Menu Plan Monday

We are continuing to work our way up the Food Pyramid and feel pretty good about the fruits and vegetables category.  My ‘lessons learned’ so far are:

  • I stopped  serving “snack food” for snacks.  Now I serve apples and peanut butter, or a piece of cheese.  Or, celery and dip.  You see where I am going; my kids think nothing of carrots as a snack now but a few months ago they would have laughed me out of the kitchen, demanding granola bars the whole time.
  • I never deny a produce request.  If my kids want pineapple, or mangos, or some other fruit or vegetable while we are in the store, I’ll buy it.  Of course, they also have to eat it, but if I am going to spoil my kids, I’ll spoil them healthy instead of rotten.
  • I serve fruit based deserts.  Not so much the canned cherry pie filling (although I am a huge fan of it) type, but we can now pass off 100% healthy frozen smoothie popcicles as desert.
  • Sprouted lentils – we can’t decide if they taste “earthy and nutty” or “kinda like dirt”. 
  • I serve more than one vegetable at a meal.  I have one kid who likes mixed greens but not broccoli, and one who likes broccoli and  spinach salad but hates mixed greens. Am I going to argue with that?? I don’t think so.
  • I rarely throw away produce anymore.  I am embarassed to admit that almost weekly, some lettuce, apples, or celery was looking a little slimy and got tossed.  Now I make sure I use it before it gets to that point. I decided that the most expensive food you buy is food you throw away.
  • I save my scraps.  Some of them anyway. The parts of celery and carrots I trim off go into a freezer bag and when it gets full, I make soup stock with it.

My kitchen is starting to look very different.  There is no longer a ‘fruit bowl’; but random produce lying around on the counters at all times. My blender is rarely put away, and my bread maker has taken up permanent residence on the counter too.  It defies my sense of tidiness, but I suppose I will get used to it.

So what’s for dinner this week?


Eggs, Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from Cheap Healthy Good, and Pineapple Fluffs.  They reportedly taste like the ones served at Disney World but I haven’t been there in, oh, 20 years so I don’t really remember.

Pineapple Fluffs

2 cans (20 oz. each) crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped (Uuh, wouldn’t this just be whipped cream? That’s what I’m using…)

Drain crushed pineapple; reserve 2 tablespoons juice. Set aside.
Place crushed pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender or food processor container. Cover; blend until smooth.
Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags. Store bags flat in freezer. Freeze about 1-1/2 hours or until slushy.
Stir gently pineapple slush into whipped cream until just blended, in large bowl. Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour. Serve.


Crockpot Red Beans and Rice from The Simple Cajun Life.

  • 1 pound red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • hambone
  • 2 pounds smoked sausage cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • red pepper or cayenne to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • cooked rice

Wash beans. Add in the crock-pot, the washed beans, onions, bell pepper, garlic, hambone, and bay leaf. Pour enough water in the crock-pot so that the water is 2 to 3 inches above the beans. Turn the crock-pot on low and cook overnight or 10 hours or during the day while at work. Do not peek or uncover.

Early the next morning or returning from work, check and see if the water has been reduced. If further reduction of water is needed and generally it is needed, turn the cooker on high. Smash some of the beans to thicken and cook one or two more hours; adding the smoked sausage in the last half hour of cooking. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Or pour the entire mixture from the crock pot to a large heavy duty pot or black cast iron pot. Smash some of the beans to thicken the gravy. Cook to reduce the water and thicken the gravy. When the gravy is almost the consistency you want, add the smoked sausage, salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve over rice and enjoy.

Salad, mixed greens with garbanzo beans and hard boiled eggs.  Served with a side of broccoli 🙂

Pineapple Berry Smoothies


My Husband’s Sheperd’s Pie.  Brown 1 lb of ground turkey, add 1 can of creamed corn and mix well.  Put in a casserole dish and top with 2 cups mashed potatoes (home made or from a mix) spread evenly over meat and corn mixture.  Sprinkle 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese; bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Green beans with carmelized walnuts

Cherry Rhubarb Crumble


Coalition meeting; dinner provided.


Lemony Garlic Shrimp

Parsley Potatoes (boiled red potatoes, cut up and tossed with melted butter and parsley)

Asparagus Gratin (you have to click on the recipe and it pops up)

Pineapple Berry Smoothie Popcicles (Same recipe as above; just thinned out a bit with OJ or pineapple juice and frozen)

For more Menu Plan Monday, and probably a lot less commentary, head over to Laura’s blog.







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11 responses to “Menu Plan Monday

  1. planningqueen

    What a comprehensive menu plan! It also sounds like you have made significant in roads with your kids eating habits – congratulations.

    I also have a kids activity pack giveaway in conjunction with my menu plan this week.

  2. Great ideas for snacks. I too would like to get my girls eating more friuts and veggies.

  3. Great menu!!

    I don’t deny my kids produce requests either, it definitely has helped in getting them to eat more fruits and veggies.

    Enjoy your week!

  4. good for you guys, eating healthier!



    can i come over for dinner on……oh…. how about every night?

  6. If you shop at Thrifty Acres on Tues morning, you will probably see my youngest walking along side of me chomping on a red bell pepper that she just took from the produce area. It hasn’t been washed yet, but I’m thinking the lurking pesticides are probably healthier than the doughnuts nearby.

  7. Hi, we’re featuring your blog as the latest blog we dig on Absolute Michigan.

    Great tips for eating – I used to work at a children’s center as a cook and have to agree that less processed “snacks” are better for everyone!

  8. That recipe for Pineapple Fluffs sounds so good! Thanks for posting it! 🙂

  9. Your menu looks delicious! You have such great ideas for eating healthy (“never deny a produce request”). How’s it going so far with the menu this week (Thursday)?


  10. That sounds like a really great menu. My kitchen is starting to look like your’s I think. I’ve been amazed at how much produce we were throwing away. Now I just blend it all up in the blender we got as a wedding gift 10 years ago and never used! 🙂

    I also spoil my kids with healthy choices at the grocery store. Now, if I could just get my picky picky 5 year old to eat that mango he asked for!

  11. Your menu looks so tasty!!

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