Posts Tagged ‘Meals’

August Meal Plan

I’m at the point where I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and really embrace my “new normal” with KB here.  The pain isn’t gone, but I’m tired of trying to wait until I feel healthy to get back to life.  With that in mind, I wanted to put together the August Meal Plan.  I’ve had a lot of people ask questions about my meal planning, and how we do it for $400 a month for everything (that includes diapers and dog food – usually).

AugustMealPlan2015

First – you’ll notice that August 1st is at the bottom of the calendar.  This enables me to still give each day it’s own block, even when the meals “bleed” into six weeks.

Second – how to choose what I have each day: I ALWAYS make my meal plan with my EC Planner right beside me.  Days I know that we will be running around, so a crockpot meal is best, are the first meals I plan.  Then I fill in with family favorites, or special holidays (like the Birthday Dinner).  Since the 1st (my shopping day) is a Saturday, I picked an easy meal that is well liked by the family.  That way I’m not stressing about what to fix, after I have spent 3-4 hours shopping and putting away food!

Third – the “special” meals: the 4th is a Birthday Dinner for a dear friend. She requested a specific meal.  Also, you’ll see that each caterpillar has a “day”.  On that day, they get $20 and have to decide how to feed our family.  They have to plan ahead and present me with a shopping list, and they will do the cooking by themselves (except GO – she can request assistance, but she’ll start working on most of the skills).  Once they can consistently feed our family for $20, I’ll knock it down to $15.

Fourth – how do I stop the caterpillars from eating all the food meant for meals?  Simple – when we unpack the grocery bags – Otto and I use a sharpie marker to label EVERY item with the date it is suppose to be in a meal.  For example: the sloppy joe mix will have the number 26 on the top of  the can and the hot dog buns will have the number 7 on the bag.  The kids know that if the day has already passed, and the food item is still there, it’s safe to eat it.  So, on the 10th, if CW wanted a sandwich on a hotdog bun, he would know it was past the 8th and safe to eat.  This has virtually eliminated my ingredients being eaten ahead of time.

All told, it takes me about 1 hour to prepare my calendar (the screenshot above) and to make my detailed shopping list.  Then it takes 3-4 hours to grocery shop and precook the meat or put together the “casserole” type meals.  So approximately 5 hours at the beginning of the month, then less than 15 minutes each night to fix the meals.

Any specific questions I can answer?

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

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Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom)

Be Our Guest is one of the most difficult restaurants to get reservations at.  Even though my travel agent was trying 183 days in advance – she still wasn’t able to get us a dinner reservation.  However – I *really* wanted to eat here.  Yes, it’s weird, but I knew we were going to get a photo with Belle in Epcot – and I wanted a family photo with the Beast to match.  Silly?  Perhaps, but very important to me.  Every night, for about two months, I checked and checked for a reservation to pop up.  Finally, on a random Thursday evening, a 9 pm reservation became available.

I immediately booked it, knowing then that there was no way we would wait until 9 pm to eat dinner.  I continued to check, as our vacation approached, but could never get an earlier dinner.  Auntie M and I had a plan, though – we would eat our dinner at 4:45 pm (Tony’s Town Square), using our dining credits.  Then at 9 pm, we would have dessert, and pay out of pocket.  Desserts are served tableside, and all cost $4.19 (as of September 2014).

We were only allowed to check-in 15 minutes early (even when we came by and asked if they had an earlier time – we were sent away until 15 minutes before our reservation).  You are given a pager and sent to the “bridge” outside the main door to the castle.  We waited about 20 minutes (with no stroller – not easy), but I had brought glow stick bracelets from the Dollar Store (pack of 12 for $1) and pulled those out.  All four of my kids loved them, and we made the night of a couple next to us with two younger kids by making bracelets for them, too.  Five minutes past our reservation time is reasonable to me, and our server was polite when she sat us and we told her that we would not be having dinner – could we see a dessert menu, please.

A plate to share (each person tried all five desserts)

A plate to share (each person tried all five desserts)

Went was QUITE pleased with this restaurant!

Went was QUITE pleased with this restaurant!

Napkin Rose - Auntie M spent the time we were waiting at our table teaching B10 and CW how to make them.

Napkin Rose – Auntie M spent the time we were waiting at our table teaching B10 and CW how to make them.

We sat in the Rose Gallery, very pretty room, but we didn't have time to explore the other two rooms.

We sat in the Rose Gallery, very pretty room, but we didn’t have time to explore the other two rooms.

Auntie M had a Diet Coke, and I had coffee, but the kids all drank water (better at that time of night, anyway).  We enjoyed each dessert.  The “Grey Stuff” is delicious, even if it’s just fancy chocolate mousse.  The desserts we shared:

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Magic Kingdom)

I had planned an early dinner at Tony’s Town Square – and this was actually a place I changed at the last minute (only 2 weeks before we left for our trip).  Originally I had scheduled for us to leave Magic Kingdom and do Chef Mickey’s.  But after talking to Auntie M, we decided we did not want to deal with leaving and returning to the park.  This was my first experience at Tony’s, and I really enjoyed it.  I was skeptical that I would find much to eat at an Italian place, but was pleasantly surprised.  For those wondering, they serve Barilla pasta – which was nice for me to know, because then I knew there wasn’t a problem with me eating it.  We were seated quickly (and they had “Lady and the Tramp” playing in the waiting area), and our server was very prompt it taking our drink order and asking the chef to come to our table.

If you had told me 3 years ago that CW would be reading a book inside a theme park, I would have laughed at you.

If you had told me 3 years ago that CW would be reading a book inside a theme park, I would have laughed at you.

B10 (this would be the most beautiful restaurant to sit in during a rainfall)

B10 (this would be the most beautiful restaurant to sit in during a rainfall)

I love this boy!

I love this boy!

The appetizers were all quite good:

My Appetizer: Pasta Fagioli Soup

My Appetizer: Pasta Fagioli Soup

CW's Appetizer: Mixed Greens tossed in our House Dressing topped with Croutons

CW’s Appetizer: Mixed Greens
tossed in our House Dressing topped with Croutons

Auntie M's Appetizer: Seasonal Melon with Prosciutto

Auntie M’s Appetizer: Seasonal Melon
with Prosciutto

B10's Appetizer: Caesar Salad Romaine Lettuce tossed in Caesar Dressing topped with Romano and Crostini

B10’s Appetizer: Caesar Salad
Romaine Lettuce tossed in Caesar Dressing topped with Romano and Crostini

The entrees were diverse.  I was pleased to see B10 and CW choices.

My Allergy Meal: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

My Allergy Meal: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

New York Strip Steak with a Red Wine Butter, Tony’s Potatoes, and Seasonal Vegetables

New York Strip Steak
with a Red Wine Butter, Tony’s Potatoes, and Seasonal Vegetables

Shrimp Scampi Linguini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Asparagus tossed in a Garlic Sauce  (Auntie M said there was SO MANY Shrimp in this dish!)

Shrimp Scampi
Linguini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Asparagus tossed in a Garlic Sauce (Auntie M said there was SO MANY Shrimp in this dish!)

Went is hiding his food under his plate (I think he is hoping for dessert soon!)

Went is hiding his food under his plate (I think he is hoping for dessert soon!)

We all had dessert (as GO continued to sleep in my lap!).

The Kid's Ice Cream Sundae (Went ate it)

The Kid’s Ice Cream Sundae (Went ate it)

Auntie M: Pistachio Crème Brûlée

Auntie M: Pistachio Crème Brûlée

CW: Gelato Italian-style Ice Cream–Chocolat

CW: Gelato
Italian-style Ice Cream–Chocolat

My Allergy Dessert: Raspberry Sorbet.  I appreciate it when they take time and care with the allergy dish!

My Allergy Dessert: Raspberry Sorbet. I appreciate it when they take time and care with the allergy dish!

Chef's Signature Cheesecake: Caramel Apple on the day we were there

Chef’s Signature Cheesecake: Caramel Apple on the day we were there

When we left, they gave us a box to put GO’s pizza in, and she woke up as we strolled down Main Street.  She happily ate her two slices, and we were glad she had the nap (it made the rest of the day go as well as it could, considering how long it was).

The Castle lit up as we left Tony's

The Castle lit up as we left Tony’s

I appreciated that there was a variety of choices here, and while this isn’t my top place to eat in Magic Kingdom – it will be one I choose if the others are booked, or I’m having more than a couple of meals in this park.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)

Unsweet Tea!

Unsweet Tea!

Lunch on our Magic Kingdom Day was at one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World.  I can’t remember ever coming to Magic Kingdom and NOT eating at Liberty Tree Tavern.  A long time ago, this was a Character meal, and Minnie Mouse was in Revolutionary War dress – be still my beating heart.  I honestly believe that if they ever brought that Character Meal back, I would fly down to Walt Disney World – JUST to experience it again.

Minnie Mouse and Me in 2010

Minnie Mouse and Me in 2010

As it stands now, Liberty Tree Tavern is not a Character meal at any time, but the food is still some of the best in Magic Kingdom.  Chef Jennifer not only came out before the meal to talk through the menu with me, but was the only chef to come back at the end of the meal to make sure I was satisfied with having enough to eat and the food.  Excellent service for those with allergies.  Chef Jennifer ranks with Chef Ivan (Hollywood and Vine) as two of the best in Walt Disney World.

GO's Meal: Pasta with Marinara Sauce  (I should call it Went's Meal - actually.)

GO’s Meal: Pasta with Marinara Sauce (I should call it Went’s Meal – actually.)

B10's Meal: Angus Chuck Cheeseburger topped with your choice of Bacon and Cheddar or Mushrooms and Provolone served with fresh Fruit or Tavern Fries  (He topped with Bacon!)

B10’s Meal: Angus Chuck Cheeseburger
topped with your choice of Bacon and Cheddar or Mushrooms and Provolone served with fresh Fruit or Tavern Fries (He topped with Bacon!)

CW's Meal: New England Pot Roast Our Tavern Keeper's Favorite...Braised Beef in a Cabernet Wine and Mushroom Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes and Garden Vegetables

CW’s Meal: New England Pot Roast
Our Tavern Keeper’s Favorite…Braised Beef in a Cabernet Wine and Mushroom Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes and Garden Vegetables

My Allergy Meal: Turkey, dairy-free Mashed Potatoes (DELISH) and French Fries

My Allergy Meal: Turkey, dairy-free Mashed Potatoes (DELISH) and French Fries

Auntie M: Freedom Pasta Farfalle Pasta with Sautéed Chicken, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mushrooms tossed in a Cream Sauce

Auntie M: Freedom Pasta
Farfalle Pasta with Sautéed Chicken, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mushrooms tossed in a Cream Sauce

My salad appetizer, with a raspberry dressing.

My salad appetizer, with a raspberry dressing.

Went enjoyed the oyster crackers from B10's soup!

Went enjoyed the oyster crackers from B10’s soup!

GO received a small salad with ranch dressing on the side for her appetizer.

GO received a small salad with ranch dressing on the side for her appetizer.

B10 asked for Cheddar Beer Soup for his appetizer.

B10 asked for Cheddar Beer Soup for his appetizer.

The last of CW's appetizer: Mozzarella Sticks

The last of CW’s appetizer: Mozzarella Sticks

Overall, the food is excellent.  I didn’t get pictures of the desserts, but they were devoured.  I was surprised by how hungry we were at 11:30 am, but every bit of food was gone when we left.  Our server was one of the best in Disney, also.  It was obvious she truly loved her job and making Disney Magic every day.  An overall great experience, and this will remain on my list of “must do” places to eat at Walt Disney World.

Our seating area, plenty of room - not crowded at all to other tables.

Our seating area, plenty of room – not crowded at all to other tables.

Went ended up eating basically GO's entire entree - Pasta and Marinara Sauce!

Went ended up eating basically GO’s entire entree – Pasta and Marinara Sauce!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – The Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

The Center Atrium of the Crystal Palace

The Center Atrium of the Crystal Palace

Breakfast with the Winnie the Pooh Characters!  I scheduled an early breakfast, in order to enter the park before opening, and that worked out well.  We only waited about 10 minutes after checking in (and only about 5 after they actually opened the restaurant).  Our server was polite and efficient, coffee was already sitting on the table!

COFFEE!

COFFEE!

The decor is beautiful, one of the prettier restaurants in my opinion.  I loved how light and airy everything was.

Buffet

Buffet

Atrium

Atrium

The server was also very good about telling us exactly where the characters would stand (information we used to make sure GO was on the OTHER side!).  The entertainment handlers were wonderful, and caught on quickly that the little girl DID NOT want to meet the Characters.  B10 and CW, on the other hand, were excited to get autographs and photos with some of their favorite childhood friends.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh

Eeoyre

Eeoyre

Piglet

Piglet

Tigger

Tigger

Now, let’s discuss the food.  If you have no allergies, this is a basic buffet.  You won’t find anything special, but you’ll find plenty to eat.

B10's plate (2nd or 3rd - he is a fan of bacon).

B10’s plate (2nd or 3rd – he is a fan of bacon).

CW's cereal for his second course.

CW’s cereal for his second course.

CW had breakfast pastries to start off with.

CW had breakfast pastries to start off with.

GO asked for fruit and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese

GO asked for fruit and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese

Went had fruit and a Cinnamon Roll

Went had fruit and a Cinnamon Roll

Allergies?  Oh my gosh, it was awful.  Think of a piece of cardboard.  Now warm it up and dump maple syrup on top. That’s basically what they offer you.  Fresh Fruit and a one-size fits all frozen waffle (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, taste-free).  Worst breakfast I had in Walt Disney World.  THIS was the first place I felt like was a cattle call to shove as many people through as possible.  Even at Hollywood and Vine – it was a madhouse, but the chef and the server cared about each individual.  I felt like Ivan (from Hollywood and Vine) made a point of making sure I received my money’s worth.  The chef at Crystal Palace could care less, as long as your allergy fit in the “gluten/peanut/dairy/egg” category – you were getting a serving of the frozen boxed waffles.  It was very disappointing, and I basically had fresh fruit and decaf coffee. (I handed the server back a full plate of waffles with three bites taken out.)

Overall, unless one of my younger kids shows a deep affinity towards Winnie the Pooh – we will be skipping this breakfast from now on.  And if they do, I’ll probably try the lunch or dinner next time.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios)

WDW Day 3 (50)

For lunch on Tuesday, we ate at Hollywood and Vine inside Hollywood Studios. This is a Character Dining Experience and a buffet.  We had done it in 2010 and met older Disney, Jr. Characters, so I was excited that they have updated to new ones: Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake (Jake and the Neverland Pirates), and Handy Manny.  Since both Went and GO knew who everyone was, I was hoping for a nice meal and some excitement from the Littles.

First, we arrived 3 minutes past our reservation.  Upon checking in (where we stood around, I actually think we arrived right on time, but had to wait behind a woman complaining about HER wait), I was told since we were “horribly late” it might take a while to seat us.  To say that put me in a grouchy mood is an understatement.  Three minutes (again, most of which was standing behind a VERY upset customer) is not “horribly” anything.  If the restaurant is backed up, simply say so and I’ll gladly occupy my kids until you call our table.  BUT – I’m not “horribly late”.

We were not seated until almost 11:45 am (25 minutes past our original time) and by the end of the meal (when we left at 1:30 pm), I realized the problem.  There are four characters rotating through the two sides of the Dining Room.  Every 15 minutes, two Entertainers (no costumes) come out and have a five minute (3 song) “dance party” that the kids can go up and dance in the middle of the restaurant.  Supposedly, only one Costumed Character on each side is suppose to go up and dance, while the other keeps circulating among tables.  Well, after two hours of watching – I can tell you that more often than not, ALL FOUR Costumed Characters went up to dance, meaning that for 15 minutes an hour, no one was visiting tables.  I know all this, because by 1 pm (when we were done eating, and the poor server sat down at my table to talk to me), I eventually spoke to the manager.  Just be aware, this is NOT a quick lunch (the entertainment goal is 1 hour and 15 minutes to see all four characters, it took us 2 hours).  GO and I stayed the entire time, but Auntie M and the boys left (Went fell asleep in his stroller, and the boys just needed to GET OUT).  Not only are the characters moving slow, but at every table, you have the toddlers with parents who are coaxing them into pictures and the preschoolers who CAN’T STOP TALKING BECAUSE IT IS DOC RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!  Emotions run high!  (Especially as naptime approaches).

Signing the books

Signing the books

Jake

Jake

Signing the books

Signing the books

Handy Manny

Handy Manny

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins

Doc McStuffins

The food was good.  It’s a buffet, but solid offerings.  There is a make your own pasta station (Mako was my cook) and the chef (Ivan) is one of the two best in Walt Disney World when it comes to allergies.  The dessert station is probably one of the most diverse at a Disney Buffet.  Large salad bar (and the only one with a dairy-free option sitting out), lots of bread options, and plentiful meat options.  GO had chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli, along with a small salad.

We don’t need to discuss what is happening to Went’s face in this picture:

WDW Day 3 (51)

So, yes – the food is good, but you aren’t coming here for the food.  You are coming to appease your SMALL child.  Keep in mind you are in a room with lots of other parents trying to appease their small children.  Fun, but long and tedious by the fourth or fifth time they sing the same songs…

I’ll do it again, but only IF I have a child who hasn’t seen the current characters and is old enough to actually MEET and ENJOY the characters.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Kouzzina by Cat Cora (Disney’s BoardWalk)

Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Kouzzina by Cat Cora was a restaurant I choose to try in 2010, because I love Cat Cora.  This trip – it was on our “Must Return” list, and it was a perfect breakfast again.  Kouzzina is located at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, so make sure when you visit you leave enough time to get there (and park – far away from the building – and walk, down to the back of the resort).  The BoardWalk area is lovely to stroll up and down, but we don’t spend lots of time there, as we go early and head straight to a park afterwards.

Went on the BoardWalk

Went on the BoardWalk

We have had breakfast both times we visited, and while I might try dinner someday (Kouzzina is not open for lunch), for now I shall just enjoy my breakfast feasts.

I also love the decor.  Someday, when I can design my own house, this is what I want my kitchen to be based off of!

I LOVE the ceiling!

I LOVE the ceiling!

the beautiful decor

the beautiful decor

Part of the allure for me is that with so many allergies that tend to be breakfast foods (dairy, eggs) and an aversion to pork (bacon, sausage), to find a place that has chefs that go above and beyond to cater to me is amazing.  I LOVE eating here.  The kids can get everything they want, there is PLENTY of food, and I can eat, too!  Auntie M decided on the Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Scrambled Eggs.

Lots of Eggy Things Happening Here

Lots of Eggy Things Happening Here

Both boys chose the American breakfast, with eggs over easy and bacon.

Eggs over Easy

Eggs over Easy

GO was set on Mickey Waffles, and this was the only time we purchased a meal for Went.  I chose to get him the Fresh Fruit Plate, then split the waffles/fruit between the two littles.

My Mickey Waffles (the kids plate comes with three).

My Mickey Waffles (the kids plate comes with three).

I also picked Mickey Waffles, but mine were made from a dairy-free/egg-free batter.  Some restaurants serve reheated frozen gluten-free waffles to those with dairy allergies.  Warm cardboard!  *gack*  I love having REAL Mickey Waffles, and fresh fruit.  I started with two, but could have asked for more.

Coffee is in carafes on the table (yum!) and the server was attentive at just the right level.  Not hovering, but we never had to search her out.  She was one of the best we had at Disney.

Overall, this is still my favorite breakfast spot in Walt Disney World.  And not just because it’s Cat Cora!  😉

Oh, and Went made this face:

Went's "I Enjoy This Food" Face

Went’s “I Enjoy This Food” Face

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(