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Mandi Ehman
Mandi Ehman is Plan to Eat's official spokesperson and unoffical fan! As a work-at-home mom of four little girls five years old and under -- and an admitted kitchen dunce -- she uses Plan to Eat to simplify and take the stress out of meal planning. For more organizing, decluttering, home management and productivity tips, visit Mandi at Organizing Your
Recent Activity
Photo by Lauren Mitchell Going green means different things to different people. To me, it's the intersection between eco-friendly, frugal and simple living, where there's less waste and more appreciation for the simple things in life. Some aspects of "going green" can feel complicated and overwhelming, like learning about natural and herbal remedies, but today I'm going to share 5 ways to go green in your kitchen without a lot of effort: Eliminate Paper Products Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, rags instead of paper towels, traditional dishes instead of paper and so on. By eliminating disposable paper products,... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2011 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Although I'm trying, I've never really enjoyed cooking (although I do enjoy baking!), so most of the meals I prepare have as few ingredients as possible without (hopefully) sacrificing taste or nutrition. These easy homemade meatball sliders are one of our newest favorites. They're simple, can be on the table fairly quickly and they taste great! If you have a Plan to Eat account, click on the recipe title below to import the recipe right into your account. Easy Homemade Meatball Sliders Ingredients 1 pound lean ground beef 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1 tablespoon grated... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2011 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Last week, Andrea shared some of her favorite Simple Kitchen Quick Tips. Today, I wanted to add to her list with a few of my own! Prepare Produce at the Beginning of the Week: We eat a lot of fresh produce, topping our cereal with strawberries, serving dishes of pineapple with dinner, snacking on carrot and cucumber sticks, etc. Because life can get busy and hectic as the week wears on, I prepare as much as I can at the beginning of the week rather than waiting until it's time to eat! Start with Dry Ingredients: To cut down on... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2011 at The Plan to Eat Blog
I probably look like a crazy woman when I head to our local grocery store and load up my cart with bags of "overripe" bananas, but because they're so versatile, I usually buy as many as the store has available. The funny thing about "overripe" bananas is that they're really not overripe at all! In fact, bananas aren't fully ripe until they begin to develop brown spots, but of course most people prefer to buy bright yellow, unblemished bananas, so grocery stores sell the older ones at a steep discount. So what do we do with all of those bananas?... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2011 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Photo by Meaghan O'Malley With growing concern about the safety of conventionally grown fruits and veggies -- and the relatively exorbitant prices of organic produce -- properly washing produce is an important part of reducing exposure to pesticides, especially for children. The Environmental Working Group recommends buying the organic variety of the fruits and vegetables on the "dirty dozen" list, but when you don't buy organic, be sure to use produce wash to remove excess chemicals! Dr. Oz recommends this homemade recipe for produce wash: 1 cup water 1 cup white vinegar 1 tablespoon baking soda 1/2 lemon Mix in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2011 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Although I am doing some reading lessons with my 6.5 year old, I follow her lead and often back off for weeks at a time if she shows any frustration. We actually just sat down and read a short story in a reader together right before I read this, and I was amazed -- again -- at how much better she reads after one of our breaks. I'm not sure I'll ever be an unschooler (like most things, I'm too much of an unschooler for about half of my friends and too rigid for the other half...), it always inspires me to see how much my children learn when they are left to discover it on their own!
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2011 on Unschooling: Learning to Read. at Clean.
It's only been recently that I've started actually enjoying cooking or baking with our kids (now that the oldest two are 6 and 4.5 rather than toddlers!), but it's something I've always done from time-to-time, and these easy english muffin pizzas are one of our favorites: Simple enough even for preschoolers! Do you enjoy cooking with your kids? What is your favorite recipe to make with kids? Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Life's been a bit busy lately, with the new school year & the launch of my new site, and I've been looking for easy meals that don't make me feel like I'm letting my family down. Here are my two favorite 3-ingredient pasta dishes that are satisfying AND delicious, especially when paired with garlic bread and/or a salad: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce 1 lb. ground beef 16-oz. box of pasta 28-oz. jar of pasta sauce Brown ground beef in a skillet. Bring pot of water to a boil. Cook & drain noodles. Drain ground beef and add jar of pasta... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Recently, I shared a printable on Life...Your Way to help my readers keep track of the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen" when purchasing produce. These lists, updated each year by the Environmental Working Group, reflect the dirty produce that is so tainted with pesticides that you should only purchase the organic varieties and the "clean" ones that you can feel okay about buying conventionally. Of course, there's still a whole bunch of fruits and veggies that's not included on either list, but it's a start, right? Because I can never remember which is which while I'm at the store (especially... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
A couple of weeks ago, I told you how the improved Friends feature makes it incredibly easy to share recipes with friends and family so that you always have a queue of new recipes to try! As if that wasn't enough reason to share Plan to Eat with everyone you know, they also recently increased referral fees, which means you can earn even more when you refer friends and family to the program. Commissions payments are $1 for a $4.95/mo. referral subscription and $8 for a $39/yr. referral subscription. Here's how it works: Any time you share your recipes with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Although I'm really not a great cook -- despite my best efforts and the fact that I cook almost every day for my family! -- I've always loved cookbooks almost as much as I love kitchen gadgets. These days, browsing food blogs has replaced flipping through colorful cookbooks, but letting go of the dozens of cookbooks that used to line my shelves was not an easy decision for me to make. In the end, though, with picky eaters in the house and the computer readily available, I found myself turning to my cookbooks less and less anyway and ultimately decided... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Photo by Shaina @ Food for My Family Summer's almost over, and I'm looking forward to fall and all the goodness it brings with it -- crisp apples fresh from the orchard, fresh apple cider, pumpkin anything and a variety of winter squashes. I know summer is generally consider the grilling season, but I think it's too hot to be standing over a hot grill when it's hot and humid out, so we're also looking forward to using ours more as the weather cools down. With that in mind, I'm drooling over some of these grill recipes today as I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
One of the features of Plan to Eat that has the most potential to change the way my family eats is the Friend feature, which allows users to share recipes with friends and family who also use Plan to Eat. I've discovered all kinds of fun recipes this way that I probably would have never thought to look for otherwise. The original feature took kind of an all-or-nothing approach to sharing recipes, but the latest update takes this ability to a whole new level. Now, you can scroll through your friends' Recipe Books and choose to Save their recipes to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Ask any frugal family, and chances are that beans and/or rice make a regular appearance on their menu. For some people, just the phrase "beans and rice" makes them cringe, but there are so many delicious recipes that can be made with beans, which are high in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, folate and iron -- making them super healthy as well as inexpensive! Most people start with canned beans, but Stephanie for Keeper of the Home shares step-by-step instructions for cooking with dried beans. Substitute whichever your most comfortable with in any of the recipes below: Mediterranean Bean Salad or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
I think I wish I hadn't just read this post (in my quest to read my favorite blogs BEFORE I declare feed reader bankruptcy!), because 5.5-6 has been killer for us, I also have always said that 3 is the hardest age there is, and I will also have a 6 and 3 year old at the same time in just a few short weeks. I'm a little afraid to read the rest of the comments... LOL!
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Can I tell you a secret? I’m a terrible cook. I’m getting better the more I practice, but the truth is that I over think everything and have no gut instincts when I’m cooking, and I have this uncanny ability to ruin any meal. Kind of pathetic. But what makes it even more pathetic is my love for all things kitchen. I’ve been asking for small appliances for my birthday and Christmas since I was 16. Smoothie makers, toaster ovens, quesadilla makers, waffle irons, dehydrators, pressure cookers, pizelle makers, panini presses, crockpots, latte makers – really, I could go on.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Quinoa is quickly gaining popularity as a superfood. Not only is it high in protein (and a complete protein to boot), it's also high in fiber, gluten free and easy to digest! I've mentioned before that I'm somewhat of a kitchen dunce, which makes me hesitant to try new things, but I've been bookmarking quinoa recipes as I look for ways to incorporate it into our diet. You'll notice something about all of these recipes -- they each contain a relatively few number of ingredients. Because I'm not the best cook (and because I'm married to a picky eater!), these... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Keeping a well-stocked pantry is a valuable tool, along with menu planning, for ensuring that your family has healthy food available even when you're not able to get to the store. Everyone's list of pantry staples will look different (for example, you won't find olives on mine!), so don't feel like you should buy certain things just because they appear on pantry lists like this one if you know you won't use it. On the other side of that, if you're just starting your journey to healthy eating (and I'm nowhere near the end of mine!) -- eliminating processed foods... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Wait...supper? Yep, that's right! For all of us who use Plan to Eat for planning every meal, there are now sections on your meal planner for each. The system sorts the sections alphabetically, so to keep them in order, supper was a better choice than dinner. The meal planner still works like it always has -- just drag and drop recipes from the left sidebar onto your calendar. The only difference is now you'll drag them into the section you want it in rather than just to the date. If you don't want the sections to show, simply click on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Do you have too many gadgets and tools cluttering up your kitchen? The answer to that question is obviously subjective, but you might if you... Have to dig through a drawer of tools to find the one you need Have to store gadgets and appliances in hard-to-reach places Have many items that you haven't used in 6-12 months (or longer!) Kitchen gadgets are appealing because they promise to make our lives easier by simplifying this task or that one, but having too many leads to a cluttered, unorganized kitchen, which really just complicates cooking and cleaning up. If you've noticed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Have you made homemade ice cream before? I'll admit that I haven't, but I've seen quite a few homemade ice cream recipes lately that make me want to run right out and get an ice cream maker! If you're looking a fun, healthy and delicious dessert this summer, here are 10 ice cream recipes that make my mouth water: 1. Homemade Ice a Bag All the fun of homemade ice cream without special equipment or extra work, you can make ice cream in just a couple of minutes with this simple and easy recipe for ice cream in a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Kait recently left a comment on an older post with her new monthly planning system. It's such a great idea that I wanted to be sure everybody else had a chance to read it as well: I just came up with something that totally changes the game for my meal planning! I have a full-time job, so planning is essential for me, otherwise...hello $5 hot'n ready from Little Caesar's. I like to shop once a month for all non-perishable stuff and then once weekly at the farmer's market for fresh things. Today I created stores in Plan to Eat and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Changing your diet from processed, unhealthy foods to fresh, healthy ones doesn't come easily for most people. It takes time and effort -- to read and learn, to prepare, to create new habits -- and it often involves two steps forward and one step back. As we go through this journey in our own home, I've learned that the key to making lasting changes is to make them one at a time rather than trying to change everything at once. We've started with some little changes -- whole wheat flour instead of white, made-from-scratch dinners and fruits & veggies for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
There are a few different approaches to planning your menu. I thought I'd share my method first, and I'd love to hear how your method differs! First, I write down all of our commitments for the week that affect the meals that we'll be eating at home, taking with us on the road or eating out. Next, I begin filling in the breakfasts, lunches and dinners that are staples in our home: peanut butter & jelly, cereal, homemade pizza, etc. Once these are filled in, I begin adding additional meals to the plan. Our family has a heavy preference for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog
Garlic is often touted as a super food, with health benefits ranging from clearing up acne and lowering blood pressure to slowing cancer growth and curing the common cold. It's said to be: antibacterial antiviral antifungal antimicrobial Most of us don't want to be eating a clove of garlic a day, and while there are supplements available, it's important to choose only high-quality supplements made from natural, living cloves of garlic, which comes at a price. Instead, look for ways to incorporate fresh garlic into your meals, especially recipes that allow you to add the garlic last, as overcooking it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2010 at The Plan to Eat Blog