Some Meal Planning & Comfort Snacks

Summer is drawing to a close as far as freedom and flexibility in our schedules. The boys are returning to a modified school schedule next week and I return to work the week after. Gone is the ability for everyone to free feed with whatever is in the house – some extra thought is going to have to go into our snacks and meals, even more so as the cost of feeding two teenage boys seems to be growing each week.

We are heading up to the beach with part of our bubble tomorrow and the beach requires snacks. I will admit that I usually just pick up convenience food at the grocery store to throw into a bag or grab some fast food on the way up (it’s almost 2 hours – those boys are starving by the time we arrive if I don’t feed them on the way! )

I did my groceries this morning and all the snacks and muffins just seemed mediocre. And I just spent $250 on said groceries that will maybe just last me to next week, so no unplanned for snacks made it to the cart. I knew I’d have some “free” time (is it every actually free, though? I mean my “could do” list is neverending…) and thought homemade comfort food snacks were the way to go. My house smells like that perennial classic cereal snack mix and strawberry streusel muffins are awaiting their turn in the oven. I considered soft pretzel bites but decided that was just too much work. Tomorrow, I’ll toss some coronation grapes, apples, celery with peanut butter, and pepperettes into the cooler with our drinks, along with the cereal mix and muffins and I think we’ll be (more than) set – lots of variety, perfect for lakeside snacking!

Cereal Snack Mix With Pumpkin Seeds

My mom used to make cereal snack mix when we were little but I don’t have her recipe and the ones I found online were all very similar. Knowing my mom, who I love dearly, it probably came off the box of Shreddies. I opted for base ingredients of Multigrain Cheerios, Shreddies, and Rice Chex. I omitted the pretzels because no one really likes them, do they? No? Just me? I added honey roasted peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and whole almonds because that’s what we had. The dressing is the traditional butter, garlic, seasoned salt formula but I kicked it up with a bit of chipotle chili powder. Then roasted in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, because the idea of microwaved cereal grossed me out a little. It’s a huge batch, but I’ll be lucky if it will last the next three days. sigh In all honesty, the pumpkin seeds are my favourite part!

My strawberry streusel muffins are made using a very loose recipe – the greek yogurt batter looked amazing in the cups, but who knows if they’ll actually taste good. I had some fresh local strawberries languishing sadly in the back of the fridge and feel just fine adding bruised produce into my baking. If they’re a success I’ll be posting the recipe just for my own reference. (FYI, I took them out to cool and sampled one – tastes delicious but was a little wet on the bottom. I’ve popped back into the oven hoping for triumph.)

FYI, our meal plan for the next few days looks like this if you need some ideas. Let the organized chaos begin!

  • souvlaki chicken, rice, salad
  • “charcuterie” for a quick meal, no kids
  • ribs, sweet pepper poppers, corn on the cob
  • grilled chicken, roasted cauliflower, cucumber, and herbed potatoes
  • beef dip sandwiches with crudites

What are your favourite make-at-home snacks to tide you over? I think everyone has a family favourite that evokes memories of their childhood or times with their own littles or that they just can’t get enough of… Now that we’re thinking lunches again, bonus points if they’re healthy, nut-free, and packable! Share away!

Meal Plan Monday: May 27 Edition

This past weekend we attended our local Food Truck Frenzy organized as a fundraiser by the Rotary group. We decided to go in the rain. On the plus side, no crazy crowds to deal with. In the down side, it’s still crazy expensive and you walk out feeling like you’ve been bathed in oil. My favourite pick this year was from the Jerk Brothers Carribean truck – the jerk pork poutine was de-li-cious. I was sad to share it three ways.

Yesterday after church we had our final potluck lunch before summer. There were a ton of casseroles – including 7 shepherds pies – and only two crockpots of meat – one full of meatballs and mine full of BBQ jerk pulled pork. I went home with zero leftovers. Success.

Last night, I craved veggies – so we enjoyed a peanutty cashew stir-fry with butternut squash noodles to try and find some balance in our weekend overload of ridiculously tasty and decadent food.

My boys will not stop eating the last couple of weeks. I think we’re dealiñg with some growth spurts. At 12 & 13, I’m sure we’re in for copiously large grocery shops in the near future. Our menu for the upcoming week (if I can keep the food in the fridge long enough) looks like this:

  • Italian sausage, roasted potatoes, Caesar salad
  • Burgers and veggie sticks
  • Crepes and sides
  • Chicken and pepper alfredo
  • Chili or other meal featuring ground beef
  • Leftovers

Parents of preteen/teenage boys… What are your tips and tricks to groceries on a budget and still keeping them fed?