we have yogurt and fruit or cereal or oatmeal; on the weekends I cook a more complicated breakfast like eggs/omlets/waffles/pancakes/hashbrowns/scones. And for lunch I'll usually offer leftovers or pbj or quesadillas or something quick like that. I plan my dinners out by the week and pretty much stick to the menu. I may switch around what we're having on what day, but I do cook what I plan to.

We usually eat breakfast whenever we get up and get downstairs. Lunch is around noon and dinner is at six, sharp. I typically start getting ready for dinner around thre-thirty or four. If I'm making something more complicated (like Indian) then I spend all day in and out of the kitchen.

We eat very little meat and I own a zillion vegetarian cookbooks, though we do have our favorites. Unfortunately, DH is not a salad fan (he enjoys hot meals) so summer cooking is always a challenge. The kids are really involved in my cooking and help a lot in the kitchen. That way we are always working together and learning (counting, fractions, reading etc) and having fun. It is really nice.
Can you give me an example of what you might fix for dinner in a week? I would love a week's example of vegetarian dishes.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eloquence
Can you give me an example of what you might fix for dinner in a week? I would love a week's example of vegetarian dishes.
Not the OP but I'll give you some of our favorites.

Slice tofu and put BBQ sause (I use homemade) over it. Bake at 350 until it's crispy outside.

Fried tofu

Baked potatos mashed w/ sour cream / brocolli / cheese

Stir fry & tofu

Rice & beans

Lentils in tomato sause w/ pasta

More in the winter, but I also put root veggies (potato / sweet potato / onion / carrots / whatever else I think of) in the crock pot with veggie stock all day (sometimes I add tofu). Serve over cous cous (or rice would work I guess). This is a yummy and quick dinner.

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Old 06-20-2006, 04:50 AM
 
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Forgot to add lentil "hamburgers" if anyone is intereted in the recipe I can grab it later

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Old 06-20-2006, 08:48 AM
 
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Breakfast is fend for yourself (except the babe), and it's whenever you get up and want it.

Lunch is around 11am-12pm and is usually leftovers from the night before.

Dinner is almost always around 5pm. Sometimes I do menus, sometimes it's a mental menu, leftovers from a couple of days before, smorgasborn, or a crockpot meal.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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Ohmygosh! You gals are SUUUUPPPPEEERRR organized. I have a "monthly menu" and it always gets wrecked by day four (something didn't defrost, something came up and we weren't home, someone really wanted something else that night, etc.)

The one thing that has helped me is attending a local church's "Meals for a Month". The title is a little misleading since we only "prepare" 10 meals, but at least I learn something new and there's something in the freezer to get me started. The food is plenty and we usually have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Loving the ideas you've posted here!!!!
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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my husband will not touch leftovers in any shape or form, frozen or refrigerated, and we've been together long enough that he can always tell now if i'm "hiding" something leftover in his food.
I even tried explaining that this is one way "rich people" get ahead in life and that eating the leftovers saves a lot of $. no luck.
So pretty much if the baby and I don't eat them for lunch and it's not dog-friendly food I end up chucking it.
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Old 06-22-2006, 05:10 AM
 
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I make a meal plan for dinners each week. I find it helps me keep my food budget down. Breakfast during the week is usually cold cereal or oatmeal and fruit. On Saturdays we will make eggs and Sundays are pancakes. Lunches I struggle with. My 4 year old is picky at lunch time so it is usually PBJ, soup or grilled cheese and always a fruit or veggie sticks. Dinners I usually stick to this but it changes

We are vegetarian

Pasta meal
Stir Fry
Burittos
Veggie burgers, fries and veggies (or some other easy night meal like soydogs and baked beans)
Pizza night
Then Sat and Sun each week will be a bigger meal like lasagna or homemade stews or soups. I will usually pick out a new receipe for the weekend days.

Snacks I get stuck on but we usually do fruit, yogurt, pretzels, cheese/crackers or granola bars when we are out on the go.

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Old 06-22-2006, 10:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melv
my husband will not touch leftovers in any shape or form, frozen or refrigerated, and we've been together long enough that he can always tell now if i'm "hiding" something leftover in his food.
I even tried explaining that this is one way "rich people" get ahead in life and that eating the leftovers saves a lot of $. no luck.
So pretty much if the baby and I don't eat them for lunch and it's not dog-friendly food I end up chucking it.

Why is he willing to waste perfectly good food ?
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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Breakfast:
Eggs
Bagels
Cereal

Lunch:
Cous cous with corn and black beans
Leftovers
Pasta with corn

Dinner:
BBQ Ribs/steak/burgers or chicken
Veggie
Rice

Or:

Roast w/potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms, green beans

Or:

Beef fajitas, rice, fixings
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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Since DH is paid once a month, I actually plan out dinners for the whole month. I then make one big grocery store visit where I buy most of the pantry items for the month and then have a few trips the rest of the month to purchase the fresh produce, refrigerated items, and milk.

Planning by the month has really cut down on how much we spend on food. I even schedule 2-3 out to eats per month where we go out for dinner instead of me making it. Now that I have this planning worked out, I am spending about $250 per month to feed all 4 of us. This includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well.

Breakfast is usually waffles, pancakes, cereal, or cereal bars. Lunch we either do leftovers, sandwiches, spaghettios, chicken nuggets, or mac-n-cheese.

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Old 06-22-2006, 11:29 PM
 
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Breakfast is cold cereal, somtimes pancakes if I'm in the mood to cook.

Lunch is sandwiches, leftovers, or mac and cheese.

Snack is fruit usually.

Dinner is planned a week in advance (when I have it together). I will start the meal prep right after lunch and chop stuff and maybe pre-cook things. Just to get it started. The "witching hour" is from about 4PM to bedtime with the kids, and it's just easier to get most of it out of the way before that all starts.

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Old 06-23-2006, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love the lentil hamburger recipe.

IF I were to plan out menus for a month, how would I do it? I think I'll try this for July but really need some help.

THe sliced tofu with bbq sauce looks yummy. What sides do you serve it with. How do you make your own BBQ sauce?

Anyone make their own waffles?
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAmma
Breakfast is cold cereal, somtimes pancakes if I'm in the mood to cook.

Lunch is sandwiches, leftovers, or mac and cheese.

Snack is fruit usually.

Dinner is planned a week in advance (when I have it together). I will start the meal prep right after lunch and chop stuff and maybe pre-cook things. Just to get it started. The "witching hour" is from about 4PM to bedtime with the kids, and it's just easier to get most of it out of the way before that all starts.
How do you do your pancakes?
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Old 06-23-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence
I would love the lentil hamburger recipe.

IF I were to plan out menus for a month, how would I do it? I think I'll try this for July but really need some help.

THe sliced tofu with bbq sauce looks yummy. What sides do you serve it with. How do you make your own BBQ sauce?

Anyone make their own waffles?
We make our own waffles on Saturdays.

Loving Mom to DS (7) and DS (5).
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you make your own waffles? What type of waffle iron do you have? Do you make the mix from scratch or prebought? I have no idea how to do this. I have a great buckwheat pancake mix my kids love by Hodgesons Mill. Can I use that?

I tried the BBQ tofu recipe. YUM. We love it. Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:26 PM
 
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I have a pretty good groove. I usually do one big shopping trip a week. I make the menu and shop on Monday after we get our CSA box so I know what produce I have to work with. This time of year, we are still getting mostly salad so sometimes I will even make the list on Sunday to get a jump. I have a week-long grid in which I list the dinners and lunches with page numbers and any advanced prep. Like if I need to soak and cook legumes/grains or need to start sprouts for a sih that is 4 days away I write it on the first day it needs addressing. I include when we will eat leftovers too. I almost always go off schedule but I still make it so that I can keep track of what general order the foods should go in and what advanced prep needs to move with the meal.

Breakfasts is almost always toast (homemade whole wheat sourdough) with butter and coffee (for the adults). Dh does not generally eat breakfast. Soem days dd asks for leftovers from another meal or something off the wall like ice cream so I never really know what breakfast is going to be like. At least once but often 2-3 times a week I will do something fancy like overnight waffles/pancakes, omlets, overnight oatmeal, Kashi burritos, etc..... but those days are usually like a brunch in that we only snack after that until dinner.

Examples of lunch/dinners like this week:

Chickpea-Turnip casserole with salad
Eggplant burgers with grilled asparagus and basil new potatoes
Very large salads with avocado and cheese
Red pepper quiche with brocolli
Baked bean and rice burritoes with salad and fermented veggies
Taco salad with refried beans and guac
Hearty soup with veggie sticks and ww bread
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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I also cook in snippets. I usually am setting up something to soak or sprout right before bed. This si also when I feed my sourdough starters and mentally plan a schedule for the next day. Again when i first get up and get dd breakfast, I will usually have something to rinse, soak, or start to cook like beans or bread. Then dinner prep starts shortly after lunch. Even if the meal is not complicated, I like to get most of the advanced prep done in early afternoon when dd is in a better mood. On supper heavy cooking days, I might spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen. This usually happens one day a week when i have bread going. since I am stuck there all afternoon anyway, I try to get some of the dirty work done like veggie fermenting, cutting up veggie sticks and salads that will last for days, any sort of treat baking like muffins, etc.....
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:32 PM
 
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We are also late risers. We do not generally make it out of the bedroom until 10am. So we eat very light for breakfast since lunch is usually around 1pm. Dinner can be anywhere from 5pm to 9pm depending on our schedule. I consider myself a SAHM but I do work nights as a bartender so soemtimes we are eating at odd times.

I try very hard to keep bread out of the lunch plan since we almost always eat toast for breakfast.
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