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Strawberry Squatcake

Plan All Da Mealz

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Blueberries and I found a lot of success last challenge planning our meals. Neither of us have made this a goal for this challenge but want to continue on the good path. For me, making it a point to look at the weekly ads and batch-cook protein on the weekends was a recipe for success. This will be a spot to keep up with this habit, and hopefully fuel the success of our eating for this challenge.

Now accepting others with a similar goal! I think Spezzy said we can have up to seven per group. And although I'm not a math whiz, I think that means five spots open, nerds. Come one. Come all! Well, not all. Unless by 'all' that somehow means five people. You know what I'm saying.

The end.

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I guess those in this group can check in each week as they're planning their meals, and to brag about successes! (Or other ideas. I'm kind of flying blind here. Has anyone seen the movie Flight? I feel like I'm manning the plan as they take off. By the end of the challenge I hope I don't feel like I'm manning the plane as they land...)

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In. I need to do a good job with meal planning. My life goes so much better when I'm not peering quizzically into an empty refrigerator at 5:30, trying to figure out what to make for dinner while small hungry children are hanging on my legs and crying. Who'd have thought?

ETA: Spezzy made a sign up sheet. We are on the cross-guild tab.

Edited by Blueberries

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Ok if I join? With my gluten free goal, I'm pretty sure I'll give in to naughty stuff if I don't plan ahead. I definitely get the "hungry children hanging from my legs" thing too, BB! I don't usually prep much in advance for suppers other than deciding what meals are going to be for the week, and doing the shopping. That way I have all the ingredients available, and can pick what I feel like making.

Breakfast/snacks, I usually make up some egg muffins and paleo "granola bars", and buy whatever fruit is on sale

Lunch is usually leftovers, or something microwaveable

Plan for this week:

BLT Chicken Salads

Chili

Spicy Salmon w/ green beans

Burritos (I'll do mine "naked")

Beef roast with potatoes and carrots

Italian beef with mashed potatoes and veg

I'm definitely open to recipe sharing, along with the meal plans...

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I'm stuck mosly with meat with either steamed veggies or salad this week. Cutting out tomatoes makes me feel really hindered for some reason? I made some steak today that I'll probably have for breakfast the next few days. I made chicken and ribs I'll have for lunch with spinach salad. Then more chicken and ribs for dinner with steamed veggies.

For snacks, I've been doing apples and nut butter, chicken salad (chicken, avocado, chopped spinach, celery, garlic salt, pepper), dark chocolate. I need more snacks! Afternoon snack is what normally gets me. I've tried doing protein shakes at work and they're a huge hassle when I'm busy. I've also tried perfecting a homemade protein bar (sans grains or eggs). Haven't found anything I like...

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Is it alright if I throw my hat in the ring? I really need to get around to this, especially as it partially covers some of my goals and I tend to struggle eating everything I need to in a day...I'd love to see how you guys are doing it and steal some inspiration :)

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Oooohhh.. this is perfect. I am a n00b to the paleo world and it looks like some of you are veterans?? I'd love to see what you all have up your sleeves and probably just contribute lots of annoying questions to start with... if that makes accepting me to the group more appealing??

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And I have added myself to the last line. Planning meals ahead has been a goal of mine that I just can't seem to get hold of. Breakfast and snack ideas are appreciated. I subscribe to a dinner menu planning deal that has recently added a paleo option, so I have changed my subscription to that. The food for paleo appears costly - any insight to making room in the budget for a switch to higher priced food?

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Is it alright if I throw my hat in the ring? I really need to get around to this, especially as it partially covers some of my goals and I tend to struggle eating everything I need to in a day...I'd love to see how you guys are doing it and steal some inspiration :)

My main strategy is to look at the specials each week and plan off of that. Either to buy what's on special, pull from my freezer if nothing is appealing, or buy a more affordable choice of meat. For example, I only buy steak on special. And sometimes stock up on any meat on special and freeze it.

When the special ads come out, I check them out, make a list, buy (usually over the weekend). Every weekend I prepare at least something for the first three days for breakfast and lunch. Usually midweek I'll have time to cook again. And depending on how I feel I'll cook something each night for dinner or eat leftovers. But I've found it's essential to plan breakfast and lunch for at least the first half of the week or life turns to chaos!

I want to join!! Planning meals is so necessary...and accountability and support will be needed this challenge :-)

Yay! Yes, join and help us all muddle through this.

Oooohhh.. this is perfect. I am a n00b to the paleo world and it looks like some of you are veterans?? I'd love to see what you all have up your sleeves and probably just contribute lots of annoying questions to start with... if that makes accepting me to the group more appealing??

Awesome! And no matter what eating plan someone's on, I think food planning is essential to success. And of course, ask lots of questions! We appreciate that!

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And I have added myself to the last line. Planning meals ahead has been a goal of mine that I just can't seem to get hold of. Breakfast and snack ideas are appreciated. I subscribe to a dinner menu planning deal that has recently added a paleo option, so I have changed my subscription to that. The food for paleo appears costly - any insight to making room in the budget for a switch to higher priced food?

Are you using eMeals? I used them for a short stint, and saw they recently added paleo. But their paleo meals didn't seem to track store specials like their other plans... So that wasn't as appealing for me.

I feel like lots of blogs and cookbooks make a diet that's inherently simple far too complicated. I realize they do it to stave off boredom. But for me, simple meats and veggies have been the most successful, and finding ways to change up those meats and veggies (oven vs stove vs crockpot vs grill vs smoker) has helped me moe than fancy recipes.

Have you tried shopping either specials or for your favorite meats that are most affordable? And do the same for fruits and veggies. Or what has and hasn't worked? For me, simple meats and varying sides has been pretty simple. Sometimes I get bored or crave a comfort food. But I've encountered way more failures with "fancy" recipes. And that's been a huge turnoff for me. If it's simple, it doesn't make it any less delicious for me. :)

Edit: I also want to hear everyone else's opinions. Sorry, I'm tired and shouldn't be posting. I know my way isn't the only way. So hopefully I don't come across that way!

Edit two: my autocorrect is changing all my words to "idiot" tonight. No offense intended! Taking the hint and going to bed!

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Well Kelly asked for it - first question...

What do you think of the eggs that are high in Omega-3? I know that was suggested to me somewhere along the way, a shopping list online I think. I did buy them (because I want to be perfect <--shooting too high???hahaaa!), and they were SUPER cute with little pink breast cancer ribbons stamped on each egg. So my question - why high Omega-3? Is it worth the extra couple dollars?

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Well Kelly asked for it - first question...

What do you think of the eggs that are high in Omega-3? I know that was suggested to me somewhere along the way, a shopping list online I think. I did buy them (because I want to be perfect <--shooting too high???hahaaa!), and they were SUPER cute with little pink breast cancer ribbons stamped on each egg. So my question - why high Omega-3? Is it worth the extra couple dollars?

I haven't done any research yet, so take this for what it's worth... I say not worth it. I'm not sure how they get extra Omega-3's in an egg (feed the chicken differently? GMO? Give them some kind of drug/medical treatment?), but how much extra can you be getting in an egg? I'd just get regular eggs and take fish oil.

I'm also in the camp that doesn't do grass-fed or organic because of the price. I read somewhere that the reason for going that route is because of the balance of Omega's, and you can fix that balance in regular meat by taking fish oil as well.

BTW, Minnesota, eh? Hi from your neighbor in South Dakota :)

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My main strategy is to look at the specials each week and plan off of that. Either to buy what's on special, pull from my freezer if nothing is appealing, or buy a more affordable choice of meat. For example, I only buy steak on special. And sometimes stock up on any meat on special and freeze it.

When the special ads come out, I check them out, make a list, buy (usually over the weekend). Every weekend I prepare at least something for the first three days for breakfast and lunch. Usually midweek I'll have time to cook again. And depending on how I feel I'll cook something each night for dinner or eat leftovers. But I've found it's essential to plan breakfast and lunch for at least the first half of the week or life turns to chaos!

I do this as much as possible. We have a deep freezer in the garage that I throw extra meat into so that I can stock up when things go on sale. That said, I pretty much never buy steak because it's too expensive when you're trying to feed four people on one income. I also try to shop on weekday mornings, because that's when my grocery store tends to have "Reduced for Quick Sale" meats in the case. I'll buy several packs of ground beef/chicken/pork/whatever they have and then throw them in the freezer. My challenge is not forgetting that they're in there for months on end.

Edit two: my autocorrect is changing all my words to "idiot" tonight. No offense intended! Taking the hint and going to bed!

Hahaha!

Well Kelly asked for it - first question...

What do you think of the eggs that are high in Omega-3? I know that was suggested to me somewhere along the way, a shopping list online I think. I did buy them (because I want to be perfect <--shooting too high???hahaaa!), and they were SUPER cute with little pink breast cancer ribbons stamped on each egg. So my question - why high Omega-3? Is it worth the extra couple dollars?

I agree, not worth it unless you're happy with them and they don't impact your grocery budget. My vote would be free-range farm fresh eggs if you can afford them, but they are really expensive around here, so I just buy regular eggs. One of my best friends has chickens, so every now and then I end up with eggs from her house. They are so delicious, and it's amazing how orange-y the yolks are and how thick the shells are compared to grocery store eggs. They really are much better for you, but it's a budget balance.

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I agree with IfItPlugsIn and Blueberries.

I feel like eggs are a controversial hot button issue. Why's food gotta be that way? I've read a little on these eggs (mostly research I did during/after I was reading It Starts With Food), and everyone has their own opinion. The perspective I take is if a container is overly-wordy, it's not worth it. It's an ad more than a health benefit, if that makes sense? From what I've read, these eggs get more omega 3s from feeding the chickens flax, which is fine. However, these same chickens are generally also fed soy and other GMO stuff. Soooo... While you're getting extra omega 3s, you're also getting other "stuff." Probably similar to the stuff "normal" chickens are fed. So like IfITPlugsIn said, buy the cheaper eggs and take fish oil instead. Probably will come out ahead monetarily. (I also agree with what she said about the omega3 vs omega 6 thing - I think the goal is to get your ratio better, meaning more omega 3, less omega 6. You'll do this by eating less processed foods. But can also improve with fish oil. I'm a fish oil fanatic, though - see my avatar.)

That said, if you like the flavor, or have other reasons, eat them! They're definitely not bad! Better than waffles and muffins! (At least for me. Eggs at least fill me up and don't put me in a "not-really-full to starving" cycle!)

I am currently in an intolerant phase (I hope it's a phase, I'm telling myself it's a phase!) with eggs, so I don't buy them much.

The "best" eggs from what I've read are "pastured" eggs (meaning chickens who are in pastures, which are different than "cage free"). They don't even sell these in any grocery store in my town. And I imagine if they did, they'd be expensive. So I'd probably occasionally buy them (for the extra nutrients). But otherwise, wouldn't probably buy the cheaper ones.

And not related to eggs, I also shop the "Reduced for Quick Sale" stuff. I never even thought that there might be more out on certain days. There's almost always stuff there in my store. But it makes sense they'd move it over first thing in the morning. Anyway, I generally buy it and use it that night or the next day. But it's definitely widened my meat palate. It's easier to take a risk on a cut of meat I'm not sure if I'd like if it's on sale. That's how I tried duck for the first time - and liked it!

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Thanks for the info! I do have relatively easy access to cage-free. Two of my siblings farm (one hobby, one full-time dairy and beef), and they live close by, so I will just keep buying from them. I know in the winter production drops, in summer my fridge is full of eggs they are trying to get rid of. I just realized I could buy half a beef from them too when they have one ready to butcher and it would be grass fed because they are pasture cows. We used to farm too, I miss having a freezer full of meat every fall!

I do buy reduced sale meats too - but I don't come across them too often - thanks for the morning shopping tip!

And Hiii neighbor Jenna!

I'll swing by everyones challenge thread later today. I went a little nuts welcoming people and subscribing yesterday - not sure I can keep up!

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Thanks for the info! I do have relatively easy access to cage-free. Two of my siblings farm (one hobby, one full-time dairy and beef), and they live close by, so I will just keep buying from them. I know in the winter production drops, in summer my fridge is full of eggs they are trying to get rid of. I just realized I could buy half a beef from them too when they have one ready to butcher and it would be grass fed because they are pasture cows. We used to farm too, I miss having a freezer full of meat every fall!

I do buy reduced sale meats too - but I don't come across them too often - thanks for the morning shopping tip!

And Hiii neighbor Jenna!

I'll swing by everyones challenge thread later today. I went a little nuts welcoming people and subscribing yesterday - not sure I can keep up!

Ha! I do that, too. Over-subscribing!

Also jealous about your easy access to grass-fed beef! I can't buy it anywhere in town. I can buy 1/8th or 1/4th of a cow from a place about an hour away. I just haven't ever pulled the trigger. Sounds like you have a great setup for some awesome protein sources!

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Thanks for the info! I do have relatively easy access to cage-free. Two of my siblings farm (one hobby, one full-time dairy and beef), and they live close by, so I will just keep buying from them. I know in the winter production drops, in summer my fridge is full of eggs they are trying to get rid of. I just realized I could buy half a beef from them too when they have one ready to butcher and it would be grass fed because they are pasture cows. We used to farm too, I miss having a freezer full of meat every fall!

I do buy reduced sale meats too - but I don't come across them too often - thanks for the morning shopping tip!

And Hiii neighbor Jenna!

I'll swing by everyones challenge thread later today. I went a little nuts welcoming people and subscribing yesterday - not sure I can keep up!

Lucky girl on the eggs and meat! My husband hunts, so we have a freezer full of venison, and we garden in the summer. So we're pretty lucky in those areas. We're really hoping to buy some land soon, and be able to expand what we produce for ourselves. Chickens/eggs, and beef are high on the list.

For grocery shopping, I always buy fruit, veg, and meat on sale. We love salmon, but that's one thing I refuse to buy when it isn't on sale. I actually usually watch ads, buy what's on sale, then plan around what I've bought; rather than planning meals, then buying the ingredients.

And I have added myself to the last line. Planning meals ahead has been a goal of mine that I just can't seem to get hold of. Breakfast and snack ideas are appreciated. I subscribe to a dinner menu planning deal that has recently added a paleo option' date=' so I have changed my subscription to that. The food for paleo appears costly - any insight to making room in the budget for a switch to higher priced food?[/quote']

Breakfast: I make egg muffins. I add some omelet goodies to a greased muffin tin (onion, peppers, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, spinach, whatever). Then beat a dozen eggs with about 1/2 cup of water, and pour equally over each muffin. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. When they're cool, I put 2 muffins in a sandwich bag and keep them in the fridge. Bring 'em to work, and nuke for 45 seconds.

Snacks: I have some good recipes for paleo "granola" bars that I make up and keep on hand. I also do various nuts and seeds. Dried fruit, sweet potato chips, and toasted coconut flakes work too.

Budget: I don't go for grass-fed or organic (see above). Do regular foods, and add fish oil. Shop sales for fresh food, and frozen veg when fresh is too pricey.

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Breakfast and snack ideas are appreciated.

Cauliflower soup for breakfast (crazy, huh?) I just tried this today, All my life I've had some form of Dairy, with some corn or wheat, and a little sugar or eggs for breakfast, so, since going Whole30 (day 9 today), All I had left was eggs, and bacon, and omelettes (hehe), so, I read that recipe and cooked my version of it yesterday evening for today's breakfast, it was good, creamy and comforting, I would add some protein next time, like bacon, ham or pork rinds (I'm starving), but it's definitely worth a try, you may like it or hate it, I don't know.

As for snacks, Chocolate Covered Katie Has some very interesting recipes on homemade larabars, cookies, brownies and stuff, many are Paleo / Vegan, I have not tried any of them, but I really like the way they look (and taste, in my head).

Also, good luck to you all with the food planning, I am not in charge of food at home, and I cook whatever I feel like for myself at the office and sometimes at home, and it works for me, but then, I have a farmers market a short walk from the office, so planning is not really critical for me.

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I really like the way they look (and taste, in my head).

Hahah. Hilarious. I love the way things taste in my head. If only that were enough to satisfy me.

For breakfast, I generally eat some kind of meat and fruit. I like something sweet in the AM, and the meat sustains me. If I can "afford" it (calorie-wise) I also like to have some fat at each meal. So if I have lean meat, I might add in some type of fat, again for sustenance.

Another breakfast I do is a sweet potato hash. I cook up a pound of ground sausage, and season it like I like it (sometimes adding onions). I'll dice up a sweet potatoe and zap it in the micro until it's soft. Then mash it and add it in with the sausage. I generally do a pound of sausage and one small to medium size sweet potato. I like to season with salt, black pepper, red or chipotle pepper and smoked paprika. But I've heard others going more to the sweet side, seasoning with cinnamon and adding an apple (this wasn't for me).

One of my favorite snacks is a chicken salad (can also be egg or tuna salad, I've had all three). I chop up some shredded chicken (or tuna, or dice eggs). If I use chicken, probably 2-3 oz. Tuna is one single-serving pouch. And it's been awhile since I've done eggs, but I think I did two eggs. Then I mash up half an avocado with a fork. I season with salt (or garlic salt), pepper and if you have it, smoked paprika (mmm). Then I dice up one stalk of celery, and chop up some fresh spinach. Mix it all together. Delicious!

If I want something sweet with it, I can add fruit. Or sometimes I add half a square of dark chocolate if I'm craving chocolate (still breaking a vending machine habit).

I like to oven roast a whole chicken on Sundays. 350 degress for about 30 minutes per pound (mine are usually done before that, I use a meat thermometer). Then I use that chicken for lots of stuff throughout the week. Sometimes I'll throw it in broth with avocados, green onions and a splash of lime for a soup. Other times I'll make "sandwiches" or "tacos" using romain lettuce for bread/taco shell. Lots of times I'll simply warm it up with a side of veggies or throw it on top of a salad. So I'll often times use this chicken for a last minute breakfast or snack.

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I try to keep the fridge stocked with cooked meats (shredded chicken breasts, ground beef or turkey, chicken thighs), eggs (fresh and hard boiled), string cheese, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, baby carrots, half-and-half (I'm a coffee addict), and whole milk. Those are probably my biggest staples and can be used for really any meal or snack.

I went to the store today without a plan (I know, I know...), and I happened onto a bunch of meat either on sale or reduced, so I stocked up. Some of the things I got were:

Ground beef (reduced): $2.29/lb (I think); bought 1 pkg to cook and 2 for the freezer

Whole chicken: $1.28/lb; going in the freezer

Chicken thighs: $1.18/lb; put 1 pkg in crockpot and 2 more in the freezer

Boneless skinless chicken breasts: $1.98/lb; 3 packages for the freezer (I use these mostly for shredded chicken)

Turkey breast: $1.98/lb; I bought this as an experiment for cheaper ground turkey - see below

Sweet potatoes: $0.38/lb; I bought 8.25 pounds and will probably go buy a bunch more before the sales reset on Sunday

Re: ground turkey experiment

Somewhere on NF (I want to say maybe catspaw's last challenge thread?) I saw talk of buying turkey breasts as they start to go on sale and grinding them at home. I have a pasta maker/meat grinder attachment for my mixer, so I thought I'd keep an eye on prices. The pre-packaged breasts were more expensive than I thought they should be, but I found a split turkey breast from the meat department for $2/lb and decided to give it a try. From a (just under) 2-pound breast, I ended up with 1 lb 13.5 oz of ground turkey, which worked out to $2.07 per pound. Since regular ground turkey is $3-4 per pound, I'm happy with that. I'm planning to see if I can find more (and maybe cheaper?) over the next few weeks and maybe buy in bulk and grind for the freezer.

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