Meal Plan Monday #32

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Howdy!

Jumping back into this week seems so unreal. After being down with mastitis this week and a weekend of dreary weather I am ready for some sunshine! Thankfully the sun allowed its presence to be known today and now I can get on with why I am writing. 🙂

I am always trying to perfect the way I plan meals around here; being careful to allow flexibility and proper spacing so that I don’t end up with too much and throw good food out. Being off Monday and Thursday are perfect and make the difference in my attitude every week. I certainly love cooking but sometimes it seems like a chore rather than being enjoyable no matter how many times I try to convince myself of the benefits it has for my family. Making a weekly snack has been working a lot for us because then I am not scrambling at 3:30 trying to figure out what snack to throw out for the circus.

-Anyways.

Since the weather is growing colder and the leaves are starting to change I am darning my meal plan with themed nights again. My husband reminded me the other week how much he loved them so. 🙂 I typically rotate through a couple of themes each week and it also helps me to stay organized at best with things like soup, crock, takeout, casserole, nacho/burrito, breakfast and U pick night.

Over the weekend we watched a few episodes of Pioneer woman and my guys had stars next to meals they had to have me make this week.

Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week:

Breakfast

Overnight bread and egg bake

Basic oatmeal with fresh fruit

Vanilla donuts with chocolate peanut butter smoothies

cinnamon raisin french toast and sausage

Dinner

Crockpot chicken stuffing and beans with white pasta shells and basic brownies  (My Kid Hero made the brownies on his own!)

Soup Night-Pioneer woman Chicken and noodles

Casserole night- Pioneer woman Beef and bean burritos with veggies and dip

U Pick-English muffin pizza and crinkled carrots

Easy-Foil sandwiches with homemade apple chips and peanut butter dirt pudding

 

Our snack for the week is finger jello and snack mix

Lunches this week are bagel sandwiches or whatever I throw together (survival!) 🙂

 

Baby led breakfast

Old fashioned oatmeal with peaches

Blueberry breakfast cookie

Egg with toast and ricotta

Baby led lunch

Alfredo with macaroni noodles

Peanut butter toast and peas

 

What are you cooking this week?

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Meal Plan Monday #31

 

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Hello sweet friends!

I’ve been super lazy this summer with meal planning and I’m ready to get back to it. One thing that I’ve been trying to do more of is use what I have which can sometimes make meal planning difficult. I’m not really a fly by the seat of my pants girl so you can imagine what this doing to me. ha!

We have also recently added baby led weaning to our house. I will try to link things that I am trying with my princess pea’s meal time as well as time goes on.

In efforts to improve the way I plan and to update my current style and methods I re-purposed my old menu board which used to look like this.

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(Old Photo from my earlier blogging days. I lined this with burlap )

 

And now looks like this. (I love Chalkboard)

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One of the ways I save my family money is by finding things to make on my own. I stock up on staples like meat, seasonings, flours, sugars, milk and cheese. I can my own food, make my own bread, tortillas, condiments, yogurt, snacks, salad dressings (most of the time). I also freeze summer produce in bulk so that we can enjoy it throughout the winter months. This is exhausting and some may say why would someone ever do this much but in the end it’s worth the hassle, saves us a ton of money and I know what my family is eating. I feed my family with 300 dollars monthly/(150 dollar bi-weekly) including meat, Costco and produce.

When I meal plan, I think about what I have and try to think of meals from that. It helps me to shop for groceries after I do that because I am not buying groceries for a whole new plan or more stuff. I usually only have to restock my staples and buy a few snacks that will help stretch the snacks I make at home. We’ve been loving Annie’s Homegrown snacks and Horizon Organic snacks lately.

I’m not a huge organic fanatic because things can be organic in they way they are grown and not necessarily free of chemicals, preservatives, and things I can’t pronounce. I do however buy organic produce for my daughter sometimes, depending on what it is; things like carrots that are high in nitrates or apples and broccoli. Since summer though I have been doing a bit of meat-less meals and using up summer vegetables to get our fill on Vitamins. We have tried some really good recipes lately that have involved spaghetti squash, eggplant and zucchini! I hope you are encouraged to try some of these recipes!

Here is what was on our meal plan last week :

Breakfast

Peaches and cream french toast

Mini egg muffins and bacon

Coconut banana bread and apple peanut butter smoothies

(we had leftovers for lunches at home and the boys had homemade pizza lunchable on wheat tortilla’s)

Dinner

Meatloaf mashed potatoes and peas (homemade peach pie for dessert)

Honey Mustard Chicken (with a few modifications) Cheesy potatoes and green beans

Homemade cheese, green pepper and onion pizza on wheat crust

Spaghetti squash chicken enchilada (with double homemade sauce, dried cilantro and a little more chicken)

Our snack for the week was rice crispy squares, zucchini stix

 

This week:

Breakfast

Homemade egg Mcmuffin and fruit

Apple baked oatmeal

Egg casserole and fruit

Homemade donuts and yogurt

Dinner

Spaghetti squash shrimp scampi and homemade cheddar biscuits

Fried eggplant with Mexican rice

Chicken enchilada Soup and cornbread

Shrimp fried rice and sesame chicken

Ranch chicken nugget wraps with toppings

Our snack for the week is Jello roll ups and peanut butter chocolate chip muffins (I also offer cheese, yogurt, fruit and veggies)

(Our lunch this week is egg salad, pizza muffins and apple sandwiches along with fruit, cheese, pretzel or muffin for snack)

As I mentioned above, we have started baby led weaning and are in month 2 of doing so. With baby led weaning she feeds herself without our help and receives finger sized pieces. We are pro baby led! My sweet pea enjoys frozen or fresh blueberries for breakfast with a scrambled egg (no seasoning), Apple meal muffins, assorted fruits like bananas and grapes, homemade toast, banana pancakes, blueberry cookies Coconut banana bread and I am experimenting with dairy free yogurt.

For lunch she eats a mini veggie muffin ( I used broccoli, carrot, and corn) and diced cheese or some kind of veggie with fruit pieces or cheerios. For dinner she eats a clean version (meaning with little or no seasoning) of what we are eating.

 

I hope you find something here that you can use on your own meal plan!

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 Welcome back guys! The warmer weather is here and spring is in our future. This time of year I’m pulling myself out of cabin fever and rushing to get outside to be welcomed by soft wind against my skin and peeping bulbs everywhere. I have to admit, I haven’t tried new recipe’s lately and the one’s I’ve indulged in haven’t quite made it to camera. Go ahead. Call me unreliable. Being stuck in the house with dreary weather has been so uninspiring. Rain rain go away. The addition of B12 deficiency anemia doesn’t help my case either. Well, enough with excuses. I’ll try not to be away so long this time. Some time a few weeks ago I tried this recipe. I used boneless pork chops and grilled them. You can hardly taste the cocoa and it adds a nice smokey flavor. I usually don’t try pork recipes very often because they can be overly flavorful, dry, or not flavorful enough. I pretty much stick to a basic lemon garlic baked dish. But oh man did we devour this! They were very juicy (without brine- but I did sit them in the fridge for 30 mins) and moist. I served this with buttered noodles and iceberg/strawberry salad. My hulk smash did complain that they were a bit spicy and I would agree the second day we had them but not too spicy, just a tiny kick. He’s 5 now and he slopped them up anyway. Try them please! I’m getting much better at indoor photography but I’m still working on the lighting situation. Here’s what’s coming up this week on our meal plan. Breakfast: Amish breakfast casserole (my way) Chocolate chip banana muffins and homemade strawberry yogurt Blueberry breakfast biscuits with sausage and honey Cereal (gasp) and leftover muffins Oatmeal and strawberries Dinner: Whole roasted chicken, broccoli casserole, sweet corn spoonbread with homemade muffin mix Zesty Italian Chicken bake Linguine Casserole Angel hair pasta Bbq burgers and dogs, with homemade cole slaw   How do you like your pork chops? howtotrainasuperhero.com

Linking Up With:  Living Proverbs 31, 

Meal Plan Monday #29

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The week is on!

We are down to our last days of packing to move so this weeks meal plan and next weeks will be about survival…isn’t it always? Oh yes, but I’m that mom. The one that needs to say it out loud to process it. Because I’m that mom that does the extra and will continue to do that when there needs to be a break. Being that mom is okay, we just have to recognize when a little is enough. I’m in therapy. I promise.

I’m also trying to defunk my house from two perspective sickies and one sick 2 month old. Sick kids are no fun. Sick babies are no fun..please guys wash your hands and stay away from babies! Seriously. No. Fun. Sickness happens but there are measures that help us help them stay healthy. Rant over. I digress.

I didn’t realize we have so much stuff. A craft room is definitely on my list of must haves for the next place. I’ve dedicated these next few weeks to slow. Since we will be settling in I need to find what slow looks like when it’s picked up and moved to another place. That is why slow is not mostly outward living but inward as well. Our hearts need to be set already at slow. Our work and lifestyles need to be motivated by rest in God. This way we aren’t finding rest but building a life of rest and working from that. Isn’t that amazing!??

Anyways, here’s what’s on our meal plan for the coming weeks:

Breakfast:

Banana Breakfast Bar

Mini Pancake Muffins and sausage

Cereal (gasp)

Applesauce pancakes and fruit

Blueberry muffins and yogurt

German Pancakes and egg casserole

Cinnamon raisin baked french toast

Bagels with fruit preserves and creamed cheese

Crockpot Quiche

Eggs in the hole toast bacon

Dinner:

Lasagna Soup (my own recipe)

1 lb beef ground

6 cups chicken broth

2 tsp garlic

1/4 cup chopped dry onion

1/2 cup each rotini, campanelle and penne

1 quart pasta sauce (my own canned it already has green peppers and seasonings, can use marinara)

1 tsp each oregano and basil

Sautee garlic and onion in 3 tbsp grapeseed oil then add beef and brown. Add broth, pasta, seasonings and pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow pasta to come to al dente. Topp with ricotta mix of 15 oz ricotta, 1 cup of shredded mozarella, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with cornbread. Done!

Creamy chicken and noodles

Fish sticks and sweet potato fries

Hot ham, turkey and swiss sliders with potato soup

Pizza muffins and orange salad

Crockpot Pork ribs

Hamburger gravy with peas and mashed potatoes

Tuna casserole

So here’s a look into our coming weeks. Berar with me guys. It’s only Monday! Oh, we had this cake for dessert after the lasagna soup with peanut butter frosting. Oh. My. Gosh! so good.

How do you meal plan?

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Linking Up With: Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #28

Welcome back friends!

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I hope the weekend has been good to you!
I finally feel as though I can man-handle my circus ring…baby and all. Which leads me into meal planning. Our family and friends have taken care of all our meals post-baby up until now and I’m so super grateful. It has truly been a blessing to us and has allowed all of us, me especially, to relax and focus on bonding with baby. Who knew what a huge difference meal planning makes? It’s a hard job to figure out a tasteful, timeless, yet budget friendly meal to feed your family.

One thing that helps me is shopping big for my meat a few times a year when our local grocery store has their meat sales. This allows me to focus more budget wise on pantry items and save big when it comes to meat. Now I am focusing on making the most of my savings and using up what I have before it is time to shop again.

Here is what is on my menu for the next this week:

Breakfast
Chocolate chip pancakes
Carrot zucchini muffins, smoothie and homemade yogurt
Sausage gravy and biscuits with eggs
Cereal
Blueberry baked oatmeal
Cinnamon baked french toast

Lunch
Lunch meat roll ups with veggies
Mexican tomato rice and bean bowls
Corn dog muffins
Mini tortilla pizzas

Dinner
Crockpot bbq chicken sandwiches, baked beans
Zuppa Toscana soup with bread sticks
Crock pot cilantro lime chicken
Pasta with tomato cream sauce, apple walnut salad

Snacks
Double chocolate zucchini bread muffins
Assorted fruits and veggies
Oreo layer dessert

This meal plan is full of our favorite meals. I figured I’d pull out my favorite list since it’s cold and snowy here. Perfect for warm comfort foods!

How do you meal plan?

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Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #27

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekend was great. This weekend my hubby and I did some last minute Christmas shopping for our boys and finished some odds and ends for baby. It was an interesting weekend to say with contractions rising and no results. Hopefully we will get to hold our baby girl soon. I decided to dig a little deeper into my meal plans and give you more detail because I usually plan three meals a day for two-three weeks at a time. I suck with lunch though, it’s a struggle for me to be creative in this area because I can’t get out of sandwich mode but I digress. Lately I’ve been kicking it up to make sure we are eating a balanced meal daily. So that means making sure there are some fruits and veggies along side. I tend to follow a ratio of one fruit, one veggie, protein and dairy. Lot’s of times through the week we have leftover’s so if you see three or four things listed it’s not because I don’t feed my family, we just have more to go around at some point. I can’t cook everyday of my life you know. We also tend to eat out or find something quick on the weekends. Here is what is on my list for the coming week.

Breakfast Honey Banana Muffins/pina colada smoothie Baked oatmeal Egg muffins and sausage Cereal Breakfast sandwiches German pancakes/fruit and sausage

Lunch Grilled cheese with pepperoni, grapes Parmesan noodles and peas Apple salad and fish sticks Dinner Parmesan honey pork, salad and garlic mashed potatoes Corn dog muffins/veggies Cheese steak sandwiches and chips Weeknight chicken stir fry I keep a meal plan journal where I can write down recipes that I want to try and the website, book or magazine to find it and also if we liked the recipe or not or my notes. This makes it easy and I have everything in one place. I also have a meal plan board, which I will share in a future post, that allows me to write down what’s happening for the week and my shopping list. I’m the crazy lady with a bunch of lists in her pocketbook. ha! I hope you find a recipe here that you can keep! We have a lot of catching up to do. Meet back here next Monday for coffee and tea? See ya then! howtotrainasuperhero.com

Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

How I plan to do life with a newborn

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This post has been a little while coming. It’s been four years since I’ve cuddled and held a newborn. Some may say pish posh, I say ahhhhh!!!

Life just settled down and then I throw a baby in  the mix!

Anyways, I wanted to share with you all how I plan to do life with a newborn. This post will cover what I am doing to get ready for….duh duh duh DUHH!! My sweet baby girl. There is not much I can prepare for. She will either throw me for a loop or wrap me around her princess band. Either way I’m here to stay.

Here’s the thing:

I may make my plans but the Lord determines the outcome.

(We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:33)

So while I am super-duper planner girl, I know that my plans are tentative to the Lords…..Shall we?

There are two things that I marked as my goal during this pregnancy that are super important to me. One of those is freezer meals. Preparing meals ahead of time will help me and my hubby stay sane. I made a list of meals my hubby can choose from to make and recipe ideas for him when he is feeling creative. I also made a list of what is in the freezer so that he can see a list of inventory and we know what we are getting low on and need to restock.

My church usually sets up a meal train for the prego’s and I’m super grateful…but I know it will take me a while to get into the swing of things so I wanted to have a few things on hand after that. And quite frankly who wants to cook right away when they’ve had a baby?

I’ve known that I wanted to do this since I first got pregnant so I’ve been collecting meal ideas for my family since. I used to do freezer meals to send to my mom and I think I’ve tried all those bagged one pot crockpot meals. I can’t stand them. They usually sound so good but….sometimes the flavors don’t quite go right, at least for me they haven’t. We want real meal ideas that I’d cook on a regular basis, not something made up and slopped together in a crockpot.

So here’s what I planned to have stocked before baby comes.

Breakfast:

Zucchini muffins and bread

Banana muffins and bread

Waffles, frozen

Pancakes, frozen

Granola, frozen

Breakfast sandwiches

Lunch:

Pioneer Woman roast beef sandwiches

Mini corn dog muffins

Dinner:

Sausage with onions and peppers

cilantro lime chicken

Pioneer Woman lasagna roll ups

Pioneer Woman chicken spaghetti

Spaghetti meat sauce

Ground beef browned

shredded chicken

Dessert: 

Cookie Dough

In the beginning of November I set aside a day to get all my freezer meals done. My sister came up for the day as well and did some for her household too. We have all of this stocked with the exception of chicken spaghetti and roast beef sandwiches. I also froze apple pie filling, peaches, raspberries and strawberry, peach and blueberry applesauce. When it was all over my sister and I had a table full of great meals.

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I’m almost out of granola…it is seriously delicious with my homemade yogurt and a few frozen berries sprinkled in. This picture does no justice for what my taste buds feel.

Next up, what’s in my bag? How do you prepare for meal time? 

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Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #26

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I have to admit to you. I haven’t been very creative in my meal planning lately. Since week thirty of my pregnancy I’ve gotten a little slow, “turtle like” in my words. Meals around here have been simple and less timely and that’s okay with me.

Today I’d like to share a meal that goes over well and is fairly easy and enjoyed in my house. My boys, carnivorous at heart, won’t go near anything green or labeled healthy around here. So I have to sneak things in and tell them what it is later. Ha. Sneaky? Manipulative? Maybe. At least I tell them what they are eating at some point in their lives. (warning: this was just a joke.)

This meal has the perfect blend of flavors and the quinoa adds a nutty flavor that balances the whole dish. I make this on our easy breezy mornings. I keep cooked quinoa in the freezer so that I can just thaw it the night before and use it the next day. This also works well with quinoa salads. Try it!

kale quinoa scramble

I like to add all kinds of things to this meal. Tomato, peppers, bacon, it all turns out good with different types of cheeses too. Options are endless!

Ingredients:

2 cups kale, loosely packed and chopped

10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half

8 eggs, beaten (I usually add a splash of milk)

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 onion

1 package of breakfast sausage cut up(We like brown and serve or any fresh deli sausage links)

Cheddar cheese 1/2-1 cup or more if you like

Directions:

In a large frying pan cook sausage per directions and cut up. Throw in onion, tomato, kale and saute until kale is cooked through. Dump in eggs and scramble. Don’t over cook. Next add in quinoa and cheese. Toss until mixed through. This usually doesn’t need any seasoning but season to taste if you’d like with salt and pepper. That’s it!

Recipe adapted from withstyleandgraceblog

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #24

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 Welcome back guys! Today I am starting with a new approach to Meal Plan Monday. Aside from my usual posting, I will be posting what new recipe’s I find to put on my meal plan and what mine looks like through the week.

This may not happen every week but I plan to incorporate it a few times throughout the month. I think the way I meal plan is unusual. I am the type of person to get bored with the same old things all of the time. Too much chicken, too much beef, way too much shrimp just makes my mind go crazy. Since I have been married, we have only eaten the same meals twice a handful of times-I can count on my fingers-My taste buds are weird. I wonder why that is?

Anyway, when I meal plan I usually do it for the month. I don’t schedule specific meals for the day and I shop biweekly. The first thing I try to do is figure out how many times a week I cook, what activities we have going on so I know not to make a time extensive meal that day and consider different themes. The themes are optional. I throw them in randomly.

I cook four times a week and throw in an easy meal like pizza, sandwiches, fajita’s or nuggets for days we unexpectedly eat the whole meal and nothing is left-which is often. So one day a month I search about 16-20 meal options through my cookbooks or on Pinterest, write them on a list and pick biweekly which one’s will go work for me that coming week. So I look for 8 crock pot meals for Sundays and Wednesday’s, four pasta meals for Tuesday’s , four one pot meals, and a few casserole’s. That way I can pick from my list for the month and shop how I need. Here’s what it looks like for us.

Sunday– Our big meal day. I know Monday’s are rough for me to start with and Sunday’s are days we relax and do nothing so I usually plan a casserole or crock pot meal. Something that won’t hinder our time as a family.

Monday– Our leftover day. This gives me more time to spend with the kiddos and kick off our weekly routine for bed and homework.

Tuesday– This day is one of the easy meal days because my hubby works late so usually a pasta meal or one pot meal will do. (We are pasta people!)

Wednesday– We have clubs at church and school so during the winter I do soup and salad/sandwiches and in the summer lots of veggie casseroles like tuna stuffed tomatoes. In the summer though, this is another big meal day where we eat and play outside as a family. I use my crock pot frequently for this day.

Thursday– This is a leftover day usually during the summer but in the winter months it’s a night we relax and play games as a family or take a trip out for the night. I try to do theme nights (pumpkin family night, valentine date, bowling at home etc..) on this day because we are all home early.

Friday– Our travel day. My boys are usually doing weekend visits so my hubby and I will eat out. When the boys are home we do a one pot meal, homemade chicken nuggets, cauliflower pizza, zucchini boats or whatever else is easy.

Saturday– I usually cook a super healthy meal this day or make Chinese.

So that does it. Lately I’ve been trying to stick to meal themed nights like crock pot night, soup night, pasta night, freezer meal night, international food night, Paleo night and the like. I try to mix it up often. I also meal plan our breakfast, snacks and dessert for the month. It’s a lot of work but a few hours one day for a lot less hassle the rest of the month is worth it to me.

Here’s what’s on our meal plan for this week.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake! Layers of lasagna noodles, chicken, peas, creamy garlic Parmesan sauce --> no cans, all real, totally yummy. 300 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Sunday– Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna bake via Pinch of Yum (I can vouch for this now, it wast tasty. I doubled the sauce with less milk, ditched the poultry seasoning using 1/2 tsp basil instead and two tsp of salt)

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Tuesday- Southwest Chicken Wraps via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday– Parmesan Corn Chowder via My MIL

Broccoli beef

Friday– Broccoli Beef Stir Fry via Center Cut Cook

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin | Just 5 minutes of prep and you have a delicious meal perfect for Sunday dinner and leftovers throughout the week.

Sunday– Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin via Allrecipes

There you have it all my meals for this week. Stay tuned for how I plan to survive meal time with a newborn and three hungry young men.

How do you meal plan?

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday: Potato Gnocchi

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What on earth was I thinking? Perhaps on the frugal side of things and the natural benefits of homemade. You know that copycat Chicken Gnocchi soup from Olive Garden that has been floating around Pinterest for a few years now? Well just last week I had it on my meal plan, I was the last-minute mom running to the store at 3pm to snag a box of potato gnocchi and too tired to run 15 mins to our local Wal-Mart where they might not have it for this soup.

I was trying to avoid being the homemade mom, I promise. BUT. A few hours later and a sick Kid Hero landed me desperate to just finish this meal. All the ingredients were in my cupboard and I had (I can now say that loosely) no experience. First day on the job and hubby says I nailed it.

I had a bag of potatoes on their way to the trash and had managed to save four. So I cooked them, mashed them, rolled them into the dough and my gnocchi was born. 2 pounds 8 ounces?

I like good food, you know. I like easy food. I love homemade food, don’t ya know. This recipe pretty much fits in to all those categories. Took me less than 30 minutes to complete two batches (one for freezing). I encourage you to try it if you are making a good gnocchi recipe. About my soup? My gang slopped it and asked for seconds. A great little potato dumpling. Yum-o!

Try it! I got the recipe from here!

Have you ever tried a recipe with a fear of it not turning out? 

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare