Menu planner

I mentally knew we had different foods we liked, but we had been in a rut lately.  So, using ideas off Pinterest, a bargain I found at Michael’s Arts & Crafts, the metal organizer (originally for a locker) I had gotten from Rummage Sale this summer that I had painted black, some magnetic ‘Days of the Week’ I was not using, colored envelopes from the Dollar Store and ‘labels’ printed using the online Avery program I created our list of main dishes.  (One day I will need to make a side dish and a dessert list also, but that is a project for the future.)

I started by using the Avery program and found that I could use the program to print on ‘labels’ (1×4 inches), but in my case I printed the main dishes on colored card stock  (white=chicken/turkey, blue=beef,  green= fish/seafood,  yellow = pork, orange = non-meat, pink=crock pot soup, and red = have not tried yet)

So, I collected the recipes I could think of and started adding the titles (with cookbook name and page, etc) to the colored card stock.  I was surprised to see we had about 40 main dishes.  Next, I cut the main dishes into strips and put them into the (mostly matching) colored envelopes I got from the Dollar Store.

The bargain I got from Michael’s was a Metal board with a giant ‘E’ on it for 50 cents (90% off).  I was not sure what I would do with the ‘E’, but I could see it would easily peel off and the board was decoratively painted.

The metal organizer holds the colored envelopes with the unused dishes (with the meat type written on the envelope), a colored envelope that contains the used main dishes (I am writing the Month/week number of the back as we use a main dish) and a colored envelope that contains blank strips so I can add dishes as we think of them.

The magnetic Days of the Week and the main dish strips are hung on the metal board.  If something comes up then I change out/remove that day’s main dish.

So, that is our Menu Planning setup.  It has helped us eat different meals and so far we have not repeated many meals.

If you make something similar I would love to hear about/see it.

Later – H

Pepper (Golden Retriever) indoor bed

I was looking at a Pinterest idea (which was a link for a Simplicity pattern) to make a ‘tie’ fleece dog bed.  I bought a piece of fleece on sale at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts with the plan to make a bed that tied all the way around.  Then I realized I had two old pillows in the garage (which would work as the stuffing if I sewed them together) and if I folded the material in half I would only have to tie three sides of the bed.  So, Pepper has a fleece bed that was easy to make, used some items I already had around the house and can be washed (I can untie the material, take it apart and wash it).   Actually, Pepper likes to pull on the ties so some of them are already untied 🙂  Also, Pepper likes to play with the bed (go under it, etc) so I am glad I didn’t buy her an expensive bed.  This one cost me under $10.00 to make and less than an hour of time.  Not bad.

Later – H

Apple and Craisin(R) Crisp (can be gluten-free)

Northern Nevada had the ‘perfect’ weather for growing apples (including our dwarf tree), berries (plenty frozen in the freezer) and pears (not us, but a friend gave me two big bags which are now cooked and frozen as pear sauce waiting for me to can them).

So, I have been looking for apple recipes and making apple items.  So far I have made Crock pot Applesauce with cinnamon (thickened at the end with arrowroot) and an Apple and Craisins® Crisp.  I realized that I rarely make a recipe the way I find it (tweak it for Gluten-free flour or in this case I combined/made up my own recipe).  So, if you like apple crisp and happen to have some Craisins in the house you might want to try it (with regular or gluten-free flour).  Leave a reply and let me know what you think!

Apple and Craisins® Crisp   (made a 9×13 pan)


8 cups cut up apples (and rinsed afterwards)

½ cup white sugar (** our apples are tart so I started out with more sugar than if the apples were sweet)

1 cup Craisins® (dried cranberries with sugar)

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice


1 cup rolled oats  (gluten-free or regular)

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup flour (gluten-free or regular)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup butter or margarine (I used the Smart Balance that states it is good for cooking)

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix apples, sugar, Craisins and Lemon Juice together and put into pan.  Combine oats, sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the optional chopped nuts.  Spread topping over the filling.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden.

Enjoy! – H