Friday, September 7, 2012

3 in 30 September Update - #1

Here it is the 7th of September already. The days have gone by so quickly. Three of the four days, Sophia, Olivia, and I were at Itasca State Park, so I didn't have a chance to work on the first two goals I set for the 3 in 30 challenge for September: 

=> Organize fabric. Most of the fabric I use for projects are in bins grouped by color. However, there are some pieces of fabric that are in bags that I want to put in the bins. Also, I'd like to go through all the fabric and donate the pieces I don't care for any longer and/or plan to use.

=>  Begin to organize taxes. Last month when I cleaned my office, I came across an expandable file. I had set it up one year to put receipts and other documentation in for each category for taxes (e.g., health care, mortgage payments, homeschooling expenses). I'd like to take what I have saved thus far and put them in the appropriate categories to make tax-time easier in 2013.

What I have done this month so far is focus on the third goal: 

=>  Plan meals for the month. Sophia will be making food as part of her Eastern Hemisphere curriculum; Olivia will be making food as part of Five in a Row; and both the girls will be making food as part of the Cantering the Country curriculum (U.S. geography).  So, each week there are more lunches and dinners being prepared through homeschooling than there are from what I have on hand. 

I need to schedule these homeschooling meals and balance them out with food that I make so that the girls aren't cooking for each of the meals. This also will use items that we have on hand so we aren't wasting food.

I created a menu plan for the first 11 days of the month. I use to do many years ago, and then for some reason I stopped. It is nice to have the menu planned out ahead of time again so I know what to take out from the freezer or what needs to be prepared ahead of time (e.g., if something needs to marinate for an extended period of time).

Olivia and I made three items so far that tie in with a Babar book that I read to her as part of the Five in Row curriculum: peanut pasta:

Peanut Pasta with fresh carrots and broccoli.
This is a vegetarian dinner that we all enjoyed.
We definitely will make this again.

peanut salad:

Peanut Salad.
The dressing didn't have much flavor, and 
with cucumbers and mushrooms - 
it doesn't last long in the refrigerator.

and peanut bars:

Peanut Bars.
Absolutely delicious...we are definitely making these again.

Sophia and I made two recipes for part of her Eastern Hemisphere curriculum. Currently, we are focusing on China. She made Cashew Chicken:

Cashew Chicken. 
It was excellent...tasted like we were having dinner
at a restaurant.

and Stir-fried Spinach:

Stir-fried Spinach.
Wouldn't make this again.

I also made some items that weren't tied into curriculum. The links are to pictures and recipes of the food I made:
=> Low-fat zucchini brownies.
=> Easy pasta salad.
=> Porcupine burgers.
=> Cucumber-lemon water.
=> Homemade granola bars.

Even when we went camping, there was a menu that I followed for lunches:

Picnic at Charles Lindbergh State Park
in Little Falls, Minnesota.

and dinners:

Olivia making her dinner over a campfire
at Lake Itasca State Park.

We enjoyed eating making our dinner over the campfire both evenings we were at Lake Itsasca State Park.

Enjoying dinner in the gazebo on Tuesday night
at Itasca State Park.

The second day we chose to eat at the picnic table for a change in location.

Dinner outdoors at the picnic table
by the cabin we stayed in at Itasca State Park.
It was built in the 1930s by the CCC.

Before I left on the camping trip, I spent some cut cutting fresh fruits and putting them in quart-size bags to make smoothies during the fall.  Each bag has: strawberries, bananas, pineapple, musk melon, oranges, apples, kiwi, pears, and a spoon of honey.

When I want to make a fruit beverage, I just need to take a bag out of the freezer, empty it into the Vita-Mix mixer, and blend. To alter the consistency a bit, I can add water, juice, and/or yogurt.

As I look at the menu plan for the next five days, there is a combination of meals that Olivia will learn to prepare, Sophia will make with guidance, and both will work on together. Lots of new recipes to try which will be fun!


Jeanine Byers said...

Great progress on your meal planning!! We planned this week's meals but have not done ot for next week yet.

Sherri Davidson said...

Awesome job with the meals!! The cashew chicken looks yummy. I love my menu plan when I stick to it. :)

Rita said...

The peanut pasta, peanut butter bars, and the cashew chicken all look delicious!! It is so cool that you all experiment with new recipes and foods. What a great vacation, too!! It's beautiful up there. :)

aurie good said...

Wow - these are some great recipes!! I love the smoothie idea - thanks so much for sharing :)

Deanna Kohlhofer said...

These recipes look amazing! Your girls must have had fun. I also love that smoothie idea. I make a smoothie almost every morning {creature of habit} and just use frozen fruit. I think I will try this for something different.

Nikki said...

You're doing great with your goals! I enjoy meal planning, too, so I'm not caught unprepared at supper time.

Laura said...

Those recipes look really good! And I like your idea of freezing fresh fruit for smoothies later.