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Healthy Eating/ HOME/ Homemaking/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

How To Use Pinterest When Making A Menu Plan


Do you find yourself pinning a bunch of great looking recipes on Pinterest, but then never get around to actually making them? Do you want an easy way to streamline menu planning each week? Then this post is for you.

I don’t know about you, but the weeks that I actually take some time to make a menu plan go so smoothly compared to when I don’t.  It is a great feeling to know exactly what foods I plan on making each week, and it saves so much money in the long run, as it keeps me from quick grabbing food on the go or running to the grocery store several times a week.  When I know the recipes I am going to make, and make a grocery list to make sure I have the groceries on hand, then making meals actually becomes an enjoyable process!

Pinterest is a GREAT way to not only find great recipes, but to simplify the menu planning process.

Most of the recipes I use are either on my blog or on Pinterest, and I am always wanting to try at least one or two new recipes a week.  Using Pinterest for menu planning helps me to easily find and gather recipes from both sources.

I simply made a board titled Recipes To Make This Week. This is where I will gather ONLY the recipes that I plan on making that week.  I then go search my own New Nostalgia board and New Nostalgia Food board.  This is like my own personal recipe box.  My blog is full of recipes that I love and use often, so it makes sense for me to pull from there first.  I then go to my Recipes: Menu Plan board.  This board is where I pin recipes that I am craving, or recipes I find that look so good that I want to make them ASAP.  The last place I search for fun recipes is among all my other Recipe boards, that are sorted alphabetically according to food/cuisine type.


How To Use Pinterest When Making A Menu Plan

  1. Make a board titled Recipes: To Make This Week
  2. Make a board titled Recipes: Menu Plan
  3. Gather pins from New Nostalgia board and New Nostalgia food boards. (a shameless plug!)
  4. Gather pins from your general recipes boards…or come visit mine.
  5. Put ‘must make soon’ type recipes in your Menu Plan board
  6. Put ONLY recipes you are committing to make for the week in your Recipes: To Make This Week board.

Once I have all of my recipes for the week gathered on my Recipes To Make This Week board, I then make a grocery list by clicking on each one and making sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.  If I don’t have it, it goes right on my grocery list.


I use the Reminders list app on my iPhone, I type the list, then go check my cupboards, speaking to Siri to add anything I am missing.  I also use Siri if I am out and about and remember something I need to add to my list…this is especially helpful when I’m in the car! I simply say “Reminders Grocery List” and she will then ask me what to add to that specific list, I answer, and she adds it for me.

It saves paper and I can access it on my laptop and on my phone.  I usually do this while at home on my computer, but the beautiful thing about this is I can do it all on my phone while sitting in my car waiting for my kids! I can access all my Pinterest boards, and gather ingredients I need on my Reminders app. It is such a timesaver.

I do not get so detailed as to assign each day of the week its own meal and recipes.  I just gather a few  meals, snacks, & breakfasts, enough to get us through the week. My mood can change each day as to what I feel like eating, so I try to just have a handful of recipes that make pretty balanced week. To do this, I am purposeful to keep in mind a variety of meals.

I talk about having general recipe dinner categories during the week (fish, pasta, chicken, breakfast for dinner, meatless, one grass-fed ground beef recipe, etc) in this post if you would like to read more on that subject.


What about you? Do you use Pinterest to menu plan? Do you have a method that works well for you? Was this post helpful?


Healthy Eating/ HOME/ How-Tos/ Organizing/ RECIPES

A Peek Inside Our Refrigerator & Using Mason Jars To Make It Pretty & Organized

glass bowls and mason jars holding fruit and vegetables inside a refrigerator

I posted this picture on New Nostalgia’s Facebook & Instagram, and it got quite a bit of attention! Who knew that an organized refrigerator using mason jars would be so interesting?!  promised a post that talked more about the picture and instead of ONE post, I will be writing TWO!

In this first post, I will talk about: 

1. How a pretty & organized refrigerator helps keep waste to a minimal
2. How I keep the refrigerator looking this way on a weekly basis
3. How glass is the key, so you can SEE!
4. How Mason jars are a great alternative to plastic
5. How I cut my veggies for successful consumption
6. How jars keep fruits and veggies fresher, longer
7. How jars keep my kids munching on veggies

In the second post  I will share:
A. What else is in the refrigerator that you may not be able to see.
B. What we eat. How foods in the pantry and freezer are key to creating well-rounded meals.
C. How only buying what you need for the week is key to an organized refrigerator.
D. Meals we ate that week
E. Snacks we ate that week
F. Lunches we ate that week
G. Breakfasts we ate that week
glass bowls and mason jars holding fruit and vegetables inside a refrigerator

So, on to points 1-7:

1. First, this is a new goal of mine…to have a pretty & organized refrigerator.  It has been well worth the extra thought and effort. Since I started using glass bowls and mason jars, it has been so much easier to see what is in there & find what we need.  We do not waste food like we used to, and I don’t buy things that I already have! Most importantly, I know my family is eating nourishing plant foods!

2. I have been trying to do my grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday.  Even before I leave to grocery shop, I do a quick clean out of our refrigerator, taking note of what we have and what we need.  This way the refrigerator gets cleaned out once a week and never gets too bad.  It really only takes minutes, and is so well worth it!  It also only takes minutes to take fruit out of their bags once you get back from the store and put them into bowls.  The kids can do this for you!  Yes, slicing veggies and putting them in the jars takes more time, but not as much as you would think.

3. The glass bowls you see in there stay in there.  Most weeks they contain the same fruit, but the mango bowl sometimes has grapefruit instead.  The apple bowl sometimes has pears instead.  It all depends on the seasons, and what is on sale.  Glass is the key.  It allows the fruit to look like the art that it is and be on display!  I find what is on display gets eaten, so it works well.

4. Mason jars are a long time favorite of mine.  We do not have any disposable plastic storage containers, and my goal is to use all glass for food storage. I have a cabinet shelf that holds all 3 sizes of mason jars, and I keep their lids and rims all in a big bowl in a place that is easy to grab and reach.  We use them for dry food storage too, so I have quite a few of them.  They are so much better than stained plastic, and I love that they can go straight from the refrigerator to freezer, and from the freezer to the microwave (lid removed) to defrost if needed. The small 4oz jars are great for single servings of soup or chili.

Organized refrigerator

5. As you can see in the picture, I chop most of the veggies up ahead of time, at the beginning of the week. I am known for taking my big bamboo cutting board and sitting on the floor in front of the TV to do my chopping.  Oh yes!  The floor!! My cutting board is big enough to keep all food on it, so it works for me!  Most weeks I get to this.

If it is an extra busy week, I still make sure to take fruits out of their bags and display in bowls. Then the next time I make a salad (we eat them daily),  I take an extra few minutes to slice the veggies we use on the salad to store in the jars.  I use a mandolin for cucumbers, peppers, and carrots. It is one of my most used kitchen tools. It makes great thin slices for topping salads.

I also like to have carrot sticks and red pepper sticks to dip in hummus or put into lunch boxes, so I will save some to cut into sticks and put in a separate jar.  If I buy a bunch of onions, I will use my food processor to cut them into a dice size, store them in 1 cup jars, keep one out for the week to use in recipes and freeze the rest.  There are certain veggies I do not slice up.  These are usually ones I am planning on using in recipes, like squash.  I buy bags of broccoli already cut up into florets, and keep them in the bag, but if you buy it whole, mason jars are great for storing these, too.

6. I have been very surprised at how long our veggies stay fresh in mason jars. Even up to a week they do not get slimy. I do sometimes add a splash of water to sit at the bottom of the jars if the veggies start looking dried out at all. I will give it a little shimmy shake after adding the water, and they are good to go all week.

7. There is nothing better than finding an empty jar and knowing one of my girls were busy munching on cucumbers or carrot sticks.  Oh, how that makes this Mama happy! Now, the key to my girls munching on vegetables is not having a bunch of junk food snacks sitting around.

If healthy vegetables, fruits, and snacks are all you have in the house, they will eventually eat them. But if you have cakes, cookies and cupcakes, they will be much less likely to grab plant food snacks.

Make sure you look at part 2.
Do you have any tips for me?
What thoughts did this post spur on in your head?
I would love to know if you care to share!
GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

6 Vegan Recipes I Want To Make This Week

6 vegan recipes for this week

My local health food store makes a recipe similar to this that I love. The apple and curry go together so well, surprisingly!  Eager to see how this tastes.  

2. Snicker Doodle Blondies @ Chocolate Covered Katie

Vegan Snickerdoodle Blondies! Gooey, cinnamon-y, and made healthy by adding 1 1/2 cups of beans!
3. Superfood Bliss Bowl @ Healthy Happy Life
I’m intrigued by this recipe.  The cacao cream sounds delicious and the brown rice would make it a very filling after school snack for my girls.
I have a can of pumpkin I need to use and I have not made these in awhile. They are moist and delish.
5. Spicy Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos @ Tali’s Tomatoes
Another item I frequently buy at my local health food deli. I love the combo of black beans and sweet potatoes. Time to save money and make my own!

6. Lowfat Vegan Nacho “Cheese” @ Happy Herbivore

She calls it the best nacho cheese on the planet. It is made creamy by pureeing cashews.  We shall see!
I know my kids will eat #2, #3 (minus the nuts) #4 & #6.  
Keeping my fingers crossed with #1 & #5.  
Pinterest vegan recipe board
I found all of these recipes on my Vegan Pinterest Board.  Click here to see more!

Recipes I Want To Make This Week

{Chicken Gyros @ Annie’s Eats}
 The picture looks great, but to hear her talk about how much she loves the recipe sold me.
{Baked Hasselback Potatoes @ Chico’s Kitchen}
Just because plain ol’ baked potatoes get boring.
{Lasagna Cupcakes @ Framed Cooks}
These are so cute!  I would love to have a bunch stuck in my freezer to pull out for lunch or a quick snack.  Wonton wrappers in place of noodles = brilliant!
{Chocolate Fig Freezer Fudge @ The Chocolate Fig}
I don’t like figs, but her explanation of these made my mouth water so I’m gonna try it!
{Lemon Chicken Breasts @ The Sequined Lobster}
I started making this last week, but when I went to open my bottle of white wine, the spout broke and glass dropped into the wine.  Note to self…do not ever buy cheap wine bottle opener!  We had Toad In A Hole for dinner that night instead..:)  I will try again this week.
{Lentil Soup @ Mission B Fit}
This recipe is very similar to my French Lentil Soup.  Mine uses carrots, celery and balsamic vinegar.
I like the simplicity of hers, can’t wait to try it.  
{Banana Cookies @ Mission B Fit}
These are easy and nutritious, I think my kids will devour them!
HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Simplifying

Menu Planning For The Whole Family

Not being a natural cook, I have to stay organized or most of our meals would consist of frozen corn dogs and ‘Nilla Wafers. By teaching myself to make a plan, make a list and write it all down I do much better in the dinner department.

Having several kids that are old enough to cook, you can bet I get them in on the work. I assigned them each a morning to make breakfast and night to cook dinner and they decide what they want to prepare. On Sunday they each give me a list of what they need for their meals. I have veto power, of course. Sometimes I change their plan, especially when their meal includes ingredients that cost more than our monthly budget.

Once I have their list, I figure out what we need for the rest of the week and head to the store. I do NOT let myself buy anything that is not on my list. Just making that rule for myself has saved me a lot of money, especially considering my weakness for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. If they are not on the list then I can’t buy them (Sometimes I put them on the list; I’m not a martyr).

Once I get home with the groceries, I write out the menu while the kids put everything away. I found a magnetic calendar that I keep on the fridge with the menu for the week. The one I use is not available anymore, but there are several on Amazon that would work just the same, or you can simply use paper. I write the whole week of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, on the board.

With the menu on the fridge and the ingredients in the pantry, we all know what to expect. Anyone can look at the list to see what we are having any given meal. Another benefit, if Mommy sleeps late or is busy reading blogs the kids can just look at the menu and make their own breakfast….not that I would ever do that, but you know….other people might have that problem.

This simple system has saved me time, money and the headache of stopping at 5:00 and trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Each morning I look at the list and do the dinner prep in advance. If there’s soup for dinner, I can chop the onions during the day. I can toss bread in the bread machine or mix up the dry ingredients for cornbread any time.

I have a few helpers (besides my children) that keep the work load light. My rice steamer is a lifesaver. I can toss brown rice in the steamer in the morning and it stays hot until we eat it that night. My bread machine makes whole wheat bread, which is helpful when I haven’t had time to bake. I love my blender wand for making soups. If you could only start with one of these…I’d say get a steamer. You can get one at Target for less than $30 and it will change your life.

To sum up: meal plan (let the kids plan one meal), list, shopping, menu on the fridge. So, so, so easy. If I can make it work, believe me….anyone can!

Thank You, Lisa! 
 I love how you get your kids involved.  I was just thinking this week about how old my girls are getting and how important it is that I teach them how to cook!  I think the best way is to have them do it themselves on a regular basis, your post confirmed my thoughts.  

For More of Lisa please visit her blog, The Pennington Point.  You won’t regret it.  I especially love her home decor, she is bold but tasteful, and so homey.  Isn’t that piano to die for?  Yes, she is bold enough to paint her piano blue, and I LOVE IT!

THE PENNINGTON POINT–The experiences of mothering a large family on a budget, keeping a lovely home and training children Biblically
Lisa’s Etsy Shop— Personalized with a fresh perspective

FUN/DIY/ Healthy Eating/ HOME/ Homemaking/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Simplifying

My “Laid Back Method’ To Making Simple Meal Plans

One of my favorite things to do is to go to the library and look in the “new release” section for interesting cookbooks.  There always seems to be one that catches my eye, (this week it is Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce, great cookbook!) and it keeps me up to date with what is happening with food.

Ever since I was little, I love to sit with a cookbook and read it like a regular book, starting at the front and working my way to the back.  I remember when I was about 10 years old being so excited to find Amy Vanderbilt’s cookbook at a garage sale for ten cents.  I bought it and devoured the insanely thick book from front to back!  When I was 11, I made an entire Thanksgiving meal with very little help.  I loved cooking!
 I think I got my love of cooking from both of my grandma’s.  I remember my Grandma Thelma having us over and making us little snacks, commenting on why they were good for us.  I remember her telling me why whole wheat bread was better than white– she knew back then what Doc Oz is trying to tell us now!!:)  She always had something on hand to feed us, and to this day, even if our visit is unannounced, she loves on us with some sort of bite to eat.  She makes the world’s best sunny- side- up egg and toast!  Love her..
My Grandma Marian, who is in heaven now, was also known for her love of cooking.  She had a strawberry patch in her back yard, and was the first to introduce me the amazing freshness of homemade strawberry jam.  I remember watching her grate a potato when I was young, and making us the best potato cakes for breakfast. On Valentines day, she would send homemade candies in the mail to us, all the way from Michigan to Nebraska.  A box delivered in the mail, full of homemade goodies from grandma, was one of my most favorite childhood memories.  Under all the newspaper stuffing were tiny little chocolate peanut butter cups, wrapped with such love and care.  Now that I’m old enough to know the work that was involved, I would so love to tell her how much that meant to me as a child.

The Start Of A Plan…

Back to cookbooks and meal plans… what I have been doing lately is while reading a cookbook, I keep some post its and a pen handy.  When I come upon a recipe that sounds appealing, I write the name of the book at the top of the post it, *and list the recipe title along with the page number.  I keep the post it (or two) stuck to the front of the library book. Then, on the day I am going grocery shopping, I find the book, look at the post it, and pick a few chosen recipes to make for the week. I look at each recipe to jot down what groceries I need to buy, which is the start of my grocery list.
When I make a recipe and decide it is a keeper, then it goes on this blog.  My recipe tab on this blog is slowly becoming something that I have always wanted, — recipes that I use regularly, organized and easy to find.  If it is a week that I don’t have a new cookbook to inspire me, or time to browse the web for new recipes, I just click on my recipe tab and use my tried and true recipes here on the blog.
*I use the same method while reading magazines.

Things I consider when meal planning:

I usually only plan for 4 meals a week.  We have Bible Club on Tuesday evenings where we are served dinner,  and on a couple Saturday nights a month we have a bunch of young men here at the house for a “video game club,” so we order pizza to feed everyone.  On Friday nights we have Family movie night and order Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwiches–5 for $5.95, baby!  We have spaghetti with this sauce at least once a week, because it is so simple and everyone loves it. So really, that only leaves about 3 meals that I have to plan for.  I try hard to make healthy meals on those evenings, especially when we are eating fast food (pizza and Arby’s) on the weekends!
We keep it simple.  Oatmeal, whole wheat bagels, cereal, toast, eggs, and whole grain pancakes are our usual choices throughout the week.

I choose a soup recipe (one of his favorites) and make a big batch at the beginning of the week, to put into mason jars, (use 1/2 pint mason jars to freeze in individual portions) for my husbands work lunch.  I pack my girls lunch all though the school year, again keeping it simple.  Usually a sandwich, vegetable, fruit and crackers.  Sometimes they will get hot soup or noodles in a thermos if I’m extra motivated!
I usually find some great snack ideas when reading through my cookbooks, so I refer to the post its!  I talk about some healthy snack ideas in this post.
Use What I Have On Hand-
Before sitting down to write weekly meal list and grocery list, I do a quick check of my pantry and freezer/refrigerator.  I take a mental note of what we have on hand and do my best to plan meals around those items.
I usually do not assign meals to different days of the week.  Instead, I have a list of meals that I keep on the refrigerator for the week, that I’ve bought groceries for.  I am too fickle with food to assign an exact day.  I have to see what “mood” I am in that day as far as what I want to cook and what sounds most appealing from the list.  Because of this fickleness, I don’t think I will ever be one who has super organized & printed calenders on the refrigerator, with assigned meals for each day of the month, but I’m at peace with that.  I make a grocery list every week, go to the grocery store once a week, and have at least 4-5 meals planned for the week.  Simple, laid back, and good enough.
This post is linked to:
Tip Junkie
The Trendy Treehouse
We Are That Family