Menu Plan for the Week ~ Lots of Apples and Dip

basket of apples

We are loving all the apples available to us right now!  We are now completely stocked with homemade applesauce for this winter, plus we’re eating a lot of apples for snacks and with meals.  One of our favorite ways to eat these apples is with Cream Cheese Fruit Dip.  If you haven’t tried this recipe yet – do it.  It’s amazing.  My kids think it’s kind of like dipping your apple in cheesecake.  :)

You’ll notice in my menu plan below that I am serving this dip twice today – once this morning for a college age Bible class Matt teaches at church; and again tonight for the teens who come to our home for Bible study and fellowship.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

Hope your week is full of blessing!  Here’s what our menu looks like:

Sunday, September 21
Easy breakfast casserole, apples with cream cheese fruit dip
Lamb roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy, peas
High school huddle – Pizza boats, tossed salad, apples with cream cheese fruit dip

Monday, September 22
Dark chocolate almond granola, grapes
Taco salad, fresh pineapple
Sloppy joes on cornbread muffins, peas, apples

Tuesday, September 23
Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, creamy orange cooler
Tuna salad on lettuce and tomatoes, strawberry ice cream, sweet peppers
Baked three cheese chicken pasta, tossed salad, green beans

Wednesday, September 24
Green machine milkshakes, honey cinnamon muffins, apples
Bacon, egg, and avocado salad, honey whole wheat toast
Chicken fried steak strips, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans

Thursday, September 25
Grape nuts cereal, blueberries
Taco quesadillas, raspberry lemon cream cups, carrot sticks, olives
Easy noodle stir-fry with broccoli, zucchini, and carrots

Friday, September 26
Pancake and sausage muffins, applesauce
Easy cheesy bean dip with chips, fresh pineapple, sweet peppers
Chicken nuggets and french fries, carrot sticks, grapes

Saturday, September 27
Bacon cheesy eggs, raspberries
Leftovers
Italian cream cheese chicken, tossed salad, asparagus

Be sure to download our free new Fall Menu Planners here.

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Planning Next Week’s Menu? Here’s Some Guidance, Plus Fun Free Printables!

I always spend time over the weekend planning our meals for the upcoming week.  I write down most of the specifics from main dish, to fruits and veggies.  But I almost never stick with the menu plan completely.  In fact, just last week there was a day I fed my family grapes even though I had planned to feed them blueberries.  I bet you didn’t know I had that kind of crazy in me.  Oh honey, you have no idea.

Once, I forgot to thaw chicken, so we had tuna.  I was going to make Fruit Pizza on Monday, but in fact, I didn’t make it happen until…wait for it….

Tuesday.

So hi.  Let’s all learn to have some sort of plan so we save money and time.  But unless serving Wednesday’s Pasta Salad Bar on Saturday totally messes with you, ditch the idea that you have to follow your menu plan perfectly.  It really is okay to pull out leftovers on Thursday if you don’t feel like making the planned Taco Corn Fritters.  I have done this and lived to tell about it.

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Are you hitting the restart button with us this fall?  If so, you might want to try your hand at planning some simple, real food menus.  You’ll find that it will help you stay on track with putting nourishing food on the table more often.

Want some ideas?

I post my menu plan every single week.  Look through all my menu planning archives here.

Want menu planning resources in your hands?

Grab our 40 Real Food Menu Plans Downloadable Packet here.  You might also like the mix and match approach of our 1-2-3 Menu Planning eBook.  (That one is actually still free if you subscribe to our daily newsletter.  I wasn’t planning to offer it for free this many weeks, but I haven’t had time to take it down, so hurry, grab it up!)

Additional articles you may find helpful:

Have ingredients you’re not sure how to use?

Use our handy “Search By Ingredient” Tool on the sidebar.  You type in the ingredients you want to use, our search box will pull up recipes from our site that might work for you.  It’s fun to see what comes up!

Be inspired with our new, free, downloadable Fall Menu Planners:

A piece of scratch paper, a document on the computer, a dry erase board – those all work just fine for writing down your menu plan.  But if you want something a little more cheerful and fun, we’re excited to offer you three new printable menu planners that are perfect for this fall!

Take as many as you want, or if you want to just print once and reuse?  Print a planner onto cardstock and laminate it.  You can attach a magnet, place it on your fridge, then use a dry erase marker so you can clean it off at the end of the week and use it again next week!

Click on the links or images below to download.

Download Fall Butterflies Menu Planner

Fall Menu Planner 1

 Download Good Eatin’ Fall Menu Planner

Fall Menu Planner 2

 Download Fun Fall Menu Planner

Fall Menu Planner 3

Do you typically plan your menus? What works best for you as you make plans?

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Pamper Yourself Naturally With Perfectly Posh ~ A Giveaway

We learned several years ago with our youngest son Malachi’s chronic skin condition that what we put on our skin goes directly into our body, which means we need to be very careful about what we put on our skin.  I’m not much into pampering products.  After all, usually they are full of chemicals I’d rather avoid putting on my skin.  But what about a fun product that can brag this:

posh 1

Well, now maybe I’ll listen.

Laura A., an independent consultant with Perfectly Posh sent me two of their most popular products to try out.  Taking time to relax and pamper myself?  Yes, that is a good thing.  My family appreciates it when I take care of myself.  ;)

Here’s what I got to try:

posh 2Best Face Forever (BFF) – Millions of microbeads scrub and gently exfoliate with a naturally cleansing blend of grapefruit and peppermint. Essential oils soothe and freshen. Gently enough for everyday use. BFF makes me feel like I am having a mini spa experience every day.

posh 3

Night and Day – Moisturize with lavender and glycerin plus natural olive oils.  It’s nourishment you need to have your skin be your best.  Smooth over your clean face morning and night.

These products left my face feeling clean and refreshed.  I like that there are fun products available we can feel good about.
You might also want to check into the Perfectly Posh business opportunity to see if this is a good match for you.  Maybe you just want to check out the products a little more.   And maybe, just maybe, you’d like to win a fun package with Best Face Forever and Night & Day like I got to try.
If so, leave a comment on this post!  I’ll draw a random winner on Monday, September 22.  Be watching for a post stating the winner as you will be responsible for contacting me if your name is chosen.
 
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10 Easy Real Food Meals for Less Than $1 Per Plate

You’re excited to hit the restart button this fall.  You’re making healthy changes in your kitchen and you’re likely finding the sticker shock to be a bit painful.  (By the way, what is up with the price of butter lately?)

I feel ya.  Healthy food costs more than processed “food.”  That’s because real food is…real.  It’s whole and it’s good, and it is the result of hard work and careful practices.  (Go farmers!)  Chemicals and fillers in processed foods are cheap to make in factories.  You get what you pay for.  But ugh, must feeding our families eat up (literally) so much of the pay check?

Always remember that the food you buy is an investment in good health.  It helps to keep this in mind when you’re tempted to save money by filling your cart with cheap processed foods that won’t nourish.

Be encouraged!  There are so many great meals you can make that are real, completely nourishing, and still very inexpensive.  Phew!  You’re not going to go broke.  You just have to learn a few tricks to making this work.

I’m here to help.  I am feeding teenage boys, after all.  I really would go broke if I didn’t work to keep our real food costs down.  After all, some of the darling children can eat half a casserole each.  (And you wonder why I have so much Pyrex.)

Here are ten real food meals that cost less than $1.00 per person.  Not only are they super inexpensive, these are some of our favorite meals.  Score!!!

10 Easy Real Food Meals for Less Than $1 Per Plate

Sure, several of my boys eat 3-4 plates full of these meals.  But that’s still only $3-$4 for each of them.  I’ll take it.

10 Easy Real Food Meals for Less Than $1 Per Plate

What are your favorite, inexpensive real food meals?  Share your best tips for saving money while eating real food!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake ~ Share Your Story

Stories of how you are using the recipes you find here have been coming in rapidly, making my day every time I get one!  Do you have a story to share? Take a picture or two, then email me with the details of how you use your favorite Heavenly Homemaker recipe. Share your story!

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

Shaela sent in this one, which included none other than old episodes of our boys’ Cake Boys videos (a spin-off of the TV show, Cake Boss).  Our boys were a few inches shorter and a few shoe sizes smaller when they made these.  :)  They’ve moved on to other types of videos now, but if you haven’t watched the Cake Boys series, you may want to - just for fun!

Here’s what Shaela wrote:

Our kids love to watch Cake Boys episodes and I about die of laughter watching your boys’ commercials on the episodes (Asa’s elbow guard was hilarious). We decided to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake today and watch Cake Boys. I loved that the cake was done in the Crock Pot since it’s 95 degrees here in Colorado today. Thank you for sharing those Cake Boys videos, we enjoy them and your recipes.

Here are the pictures of her family making the cake together.  Love, love love!

cake boys story 1

cake boys story 2

cake boys story 3

Thank you, Shaela.  You can imagine our Cake Boys got a big kick out of your story!

I think it goes without saying that you should now all go make a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake.  :)

Now your turn to share your story.  Email me!

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Nutrimill and MadeOn Giveaway Winners, Plus a GREAT Deal on Organic Refined Coconut Oil

nutrimill 2

These are some awfully fun giveaway winners to announce.  Congrats, ladies!

Our MadeOn $25 Gift Certificate winner is:

Karen L: karenaleak@

Our Nutrimill winner from Paula’s Bread is:

Rachel Fisher: rachelgfisher@

Ladies, email me and I’ll forward your info on for your prizes!

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I just found a big ol’ 54 ounce tub of Nutiva Organic Refined Coconut Oil which you can get for just $20.79 with the 10% off coupon offered by Amazon.  (Free shipping if you have Amazon Prime.)  This makes the oil only $0.38 per ounce – a great price for organic coconut oil.  I’m most excited about this because it is flavorless and odorless.  It’s hard to find good deals sometimes on refined coconut oil that is actually still good for you.  (Some at the grocery store don’t contain much in the way of nutrition.  I like Nutiva brand.)

nutiva refined oil

I like using refined coconut oil in any recipe I don’t want a coconut flavor.  French fries, chicken nuggets, chicken fried steak – these are all great (and healthy!) with refined coconut oil.  This has a very long shelf life, although I find that I go through it pretty quickly. ;)  Snatch this up!

This post contains affiliate links.

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Taco Quesadillas ~ The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

taco quesadillas 2

Have you ever made quesadillas, let them cool, then put them into the fridge or freezer for another day?  You should do this.  They are perfect for your Make-Ahead Lunch Box.

Now you’re thinking, why would I do that?  Quesadillas are already my easy go-to meal to make on the fly.  How would it help to make them ahead of time?

Come closer.  I have something to tell you.  If you make quesadillas ahead of time, then they will already be made when you want to serve or eat them.  <— It has taken years of research, trial, and error to arrive at wise and knowledgeable comments such as these.

Okay fine.  I just figured it out last week.  It should have been obvious to me long ago, but I thought melty cheese should always be warm.  Yes, somehow I forgot cold pizza was a food group for some people.  Who knew cold quesadillas were also good?  And if you don’t want to eat them cold, but instead want them warm again, simply warm them up at serving time.  <—- Again, the brilliance of advice read here must continue to amaze you.

Now, the best part about a quesadilla is that you can fill them with whatever you like.  Cheese, obviously.  But what about varieties of meat and/or veggies?  Taco Quesadillas are my current favorite, dipped in a small bowl of fresh salsa.  I will tell you from experience that these taste great warm or cold.  Warm would be my top choice, but we threw a bunch of cold ones into a bag to take to a soccer game recently and they were delicious.  This means you can make these ahead of time and throw them in your lunch box for work or school.  Perfect!

Taco Quesadillas

Your favorite tortillas (we like my homemade whole wheat tortillas)
Shredded cheese (my fav is Colby jack or white cheddar)
Leftover cooked taco meat
Salsa

Place a tortilla in a skillet and top with shredded cheese and cooked meat.  Top with an additional tortilla.  (I do feel a little bit silly telling you how to make a quesadilla, as if you don’t know how to make a quesadilla.  But hey, if you didn’t know before, now you do.)  Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side until cheese has melted.

Watch to be sure tortillas don’t burn.  <—- Breaking out one more time with more never-heard-before, ground breaking advice.  You’re welcome.

Taco Quesadillas

I would love to hear how you like to fill your quesadillas and if you have ever tried eating them cold.  What are your favorite meats and veggies used to fill tortillas? 

Have any earth-shattering advice for us?  Here’s one more nugget of wisdom from me, completely unrelated to quesadillas:  When it is cold outside, you should wear a coat.  Now, your turn.

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Find all of our Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes and ideas here.

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Gratituesday: Filling the Pantry

gratituesday[2]

Gardening.  Canning.  Preserving.  Freezing.  Slicing.  It is so much work.

I really don’t have time for this.  But I also don’t have time not to do it.  So I make time, or somehow, as always, God provides the time.  The family pitches in to help, and eventually we get it all done.

The beauty of working so hard to get garden veggies and orchard fruit preserved in the summer and fall is that this winter it will all be convenience food for our family!  It will be super easy to pull these goodies out of the pantry or freezer and serve them quickly with our meals.  That’s why I make the time – that and because it saves us hundreds of dollars.  That’s pretty nice too.  :)

It’s been a few years since we canned any peaches.  We’ve only had enough to freeze some for smoothies.  This year, we got ourselves set for smoothies, and filled several jars to eat plain or with cottage cheese.  These peaches turned out so pretty!

gratituesday 9 15 2

We’ve made loads of applesauce.  What you see below is barely a sampling.  Thanks to cucumbers a friend passed along to us, we are all set with dill pickles and sweet pickle relish for the year.  I also made a few jars of salsa (my mom’s recipe).  Sometimes, I just open my pantry to stare at all the pretty jars full of food.  That alone makes the hard work all worth it.  :)

gratituesday 9 15 3

It was ironic that I was gawking at my jars of home-canned produce and taking pictures to share with you today.  Just as I was doing that, the UPS man showed up on our porch with part of our Amazon Subscribe and Save order.  FUN!!  (See many of the specifics here.)

gratituesday 9 15 1

I snapped a picture of the packaged food (and household items) too.  I thought it would be good to show you those along with my home-canned produce.  Yep, sometimes I rely on packaged cereal on busy mornings.  Sometimes we like chips for a treat.  It’s all about balance, right?

I just LOVE a full pantry, and thank God that he has provided so much (mostly) free produce to preserve.  I also thank Him for the great deals I find online that are delivered to my door.  How fun that I got to stare at so many household blessings for my family today.  Thank you, God for the bounty!

How about you?  What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?

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Whoa.  One more thing to be thankful for:

SO many people were trying to buy the Healthy Living Bundle yesterday afternoon (the last day) that the site crashed, preventing many from completing their purchase.  Boooo!  Because the site wasn’t working properly for several hours, the team has given you a few more hours today to complete your purchase.  That is so nice of them – the team has worked HARD this week, so for them to extend this is a true blessing.  You have until noon today, September 16.

I say we try to go crash the site again, what do you say?  The package is worth it – take advantage of these bonus hours!

bundle extended

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Today’s the Last Day. It’s Time For Laura to Start Acting Crazy and Giving Out Free Gifts.

This is only the beginning.

I might have gotten carried away last weekend.  And by “might” I mean “did.”  I got carried away.  What, you’re surprised?

See, here we are, on the final day of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle sale.  I think the package pretty much sells itself, because hello, it includes 80 resources for pennies each, plus 10 really nice bonus items to make your healthy living journey easier.  To be specific, you get a $95 essential oils eCourse for just 37¢, a $29 real food cleansing webinar for just 37¢, a $10 family fitness eBook for just 37¢ - do you really need me to keep going?  You can not miss this.

You have to at least check it out.  What do you have to lose?  Nothing, since there’s a one-year money back guarantee if you don’t completely love it.  I don’t want you to pass this up, then regret that you didn’t take advantage of this.  Tuesday is too late – you have to grab it now.  Here, I’ll make it easy:

For those of you who still need to be convinced of the value of this bundle, I will now answer, in selfie format, the five questions you must still be asking before you hit the buy now button.

1.  Laura, how excited were you when you first got your bundle?

Excited

Seriously.  It was like Christmas.  Only healthier.  And it was pretty much all for me, which seems a little selfish, but whatever, because it will bless everyone in my household.

2.  How will I possibly read that many eBooks?

So many ebooks!

C’mon now.  There may be 73 eBooks to read through, but they are yours forever, so let’s not get all ehhh, I’m so overwhelmed and all that.  You’ll keep them in a file on your computer.  You’ll access them as needed.  You’ll give away the ones you will never need.  It’s like having a library right at your computer, full of books that will encourage you in all the healthy ways you need as you hit the restart button this fall.

3.  The bonuses.  Are they legit?

Bonus Freebies

I’m telling you, as if the eBooks and eCourses weren’t rockin’ – the bonus items you can get means this package pays for itself and then some.  You’ll get a free gift from my very favorite MadeOn hard lotion store, free items for baby (great for gifts if you’re not in the baby stage), free herbal remedies from Tri-Light Health (I love these!), and so much more.  You’ll pay for the shipping on these items, but that’s minimal and so very worth it.  These are the best bonus items I’ve seen in any bundle we’ve offered, ever.  See the detailed list here.

4.  What exactly are you doing there, Laura?

Free Yoga Membership

Not only will you get to order bonus freebie items to be mailed to you, you’ll even get free memberships to places like StayAtHomeYoga.com and Tradishen.  Yoga exercises at home, in my own time, with my son’s friends making fun of me in the background?  Bring it on.  And yeah, I’m totally not doing that pose correctly.  I’m still getting it all figured out.

5.  Is the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle really as good as you say it is?

I am so serious

May this Healthy Living Bundle bless you as much as it has me, may you enjoy the benefits of better health, may you fall over with excitement when your bonus gifts come in the mail, and may you all take a selfie and send it to me right after you purchase the bundle.

Bundle Details Here. 

I’m serious.  Do it.  Buy the bundle, then take a selfie.  I want to see your face once you open the package.  I’ll even send you a free Heavenly Homemaker’s Guide to Holiday Hospitality eBook, just to reward your selfie taking and emailing efforts.  Already bought these resources through my site?  Your happy bundle selfies count too.  Here’s my email address.  Let the selfies fill my inbox.  The countdown is on…

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Menu Plan for the Week ~ And A Little Bit About Our Past Few Days

I hate to talk about the weather, but…

Is it cold at your house already?  It’s been unseasonably cold the past few days here in Nebraska.  Temps are supposed to creep up again, thankfully, but here it is mid-September and I’m already wearing wool socks.  It’s a little early for that, but I’m kind of a cold weather wimp.  ;)

We’re pulling in quite a bit from our garden since it’s been getting so cold at night.  We probably won’t be getting many more fresh tomatoes (sniff).  I chopped one up to go with a new recipe I found in the Healthy Living BundleTaco Dip.  It was super, super easy and really delicious – two favorite qualities in a recipe at my house.  Fresh pineapple (not from our garden, ha!) was a great side dish.  And of course, I served a mountain of quesadillas too.   We’re serious about our food.

taco dip

I’ve got a new Make-Ahead Lunch Box idea to share with you later this week.  Below is a sneak preview.  Simple and delicious.  Full details coming in a few days!

taco quesadillas 1

One of the cold days last week, you would have found me wearing my wool socks…and drinking an iced coffee.  Silly and counterproductive, I know.  But the iced coffee was delicious, making the shivering episode completely worth it.  I will say though, I stuck with hot coffee the rest of the week.  I’m not completely crazy (just mostly).

strawsome

See that cool glass straw in my iced coffee?  I had no idea how nice it would be to have one of those.  When I first saw Strawsome was offering a $15 gift certificate for free with your bundle purchase, I was like, “Really? Why would I want a glass straw that would most certainly be used as a weapon of some sort in my family of males, and would break within five minutes of being in my kitchen?”  I stand corrected.  This thing is so sturdy, I’m not worried a bit about it breaking.  I LOVE that my iced coffee (or smoothies) no longer taste like plastic straws.  I have yet to share this little prize with my boys.  I actually am not so worried anymore about them breaking it, but I’ve kind of been keeping it to myself because I got a cutesy one…just for me.  What can I say?

bundle 2014 freebies 1
You like how I took so much time and effort to carefully white out my mailing address?  I am so professional.  I just thought it would be fun to show you what my countertop looked like a few days after I ordered my bundle freebies.  What you see above all came in one day.  SO MUCH FUN.  I opened them slowly, then oohed and aahed over them loudly…while drinking hot tea.  So many treats. :)

Here’s a look at our menu this week:

Sunday, September 14
Apple Crisp, cheese
Cheeseburger soup, tossed salad
Huddle – Sliced ham, macaroni salad, carrots and cucumbers with ranch, grapes, chocolate chip cookies

Monday, September 15
Fruit pizza with strawberries and kiwi
BLT wraps, peaches
Cheesy beef and rice, tossed salad, green beans

Tuesday, September 16
Scrambled eggs with cheese, creamy orange cooler
Grilled cheese, homemade tomato soup, carrots, sweet peppers
Salmon patties, sweet potato fries, peas, pears

Wednesday, September 17
Cream cheese pumpkin muffins, apples
Pasta salad bar, watermelon
Italian pasta bake, tossed salad, okra, green beans

Thursday, September 18
Cinnamon apple toast, fried eggs
Taco corn fritters, sweet peppers, olives, applesauce
Potato soup, sausage, carrot sticks, pears

Friday, September 19
Crepes with blueberries
Spanish rice, corn, sweet peppers, olives, peaches
Homemade pizza, tossed salad

Saturday, September 20
Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, raspberries
Leftovers
One dish meat and potato casserole, tossed salad

Tell me a little about what you’ve done the past few days.  Hope you had a good week!

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