Freezer Meal Prep, Health and Wellness, Keto, Recipes/ How To, Uncategorized, Weekly Meal Planners

Keto Freezer Meal Prepping!!

So I follow a low carb/Keto diet and have lost 35 pounds (still have about 50 to go).  I also love freezer meal prep, you know, prepping your meals up ahead of time to make dinner time a snap! I have compiled a list here of a few of my fave Keto freezer meal prep ideas. I hope this helps someone out!

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First off, I stock my freezer with super low carb/healthy veggies (cauliflower rice, brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, green beans, bell peppers,etc). I freeze up bell peppers in halves and also in thin sliced rings. The box in this pic is of individual sausage patties (easy to take out just one or two and defrosted quickly).

So here’s the list of dinners I prepped for, with recipes included below.

  1. BBQ Pulled Pork (slow cooker) serve with homemade keto coleslaw
  2. Italian Meatballs (served with cheesy Italian spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash)
  3. Fajita Chicken pieces (in one freezer bag with seasonings) and thin sliced onion and bell peppers (in another bag) Serve with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and sour cream as a fajita salad
  4. Creamed Beef Tips (slow cooker) serve with Cauliflower Rice and Steamed Asparagus
  5. Crispy BBQ Chicken Tenders
  6. Beef Patties (to use for hamburgers or Hamburger steaks)
  7. Chili (serve with crispy cheese bites)

 

BBQ Pulled Pork

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin (with some fat on it)

1/4c beef broth

1/4 c Sugar Free BBQ sauce (I love G Hughes Smokehouse Sugar Free BBQ sauce, find it at WalMart)

Tsp or two liquid smoke

Tsp or two onion powder and garlic powder

Place the meat into a gallon size freezer bag. In measure cup or bowl mix rest of ingredients together. Pour over meat and place in fridge or freezer.

Slow cook for 5-7 hours on low. Shred and serve with more sauce and coleslaw (or your choice Keto friendly side).

You can double or triple the amounts and make up several bags, if you like.

 

Keto Coleslaw

1 Bag Slaw Mix (I prefer the tri-color myself)

1/4c Mayo (I love Dukes!)

1/4c Apple Cider Vinegar

Tsp Stevia

Dash Salt and Pepper (to your liking)

In a measure cup add the vinegar, mayo, stevia, salt and pepper. Dump the slaw mix into a large bowl. Add the measure cup contents to the slaw, it’ll be a bit dry. Let sit for an hour or so. Add a bit more mayo if desired.

 

 

Italian Keto Meatballs

1lb ground beef

1lb ground Italian sausage

2 eggs

1/2c Parmesan cheese (the canned powdered kind)

Garlic powder and onion powder as desired.

Mix all ingredients together, use a small scooper to form small meatballs. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until hardened and place into freezer bag.

These can be baked and used to make spaghetti squash and meatballs marinara or just eaten as a snack.

This recipe can also be doubled or tripled and kept in the freezer.

 

Freezer Friendly Chicken Fajitas

1lb chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 package fajita season

Cilantro, finely chopped, few tablespoons, as you like to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Place into freezer bag and freeze or refrigerate until use. You may double or triple the batch and freeze multiple bags up.

Thaw out and saute in a little olive oil until cooked. Add onions and bell peppers if desired. Serve with low carb tortillas or in a Fajita Salad.

 

 

Creamed Beef Tips

 

1 1/2 pounds Beef stew meat

2Tbsp Butter (I love Kerry Gold)

2Tbsp worcestire sauce

Black pepper, as you like

1/4c beef broth

 

Add all to freezer bag. Freeze until ready to use. Place in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred up and add 2 Tbsp Heavy whipping cream and another 1 Tbsp butter.

Serve over cauliflower rice. I serve with steamed asparagus. This is one of my faves!!

 

 

Crispy BBQ Chicken Tenders

1lb chicken tenderloin strips

1/2 bag BBQ flavor Pork Rinds

1 Tbsp Poultry Season

1/4c heavy whipping cream

2 eggs

Tbsp or two water

Cut chicken tenders into two pieces. In shallow dish add cream, eggs and water. Whisk together well.

Place pork rinds into gallon zip top bag. Crush until pretty fine. Add seasoning to bag.

Dredge chicken into cream mixture, then into the crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until hard, then place into freezer bag. You can double or triple this recipe and make more to keep on hand.

When ready to use, bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through.

I dip these in Siracha Ranch (ranch dressing mixed with Siracha sauce) or SF BBQ sauce.

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Beef Patties

2lb ground beef

Form into 8 patties, freeze on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. When frozen solid place into freezer bag.

Use for burgers or for making hamburger steak

 

 

Hamburger Steak

4 patties beef

8oz sliced mushrooms, any type you like

1 small onion, sliced thin

2Tbsp  Worcestire sauce

2Tbsp Butter

2Tbsp Heavy Cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute beef patties, add remaining ingredients and cook until veggies are softened. I serve over cauliflower rice with a veggie side, like green beans.

 

 

 

Freezer Chili

1lb cooked crumbled/cooked ground beef

2-  16oz can crushed tomatoes

1 can dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained well) then chopped coursely

Chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, to taste (or chili seasonings of your choice)

Add all to a freezer bag and keep in freezer until ready to use. Thaw and place in slow cooker, cook on low 4-6 hours.  Add a bit of water if needed, sometimes it gets a bit dry/thick.

Serve with sour cream, cheddar, or crispy cheese crackers.

 

 

Crispy Cheese Crackers

1 Pkg Ultra Thin Sargento Cheese, cut into 4 small squares

Place onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. They’ll look burnt. Let cool off, then transfer to a cooking rack. Let sit out for a few hours. Store in a paper bag in cool dry area.

I love these! I think they taste just like cheese-it crackers.

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Well there you have it! Some of my fave Keto Freezer Meals!

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what meals your family loves! Talk to me about Keto, or just Freezer Cooking in general!

Have a blessed rest of your week!

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Say What? Getting to Know Coupon Lingo

So, you’re learning to coupon, you find some web sites listing great deals, but what does MM mean? What about BOGO? YMMV? Say what??

I’m here to help! I’ve listed here the most used coupon lingo and what it means. Q Lingo

 

The most common-

Q= coupon

MQ= manufactures coupon

IP=internet printable

BOGO= Buy one get one free

ISO= is seeking out/in search of

MM= money maker (deals that make you $)

GC= gift card

PP= PayPal (how they want to be paid)

PPFF= PayPal friends and family (again preferred payment method)

TIA= thanks in advance

HTH=hope this helps

LMK= let me know

MIR= mail in rebate

RC= rain check

OYNO= on you next order (purchase)

WYB= when you buy

YMMV= your milage may vary, basically means that all stores/locations may vary a bit on what they’ll allow. For example if an item is on sale BOGO, some stores allow you to use 2 Q, some only allow 1 Q. A deal scenario all listed out doesn’t mean it’ll always work out that way.

Coupon Sources: If you see a number with RP/SS/PG it usually means the date the Q was in the paper. RP 9/3 would mean the coupon was in the Red Plum from September 3rd.

RP= red plum

PG= proctor/gamble

SS= smart source

Peelie= coupon that is peeled off a product

Blinkie= coupon that was found in a blinkie machine in store

HangTag= Coupon found on a product hanging (think bottles)

Cat= Catalina is a coupon that prints at certain stores with your reciept

 

So, next time you’ve found some great deals, but need help deciphering it all, just use my handy list!

I hope all have a blessed day! I have been in prayer for all those being affected by hurricanes and wildfires. God bless!

 

 

 

Coupon Crazy, Frugal Living/ Budgeting

Coupon Crazy!

Who doesn’t love a great deal? Using coupons is a great way to score some major savings!

I’ve been couponing pretty much my entire life. When I was a kid my mom was a super couponer before it was chic. I’d go with her and watch her buy a buggy of groceries for amazing deals. I loved the idea of saving money from a very early age.

Once I had my own family, and was young and broke, I knew coupons would help me stretch my small budget. Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked.

I’ve been a couponer myself for over twenty years now. I’ve saved countless money over those years. I’ve also learned a lot of tricks and tips.

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Here is a recent purchase, with a negative subtotal! I love it when that happens. Razors is a staple that is easy to stockpile.

Here’s a few tips for beginning couponing:

  1. Know your stores’ coupon policy. Most are accessible online and can be printed and stored in a binder. Always follow the policies.
  2.  Stay organized! There are several methods for keeping your coupons organized. Choose a method and get going!
  3. Get social! Join Facebook groups, follow blogs, Instagram couponers, and local fellow couponers. We love to share deals we find! This is vital to seeing what deals are going on.
  4. Don’t feel like you need to catch every single deal! It will take a few misses before you get it down. I even have scenarios all worked out, then something goes wrong. It happens, just don’t let it deter you.

Stay tuned for more great coupon deals, trip hauls, and ways to become a super couponer!

I hope you all have a fabulous week ahead! May God bless you!

Frugal Living/ Budgeting, General, Ways to be More Content

16 and Pregnant….Let’s Get Real Here

 

16 and Pregnant   Okay, I must admit, I love to watch Teen Mom 2 (and Teen Mom OG) on MTV. It’s pretty engrossing to watch other peoples’ lives, I think that’s why those cheesy reality shows do so well. We all love to see what other people do. But let’s get real here, all those “reality” shows aren’t really that “real”. I mean, nobody really lives like the Kardashians, unless they are the Kardaashians.

The Teen Mom shows, the follow up to the original 16 and Pregnant show, follow moms who were teenagers when they had their babies. It airs on MTV and is a huge hit. We fans love watching those babies grow up and seeing their moms succeed (yay!) and we feel their pain when they do not. We cheer them on as they navigate their lives in the right direction, find new love, have more sweet babies, find their way in this thing called life. I smile as I watch Chelsea being truly loved and finding happiness. I am proud of Leah as she shows her girls she can be strong and independent. I love that Kailyn is so fierce in her love for her boys.

For me, I have a much more personal reason for watching this series, as I myself was 16 and pregnant once upon a time (23 years ago). I was that teen mom, navigating growing up myself, balancing a marriage, and trying to be a good mom and make good choices. I look back and I am proud and happy with my life. I am married to my baby daddy (23 years in December), I have my own business, and I work as a nurse. My daughter is married and doing wonderful, and my son, my youngest, just graduated high school in May.

But saying all this, let me take you back to when I first began my  journey. My husband worked full time, our daughter was born 9 weeks early and was in and out of the hospital (2 1/2 hours from home) for her first few years. We really struggled financially, my parents really stepped in and helped us a lot. I didn’t finish high school (got my GED before she was born) and missed a lot of “teen” things. We were broke, our kids didn’t get vacations, they got second hand clothes many times, we didn’t get to go out to dinner much. Am I painting a picture that is shown on the show? Nope, not at all. I wasn’t being paid to be on a TV show. And neither are most teen moms. The majority of teen moms live in poverty, they receive welfare benefits and never finish college (many not even high school). That’s a much different picture, now isn’t it? Yep. That’s the reality of teen pregnancy.

I am writing this to say, what we see on TV (not just that show, but all of them) is just not real. We live normal, everyday lives that aren’t scripted, they aren’t filmed and edited. But our teens need to know that when they have a baby at 16 (or in their teenage years) it won’t be like on the show. No big new houses, no expensive SUVs, no fancy island vacations, no designer clothes, nope. It’ll be much, much different. It can still be awesome, just with less stuff and much more work. And college will be a struggle all the way. You’ll be studying, wishing you had more time with your kids.

So, go forth and watch your favorite reality show! Just know that real life is what “reality” really is. No editing things out, no big paycheck, no makeup and special lighting, just the real deal. And it can be ugly, it can be painful, and it can stink sometimes, but it’s real.

I hope all are having a blessed Monday! I hope you have a marvelous week ahead! Summer is winding down, the kiddos are all back in school, we are all looking forward to fall around here! God bless y’all!

Ways to be More Content

Bible Verses for Creating an Attitude of Gratitude

Creating an environment where a grateful heart can thrive.

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  Living in a world where being grateful seems to be a way of the past makes me sad.  I strive daily to be thankful for everything God has blessed me with, and the list is certainly abundant!

   Here I am going to share some awesome Bible verses for a grateful heart. I’m starting with my life verse, the verse I’ve chosen to live by, and it’s just a wonderful verse.

   7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1st Tim 6: 7,8 KJV

   Simply put, you were born with nothing, you’ll take nothing into eternity with you, as long as you’re fed and clothed, be happy! I love this! Now days people complain about not having the silliest things, ugh! Other people are praying for what you have, silly! Be grateful!

  The next one is good for those with the “wants”, you know the type, always wanting something new and shiny.

   11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content. Phil 4:11 KJV

   There’s that word again: content. I think God’s trying to tell us to be grateful with what He gives us.

   Oh, now here’s a good one! If this doesn’t give you peace and comfort…. well it just should!

   12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

   Wow! When we just ask God to forgive us, He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west (never ending!) and remembers it no more. That should make you very grateful (especially if you’re like me and have to ask many, many, many times for the same darn thing!). That kind of forgiveness my friends, is like none other on Earth. I mean, come on, I’ll forgive you….but…..I kinda sorta tuck it away and remember it forever and always (sorry!). That’s human nature, we cannot forgive the way our Heavenly Father does, no way. He loves us like no other.

   And finally- the last- but certainly not least, being thankful!

   6 Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6,7

   Always be thankful! God blesses us so richly,  and not a one of us are truly worthy of the sacrifice He made just for us.

   I hope all have a very Blessed week ahead! I am thankful for all who visit with me here, I’d love to hear from you! God Bless!

 

Eating Real Food, Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Homesteading, Ways to be More Content

Spring Around the Homestead

  Spring is here! This is a busy time around the homestead, getting ready for gardens and harvesting, new baby animals and weather too darn pretty to be indoors!

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  We’ve been bottle feeding a few calves, breaking up the garden, planting a few things, burning out the fence rows, and just generally being outdoors enjoying the weather.

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I painted these cute rocks for my potted herb plants. I also made some for my garden, for when all the plants go in. I just painted the rocks, used a fat Sharpie to write on them, then added a coat of spray on clear sealer. I loved quick simple projects that turn out cute!

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Here are my two bottle babies! These guys are cute, and I do love caring for them, but I know that come fall, one of them will be feeding my family. Growing your own food can be hard, but knowing what goes into what you eat is an awesome feeling too.

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Here’s my son, burning off sections of the fence row. We do this to keep the fences cleaned up, and to reduce ticks and fleas. The fields get burned off too. It just gets rid of the old/dead stuff and makes the grass come back fresh and green. When this gets done we are careful to watch the weather (no wind!) and usually burn off after a good rain, when things are dried out, but not too dry. And of coarse, always having some water nearby.

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I hope all are having a fabulous Saturday! The weather is beautiful here, and I’m fixing to head out and work on my chicken coop!

What are ways you get ready for spring? I’d love to hear back from you! I’ll be in the jam making mode in a few weeks, as strawberries are starting to come off. Stay tuned for a jam-session!

 

 

Family Vacations, Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Ways to be More Content

Hiking to Hawk’s Bill Crag

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  Isn’t that just breathtaking? This place was so beautiful, I decided it needed it’s own post here on my blog!

   See those tiny dark specks at the edge of the rock? Yeah, well that’s my son and a friend of his.  I tagged along on this hike, because Hawk’s Bill Crag was on my bucket list.

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 Here’s my son, Nicholas, overlooking the valley below. This rock is not Hawk’s Bill (also known as Whitaker Point)  but a smaller rock along the trail. there are many beautiful rock formations along the way.

   hbc edit 3

  Here is another pic of my son, sitting exactly where they tell you not to! And I am holding my camera, a ways off, yelling “Back up! You’re not supposed to go that far out!” like the worry-wart momma that I am. He and his friend find this amusing and are yelling back “Get good pics!”.  So I am hurriedly snapping photos yelling, “Okay, got them, now get back!”

   All teasing aside, the websites say it is not safe to go to the tip (the lower dip just where my son is sitting here) so please follow that, not the whim of teenage boys! I myself didn’t go anywhere near the edge, I am so afraid of heights. I wasn’t even going to venture out to the crag, but my son insisted I conquer my fear and go. I did and it felt great, even from my way far back vantage point. And my son took photos to prove it.

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That’s me there, the one further away from the edge! It was such a rush looking out over all that beautiful nature. I was in awe.

   Now we went towards the end of winter, which was nice weather wise, but not scenery wise. Albeit still gorgeous, I know colors would’ve been amazing in spring or fall. I plan to return this fall to see it again, when my daughter and son-in-law can go, and maybe I’ll talk my hubby into it to. He’s not much of a hiker, but for this view he might go along.

   I’m going to share links to the Harrison Web page, which has good information about getting to Whitaker Point trail head. I’m also sharing the link to Roadtrippers, which has some reviews as well as some pictures.

http://www.harrisonarkansas.org/c_upe_view.php?id=77

https://roadtrippers.com/us/boxley-ar/nature/whitaker-point-hawksbill-crag

   A few tips from me to you:

1. There are no bathrooms at the trail head, so plan accordingly. I was assuming there was at least a camp-type potty, so I drank a ton of water and coffee, oops!

2. The road is like a “pig trail”, not much of a road and pretty steep, rough, and narrow.

3. The trail is steep, so if you’re like me and a bit outta shape, you may need to stop for breaks along the way. No worries though, there are lots of awesome scenic spots you’ll want to stop and look at anyways.

 I live in rural Arkansas and am always looking for new places to go and see within my area. Go out and explore where you live! Or if you’re visiting Arkansas, look at the state park websites, there are so many awesome places to go and see! These type of activities are not only fun, but frugal as well. And what a great therapy to boot!

   Happy Hiking!! God Bless Y’all!

Recipes/ How To

Life Long Friends and Cake

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   Honey Buns- I do love me a good cinnamon-y, warm, gooey honey bun! This cake here, it’s even better than a honey bun!

   I discovered this recipe about a year ago and let me tell you- every time I make it, it disappears like speedy fast.

   The blog where it came from is a wonderful, homey place. I am including the link to her recipe, where you can look around her blog.

http://myhomemdelife.blogspot.com/2010/12/that-70s-breakfasthoney-bun-coffee-cake.html

   One of the best things about this recipe is the ingredients are staples, so I can whip it up last minute! I’ve made a few for auctions and they always do well.

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How could you go wrong with all that cinnamon and brown sugar swirled into a tender cake?? I mean…..just look at that!

   Okay, so let’s talk about that cake pan for a minute. It’s not one of my beautiful, new-fangled, fancy cake pans. It’s 22 years old, it’s kinda bent up, it’s not pretty but I love it because it means a lot to me.

   I got married 22 years ago and my best friend in the world bought that for me for my wedding shower. And I think about her every time I get it out.  I am so glad to have a friend that I can always count on and whom I love dearly.

   Okay, now back to that cake! Here’s the final result:

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You see it’s already being devoured? I had to act fast to snap a pic! Now as a disclaimer- this is not what I consider “real food”, but like I’ve stated before, I strive for 50-75% “real food”overall. I mean I am a realist….and I do love cake!

   I hope you enjoy this cake like me and my family do. Have a blessed weekend!

  It’s dreary and rainy here, so looks like I’ll be working in the shop and around the house today. I’d love to hear back from y’all!

 

Eating Real Food, Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Recipes/ How To, Weekly Meal Planners

How to Meal Plan Like a BOSS!

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Okay y’all, so it’s a weeknight, about 5 pm and you have no idea what’s for supper and you are in a panic. Sound familiar? Yep, we’ve all been there before!

  So let’s talk meal planning. I’m going to give you tips so you can meal plan like a BOSS! You’ll know exactly what meals you have all the ingredients for, what’s fast and easy and what you’re saving for when you have more time in the kitchen.

   To start this meal planning lesson, let’s start right in your kitchen: do a quick mental inventory (or if you’re obsessive like me, jot it down)  of what you’ve already got on hand. This will save you money, you won’t be buying extra stuff you really didn’t need. This list will be our base for the meal planner.

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 Check your freezer, fridge and pantry. Please overlook my messy-ness, apparently I need some help with organizing!

   Once you have your “inventory” list, you’re ready to start planning! Now this is where it’ll be a bit different for everyone: I plan for 6 meals for each week, we usually go out one night a week. When planning, I may jot down specific meals for specific nights, but it can always be swapped around. I try to plan for leftovers, for my lunches. I typically plan 2-3 chicken dishes, 1-2 beef dishes, 1-2 pork dishes and 1-2 “other” dishes (like pizza, hot dogs, tuna sandwiches, fish, etc).

   I keep a list of meals my family likes in a little notebook. I have them categorized by meat type: chicken/beef/pork/ other. I also have them marked with a star if they’re for the slow cooker. If I’m wanting something different/new I turn to my old pal Pinterest! How did we survive without it? I will only add one or two “new” things per week, because my bunch is picky and we tend to stick with old stand-byes. I don’t cook super fancy, we tend to like basic type foods.

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  Here’s my pretty notebook (I’m kind of a notebook geek, I have way too many!) that I keep meals we love written in. This little step makes meal planning much quicker.

  The last step is matching up meals with what you’ve got and making your grocery list. So just based on my inventory (as seen in above pics) I’ll jot down a quick plan:

1. Chicken Fajitas

2. Marinated Grilled Chicken and Grilled Asparagus

3. Pulled Pork sandwiches and Potato Wedges

4. Green Chile/Pork Nachos

5. Meaty Italian Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

6. Tuna/Egg Salad with Veggies and Dip

   Now I would look at each meal and see what components I was missing, grocery shop once for those items and be eating for the week!

   Here’s a link to a weekly meal planner template that I love! It has spots for planning breakfasts/lunches too! And a grocery list on the side. I keep one printed out and use them.

https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/meal-planner.html

 

   There you have it! No more wondering  “What’s for dinner?”. And no more looking forward to a specific meal, then not having all the ingredients for it on hand. By planning out meals, it’ll save you stress, time and money.

  I hope you all have a very blessed day! If you have questions/comments I would love to hear from y’all!